A harem of chicks..

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by FishBone, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. FishBone

    FishBone Guest

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    I've chosen to take the journey of raising chickens. Egg laying chickens to be specific. I currently have 6 3-4 week old lovely little ladies.. I say ladies because they seem to have grown faster than a fat man's belly in a buffet.. I've wanted to raise chickens for awhile and wasn't sure I'd get the opportunity. But I'm doing it and I haven't regretted it yet. We should all do something.. Even something small to produce more and consume less..

    Just wondered if anyone else has taken the same journey? I believe I'm going with a tractor coop.. Which my hens are going to go to work for me..

    Let me know your experience and if you have any tips!

    Thanks as always..

    Here's my favorite lady.. Chicken nugget..
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    You and Firebug will be makin omelets soon.

    Larry
     
  3. FishBone

    FishBone Guest

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    Firebug and I have split paths..

    But I for sure will be making omelets soon!

    Lets keep this thread about chickens.. I'm curious if anyone has any good coop designs..
     
  4. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Lots of coop designs on the net. Cant help much without knowing how much room you have etc.

    Growing up on a ranch I guess I kind of view life and death of "stock" a little different than most people. But I will say a couple things. First be reasonable with the heat lamps. When we had chickens we only used them in winter and then rarely. Lots of people leave the lamps on all night and all day. Seriously, how would you like to have to try to sleep under a heat lamp?
    Second thing is make sure they get some calcium in their diet to keep the shells from getting thin. You don't have to go all crazy with special feed. Just wash the egg shells from the day prior and crush them up and toss them in the pen with the chickens. They will eat however much shell they need.
     
  5. hanzo

    hanzo Scout

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    [​IMG]

    Got these from a frond's (see back woodsman post) harem.

    Was told that fresh organic eggs have an anti-bacterial coating on them, so they don't need refrigeration until you wash it off. They seem heavier to me than store bought probably because the yolk seems bigger. Was also told that if you boil them, to salt the water otherwise the membrane will stick to the shell when you peel it. Just what I was told by my frond.
     
  6. hanzo

    hanzo Scout

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    And they were delicious!
     
  7. Bushcraftgeek

    Bushcraftgeek Guide

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    Fresh eggs are much better than store bought. and ya no refrigeration if you keep them as is with no washing perfect for the bush or anything and at times cheaper than store ones.
     
  8. gila_dog

    gila_dog Guide

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    Good for you! I think the chicken tractor is a great idea, tho I've never used one.

    I have kept chickens for many years. Here are a few things I've learned.
    1. Protect them from predators. Everything likes to eat chickens. In my experience the worst threats to chickens are dogs, coyotes, raccoons, hawks and owls. A good strong fence 5 feet high will keep dogs and coyotes out. Some trees in their pen will give them a lot of protection from owls and hawks. Almost nothing will protect them from raccoons. If you keep them in a chicken tractor make sure it's built very strong. Don't count on chicken wire to protect them from dogs or raccoons. Chicken wire only keeps chickens in, not predators out. It's very tempting to let them "free range" (run around loose eating whatever they find). They love it and they find lots of goodies. But the predators will get them eventually.

    2. If you find that they are eating their own eggs it means they need calcium in their diet. Recycling your shells is a good idea, but it doesn't add any net calcium. For that get some crushed oyster shell for them. They will eat what they need and should stop cannibalizing their eggs.

    3. Eventually they will get old, stop laying, and become nonproductive. I think you can count on them being productive for about 3 years. Then you need to get hard-hearted and put them in the pot. My wife slow cooks an old hen in the crockpot and then picks the meat off the bones and makes all kinds of tasty recipes from that. I don't like to kill my old hens, but it needs to be done. They are going to die anyway from old age, sickness, cold, etc. So I would rather get them into the kitchen than find them dead in their pen. What to do with chicken guts, feet, etc when you butcher? I tried burying it but something always digs it up and scatters it around. So now I just take it all and dump it out in the woods away from civilization. The scavengers find it and eat it. Problem solved.

    4. A lot of people feed their chickens official "laying" feed. This will certainly maximize your egg production. But if that's all they eat then what's the point? Your eggs will be the same as what you buy in the store, just more expensive and more work. What makes homegrown eggs so good are the natural goodies (kitchen scraps, garden scraps, weeds and bugs). I feed my hens a mix of chicken scratch and black sunflower seeds, plus all the kitchen and garden waste. The chicken tractor is really a good idea for this reason. The sunflower seeds boost the protein which is important for production. The other stuff rounds out their diet.

    [​IMG]

    Good luck, good eatin', and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  9. Whitestone

    Whitestone Banned Member Banned

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    I started with chickens about 4 years ago. Free range is a synonym for predator buffet.
    I built a tractor but my Mom has it now for her 4 chickens in the city! I really like my chickens but I eat them too!

    We feed our store food as a base, but then add mowed grass, kitchen scraps and sometimes I buy them special veggies from the store like Collard Greens or Kale. They love that!!

    I gentle them with meal worms and scrap fat. Once they figure out that you are a Meat Vending Machine....they come runnin' everytime they see you!! That really helps if you need to find them, or get them penned back up quickly. Just like dogs!

    There will always be one that you like the most. Good luck!! I hope that you do not lose as many as I did as I climbed the learning curve!!!
     
  10. pat_t

    pat_t Scout

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    Last year I got 24 chicks to help keep the grasshoppers down in the garden. Thanks to the dogs, hawks and snakes, I'm down to 6, but I picked up 24 new chicks a couple of weeks back. The eggs have been a bonus. My chickens get locked up at night to protect them from the coyotes, but free range during the day.

    pat
     
  11. FishBone

    FishBone Guest

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    Was very wary of the predator situation.. I intend to use a stronger hardware cloth instead of the traditional "chicken wire". Didn't realize they could eat kitchen scrap. I guess thats a hidden bonus..

