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My Adventures In Owning Chickens

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posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 02:20 PM
fantastic run.

I haven't worked out the water pollution issue, what did you do? I changed theirs daily, it still stinks

The difference in eggs is undeniable. Fresh farm eggs are richer in taste and colour!

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 02:20 PM
edit on 30-1-2015 by zazzafrazz because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 03:59 PM
a reply to: zazzafrazz

I went out and bought a 10 gallon water feeder. You can unscrew the top to add water.

If you go to BYC and to their learning center, they have a LOT of different ways people have come up with how to water their chickens, including automatic refresh systems built for less than 30 dollars.

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 05:25 PM
For watering I just used a small bowl that was under the drip line hooked to the automatic timer. Twice a day it would top it off. They never really crapped in it. The sides were to thin to be a perch.
I Fed them organic chicken feed for egg producers. Also let them root threw the compost pile. They ate pretty much all the table scraps. Good at keeping the bugs at bay. Crickets and scorpions were drastically reduced.

I knew they could fly out at any time but my small back yard in the city had a 7' cinder block wall the kept them in. They were days old when I purchased them so they grew up within those walls. One time someone left the gate open and they just stood at it looking out into the street. An alien world to them I suppose. No interest in the outside world.
One was the muscle and the other the brains. The tougher one was huge. Weighed nearly twice the other one. She was cautious and was not much of a people person. Now the smart one was all about people. She knew her name when called and loved to fly up onto peoples shoulder and just sit there while you walked around.
On two occasions I caught the tough one fighting off a hawk. A fox took her out one night. Sad day for the family.
The smart took a while to adjust to being solo but eventually was back to her old self.
Unfortunately a few months later I had to relocate and could not keep a chicken at the new place. Had the "cat lady" for a neighbor and knew it would not end up good. The mother in law had chickens already and that is where my chicken ended up. I hated it because the other hens did not take in my bird and fought with her. It didn't last a week before I got the call saying she was dead. Apparently she got her head stuck in a gap in the fence and died. I was pissed and sad.

Last time I seen her alive.

Chickens have little personalities and are a great pets.

edit on 1/30/2015 by staple because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 05:26 PM
I like your setup on the chicken breeding. I am more in touch with this sort of topic than the problems I know I can't change. Might as well prepare for it. I do have an aquaponics setup and it's great. The land in the middle of nowhere helps my peace of mind also. I want to breed rabbits for obvious reasons. If anyone here breeds rabbits, can they post some tips and links to research.

edit on 30-1-2015 by LOSTinAMERICA because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 05:55 PM
a reply to: eriktheawful

Do you have any apprehension about disease? I guess that would be my only concern if I could be living the dream like you are. You know how the MSM makes a big deal out of bird flu. Are there any steps you take when cleaning their area or handling los pollos?

So if each hen has 250 eggs per year and you have several you sell the extras? To this day my 90 year old grandfather's favorite job was when he was about 10 years old and was the neighborhood egg boy.

There's a co-op ag nursery near my house and we buy their eggs - they do taste great!

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 06:00 PM
We Never had chickens and we will never have them, same thing as another poster mention we are in the middle of a city with strict bylaws unfortunately.

Why the hell am I posting now you ask? Easy question to answer you posted a Fantastic thread and put a lot of work into it.
Next time a friend or neighbour is over for a beer I can start the ...." Did you know that a chicken" etc LOL

S&F for sharing your story and all the work you put into this thread.

Regards, Iwinder

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 06:07 PM

originally posted by: InTheLight
How much work is it to clean up after them (poop), doesn't it get everywhere, including in nests and on the eggs? What is the best way to keep excrement to a minimum without too much effort? Has anyone used the chicken coop as a compost heap?

I ended up making the nest boxes a little harder to get into so there wasn't any random poop happening. The hens seems to go to the boxes to lay and not lounge about, so less time spent in there seems to keep the eggs clean. I only wash eggs sold. I've been working on compost heap management with my chickens, both in their yard and in the coop. Still experimental but I think it's working.

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 06:30 PM

originally posted by: eriktheawful
a reply to: intrptr

You're not calling people "chicken", are you?


Not at all. I love what you've done, totally jealous. Nothing like farming to make one humble and pure. Chickens are a primary stay of the lost art.

I used to do it, then I moved back to the city. They reproduce, lay eggs, eat bugs, make fertilizer, feathers for pillows, and when you get hungry enough…

good eating.

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 07:07 PM
Great thread. We had chickens growing up until neighbors dog, well you know what they do.....then we had one left, a crazed and disturbed rooster that would wait for each of us to exit the house, or anyone visiting to step out of their cars, and attack them. We used to keep buckets of water near the steps. The procedure was exit the vehicle, and in that moment the rooster was in full attack mode and douse him with water. Eventually dad had to do the dirty act of preparing him for a picnic for the pickers. He was tough. Dad had a hard time doing that because the one person he liked was my dad. He used to follow dad up the ladders and went everywhere with him when he was outside.

