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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Hey you chicken people.

    This spring I got a new batch of chicks to replace the ones that were eaten by the varmints.

    There were a number of different varieties in the batch, but one that I had never tried before were these Hardy Concords. I got them from the Decorah Hatchery. They are shaping up to be really nice birds and I was wondering if anyone here has ever heard of them before.

    I can't find any info on the net about them other than from the hatchery where I bought them and they don't say much.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  2. #2
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I've had about a hundred different kinds before and never heard of them. What do they look like? What color eggs do they lay? Are the hens heavy or light?

    My hardiest seem to be the auracanas (sp?). They seem to survive the coyotes and skunks and opposums while everything else gets eaten.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    North Georgia mountains
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    Someone inform me on free range chickens. How much space...housing...expense...fencing/penning considerations...economic viability.

    The goat thing is turning out to be one of the smartest things I have done. Milk production is not even close to what it should be, but the market for dairy goat products is beyond belief around here...I could EASILY move 30-40 gallons of milk/milk products (cheese especially) a DAY if I had enough production. Herd increase is a paramount priority. Would chickens for eggs/meat be as good an addition?

    BubbaBob

  4. #4
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    Jul 2004
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    These birds are only about 17 weeks so far so it's hard to say exactly what size they will be, but the hatchery says about 6 pounds.

    The color is a bit lighter than a Rhode Island Red, but with white feathers on the bottom.

    They look like they are going to have a relatively small comb, which should be good for winter. I've got a bunch of California Whites that are great layers, but they really suffer in the winter unless I add some heat to the coop on the really cold nights.

    They've only just started laying a few eggs, but they are a dark brown. Much darker than the other brown layers we have.

    I was just hoping someone might have had some experience with them

    I'm down to only a couple easter eggers. For me, the critters eat them as much as any other kind.

    My favorites are the black australorps just because I like the color. They kind of glow green in the sun.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
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    <<Someone inform me on free range chickens. How much space...housing...expense...fencing/penning considerations...economic viability.>>

    Free range means no fencing/penning.
    Enough space to keep your neighbors from complaining.
    housing is an old shack or the nearest Cedar tree.
    Fighting type games are best survivors.
    Expense and economics, I have no idea.
    Food is table scraps, a hand full of scratch grain, and bugs, spiders, insects, and anything else they can kill and eat, mice included.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2004
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    If you have the right market, free range, organic eggs are worth a bundle. If you don't have the right market, they're worth about 2% over the cost of production.

    It takes a pretty hefty investment to produce enough eggs to make any real money. I do it just because I like chickens, not because I'm going to get rich.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Oceano, California, USA
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    467

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    Easter eggers? Araucanas? If that's what you mean, you're right. I guess they haven't been bred enough to be either efficient egg or meat producers, but they're hardy and the eggs are supposedly less in cholesterol. And pretty!

    The key with free range chickens is the lovely yellow yokes that you get in the eggs plus the great flavor. You have to get a following somehow, like at a Farmer's Market. One thing I miss about running a large farm is fresh, young free range turkeys and free range chicken eggs. I've mentioned before that my kids grew up on goat's milk, but also fresh range fed meat and eggs. They grew up sturdy, but it doesn't help when you say they have to be in at 8:00 and they come home at 9:00......I actually had to lift up my hand to my 17 year old son last month. Fortunately he's fairly well disciplined and just sat there, since he is quite sturdy and didn't have to just sit there.....

    But I know none of the rest of you have that problem.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Lots of definitions on free range. But basicly it is a bird that is allowed to enter and leave the coop at will, and has a large area for pasture, it can have a fence, or not, whatever you want. If you are able to move lots of goats milk then you would proably be able to move lots of eggs too. If you have any kind of winter, you will have to have something to house them in, they require about 1.5 feet of room per bird. Your houseing should be preditor proof, and even in the summer you need to have housing of some type that is preditor proof, or you won't have too many birds left. I would not count on chickens being able to roost high enough to survive a coon, as coon are very good climbers.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    Hillside:

    Haven't heard of hardy concords before. We have RIRs and Barred Rocks. We hatched a large number of birds this spring and got a few out of the Purebred Barred Rocks (supposed to be) that are pure black in color with a greenish sheen to them. The funny thing with these birds is they are ALL hens. Not one rooster in the bunch, ever.

    We also raise Burbon Red and Blue Slate turkeys. I like the turkeys better than the chickens. We have no market for eggs here. There isn't enough traffic here to sell anything, plus were surrounded with Amish, which under sell everyone, on everything.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  10. #10
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    Jan 2005
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    North Georgia mountains
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    So much to learn...so little time to learn in...

