Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,097 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm starting to think about chickens as the next learning experience. Probably do it like I've done bees; a couple years of research and mentoring, then start small. Likely try layers first (wife wants to name them, so no fryers :rolleyes:). They'd be for household consumption and not for selling, unless it ends up heading that way once we're into it with some seasons' experience.

We have a smallish, quarter-acre yard in a smallish, poultry-friendly town. There are about five yards in as many blocks' radius with poultry, and one of my outyard's hosts is a chickenkeeper who sells eggs locally. He's way into learning about bees, so I can swap mentoring with him I'm sure.

But anyways, can anyone recommend a good resource for starting my learning process? My bee library of something over 15 titles are all dog-eared, so I love the learning and prep part. Any good titles or other resources for a hobbyist/backyard aspiring chickengeek to explore?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,391 Posts
My wife runs a roadside stand that sells eggs...That pretty much means that I spend lots of time tending chickens. Funny how that works.
I can't really recommend any resources since I don't really remember a time when I didn't know something that I needed to know. but if you find yourself in need of advice, PM me and I'll tell you everything I can. I can even ship you some hatching eggs if you want to try hatching some nice blue hens.
It's easier to get started in spring, so you've got time to ponder.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,097 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'm actually looking at starting in spring 2010; next year will be the year of the serious garden development (after dabbling for years). So kinda hoping to tag along with mentors for next season. But I'd love advice on breeds, coop considerations/options, management, how much time it takes, and how much they like culled drone brood. Well I think I probably know that last one ;).

Can they have free range in a vegetable garden, or will they root up/eat/damage seedlings/adult plants?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
Just do it. Build a small coop. Either buy from local feed store or in mail. You should be able to sell extra as they get older. I only deal with Murray McMurray. For eggs the cost for all females is worth it. WHite rock #1 brown egg layer. Need a light in winter for 14-15 hours to have eggs.

No used birds unless you know and trust the people.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,097 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
For eggs the cost for all females is worth it. WHite rock #1 brown egg layer.
Pardon the noob question, but meaning: get sexed chicks unless you want to eat the half that will prove to be roosters, and White (Plymouth) Rock the breed?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
376 Posts
Can they have free range in a vegetable garden, or will they root up/eat/damage seedlings/adult plants?



sure they can if you do NOT wish to have one tomorrow.

My wife has bannies the ****s fight like crazy, then she gets after them with a garden hose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,461 Posts
OK, chickens are a blast.

I like the Rhode Island Reds. The best layers are often called production reds. They lay well and are fairly tough. Black Australorps are my favorites because they are decent layers and are stunningly beautiful (for a chicken).

California whites are a cross that makes a good white egg layer but calmer than some of the Leghorns.

You might want to consider sex linked breeds. Sex links have a physical trait, usually color, that is linked to their sex so they can be easily sexed at hatching. If you don't get sex linked birds, you have to expect a rooster or two to slip through even if you buy all pullets. I'm not a huge fan of butchering. To me, it's a real chore that I would rather avoid. But, I do it when I must. Getting sex links minimizes that. Black sex links, red sex links, and others are available.

Before you get chicks, make sure you have all the equipment you need and a proper place to brood them. Chicks can be very fragile if you don't treat them right. If you have the right setup, you can bring almost every one of them to maturity.

There's a decent chicken chart here:
http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,097 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
sure they can if you do NOT wish to have one tomorrow.

My wife has bannies the ****s fight like crazy, then she gets after them with a garden hose.
Bummer. Would hens be the same, or might they be "respectful" garden users and bug eaters?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,695 Posts
I raised and fought chickens for 24 years, then became a beekeeper, beekeeping is much much cheaper and a lot less time consuming, chicken fighting was legal in some states until the last 10 years then they started dropping like flies, now no state is legal, I was born and raised in Louisiana and it was a legal state, I was brought up doing it, I dont even care about yard birds now, wish you luck with your chickens, heres a few hints, only have 1-2 roosters and expect a few fights then it should settle down (unless you get game birds ;) ) EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD EATS CHICKENS, all during the day and mostly at night, have a good coop to roost them in and a good pen to keep them in during the day with top wire. well thats a few important one's , you will find plenty more. promise you that but it aint hard!!! aw and chicken will eat fine in a garden, you might not when they finished :) , for some nice birds of any kind look here below, now I might get a few eastern turkeys or one of their quail types but thats it.

http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/category/turkeys_ducks_geese_game_birds_guineas_peafowl.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Chickens are fun, the eggs are much, much better than store-bought, and they'll eat pretty much anything you throw at them. You'll never feel guilty about throwing away food again; just give it to the "working girls."

