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Thread: Raising Chickens

  1. #1
    Super Member henryparrish76's Avatar
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    Okay so does anyone do this for eggs?
    If so, where do you buy the hens from etc......
    It is something I have been thinking about lately.....

  2. #2
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    Nothin' as good as a fresh farm egg. You can get your baby chicks from a hatchery, the local farm store, neighbors, local swap meet and keep an eye on your local paper. Spread the word, you may find someone wanting to get rid of theirs. Do your research on housing and feed. Don't forget preditors either, racoons killed every one of my first batch of hens. Also coyotes, hawks and snakes do their dirty deeds too. Housing has to be very secure. The little banty's are really cute and there are chickens that lay colored eggs. Enjoy.

  3. #3
    PrettyKitty's Avatar
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    We had six chickens when I was little, was great to have fresh eggs. But they got killed by foxes eventually.

    Then my Mom decided to get some again when I was a teenager. From what I remember it cost quite a bit for a good quality secure hen house. And the enclosure needs to have the chicken wire walls dug down and buried into the ground otherwise the foxes can pull it up if not secure enough. Despite all this the foxes got all of them one night when they were not shut away in the main hen house at night.

    Don't let that put you off! I think it would be a great thing to do, depsite the initial cost of the hens and the equiptment and food etc, in the long run it will save you on buying eggs, and you can always sell the eggs too! And the sound of hens is so friendly and warm as they cluck at you in the morning. And you cal tell when they are laying an egg....squaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwkkkkk!!!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
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    Henry, I had hens for eggs. I kept 6 and they were like pets. I would still keep them, but we built a house on the land where we used to keep them and no room now. As others mentioned, you need a secure hen house to house them at night. My hens were loose during the day to free range in the huge garden we used to have. I purchased my chicks at a feed store and they were not fully fledged. They had to stay in large box with a light on to keep warm. You feed them chicken feed which you can purcase at the feed store as well. They need to eat gravel too and fresh water too. And straw to roost on. Be prepared to muck their stalls - they poop a lot! It's all good though because it's an excellent fertilizer and be added to compost for the garden. I think they were about 4-5 months old when they started to lay. You don't need a rooster for eggs, only if you want baby chicks. Roosters can be mean!

    Also, if they do not free range, they will quickly remove every blade of grass from their enclosure. It can get rather nasty and muddy.

  5. #5
    k3n
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    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    Can't really add anything to the above - only add my vote for chicken keeping! I have six girls and they keep my family of four in eggs, my mum and dad mostly as well and some over for friends and family who visit. Last year for a while I was without chickens and the supermarket eggs - even the free-range farm fresh ones were tasteless in comparison. We do shut ours up every night in a little stone barn, though or the foxes would get them. We feed them layers pellets but I also cook up all scraps, veggy peelings etc on the back of the woodburner overnight - they love that!
    In winter they free range the garden and eat lots of pests. From spring onwards, they're confined to a large run off the side of their house cos they eat the flowers otherwise! It is a very large run though, so I would still class them as free range.
    K x

  6. #6
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    You can order them on line. Our local Tractor Supply store sell them and usually the feed stores. I can remember my dad picking them up at the PO :D

  7. #7
    Super Member henryparrish76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruth Camp
    You can order them on line. Our local Tractor Supply store sell them and usually the feed stores. I can remember my dad picking them up at the PO :D
    Wow you can order them online? Nothing ever ceases to amaze me.

  8. #8
    Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CindyBee
    Henry, I had hens for eggs. I kept 6 and they were like pets. I would still keep them, but we built a house on the land where we used to keep them and no room now. As others mentioned, you need a secure hen house to house them at night. My hens were loose during the day to free range in the huge garden we used to have. I purchased my chicks at a feed store and they were not fully fledged. They had to stay in large box with a light on to keep warm. You feed them chicken feed which you can purcase at the feed store as well. They need to eat gravel too and fresh water too. And straw to roost on. Be prepared to muck their stalls - they poop a lot! It's all good though because it's an excellent fertilizer and be added to compost for the garden. I think they were about 4-5 months old when they started to lay. You don't need a rooster for eggs, only if you want baby chicks. Roosters can be mean!

    Also, if they do not free range, they will quickly remove every blade of grass from their enclosure. It can get rather nasty and muddy.
    I used to raise a flock of about 50 chickens, mainly for eggs. I would use what I needed and sell the excess. Cindy covered a lot so I won't repeat any of it. Here are some of the things I learned in addition to what Cindy covered. You want to either feed them back their shells or get oyster shell bits to throw on the ground for them. The calcium strengthens the shells - And YES, you can get the shells too strong. :P I always kept a rooster simply because fertilized eggs are higher in several nutrients. And despite what many people believe, if you get an egg with a blood spot inside, it is NOT because it is a fertilized egg. It is because the hen strained too hard to lay the egg, thus causing the blood spot. Poor hen! Depending on the breed of chicken, your hen can lay 1 egg every day or 1 egg every 1-3 days. Do NOT wash the eggs as you collect them. Each egg has a protective coating on it that is natural from the hen. This protection keeps bacteria and other nasties from getting through the membrane and making the egg bad.

    Interesting facts...My aunt used to sell eggs to Albertsons. You can bury eggs in cool sand and they will remain good for up to a year. What a thought! :? Of course our society consumes eggs so rapidly that such methods are no longer needed and the eggs you get in the store are usually only 1-3 months old.

    If you do not have anyone local who raises chickens to talk to, check out your local 4-H. They should have someone who will be able to give you all sorts of insight into raising chickens and will be able to point you in the right direction for where to buy the best chickens and equipment/feed for your area.

    One thing to consider when buying feed. If the corn inside the feed has been genetically modified (which over 80% of the corn in America is now), you should realize that tests have shown that the modifications can be passed down into the egg. It is unknown how it affects the human body but I would be cautious feeding it to small children and infants. JMO.

  9. #9
    Senior Member countrymaid's Avatar
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    Golden Comets are my favorite. I just ordered 3 dozen day old chicks through the hardware store. They come from a hatchery in Ohio. They will come in the mail on May 1st. I paid the extra for pullets rather than straight run (sexed females vs whatevers in the box). The college I work at is all about Creation Care and going green. I've been selling my extra eggs here at work for a couple of years now. Check your state Ag & Markets for regulations.

    My new birds will start laying late August. Extension Office is a great resourse. You can even find online chat rooms about raising chickens. Chick starter to begin with, layer mash closer to laying time. With a good feed you shouldn't need to add extra grit (crushed oyster shell) to their diet. Layer boxes, a good perch, dry bedding, free choice their feed. My hen house is 12' x 12'. I do not let them out because of the dogs. We also have a bald eagle nesting near us and lots of hawks.

    I bought 20 chicks two years ago and still have them all. They weren't happy with our long cold winter. Their egg production is coming back, about 14 eggs a day now. They'll be soup this fall.

    We have one banty that came from the farm store. She's 3 and is just fun to have around.

    Good luck,

  10. #10
    Super Member henryparrish76's Avatar
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    Thanks everybody. You have been very helpful :)

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