Anyone raise chickens?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by kcjo13, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I've been thinking about raising some chickens. I think it would be good for my girls, to have the chores. Plus, farm fresh eggs are awesome! My husband used to have chicks when he was young. He says they are pretty easy to take care of.

    I am worried about winters. Anyone raise them? Advice?
     
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  3. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Mar 17, 2011

    My dad kept a dozen chickens in a 16' x 16' fully contained pen (netting over the top) with an enclosed coop that could be closed after dark to protect against 'varmints'. He used about 50lbs of feed per month costing $11-15. With the feed, he used some hanging self feeders that he kept full once a day so they could eat what they wanted. He also had some large water troughs that he kept full for them. He would also let them roam free about an hour before sunset so that they could get a bit of forage and once dark began to set, they'd head to the roost and he'd close it down.

    As for winter, he would set out a space heater inside the coop to protect against hard freezes and merely use a couple of trouble lights for moderately cool nights. He's South Mississippi so... you might have to have a more insulated and heated coop for winter if you live further north.

    The sad part of the story is that a coyote mix mongrel has been getting into his pen. Two chickens left.

    The best part of the story, he has an incubator and my niece and nephew absolutely loved caring for the eggs until they hatched. Then after they were fluffy and peeping, my niece would read them bedtime stories before falling asleep next to the brooder.

    Have fun.
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2011

    My family had chickens. Yes they are easy to take care of, but cost to feed. I hated gathering the eggs because those chicken did not like to give up their eggs and would peck my arms.
     
  5. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Mar 18, 2011

    Don't expect them to start laying immediately. I suggest calling your local county extension office. They can help you with a list of supplies you need, finding a reliable local supplier, and answer any questions.
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2011

    Watch for the air attacks too - I have a good friend that raises them, and most have been gotten by wolves or hawks. They can be very social, and trusted to free range, which is cool.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Mar 18, 2011

    My neighbors have chickens, and my grandparents always had them, too. Both had small coops, and none of them had a heat source. It can get in the single digits in winter.

    My grandparents had a farm, and the chickens had the run of the place. My neighbor has a regular chain-link fence. The chickens usually stay within her fence. Sometimes one will roam around in the yard, but not usually. Another neighbor's puppy got one of them, but I think he was just playing with it and got too rough. The roosters and I weren't on good terms before the time change. It had gotten warm enough to sleep with the windows open, and they started crowing at 4:30 every morning. Now that the time has changed, they're crowing at 5:30, and that's close enough to my wake-up time that it's not annoying.

    A co-worker had chickens, and he would sell eggs at work.
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Mar 18, 2011

    We have 2 hens, no rooster. The coop we built is city type varmit proof but not attractive. The chickens don't mind, they love it. They have a ton of space inside, get free roam of the yard on weekends and the last hour before dark. This really helped with the misquito problem! We don't use a heater in the winter, and we have a week or 2 where it is single digits. They didn't like the snow (which we really only have for a week or two as well) so if you have a lot snow make sure they have a place to roam that is sorta sheltered. In the posts where the chickens have the run of the farm or yard I am sure that they were finding the snow free places when they needed it, but we had to arrange for some snow free yet open area inside the coop for them to stretch.
     
  9. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2011

    We always had chickens when I was a kid on the farm (near Sioux City, Iowa). Mom would buy about 200 chicks each spring. She was very particular about cleaning the hen house before the chicks arrived. We had to clean out all of the old hay. Then Mom would use some kind of liquid disinfectant to spread around the floor.

    We girls had to take turns giving feed and fresh water to the chickens every day. Mom would always lock them in the hen house each night in order to keep them safe. During the day, they just roamed around the farm place.

    The chicks will probably need heat lamps when you first get them. We never had any kind of heat source for the hens that were kept through the winter. But, there was plenty of fresh hay in the hen house. You just have to make sure they have water available in the winter. It's a bother sometimes to thaw out the thing that holds the water (metal or plastic).

    Eggs from truly free-range chickens are totally awesome! So much better than the store-bought eggs. Also, if you butcher the chickens, the meat is much, much better than the stuff in the store.
     
  10. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Mar 18, 2011

    We don't have chickens but our neighbor does. His yard is fenced and his whole back yard is a giant vegetable garden. He has about 7 or 8 chicken and they are loose in the yard. They don't bother us, I like the soft clucking-no rooster. But they make our dog crazy and if the wind is right, phew.
     

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