Chickens are also really, really easy. Some shelter, some safe area to spend their day, and some roosting bars (I use old shovel handles, 2x2 scraps, anything that gets them off the ground for the night).

Around here I have to close up the roosting coop at night, or the raccoons will climb into the pen and get 'em. I don't cover the yard they're in, but I don't let the chicks run around in that yard until they're big enough to discourage the hawks.

there are plenty of books on raising the chicks, but it's all common sense: keep 'em warm (I use a 75w light bulb in a "mini-shed" that I insulated); fed, lots of water, and clean up their mess (they poop a lot!). They grow so fast that by the time you get the routine down, they're already chickens.

You'll have eggs in around 5-6 months, depending on breed. I've tried many breeds; I like the Auracana for hardiness and the cool green and/or turquoise eggs, but all the other suggestions here are excellent as well.

finally, your question about the garden: When I uproot my played-out tomato plants at the end of the seaon, I throw the whole plant into the chicken yard. They strip it like pirahnas. Same with chard, cilantro, grapes, etc. 'nuff said.:)

Feel free to pm me as well if you have any questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,657 Posts
here chick chick chick

So kinda hoping to tag along with mentors for next season. But I'd love advice on breeds, coop considerations/options, management, how much time it takes, and how much they like culled drone brood. Well I think I probably know that last one ;).

Can they have free range in a vegetable garden, or will they root up/eat/damage seedlings/adult plants?
Chickens love gardens as much as you. They love tomatoes, bean blossoms, corn seedlings, etc. You can allow a few very small chicks to run in your garden if you keep the old mother hen penned so she can't run with the chicks. They will decimate the potato bug & bean beetle populations. When they get older they will also decimate the garden.

Read my PM about time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,642 Posts
I used to raise some chickens back in the late 80's early 90's, it was a blast. I raised Partridge Rocks and Black Auranana's, and White Cornish. I kept a pair of geese in the yard to fend off all the cats and other critters, they are great.

I kept the chickens out of the garden until it was all harvested, then I let the chickens into the garden over winter. They tilled it all up and had it fertalized as well by planting time in spring! Best of luck to ya in your new adventure!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,657 Posts
chicken litter in the garden.

I kept the chickens out of the garden until it was all harvested, then I let the chickens into the garden over winter. They tilled it all up and had it fertalized as well by planting time in spring! Best of luck to ya in your new adventure!
All a chicken eats is processed through its gizzard. Here it all recieves a grinding not even the most modern food processor can acheive. Don't lissen to the people who say chicken manuer has weed seeds in it, chicken manuer just makes the weed seeds you allready have grow like they are on steroids.
Does the same for your garden too.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
254 Posts
We have Rhode Island Reds and Americanas and have had Dominiques and Pearl White Leghorns in the past. The Americanas lay blue/green eggs, but are not as prolific layers as Dominiques and Rhode Island Reds are. Also Dominiques and Rhode Island Reds are very curious and very friendly chickens. If you spend time with them when they are young, they will get to know you and follow you and allow you to pet them and pick them up. The Leghorns and Americanas are much more skittish.

If you get the chance, read the book, "Chicken Tractor." We keep our chickens in a chicken tractor until they lay (usually by lunch time) and then open the tractor to let them freely run, scratch and dust themselves in a two acre pasture. At dusk, they go back to the tractor on their own and we close them up until they lay eggs the next day. They are very entertaining and yes, their eggs are much better than those you can buy in the grocery store.
Susan
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,315 Posts
From McMurray Hatchery:

"We think our Cornish X Rock chicks are among the finest meat birds in America. We should know. We fill our family freezers with them every year! Males will dress from 3 to 4 pounds in six to eight weeks and females will take about one and one-half weeks longer to reach the same size. Please Note: These birds are not recommended for raising at altitudes above 5000 feet."


Why would certain breeds of chickens not do well above 5,000 feet?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,391 Posts
Cornish x Rocks

They also die in mass if the temperature gets over ninety degrees or fluctuates more than twenty five degrees in a twenty four hour period.
The fast...I mean FAST growth causes a tremendous strain on their heart and lungs. Mcmurreys are the fastest growing that I've found. Freakish is the best description.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,315 Posts
Ascites.


MM
They also die in mass if the temperature gets over ninety degrees or fluctuates more than twenty five degrees in a twenty four hour period.
The fast...I mean FAST growth causes a tremendous strain on their heart and lungs. Mcmurreys are the fastest growing that I've found. Freakish is the best description.


Thanks guys. I get the McMurrey catalog, but I've never had chickens. I'm at 5,300 ft. with temps over 90 most of the summer, and variations of 25 degrees or more from the low to the high nearly every day of the year. Lots of people keep chickens here, but I really don't know how well they do with them.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top