or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Gardening › Do you raise chickens?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Do you raise chickens? - Page 2

post #21 of 42
Chicks-dust complaint.
I have read a lot of BYC posts about regretting a brooder in the living room and so on.

I don't know what kind of dust the chicks give off as they grow,but I thought the dust from the pine shaving was worse.Just something to keep in mind as you try to decide where the brooder will go.I will do the laundry room again,and just cover my expensive washer!

My red sex-link hens are still chugging along in this cold,and giving me 2-3 eggs per day(out of 3 hens).
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post
Chicks-dust complaint.
I have read a lot of BYC posts about regretting a brooder in the living room and so on.

I don't know what kind of dust the chicks give off as they grow,but I thought the dust from the pine shaving was worse.Just something to keep in mind as you try to decide where the brooder will go.I will do the laundry room again,and just cover my expensive washer!

My red sex-link hens are still chugging along in this cold,and giving me 2-3 eggs per day(out of 3 hens).
I have tried it two ways. The first time I tried low dust pine shavings, the kind from Tractor Supply. There was a ton of thick dust. The second time I brooded chicks I used paper towels at first, and then once they grew a bit stronger I lined the brooder with non-stick shelf liner. The kind that's squishy and has tiny holes in it. That worked really well, but the dust was still ungodly horrible. I should have taken a picture, but it was too embarrassing! It was literally two inches deep on every surface. The dust doesn't smell or anything, it's just...dusty.

If you don't have anything important in the room, then it should be fine. Just be prepared to vacuum and dust and mop and vacuum and mop again....

We had a couch in the room the first time I brooded chicks, an old one, that was so dusty we ended up throwing it away. I vacuumed it and scrubbed it, and every time we sat down on it chicken dust would fly out. Gross!

The dust is from the chickens themselves. Their feather shafts produce dust as the feathers grow! It's like how dust in our homes is made of human dander, but chicks have a lot more down and such. Plus the chicken dust also has bits of dried bird poo that gets ground up, and ground feed, and bits from the shavings if you use them.
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by atobols View Post
I have a dream of having chickens one day. It will probably never happen because I like to vacation too much, but it's still something I would like to do. How long can you leave your chickens alone?
i think that really depends on how you keep them, and what kind of predators you've got around. we can leave ours overnight, probably could for 2 nights in the summer with sufficient water and food out for them. but we worry about predators so we have a door to their coop that we have to shut/lock each night to be sure nothing gets at them. we have gone camping overnight and left it open and they've been fine... but with predators a-plenty it's definitely a gamble. it'd be easy enough for one of them to dig under our enclosed run on the chicken tractor and get at them if the door wasn't closed.

chickens are probably easier than dogs when it comes to asking someone to "watch" them for you while you're away. if you have large feeders and you don't do anything fancy, you probably would just need someone to make sure they had plenty of food and water and to collect eggs - once a day would be sufficient if they weren't depending on someone to open and close the door for them in the morning and night, and depending on weather it could even be less (you don't want your eggs to freeze or be in really hot temps, but in the spring or fall it wouldn't be a big deal particularly if the eggs sat for a couple of days - we keep ours on the counter at room temp). they put themselves to bed each night, so it's not like you'd need someone to go chasing them around to put them in or anything. mostly just to collect eggs and make sure they have fresh water, and fill up the feeders as-needed.
post #24 of 42
When we go out of town we just have a friend stop by every other day for our chickens. It's easy to find a chicken-sitter, just tell them they can keep all the eggs the gals lay while you're gone. Everyone loves those tasty fresh homegrown eggs!
post #25 of 42
subbing to read later. I would to have chickens!
post #26 of 42
We have 8 laying hens. We started in the spring with 2 each of 5 breeds; Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Ameraucanas, buff orpingtons, and black sex links. One of my rocks turned out to be a rooster, so we gave him to a local family that breeds them. Then one of my black sex links never came back home one evening... still don't know for sure what happened to her?
Anyway, the remaining 8 lay consistently; we are still getting 4-6 eggs/day with no supplemental lighting.
We started our chicks in March in our living room. I used a big rubbermaid container and a heat lamp rigged above; lined with newspaper and cleaned that thing every day till they were old enough to move outside... I never had any problem with dust...?
When it got warm enough to move them out, we built a coop/run up on legs that reminded me of a rabbit hutch. We spent about $20 on it, using mostly scrap wood from old pallets and buying only wire mesh for the run. When the hens outgrew that, we really lucked up. The neighbors had a large pile of old fencing material and a half-falling dog run which we asked to buy from him. Since he was fixing up his house to sell, he told us to take all the fencing for $20! We spent another $40 on gate hardware (it was missing) and corrugated fiber roofing... We put chainlink fence up as the run and used a couple sections of privacy fencing to build a hen house. We cut a hole in the side for the chickens to go in and out and put a fullsized door for us to go in and out. There's a nestbox (all 8 hens use the one box) and two roosts inside. At night, the hens stay snug in their house, during the day, they flap over the fence and roam around our yard and into the fields behind our house.
Having chickens has been a lot of fun for us and our kids; they love to go out and gather the eggs every day and take the "girls" their favorite foods--they love lettuce, spinach, pretty much any veg...
post #27 of 42
Does anyone make their own feed? Just curious if it would be worth the time and energy...
post #28 of 42
I don't do home made chicken feed....yet.I give them purina crumbles or pellets,some chicken scratch mix,flax seeds,and crushed oyster shells.