    BubbaBob

  11. #11
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    Jul 2004
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    Inver Grove, MN
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    peggjam,

    Do the Amish in your area also produce honey? I know there is at least one Amish honey producer in SE Minnesota, but I think he's a pretty small operator.

    I always heard that you couldn't raise turkeys and chickens together. Something about a disease that one carries but is fatal to the other.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    Yes the Amish make honey, usually only have 10 or so hives. They also make maple syrup, sell eggs, and garden produce, at very low prices.

    You can raise turkeys and chickens together, but you shouldn't. There's this nasty little bug called Black Head diesease that chickens carry, it doesn't affect the chicken, but will kill the turkey. So far I haven't had any problems running them together, but I don't plan on leaving them together for much longer. We have a room problem, which made it nessacary, for now.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Hiram, Northeast Ohio
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    Bubba, chickens are about as easy as anything, and if you have farmers markets around you that you are already going to, the free-range eggs can do very well, upwards of $2.50 a doz. some places. Feed to produce those eggs is about 35 cents a doz in the summer and 60 in the winter. Meat chickens are more dependent on feed...I didn't go that route for that reason.

    The thing with chickens is just keeping them alive and with a source of unfrozen water in the winter. They are the universal prey. So that might mean shutting them up every night in a secure coop, which is a bit of a pain.

    I like MB's method of just 'letting it work'...chickens will find their own roosts at night with a chicken's-eye view towards security, plus they tend to scatter so even when a coon does come he might only find one and might not even get it. But if you don't coop them up at night they won't neccessarily all lay where you want them to.

    Plus chickens are just tools of the liberal media.
    It\'s people! Soylent Green is peeeeople!

  14. #14
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >But if you don't coop them up at night they won't neccessarily all lay where you want them to.

    That's the truth. They keep starting new nests all the time. As soon as the figure out I found their old one. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I could actually not feed mine at all except when the snow is on the ground because they eat bugs and weeds from spring to fall and glean corn and soybeans from the fields around the house when the ground is exposed. Of course when the snow is on the ground they have nothing except what you feed them.

    But feeding them tends to keep them around. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    Water they need all the time and in the winter you either have to put hot water in their water to thaw it or buy a chicken waterer and the heater to go with it. I love the heater. [img]smile.gif[/img] I used to have to take them water twice a day all winter (at least when there wasn't snow on the ground) before I got it. They are smart enough to eat snow for water if it's available.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Sep 2005
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    Georgia
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    OK...lets talk infrastructure...land, fencing, protection, time...etc. How expensive to start, to maintain, and payback. As a starting point, free range eggs around here bring 3-3.50 a doz, but I have no idea how many doz/week I could move.


    BubbaBob

  16. #16
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Hmmm. I have no fencing. There is a hen house here that they have access to and refuse to live in. They roost in the trees. They eat bugs and weeds. I hardly have to feed them at all in the summer. I have to feed them a bit in the winter but it doesn't amount to much as long as the ground is clear. Not much overhead.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
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    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    If you have lots of room to let them run, fencing isn't really required. If you want to let them run and collect the eggs here is a simple trick that will work most of the time. Chickens will lay in the same nest until it is distrubed, or someone takes ALL the eggs. If you find a nest and collect all but one of the eggs, which you mark,(so you know which one the old one is) they will continue to use the nest. You just can't take all the eggs, or they will find a new nest to lay in. I highly recommand you build a secure coop to lock them in every night. Granted a coon may only take one chicken a night, but they will do so every night until you have no more chickens. If they get the chance, they will kill as many as they can reach, and do so night after night. Also, chickens don't really care what they roost on, if it looks good they will roost, even if it's only a foot or so off the ground. They will also choose a fence over a tree almost every time, and that's easy for a coon to climb if it's made of poultry wire. I feed only a little feed in the summer, because I don't have a ready market for the eggs, production is not a factor that I consider.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  18. #18
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    Jul 2004
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    Inver Grove, MN
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    I let my hens out in the wide open spaces for much of the day and then lock them up at night. I've found that if they have some laying boxes that they like and that they have become accustomed to, they will usually run in there to lay their eggs even if they are fifty yards away when the urge strikes.

    My nest boxes are made of wood -- I think metal can be too uncomfortable at times. They are one foot cubes with plenty of straw in them. And now the secret; they have the entrance reduced to a small opening. They like privacy when they lay.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  19. #19
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    When I COULD keep them in the coop, I had a community nest. A chest, basically, about two feet by one foot by three feet or so, with a hole big enough for them to get in and some straw in the bottom. Several hens make several nests inside the box.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
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    Most of my birds return to the coop to roost, there are only 4 that prefer to roost outside, so it's just a matter of remembering to close the door everynight.

    peggjam
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

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