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Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Hooray backyard chickens! I only have 3, but they provide us with enough eggs.

I'll have to scrounge up some pics, but here are some videos!

2 1/2 weeks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXAF7jYwMfc

4 weeks old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRUV...feature=related

3 months old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg0XlN7lwPg

Interesting facts about chickens: they love to kill the gently caress out of snakes and lizards and eat them, they love eating pork, and they'll drink human blood if its dripping on the ground from a wound of yours! They really are mini dinosaurs.

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Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Photos of my flock

This is our coop. Its small enough that we move it every week. It helps fertilize our lawn. In the winter we move it against the house and if we get a super cold night (only a couple nights a winter here in NC) we can put a heat lamp in it.


The ladies.


Lacuna - barred plymoth rock hen. She's the sweetest, but pretty dumb.


Little Jerry - new hampshire red hen. She's the leader of the flock and lays the biggest eggs (sometimes double yolks!) She loves to come on our porch in the early mornings and squack until we come out and give them food.


Pickles: buff orpington hen. Most consistent layer. She lays in the winter when the other ones stop. Super fluffy and soft. Hard to catch, but when you hold her she doesn't fuss like the others do.


Looking for some bugs.


They aren't any noisier than a dog barking. They make noises when they lay eggs and if they see you because they want you to come and give them food. This is the noise they make when they pop an egg out (not mine) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idUD...feature=related

Different breeds do have different qualities and some are nicer than others. I got the breeds I did because they're people friendly. The more you handle them, the friendlier they are too. We've handled ours every day since we got them when they were 2 weeks old.

Here they are up on our porch (its about 12 feet off the ground) trying to get us to feed them. If we leave the door open to let fresh air in and forget, they'll wander into the house.


Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Pinkerton posted:

I've been interested in raising a few chickens for years and, now that my wife and I are finally moving into a house, I'm planning to get started this summer. I have a couple of questions:

1. I live in New England and, while our winters are not as bad as say Fargo, temperatures can get fairly cold. From the reading I've done online, it seems that the use of heat lamps is pretty controversial. Some say they're necessary to prevent the chickens from getting frostbite while others say that chickens are fine without them even in cold climates. What are your thoughts?

2. Is it possible to sex baby chicks? I really don't want a rooster as I would imagine that the crowing at 6AM would be a nuisance. Does this mean I need to purchase older birds in order to ensure that they are female?

The best time to get chickens if you're going for chicks is the springtime to make sure they're big enough for the winter. We only use a heat lamp if it gets REALLY cold since our coop isn't fully closed. I've seen a lot of people use a heater meant for keeping dog waterbowls unfrozen in a bowl of water in the coop for heat. it gives just a slight amount of heat, but not a lot. Its not suppose to be good to use a heatlamp all the time since it doesn't acclimate the chickens to the cold when they're outside during the day.

We got our chicks at 2 weeks old and they were 98% certain they were all females.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Our chickens are in our fenced in backyard and at least one of our dogs is out in the yard 95% of the time. They keep a good eye on them.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



I swear Mother Earth News has an article an issue about chicken coops.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Stroph! posted:

Have you ever had any problems with your dogs getting hungry?

They don't bother the chickens, but if they lay an egg somewhere that they can get to they eat them. They also seem to think chicken food is delicous.


Grossest thing I've ever witnessed. We feed whole dried corn kernals along with chicken food to our hens especially in the winter. One morning this past winter I let the dogs out for the morning. Or lab started to take a poop, but he had a bunch of chicken corn in his turds. Little Jerry went over and started picking the poop out of his butt so she could eat the corn.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Alterian posted:

They don't bother the chickens, but if they lay an egg somewhere that they can get to they eat them. They also seem to think chicken food is delicous.


Grossest thing I've ever witnessed. We feed whole dried corn kernals along with chicken food to our hens especially in the winter. One morning this past winter I let the dogs out for the morning. Or lab started to take a poop, but he had a bunch of chicken corn in his turds. Little Jerry went over and started picking the poop out of his butt so she could eat the corn.



Our lab is a little When the chickens were first running around the yard, he'd bring them his toys and set them down next to them to try and get them to play fetch.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



spog posted:

So, if I were living in a suburban house, I could keep hens in my garden without disturbing the neighbours - even if they are the fussy type?