I am trying to raise some mealworms for them,and sometimes I cook them some eggs and/or oatmeal.They like cottage cheese too.I add some kefir to that.In the fall it was a race to see which one of us could get to the garden worms faster.I needed some for our frogs.They usaully ate them before I could pick any up!

I know some on BYC do their own mix,or they buy from farmers who make huge amounts of organic mix to sell.

I am going to ask my mom what they did back in the small village she came from in Hungary.I know there was no such thing as pet food,and I bet there was no bags of chicken feed sold either.

If I run out I feed them whatever I have on hand till I get my store feed.They waste A LOT of the feed if you don't have a good feeder they can't tip over or knock everything out of it.I just have bowls that get tipped.Probably going to make a bucket feeder this spring.
post #29 of 42
Where do you all order chicks from? I've looked at a couple hatcheries online, and they all seem to have a 25-chick minimum order. Just curious if anyone ships less than that, or if I need to find some people to go in on an order.
post #30 of 42
I didn't raise chicks, I got all of mine as pullets. I got to skip the brooder and chick-feed hassle and expenses and go straight to the good part (eggs and pest control)!

If you're looking for chicks, see if there's a farm store, garden store, or hardware store in your area selling chicks. Many of them do have them in season (this won't start up until the end of February at the absolute earliest; you may have to wait until March or April).

As for homemade feed, we feed ours a local feed with no corn or soy in it, and give them a handful of corn-based scratch every day. We also give them most of our kitchen scraps - vegetable trimmings and peels, old fruit gone soft, apple cores, eggshells, leftover eggs, basically anything we don't want to eat except avocado (it's poisonous to them), chicken meat (for obvious reasons), or garlic and onions (they don't like it and it would make the eggs taste bad). We just throw it all into a bowl over the course of the day and in the morning I throw it into the food processor to make a big meal out of it; then we dump it in a little feeder we made by cutting off the bottom of a kitty-litter container and punching hooks into it. (Their regular feed is in a bucket feeder.)
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelilah View Post
I didn't raise chicks, I got all of mine as pullets. I got to skip the brooder and chick-feed hassle and expenses and go straight to the good part (eggs and pest control)!

If you're looking for chicks, see if there's a farm store, garden store, or hardware store in your area selling chicks. Many of them do have them in season (this won't start up until the end of February at the absolute earliest; you may have to wait until March or April).

As for homemade feed, we feed ours a local feed with no corn or soy in it, and give them a handful of corn-based scratch every day. We also give them most of our kitchen scraps - vegetable trimmings and peels, old fruit gone soft, apple cores, eggshells, leftover eggs, basically anything we don't want to eat except avocado (it's poisonous to them), chicken meat (for obvious reasons), or garlic and onions (they don't like it and it would make the eggs taste bad). We just throw it all into a bowl over the course of the day and in the morning I throw it into the food processor to make a big meal out of it; then we dump it in a little feeder we made by cutting off the bottom of a kitty-litter container and punching hooks into it. (Their regular feed is in a bucket feeder.)
Wow- good to know! Do you have to process up all the scraps before you give them, or can you give chunks of produce (like the ends I trim off broccoli, etc.)?

