Author Topic: Talk to Me About Chickens!  (Read 2453 times)

Offline wrancher

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2015, 01:23:55 PM »
They lay eggs no matter what without a rooster. A rooster fertilizes the egg to incubate and make baby chicks.  Normally in the spring like March or April you start baby chicks. If you can find some already grown up that would be good also. Fresh chicken manure needs to burn down a little bit or it will burn off your plants so putting in compost bin for a while. they arent real messy. You can do the layering thing and just keep piling on fresh straw or sawdust and then shoveling out later to keep smells down. When you shovel out it will be strong ammonia smell. You really could start at anytime. In winter you have to worry about keeping water open and eggs not froze

Offline greyhoundgirl

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2015, 02:04:20 PM »
We've decided to bite the bullet and get ourselves a few ladies for the backyard!  I Googled what kind of chickens would be best for our area based on climate/hardiness, how much they lay, etc., but I know the BEST advice will come from you wonderful ladies.  A few things that might help:

*Our temps range between 20's (Farenheit) to 90's usually
*We want chickens primarily for eggs and pets, not meat or breeding
*We are on just over an acre of land, but still in somewhat of a neighborhood, so nothing too loud or skittish
* We will be building their housing, so we can customize it fairly easily


My questions are:

*What breeds should we be looking for?
*How many should we get (hopefully 1-2 total eggs daily)?
*How much should we expect to pay?
*What do they eat (in addition to pecking around in the yard)?
*What kind of housing/warmth/cooling/setup will they need?
*What else should we consider before bringing them home?

Thank you so much for any advice you can offer!
M :)

So I am curious, did you ever get to do this, Mandy?  If you did, I have loads of questions.  There has been much talk around here lately about starting with our own chickens (for the eggs only.) We also think the chicken manure would make an awesome compost activator for greenhouse use. We have figured out where to put the chicken area.  An Amish family around here actually builds and sells the coops where you access the eggs from the back.  So, to save time, since we have so many other projects in the works, we are thinking of getting 2 of those and I am not 100% sure, but I think you can get the chickens from them also.  If we do decide to do this, we will probably just spend the summer and fall getting the area completely ready for use and then start...when?  When do you start something like this?  Like, what is the proper time of year? 
Also a question for any of you who have chickens?  What is the ummmm....yuck factor, with it all?  Like is it really a mess to keep it cleaned up?  I grew up a "farm girl," but we only had horses, crops and the occasional beef cow.  So, this is a new subject for me.  In fact, hubby and I were in a debate about whether or not you HAD to have a rooster? LOL ???

No need for a rooster at all unless you want to be able to raise future generations of chicks.  I have personally decided a rooster is more trouble than he's worth for our property with small kids still at home.  But if I were letting a flock free-range over a large field or pasture, I'd probably have one for safety of the flock.  We had a great (tame, kid-tolerating rooster) at first, but our next two were mean.

Yuck?  You do need to keep fresh straw or something in the nest boxes.  Sometimes they get a little poop on an egg.  We use the deep litter method and shovel out all the bedding 2 or 3 times a year to be composted, or if in winter, spread on some of our garden beds (several weeks before planting).  If I had the space to build a coop with a door on each of the four sides with seperate large runs on each side, I think that would be ideal.  They could graze the land a couple of days, move to the next run, and so on.  In our town situation we don't, so the run gets taken down to bare dirt.  It helps to put leaves, grass clippings, etc... in there now and then to help with odor and giving them something to do.

We just got five pullets again (approx. 11 weeks) about a month ago, after missing our flock which we gave away last fall (after 5.5 years of having chickens)...waiting impatiently for them to start laying here in the next few weeks.

Offline wrancher

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2015, 03:21:34 PM »
Catherine You might be waiting a while for your fresh eggs. It takes 20-25 weeks before they lay their 1st egg.  Isnt it amazing how fast they grow. Usual when kids start going back to school is when they lay.

Offline greyhoundgirl

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2015, 03:42:41 PM »
Catherine You might be waiting a while for your fresh eggs. It takes 20-25 weeks before they lay their 1st egg.  Isnt it amazing how fast they grow. Usual when kids start going back to school is when they lay.

These are probably about 16-17 weeks now, though we think the Sex-links are a little older.  Our previous Orps and Sex-links laid at about 20 weeks, so we're hoping for the same, though I guess you never know.

Offline MissMandy

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2015, 03:53:00 PM »
We didn't, but we haven't ruled it out for the future.  Technically we are zoned residential and aren't allowed chickens, though I believe that several people in the neighborhood have them.  I go back and forth all the time :)

I have been reading 'Little Farm in the Suburbs' lately, and the chapter on urban chickens does a good job of addressing chickens (i.e.: yuck factor :) ) honestly.

Mandy
Mandy, wife to Jean, furmama to Irish Wolfhound Grimmauld (Grimm), living in the mountains of Virginia.  Childless by circumstance and loving it! ♥

Offline greyhoundgirl

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2015, 06:19:06 PM »
We didn't, but we haven't ruled it out for the future.  Technically we are zoned residential and aren't allowed chickens, though I believe that several people in the neighborhood have them.  I go back and forth all the time :)

I have been reading 'Little Farm in the Suburbs' lately, and the chapter on urban chickens does a good job of addressing chickens (i.e.: yuck factor :) ) honestly.

Mandy

Oh, are you reading the  book?  I used to read the blog a couple years back and stumbled across it again last week.

Offline Rooney

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2015, 09:32:13 PM »
They lay eggs no matter what without a rooster. A rooster fertilizes the egg to incubate and make baby chicks. 

Ha! Finally!  Someone gives me the "birds and the bees" talk on chickens! lol :)

Hubby went up to the neighbors today to get a trailer load of composted dirt and they have lots of chickens....sooooo he asked the same stupid question as me about the rooster.......after comparing notes, we get it.lol :)  We have been talking about this off and on this evening and are thinking we may just go ahead and get started.  Oh my, another project!!!

What would be the best breed that you would recommend for my geographical area?

Offline greyhoundgirl

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2015, 06:29:54 AM »
I think you'd be fine with most standard breeds since you don't have extreme cold or heat (compared with NE or SW temps).  Buff Orpingtons tend to be sweet and tame and good with kids.  We've also success with Black Australorps, Black Sex-links (a cross between a Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red, I believe), Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks (also very tame, and so pretty!), Easter Eggers, and various Red Sex-links (ISAs, Cinnamon Queens, and other various names depending on the breeds crossed--ours were luck of the draw from the feed store so we didn't know specifically which they were), and Salmon Faverolles.  Leghorns tend to be more skittish but do lay very well.

Offline MissMandy

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Re: Talk to Me About Chickens!
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2015, 09:30:33 AM »

Oh, are you reading the  book?  I used to read the blog a couple years back and stumbled across it again last week.


I am!  I picked it up a while back at our local book fair for just a few bucks, but just started reading it.  I love how down-to-earth they speak about everything.  I don't feel so dumb :)

Mandy
Mandy, wife to Jean, furmama to Irish Wolfhound Grimmauld (Grimm), living in the mountains of Virginia.  Childless by circumstance and loving it! ♥