I live in a suburban house and haven't had any issues. It probably depends on your neighbors though. Ours are all pretty laid back.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



notsoape posted:

Have any of you who keep chickens ever considered keeping rabbits for meat? (I have both )

Yes. I have too much going on right now to set up meat rabbits. The next house we get is going to have more land so I'll probably do it then.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



My cats are terrified yet interested in our chickens. They're indoor cats and even if they got out I don't think they'd go after the chickens. Our one dog that stay out in the yard 99% of the time loving HATES cats so I doubt any would come in our yard.

The chickens don't mind the cats at all the few times they've gotten out. They freak out when we take our ferrets outside though.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Baronjutter posted:

My question is that these chickens generally always look awful. Their butts are often totally bare, tails missing, and large patches of skin showing on the front of their necks too. Do they have some disease or are pulling each others feathers out? How much health care do chickens need?

If they always look awful, they're sick and not well taken care of. If they only get like that once a year, they're molting.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Fluffy Bunnies posted:

If the person is eating them or feeding them to pets or something, I don't really see a big problem with it. There's not many places or people that are going to keep hens that eat their own eggs just for fun pets until the end of their natural life.

Chicken wire question: Does it have to be chicken wire/fencing? Or can it be the really small-spaced mesh? The stuff that's solid metal, not the crap that's like flexible and plastic-y.

Don't get chicken wire, get hardware cloth. Its usually sold right next to the chicken wire.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Save me jeebus posted:

So my friend is moving out of state to go to grad school, and I'm moving into her farmhouse in August. She's taking her hens with her (along with my current egg supply ), but there is the existing coop, which she said I was free to repopulate.

Would it be worth it go ahead and get some hens at the end of summer, or would I be better off waiting until spring? FWIW I'm single, but my friends and relatives want sweet sweet farm eggs (3 families x about a dozen eggs a week per family).

e: also bring on the dairy goat thread, I'd really be into that.

Depends on where you live. If it gets cold in the winter, wait until spring.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Also, if you have anything near the wall, they could jump up on it and then over the fence.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



You might want to change that plastic out for metal. That won't keep any animal that would eat a chicken out.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



A flying piece of posted:

Then why have a few people, both in this thread and elsewhere, recommended using poultry netting over chicken wire. You people need to get your stories straight.

Did they? I don't remember seeing that. The thing people recommend (me included)is hardware mesh / hardware cloth

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Did she have a heat lamp on the chicks or were they just outside?

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Greycious posted:

I'm considering trying to get a couple of laying hens when I move into my first house in a couple of weeks.

As of right now, the town told me 'no livestock allowed', however I'm considering petitioning/fighting for me being able to keep 2-4 laying hens. the CITY allows people to keep laying hens, yet the town I am moving to 20 minutes away which is a lot less populated doesn't- it's stupid.

So, if I happen to win my right to have a couple laying hens in my backyard..I want to know what to do in winter time? I'm in upstate NY, and our winters here are no walk in the park.

Would I be able to get like a dog-heating pad to place in their coop to make sure they have a warm spot to go to? Or is that not necessary?

This has been posted in the thread already. It would be better to wait until next spring to get chickens unless you are getting full grown ones. The jury is out on heating for chickens. Some say that if it is consistently cold outside and warm in the coop, the chickens won't acclimate to the cold outside and can get sick. The one thing I read and already posted in this thread is to use a heating element meant to keep bowls of water for dogs unfrozen in the winter in the coop in a bowl of water. It won't heat up the coop extraordinarily, but it won't get bitter cold. Remember, chickens wear downy winter coats all year.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



I wasn't sure which chicken thread to post in but here are some pictures of my little dinosaurs.







I would be scared of a chicken that weighed as much as a grown man.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Yes. Chickens sleep on perches.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



We have a 2x2 in our coop that connects the closed off part and the door and an extra stand we can put in the closed off part in the winter. They prefer to perch on the back of our wooden bench outside in the summer rather than sleep in the coop.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



3 might not be enough for extra eggs to sell. You should just try to find a way to get your own.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Tigntink posted:

Even so, I figured it would be a less creepy way of letting them know I support them in their endeavors and they don't have to worry about complaints from us.

Feed them earthworms through the fence!

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



We found ours on craigslist. It was a posting for a feed and seed store way out in the country and they had the breeds we wanted so we drove out there and got a paper bag with 3 chicks in it.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



I think we got our chicks for $2 a piece. When I told a friend they were surprised they were at least $50.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Was the person wearing nail polish or rings or something else shiny?