I'm pretty excited that I just found a local feed company that has a corn/soy-free feed, so I might look into that instead of making my own.

The reason I'm looking at getting chicks (there are tons of pullets around here on Craigslist) is that I want to make sure that I'm getting birds with NO abx or vaccines in them. Plus, the little chics are so cute, and I think it would be a cool experience for DD to watch them grow.
post #32 of 42
Serial posting.... I have another question:

I'm trying to work out logistics of where the coop will be. We have a covered back porch that has huge built-in closets that would work perfect- I could just cut out a small door and attach a run to the outside of it for the chickens to get in and out (and there's a fullsize door on the inside for me to get in.) The issue is that there are rooms on either side of the porch (think U-shaped house, porch in the middle of the U.) Do you think that would just amplify the noise and drive me (and my neighbors) insane? Or make it worse for me, but better for the neighbors? Do chickens usually get quiet once the sun goes down, or are they noisy all night?

TIA wise mamas!
post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by changingseasons View Post
Wow- good to know! Do you have to process up all the scraps before you give them, or can you give chunks of produce (like the ends I trim off broccoli, etc.)?
Depends on your chickens. I hear of so many people with barnyard chickens who can just consume an entire uncut pumpkin and things like that, but my girls were mostly hand-raised as chicks and they're a bit spoiled. They'll eat soft things like cream cheese and tofu and cooked squash in big chunks, but raw broccoli stalks and other hard materials, I have to chop up. The eggshells I just crumble by hand.

It's very good to give them back their own eggshells; the calcium is good for the future eggs, so they can just keep recycling it. They like eating them too. They also love protein and don't get much of it in their feed, so let them out periodically to look for bugs and worms, and give them things like tofu, meat (just not chicken; they love fish and beef), cheese rinds, cream cheese, cooked eggs, etc. If you ever get maggots in your garbage (I know, this is gross) your chickens will LOVE them, and will eat them before they get to develop into annoying nasty flies. You can also throw them your restaurant leftovers.

They'll all have their own special preferences - I have two who won't eat apples, and two who will fight each other over apples. One of mine is the star Worm Hunter, another will fly four feet in the air for a spider, and the other two would kill their own chicks (if they had any) for tofu. For entertainment sometimes I'll throw them a chunk of steak fat and watch them play Chicken Football - they need to put it down and eat it slowly, but the others will jump in if they do, so they'll run around the yard stealing it from each other for hours. In the winter it's good to give them extra corn scratch and other fats so they can stay warm and build up a little fat reserve so they lay better in spring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by changingseasons View Post
I'm trying to work out logistics of where the coop will be. We have a covered back porch that has huge built-in closets that would work perfect- I could just cut out a small door and attach a run to the outside of it for the chickens to get in and out (and there's a fullsize door on the inside for me to get in.) The issue is that there are rooms on either side of the porch (think U-shaped house, porch in the middle of the U.) Do you think that would just amplify the noise and drive me (and my neighbors) insane? Or make it worse for me, but better for the neighbors? Do chickens usually get quiet once the sun goes down, or are they noisy all night?
Chickens go dead quiet and right to sleep in the dark. If something startles them awake they'll squawk, but generally they go to sleep as soon as it gets dark and they won't wake up until just before dawn (they see light before we do). For this reason, if you ever need to clip their wings or do other maintenance they won't like, do it when it's dark out; they're sleepy and much more docile.

Hens don't make too much noise in the morning, though they'll lay at any time of day and often will make a big announcement when they do. Most people put the coop at some distance from the house but if you don't mind the chicken doody and the mess (they kick their litter all over the place) right next to the house then go for it. I don't know if you've got permit issues or what the law is in your area, but in my area the coop is required to be 20 feet from all residences. Nobody's coming around to enforce the backyard chicken laws without a complaint though.
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by changingseasons View Post
Wow- good to know! Do you have to process up all the scraps before you give them, or can you give chunks of produce (like the ends I trim off broccoli, etc.)?

I'm pretty excited that I just found a local feed company that has a corn/soy-free feed, so I might look into that instead of making my own.

