Any backyard chicken farmers out there?
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Any backyard chicken farmers out there? on 01/08/2011 11:35:21 MST Print View

Excited, I just got my first couple chicks! Winter (if that's what you can call it in Southern California) isn't the most productive time for hatcheries, but some finally just came in. I've had the coop ready for over a month, just waiting on the chick supply.
I'm looking to raise 5 for eggs, a great addition to the home/garden food supply. These are my first; the kids love them, they fall asleep in your hands.

I have pictures here:
http://sweepingthegarden.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/chickens-are-here/

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
chickens on 01/08/2011 12:00:32 MST Print View

Lots of stuff you compost can be fed to them so your pile wont grow so quickly. They love egg shells too!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Any backyard chicken farmers out there? on 01/08/2011 12:03:40 MST Print View

You could skip a couple of steps and just raise freeze-dried chickens.

--B.G.--

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Any backyard chicken farmers out there? on 01/08/2011 13:01:57 MST Print View

Freeze-dried chickens aren't as fun to play with though.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Any backyard chicken farmers out there? on 01/08/2011 14:31:31 MST Print View

Get some geese going in there. Goose down is superior to chicken down.

--B.G.--

Craig Savage
(tremelo) - F

Locale: San Jacinto Mountains
high country chix on 01/10/2011 10:24:56 MST Print View

our family keeps 5, for eggs, at 6000'. They're hardy breeds to insure surviving winter (yep, some of socal gets winter weather). You won't regret their addition, the right chickens can be really friendly extensions of the family. Even educational , at times.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: high country chix on 01/10/2011 11:23:15 MST Print View

My sis raised chicks for a while -- but her whole lot got killed by predators while in the coop, so do be cautious of that.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Any backyard chicken farmers out there? on 01/11/2011 12:10:31 MST Print View

Our hens, aside from eggs, are essential around the garden. We have three levels of "composting". First is stuff the hens will eat. If they don't eat it, we feed it to the worms, then when the worm population gets kinda high, we feed the excess worms to the hens. Earthworms are like crack cocaine to chickens! Everything else goes into a traditional compost. Then of course the chicken droppings are great on the garden, and letting the hens out to scrounge about once a week keeps snails, slugs and other low lying nasties in control. And of course they're a source of constant entertainment, much cheaper than satellite TV...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Any backyard chicken farmers out there? on 01/11/2011 18:20:21 MST Print View

We kept egg-layers and bantams for a long while. The bantams live long and are rather fun, and can become quite tame.
Ever seen a 1 kg bantam rooster see off a 5 kg bird of prey? He did, very loudly, while all the hens waited in the shed. Mind you, the BoP was not being silly: the bantam rooster had long and deadly spikes on his ankles which would have gored anything he attacked. He was happy to be picked up though.

Cheers

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
egg layers on 01/11/2011 18:28:26 MST Print View

What happens to egg layers if you're gone for a week?

Are the eggs the laid still good?

Do they stop laying?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: egg layers on 01/11/2011 18:51:05 MST Print View

The condition of the eggs depends...on whether they are fertile, whether the hens brood on them, and the weather. In cool conditions with non-broody hens, unfertilised eggs should be fine. If in doubt, just cook them well. They should continue to lay, but ideally you will have someone check in on their food and water during the week, so have them collect the eggs at the same time. We find that if we ask a neighbor to collect the eggs and feed/water the chooks in exchange for any eggs they find, they are more than happy to oblige!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: egg layers on 01/11/2011 19:07:53 MST Print View

If they're in their cycle, they'll lat whether you're there or not.

A full week is probably pushing it if it's over 70 degrees; everyone I know with chickens is fine leaving them out for up to 4 days though. Out in a 90 degree coop or in the sun in the yard is another story...

In many cases, the chickens will eat/break the eggs themselves before a week passes anyhow.

My grandparents were farmers and regularly left their eggs out on the dining room table or in the kitchen for a week at a time at room temp. I suppose the same would hold true for outside if the weather is mild?

I'm new to this, but as I talk to breeders and other farmers I find this is still a pretty big point of debate, answers falling between 3 and 7 days.

Edited by xnomanx on 01/11/2011 19:08:57 MST.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"Any backyard chicken farmers out there?" on 01/11/2011 19:13:33 MST Print View

Fresh eggs straight out of the coop are incredible.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: egg layers on 01/11/2011 22:59:45 MST Print View

> What happens to egg layers if you're gone for a week?

Well, they have to be fed every day, and you don't want heaps of chook food lying around (rats and mice), so the person who feeds them daily gets to have the eggs. Simple.

Cheers

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
"My brother is nuts--he thinks he's a chicken" on 01/11/2011 23:58:47 MST Print View

"so why don't you have him committed?"

"I would, but I need the eggs."

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Any backyard chicken farmers out there? on 01/12/2011 08:33:24 MST Print View

Great looking birds, Craig! Very nice coup too!
I'm not a chicken farmer any more... changed over to chinchillas and cage building and just love it.

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
we raise layers on 01/12/2011 13:59:50 MST Print View

How fun is this! Had no idea there were more chicken folks on this site! We've raised layers for probably 6 years, along with a big garden, sometimes as big as a 1/4acre. We love the ladies and their golden delights! We let them go off cycle in the winter and then as the light changes, they come back on. It makes them last a bit longer lifespan wise, and we deal with store bought in the deep winter time.

Our hens eat almost all of our "waste" from kitchen cooking, and we also give them all of the eggshells in addition to scratch, layer feed and water. They are awesome to have around. My wife talks really well in hen clucks! :)

Craig Savage
(tremelo) - F

Locale: San Jacinto Mountains
eggs that are not collected daily on 01/12/2011 14:42:03 MST Print View

we float 'em. sinkers don't get eaten.

but hey, I've done alot of egg shopping in other countries. we be brave, I guess

Craig Savage
(tremelo) - F

Locale: San Jacinto Mountains
Re: Re: high country chix on 01/12/2011 14:44:52 MST Print View

> My sis raised chicks for a while -- but her whole lot got killed by predators while in the coop, so do be cautious of that.

yeah, the racoons claimed a couple when we were still trying to get things secure. it was a brutal scene

Edited by tremelo on 01/12/2011 14:45:47 MST.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
not now on 01/12/2011 15:38:05 MST Print View

but we had them growing up.

Parents still have chickens. 30 years now. Peak laying times they get 1-2 dozen a day. They give lots away at work...