My chickens try to eat my fingers or toes if I wear polish and try always try to eat my rings.

It never hurts, it just startles me.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Our chickens absolutely love to eat snakes, lizards, and human blood. They would probably eat a mouse if they caught one.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Zeta Taskforce posted:

Are there any special considerations to keeping them entirely indoors? Like if I blocked off a 12 by 12 corner, that should be enough room for 5 or 6 chickens?
You don't want to keep chickens indoors. They're dusty, loud, and smelly. You'd have to be constantly cleaning their area to make sure your house doesn't smell. Even with their wings clipped, they can still get over about 3 feet

quote:

I have a bunch more rambling questions, want to bounce ideas that have been floating in my head. If I weeded my garden, would they be able to safely eat the weeds if I tossed them in while they were still fresh?
They probably won't eat it.

quote:

How do dried leaves work as bedding? I'm buried in them every fall and composting them is easier said than done. What ends up happening is I make piles in the fall, they heat up, start cooking, but then winter happens and the piles freeze solid. In the spring they become a sopping mass of smelly, slimy, packed together half decayed leaves that is an uphill battle to turn over. I'm thinking that it will be easier to compost leaves that have chicken poo poo embedded in them. It would be even cooler if the composting piles attracted worms that I could feed back to them.
Bad idea. The leaves could have parasites or other bad things on them so you wouldn't want to use them as bedding. If you have a pile of leaves somewhere that the chickens have access to, they will scratch through it themselves and probably spread it out of being a pile.

quote:

Do they eat watermelon rinds? Also, it looks like some feed is formulated for layers. Does this already have calcium added or do they still require another source like crushed shells?

My chickens love watermelon rinds. A lot of people use Layena. You can also put out crushed up oyster shells for them. We also throw our egg shells back out for them to eat.

quote:

I'm browsing craigslist just to get an idea of what supplies cost, and I came across a weird ad. Looks like someone is breeding at random all kinds of breeds. I'm NOT going to buy anything there, but I have to admit, if you crossed a Americana with a French Black Copper Marans, would the eggs be puke green?

I'm not 100% sure but genetics don't usually work quite that way.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Oh haha. I misread and thought you wanted to keep them inside your house.

I don't know about keeping them inside the shed 100% of the time with no access to outside at all. All backyard chicken coops I've seen have an outdoor run associated with it. I mean you can keep chickens inside like that. I don't know if they would be happy like that. Chickens like to stretch out in the sun and take dirt baths and scratch around.

I personally wouldn't keep chickens unless they had access to some outside area.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Lyz posted:


Yeah, chickens love bread and veggies and fruit. I've had hens even eat cole slaw and spicy chicken wings.


You let your chickens eat chicken meat?

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



You beat the poo poo out of that co worker and never talked to them again, right?

Its fine for chickens to eat meat. Mine absolutely love pig meat.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Orpington! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpington_(chicken)
So fluffy.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Expect to clean the brooder every day. They can go outside when they get their adult feathers, but if you are starting with chicks and you live in the northern hemisphere you should wait until next spring so they are big enough to go outside when its no longer going to be cold at night.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



You're really not suppose to put them outside until all their adult feathers have grown in because they can get a chill easily and die.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



You could always buy pullets from some place.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



My chickens have varied tastes. Each has their favorites and dislikes. None of them really like greens unless they eat it themselves out of the yard like clover. It took them a couple of times for them to see worms as food, but they always loved mealworms.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



I always got them from the pet store. Anywhere that would also sell crickets should have live mealworms.

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



Our chickens new thing is whenever they see movement upstairs in the kitchen(on the second story), they climb up our deck and sit on the railing in front of the kitchen window squawking at us until we give them a treat. As soon as they see the light come on in the morning, they start clucking and climbing up the deck. Useful for getting rid of scraps while cooking!

Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



So what you're saying is you're a kill cone advocate.

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Alterian
Jan 28, 2003



I can't wait till I live somewhere that I can have a rooster. I want to get the prettiest, fluffiest rooster there is!

I don't want our neighbors to hate us too much so we'll deal with just having hens.

Has anyone ever dealt with people that don't understand the difference between the words chicken, hen, and rooster? I'm always amazed how many people don't understand the relationship between them. Didn't they have barnyard animal books when they were kids?

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