The reason I'm looking at getting chicks (there are tons of pullets around here on Craigslist) is that I want to make sure that I'm getting birds with NO abx or vaccines in them. Plus, the little chics are so cute, and I think it would be a cool experience for DD to watch them grow.
Another reason to get chicks is that you know they have a less chance of having diseases. With my first flock I bought all pullets ready to lay, and then they all died one by one of a disease. Chicken diseases are creepy...one chicken can get sick and then heal up, but it remains a silent carrier for life so it constantly reinfects other chickens and kills them or reduces their laying ability and quality of life. (How's that for a long sentence. ) If you get chicks you know they are less likely to be diseased because few diseases pass through the egg, and those that do aren't passed on at a very high percentage. Also new chicks are isolated in a brooder, so they have a lesser chance of being exposed to whatever diseases your Craigslist farmer might have in his barnyard.

I ordered chicks from Ideal hatchery several times. You can order whatever number of chicks you want, you just have to pay a fee of something like $8 if you order a lesser amount. They will give you extra rooster chicks "packing peanuts" for warmth, but you can give those away on Craigslist in a split second!
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelilah View Post
Chickens go dead quiet and right to sleep in the dark. If something startles them awake they'll squawk, but generally they go to sleep as soon as it gets dark and they won't wake up until just before dawn (they see light before we do). For this reason, if you ever need to clip their wings or do other maintenance they won't like, do it when it's dark out; they're sleepy and much more docile.

Hens don't make too much noise in the morning, though they'll lay at any time of day and often will make a big announcement when they do. Most people put the coop at some distance from the house but if you don't mind the chicken doody and the mess (they kick their litter all over the place) right next to the house then go for it. I don't know if you've got permit issues or what the law is in your area, but in my area the coop is required to be 20 feet from all residences. Nobody's coming around to enforce the backyard chicken laws without a complaint though.
That's exactly what I was hoping you'd say (about them being quiet when it's dark.) I live in an unincorporated county area, and the rules are pretty basic- one chicken per square feet of property, up to 2,000 chickens- that's it. BUT.... if it would be stinky and gross next to the house, then I will definitely reconsider. The closets are closed to the porch (unless you open the door, of course) so I don't think that the mess would get onto the porch... but smell is another issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper44 View Post
I ordered chicks from Ideal hatchery several times. You can order whatever number of chicks you want, you just have to pay a fee of something like $8 if you order a lesser amount. They will give you extra rooster chicks "packing peanuts" for warmth, but you can give those away on Craigslist in a split second!
Thanks!
post #36 of 42
Keep it clean and it won't smell. My chicken coop doesn't stink. I just meant that some people get squicked out by chicken poop near the house. Me, eh, it's all over my yard because I let them out for a few minutes every day. It's mostly just salad anyway.

But no, the coop doesn't stink if you keep it clean and well-ventilated, which you should do no matter how close it is to the house.
post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelilah View Post
Keep it clean and it won't smell. My chicken coop doesn't stink. I just meant that some people get squicked out by chicken poop near the house. Me, eh, it's all over my yard because I let them out for a few minutes every day. It's mostly just salad anyway.

But no, the coop doesn't stink if you keep it clean and well-ventilated, which you should do no matter how close it is to the house.
Cool.
post #38 of 42
Following this thread. We're considering getting chicks in the spring, or at least i'm trying to talk dh into it. We already have a barn & attached shed/coop, it would be a matter of cleaning/prepping for them.
post #39 of 42
I would suggest mixing and grinding your own chicken feed! The organic chicken feed is very expensive, and it's still very processed and denatured. Non-organic chicken feed is filled with soy and GMOs. Here is a great recipe:

http://greenerpasturesfarm.com/ChickenFeedRecipe.html

Adding a garlic clove to their water, along with a splash of apple cider vineger, helps keep parasites away, and giving the chickens "live" foods like sprouts and kombucha or kefir also help make them (and their eggs!) healthy.
post #40 of 42
first for anyone looking for a great starter book on chickens, Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens is great.

on to my question:
1) i've been on backyardchickens for a while but i am definitely more concerned about natural materials and such then most people there so i thought MDC chicken people might be able to help me. what do you do for lumber when you are building a coop and fence posts? i am scared to use pressure treated lumber for fence posts or a coop base because i know chickens love to peck anything to death. what do i use instead? do i spend a fortune and buy cedar? yikes....

2) linoleum as a floor and poop board covering - is it ok? is linoleum somehow toxic (like everything else convenient)?

thanks in advance!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gardening
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Gardening › Do you raise chickens?