what is involved with raising chickens?
are they messy?
what type of housing is required?
what do you feed them how often?
what is required for cold snowy winter?
I haven't kept chickens in years, so will leave the other points to those that are...
But you might have read about natural predators in other threads here. So I strongly recommend that you take a step toward preventing an unpleasant run-in from the start. Some predators you'll want to consider as you might be trying to co-exist with them are: hawks, foxes, racoons, and the like.
>>are they messy?<<
well, that depends on what you compare them to but the general concisis is that yes they are messy the poop about every fifteen minutes and they don't care what is under them.
Mine are housed in a shed like coop with a roost and some nest boxes, pretty basic. They have a fenced yard. They can go out of the coop and into the yard at any time in the summer, but if it is real cold in the winter I lock them in. And I keep a light or two on in the shed in the winter just to cut the chill and I have a heated water bucket.
The feed mill I buy food from makes mixes for each stage of a chickens life, medicated grower, grower, finisher, egglayer, ect. It depends how old or what kind of chicken you have on what to feed em. I like to keep food in front of my egg layers all the time, if I have cornish crosses I feed them twice a day. Water all the time.
I like to give them treats like grass, tomatoes ect in the summer, too.
I'd love to let them rome free, but I just can't do that here.
Mine roam free and I can't get them to stay in the chicken house. But I'd say you need a shelter for them, they need constant liquid water, so you need to either haul hot water out to thaw their water supply when it's freezing or buy a heater. You have to feed them everyday or set up a feeder that is out of the weather that holds a lot of food.
I feed mine scratch. More in the winter than the summer. They eat a lot of bugs and grass and weeds from spring to fall.
Chicks require a lot of care, but chickens take care of themselves pretty well.
Chickens are way fun. They come up to the house and clean up the seed under the bird feeder. They chase the cat. The dog loves them -- not all dogs do. They come when you cluck at them.
Some breeds are calmer than others. I like Black Australorps. Big enough that hawks don't bother them, but also big enough to eat if YOU want to, friendly, good layers -- beautiful black with a green sheen.
This isn't a good time of year to start. Get chicks in the spring. Do a little reading first. They're really quite easy if you follow some basic details.
i cant believe i am even thinking about chickens but i have 11 acres (about half is wet lands) which is ALOT of land up in my area and i figured between my new hobby of keeping bees and maybe chickens i can stay occupied.
my auntie raised chickens to eat sometime back.
my only concern is that i have coyotes in my woods but figured a coop will keep them at bay. my other concern is that i plan on getting a puppy next spring ( german short haired pointer) i dont think it will be an issue in that she will be growing up with the chicks.
if you let them run loose does their poop go everywhere and stay around?
** Have you seen BeeBlogs.com ?
Michael Bush got me interested in them afew years back on this site hehe,I got on the net & ordered some from Ideal Poultry out of Texas.(Road Island red's & Barred Rock)I've enjoyed them more than I thought I would,they ain't nothing but pet's(even named them hehe),have raised alot of them but the critters is wiping me out I let them free roam,I got me a Lab Puppy hoping he will watch over them when he gets a little older.As you stated I don't think it will be an issue being that it's raised with them,Just start her off when you first get the puppy not to mess with the chicken's.I've seen mine eat with the chickens.now if I can just get rid of the critter's.>>>>Mark
>my only concern is that i have coyotes in my woods but figured a coop will keep them at bay.
The only problem is you then have to close them up every night. I have a coop and didn't and the coyotes wiped out the chickens that lived in the coop. The ones that survived live in the trees.
>my other concern is that i plan on getting a puppy next spring ( german short haired pointer) i dont think it will be an issue in that she will be growing up with the chicks.
As long as you're around to teach her to leave them alone, or at least she has no access to kill them unless you ARE around to teach her to leave them alone. I haven't had a problem teaching the dog to protect the chickens, not eat them, but it is the dog's instincts to eat them.
>if you let them run loose does their poop go everywhere
>and stay around?
No more than anything else. The rain will wash it away eventually. It lasts less long than the dog's manure will.