    I have them out in the yard today for a few hours in a temporary pen so they could have a few ours pecking at some real ground. They love it!

    My favorite is quickly becoming Chicken Nugget.. She seems to be the only one not afraid of me..
     
  12. SDS

    SDS Guide

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    Planning out my coop and run now. Not going to get in a rush on this but it's been on the back burner for quite awhile. I think I'm going to build a "hoop house" type run since my wife isn't crazy about the idea (read that as vehemently opposed!!). I'm planning a 20' X 21' run with a coop inside to hold 4-6 birds.

    I know that seems like a lot of room for that number of birds but from what I've read a bird requires about 76.?? square feet of ground in order for the ground to reclaim the waste produced by the bird without me having to do much.

    I chose the hoop house so that I can easily cover it with a tarp if needed for shade or to protect them from the weather. I looked at a lot of runs before deciding on this one. I want to be sure I have a covering to protect from hawks and other aerial predators.

    Good luck with your little ladies.

    SDS
     
  13. Jackal1

    Jackal1 Tracker

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    We have 4 coops. Three being chickens and one being quail. We enjoy them alot.
     
  14. Whitestone

    Whitestone Banned Member Banned

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    I like "chicken nugget"!!! My Mom named her chickens, "baked, fried, roasted and dumpling"!!!
     
  15. IamLegend

    IamLegend Guide Bushclass I

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    Lot of good advise already. I built mine using an existing outbuilding on my property and built a run onto it. Can't remember size really. Got some pics somewhere though, ill try and look them up. I'd open the run door in the morning and they'd free range all day and in the evening they'd head back to the coop on there own. Be careful though cause you might start finding eggs all around the yard but that's easy to fix. After a while though the neighbor dog(bout a quarter mile down the road) started coming around and killing them. Something clicked in my dog and she started killing them. She went to a new home and about 15 dead chickens ended up on my neighbors porch with a warning I was gonna kill his dog. No problems after that. Plus I got a Great P and she wouldn't let nothin get to the chickens.
    Oh and last thing, get you some guineas too. They're good for ticks.
     
  16. FishBone

    FishBone Guest

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    Guineas? Excuse my ignorance.. But do you mean guinea pigs or is that some breed of hen?
     
  17. SDS

    SDS Guide

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    Guinea's, or Guinea fowl, are an African bird that are really hardy. The ones we had when I was a kid roosted in trees. They were hell on snakes and insects and loud when someone or something they didn't like was on the place.

    Here is a link to some info along with a picture:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guineafowl

    SDS
     
  18. bearhunter2

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    congrats... you will love them!
    we have raised chickens (both meat and egg) for years and enjoy it very much...
    a coop just needs to be sturdy enough to keep out predators at night. ours are free range and we dont even close them up at night, but did lose a couple to a family of skunks that decided to homestead around here this past winter...
    needless to say, the skunks are no longer a problem;)

    btw; my avatar is a recent picture of our 6 year old rooster... he looks better at six than he ever has and hes always been a handsome fellow:)
     
  19. Capt. Redbush

    Capt. Redbush Guide Bushclass I

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    That's awesome! I have not had the opportunity to raise chickens yet. I have a duck that I raised from a hatchling with the hopes it would be a good layer. Unfortunately boy ducks don't lay eggs, only try to bite your leg and hump you! He's probably going to be dinner here pretty soon and I'll start over.

    As for a coop, I inherited a 6'x10' chainlink dog run that I ran chicken wire over the top and around the bottom. There's a large cement mixing bin for a pond and a couple turned over Rubbermaid storage bins for shelter. I let him out when I get home from work to forage and put him away before dark.
     
  20. Jon Foster

    Jon Foster Guide

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    Interesting thread. I doubt we could do chickens because of our neighbors. We raise German Shepherd's which causes enough trouble as it is. But someday...

    Jon.
     
  21. Scott Allen

    Scott Allen Guide

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    I started with 6, day old chicks on March 31st last year. I started getting eggs exactly at 17 weeks. My girls are really a pleasure to have around. They eat ticks and stinkbugs and will sit and "talk" with me for awhile if I want. They will come when called too! I've been selling 2-3 dozen eggs a week at work and that pays for the feed. Here is a picture of a giant egg we got a few weeks ago. The other eggs in the carton are x-large to jumbo sized and this one is 3 x the size of the others! Frankly, I'm suprised it didn't kill her when she layed it.
    [​IMG]

    And here's a picture just for fun!
    [​IMG]

    Good luck and have fun.

    Scott
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  22. IamLegend

    IamLegend Guide Bushclass I

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    Yep very loud. Good alarm system along with a good dog will keep predaters away. Good for snakes and ticks. And you can eat the eggs also. Gotta have some guineas dude, trust me. But be careful, if you let the guineas out too soon they will not return. That Is if you don't raise em yourself and buy some already grown. We picked some up at an auction once and they were gone like a thong song. Keep em in the coop or in a seperate cage inside the coop for a few days if they are older when you get them. Keeps em from fighting and running off. keep us informed I'm excited for you, my chickens were prolly my favorite to mess with cept maybe the goats. Dude get a few goats too. Goats are funny, if you don't watch em there's a good chance they'll end up on top of your house at some point:)
     
  23. SDS

    SDS Guide

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    Guinea eggs taste fine but if I remember right they are little bitty eggs.

    SDS
     

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