Backyard Chickens


#1

Does anyone have any experience?

We just put on hold a Black Australorp, Buff Orpington and a Rhode Island Red.

We will be getting them on the 24th. Me and a buddy of mine are building a coop.

I will post pics of the chicks when we get them.

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#2

We have 150 of several varieties. Ours are completely free range. Their feed is entirely organic - no chemical additives in their food.

Buffs are good egg layers. We have tried almost every variety including Aracunas which lay blue/green eggs. We have also had ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas (which I don't recommend because they are noisy). Wife has a booth at our local farmers market and we sell the eggs. We also have the occasional rooster stew (yum).


#3
  1. Only 3? Make sure that not more than 1 is a rooster!

  2. Eventually, every predator in your county will know you have them, so make sure you keep them secure at night and that your coop is ‘predator proof’.

  3. Feed them all your food-scraps (when they are bigger) - they’ll love 'em. Enjoy the fresh eggs (as long as you followed #1, heh heh).


#4

We have 4 banties in our little suburban back yard. 2 Seabright hens and a pair of Mile de fluers.

Yes, make sure only one of those three is a rooster. Make sure they are secure, and nothing can get in. You will need to repair the coop as needed.

Is your coop going to be mobile? We have a small A frame that we move around every few days or so. Chickens can smell awful if left in a small area, plus they love to move to fresh “pasture” and love pecking for bugs and stuff in the fresh grass.


#5

Possums, coons, and hawks are our big problem down here. You will need to check your coop’s security every day. Seabrights are cute… We had a Japanese bantam rooster with gorgeous tail feathers that would sit on my shoulder. Check out the Polish chickens - they have “hats” and the French chickens which have “boots”. Expect to pay big bucks for the “exotic” breeds - $4 per chick or more.


#6

I know a few people who have raised chickens in their back yard. Their eggs are pretty tasty, the shells tend to be harder and the yoke tends to be a little harder to whip (for like scrabled eggs) compared to the eggs you get from the store.


#7

There’s a great site by the very same name

backyardchickens.com/


#8

We think three should be plenty for now. We don't plan on getting a rooster.

The coop is going to be very secure. At night the ramp closes up and keeps them in their roost nice and tight. During the day (when we are not home) they will have a smaller area that they can run around in that is held in by chicken wire. We are also building a chicken wire run that should give them plenty of room to run around in while we are home and can watch what they are doing. The coop can and will be moved.


#9

Depending on where you get them you may not have a choice in getting the rooster. Many places will put the roosters in just to get rid of them.

My fil used to have chickens and when he would get them there was most usually one rooster in the bunch. They usually cooked and ate him. He ended up getting rid of his chickens a couple of years ago. Trying to keep up with the predators was too much for him. :frowning: Predators will do anything for a nice plump chicken including squeezing the chickens though smallest holes to get them out.:eek: I have to second double checking the coup. Congrats on the upcoming chicks. :thumbsup: I have been wanting to do this for awhile.


#10

We have a small “hobby farm” and had a few chickens for years. I can’t remember all the breeds we had, but they were free range and I never had a problem with ticks when the chickens were here! That’s one of the reasons we got them in the first place. We had predator problems, but my hubby got me a little .22 pistol for those. It didn’t work for the coyote that finally got them all. Ours would eat out of our hands and they made a MESS when they decided that it would be cool to roost on my hubby’s Harley. :shrug:

They were a lot of fun and the eggs were the best I’ve ever had. The only problem we had with them was they were more difficult to peel after hard boiling.

Steph

OH-- and if you have a garden, protect it from the chickens. I know from experience that they LOVE tomatoes. :blush:


#11

My fil has a huge garden and he sectioned it off into two areas with the chicken coop in the middle of it. He rotated the chickens each season. On one side would be the garden and the other side would have the chickens and the next season he would switch sides. It was a great way to fertilize the garden. :thumbsup: The coons where the ones getting all of his chickens. There was a family of them nearby. :frowning:


#12

Chickens are so much fun! :D I had them growing up, and I loved them. Sounds like you have the perfect little starter flock, and a very nice coop for them! The Rhodies were some of my favorites. :P Silkies are awesome if you ever get the chance to get some! :thumbsup:


#13

our mobile coop, called a chicken tractor, looks just like this with wheels. my husband and teen son made it: auroramountain.yukonfood.com/images/tractor32.jpg

i live on the main street of a small town. we have only 2 buffs right now, got them as teens this summer. those knucklehead STARTED laying in december and are still laying every day right dow. no lights, no nuthin'. laying in the darkest days of they year.

great eggs.

i've had a lot more chickens in the past and they've been eaten by everything from raccoons to dogs to possums. you know it was a possum that got your chickens if a tunnel was eaten right through their bodies. one morning a few years ago, i came out to see 5 chickens tipped over and scattered about my yard. on closer inspection, they had no heads, all were just a tunnel of feathers and feet.

possums. i hate those things. they peeled the loose fencing off the roof of the chicken yard. that was long before we made the tractor.

raccoons just make a huge mess.

our chicken tractor is built a lot tigher than our old chicken yard was.

i love having chickens.

once we had some roosters but they started crowing in the daytime and waking up our neighbor who was a midnight fireman. he complained.

so we ate the roosters. or tried to. as young as they were, you could have made shoes with them they were so leathery tough.

i snipped their heads off with pruning shears.

chickens really do run around with their heads cut off. everywhere i tried to run away, each one of those roosters follwed me, headless, splurting blood all over the place.

i love having chickens.


#14

[quote="jjdrury81, post:1, topic:185741"]
Does anyone have any experience?

We just put on hold a Black Australorp, Buff Orpington and a Rhode Island Red.

We will be getting them on the 24th. Me and a buddy of mine are building a coop.

I will post pics of the chicks when we get them.

[/quote]

Don't mess around with chickens... get some ducks. We have 2 Peking ducks. They produce eggs about 1/2 of the year. The eggs are bigger and tastier.

Good luck with the project.


#15

When I used to have (and lived in) my net cafe, its backyard was my neighbor’s front yard and he always had his chickens walking around.

My only word of advice, make sure your chickens stay where they are: in the yard. I still remember the time I suddenly found one behind the counter. >_>;;


#16

Warning: I know absolutely nothing about chickens other than I have eaten them all my life. Why are only hens cooked? Or did I eat a rooster and not know it? Are roosters ever eaten? :shrug:

"Depending on where you get them you may not have a choice in getting the rooster. Many places will put the roosters in just to get rid of them."


#17

[quote="horselvr, post:16, topic:185741"]
Warning: I know absolutely nothing about chickens other than I have eaten them all my life. Why are only hens cooked? Or did I eat a rooster and not know it? Are roosters ever eaten? :shrug:

"Depending on where you get them you may not have a choice in getting the rooster. Many places will put the roosters in just to get rid of them."

[/quote]

Absolutely, roosters are cooked and eaten. I'll bet you have eaten a rooster and just never knew it.

What I was referring to was when you buy them for your coop, they are alive, btw. Most people don't want roosters or that many roosters. They want hens, for the eggs. So they (the seller) will put the roosters in with the hens to get rid of them. Most people buy their chicks young, roosters at that age tend to blend in with the hens. My fil used to get his chicks at auction and that's what they always did. If he didn't want a rooster at that time he would eat him for dinner that night.


#18

[quote="horselvr, post:16, topic:185741"]
... Why are only hens cooked? Or did I eat a rooster and not know it? Are roosters ever eaten? :shrug:

[/quote]

For 'meat breeds' of chickens, the hens and roosters are the same, and about 50% of the time when you are eating 'chicken' it is a rooster. They're all nice and fat.

For 'layer breeds', the roosters are less desirable, because (1) they don't lay, (2) if you eat them they are 'scrawnier' than meat breeds - sometimes hardly worth butchering (3) have more than 1 rooster around and they will fight constantly when mature, (4) neighbors often complain about the crowing, if they are too close. (5) they are often 'meaner' than the hens (our current rooster is 'abnormally' nice - which is really-really cool). Also, some folks are 'squeamish' about eating fertilized eggs - really no different unless you take them from underneath a setting hen after several days or leave in the nest on hot days for too long.:blush:


#19

What a fabulous idea! I may have to try that! Thank you!
Steph


#20

Stewed rooster is awesome. I even bought DW a feather plucker. We didn’t have predator problems until the subdivisions started going up around us and natural habitat was eliminated. We think a coyote got our female goose. Geese mate for life and the poor gander spends his days crying out for his mate.

Goose eggs and duck eggs are simply excellent for baking!

We looked at the chicken tractor idea and decided that with 150 chickens it was better to just let them roam the two acres.


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