>Michael Bush got me interested in them a few years back on this site hehe...now if I can just get rid of the critter's.
I eat them when there is a surplus, but now that you named them...
Chickens are great but you should know from the start that nature considers them disposable. Everything wants to eat them, so don't get too attached. If you have a lot of coons around you will be in a perpetual state of war- though they only strike at night.
In NH they will need some sort of coop, although it doesn't have to be heated. It just shouldn't be too drafty.
Feed mixes will cost about $14 per 40lbs. If you can let them roam in the summer, that feed will go a long way as they get insects, worms, grass, etc. for themselves. The feed you just put in dispenser type feeder so there is practically no work there. The only real work to it is keeping fresh liquid water available in the winter. Also they don't lay much in the winter unless you give them supplemental light.
GEEZ your feed is expensive. I think I pay half that for 50lbs here in Missouri. And I'm with MB my chickens were all getting killed in the coop. I finally gave up on the one that kept getting out of the coop and it has survived since spring. It's stays up in the trees once it gets near sunset.
>I eat them when there is a surplus, but now that you named them...
When I was raising a lot of game birds I had a turkey I named. It was the only bird other than the parrots that I named, I called him Thanksgiving Tom. Time went by and his name changed to Christmas Tom. Just after Christmas we thought about changing his name to New Years Tom, but setteled for Lucky Tom. New Years we called him GOOD!
mark can you order chicks over the internet?
do you have a web address?
haha BULLSEYE very funny
i dont know about having them as a pet but i am thinking about getting a few for the kids to teach them about responsiblities. Maybe also get some eggs out of the deal.
** Have you seen BeeBlogs.com ?
here is one address - I have ordered from them before and they do good. I lost one order in mailing (Post Office is as bad with chicks as they are with bees) and they reshipped a replacement the same week.
This link is for a specific set of chicks but you can get to other selections. http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/prod...ow_layers.html
You will most likely not be able to order until late Feb. or early March.
If you have Coyotes you need to fence them in. If you have coons or weasels you have to have the top of the fence enclosed as well as bury the bottom of your fence 12" deep at least. They will dig under it. If you leave any opening at all it is just a matter of time before some predator exploits it. I enclosed all of my coop and pen in chicken wire. Then chickens started dissapearing one by one. I had all giant breeds and they where big birds. No sign was left , no tracks no feathers no blood trail. I was down 30 birds before I spotted the culprit. A male an female Bobcat. They would leap 8' over the fence and land on top of the coop. Slide down under the chicken wire on the roof of the coop. Reach in and snag a roosting bird and off to feed their cubs. They ended up getting all 36 birds that year. I gave up on chickens as it drew too many predators to the place and the kids cats where getting eaten as weel. I have not lost a cat since I quit. fun hobby however.
Wow! I've lost a lot of chickens over the past year. I hope it's not a wild cat. I tend to think its either the coyotes or a feral cat.
I had a lot of large chickens (Cochins, Langshans, Brahmas etc.). Only the Araucanas survived.
I had Arucanas as my first flock. I got them fully grown. The rooster was the most awesome bird i have ever known, not sure if he was 100% Arucana however. He was a good 30" tall and had a blond mane. We called him Edgar after Edgar Winter. We used to let them free range. He ruled his hens with an iron fist and no one but me dared get near them or he would peck and spur. I thumped him in the head a few times and he decided I was a bigger rooster . Anyhow the coyotes moved in one day and started nailing his hens. Ed jumped on the back of a coyote and rode him accross the yard into the pasture until another coyote jumped him. that was the end of Ed. i still miss him and it was 10 yeaers ago. I admire an animal with spirit.
I've seen one of my roosters corner a possum before, but never saw one take on a coyote. That's spunk!
that is amazing in that they ship chicks using postal mail too! i will give a rainbow selection a try when i get home.
lots to do now a chicken coup in addition to a bunch of bee hives.
thanks everybody for all the posts. this board is to cool
** Have you seen BeeBlogs.com ?
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I gave up on chickens as it drew too many predators to the place and the kids cats where getting eaten as weel. I have not lost a cat since I quit.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hmmm. Wonder where I could order a bobcat....