So my question is, how are keeping the dogs away this time. We never did the chicken thing again because it was heartbreaking to lose them after raising them eggs in an incubator.

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 08:41 PM
I've been debating between chickens and rabbits as a sustainable source for animal protein.

Rabbits reproduce quickly and abundantly. But the require more hands-on attention. At least that's my perception.

Chickens won't reproduce meat as rapidly, but they seem to require less attention and the produce eggs.

Leaning toward chickens.

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 10:52 PM
a reply to: kosmicjack

When we introduced the Queens to Nugget and Betty, they had been separated from them for 6 weeks. Any time a new bird or birds are introduced to your existing flock, they need to be kept separate at first.

As far as bird flu: after handling any of the birds, eggs, or anything to do with them in their run and coop, we always wash our hands with soap and water. I think I would be more concerned if there were major outbreaks of it here in the US.

I don't sell any of my eggs, as I don't have enough hens for that. While 240 in a year sounds like a lot, it boils down to 6 eggs a day. Not all of them lay every day. If we have eggs most days for breakfast, that's 2 for me, 2 for my wife, 2 for my son, it breaks even.
We don't have them every day, but they do get used in other things (baking, meals, etc). If I wanted to sell them, I would need to have more hens then I have. Would not really make a lot of money from it though. Not unless I go all out like an old high school friend of mine up in TN has done. She has her own farm with about 800 chickens.

I did save up and give my sister a dozen eggs for Christmas though. She went nuts over them.

posted on Jan, 30 2015 @ 10:56 PM
a reply to: Unity_99

The only problems I had with dogs was the two that broke into the run. I fixed both issues to keep them from being able to break in again (made the fence like Fort Knox).

My own dogs pretty much ignore the chickens. Just not interested in them.

posted on Jan, 31 2015 @ 11:04 PM

originally posted by: staple
Unfortunately a few months later I had to relocate and could not keep a chicken at the new place. Had the "cat lady" for a neighbor and knew it would not end up good. The mother in law had chickens already and that is where my chicken ended up. I hated it because the other hens did not take in my bird and fought with her. It didn't last a week before I got the call saying she was dead. Apparently she got her head stuck in a gap in the fence and died. I was pissed and sad.

Last time I seen her alive.

Chickens have little personalities and are a great pets.

I am sorry for the loss of your chicken. They are entertaining poop generators. The ones I view as pets have names, the rest of the flock doesn't (I have 45 hens and 3 roosters).

originally posted by: Doom and Gloom
a reply to: InTheLight

My daughter says the best way to manage the poop is to put down a lot of playground sand and use something similar to a cat litter scoop to clean it up. Or you can just shovel it all up and put it in your compost bin.

I use the play sand as well. Works awesome! I have both a lizard scoop (for chick poop scooping) and a cat scoop (for the adults). I tried straw because a couple I am friends with swears by it, but I found it way messier than the sand. The sand dried the poop out, the straw just made everything a compacted wet poop mess. I have more birds though so that could play a roll in it. They also were doing the deep litter method where they keep throwing more straw on top of the soiled straw rather than muck it out.


Chickens poop. A LOT. They poop ever where. In their hen house, in the run, in their water, even in their food some times. (remember if you make a roost, not to put one roost above the other. Why? Because the top chickens will poop on the ones below...).

Eggs: They will get poop on them. Simply gather your eggs and wash them with warm water to clean them off. If you're really worried about bacteria, you can wash them gently with dish soap like Dawn.

Glad to see someone else point that out. When I was getting in to chickens I asked my friends what should I expect, etc they told me that they pooped a lot. I feel like that was an undersell. It should have been they poop, they eat, they poop, they drink, they poop, they poop some more, they sleep and then the poop magic really happens... then they wake up and poop some more. LOL

I always wash my eggs with lukewarm water with a tiny bit of dawn. I always have extras so I sell them, but I don't wash them unless the customer wants them washed (some don't) and if they do want it washed I wash right before they come pick them up since the bloom protects the egg. I keep mine refrigerated regardless of wash status. I would hate for one of the eggs to start developing since a lot of mine are fertile. Some of my customers are super skittish about the fact that they are fertile, I would hate to traumatize them.

I tried to be "clever" with the watering this winter. I took two black tubs (the large ones from the hardware store) and placed the smaller one inside the larger and put water in the top one (smaller). Then I placed an all silver car window visor/reflector whatever around it to make a solar oven type waterer. I was hoping that the sunlight would be absorbed by the double tubs of black plastic since the visor was directing light onto it.... It failed, the water still froze.

So I just went back to the waterers I was using before and I change them twice a day typically unless it is super cold, then I have to do it more frequently as they start to freeze. I use the hanging nipple water buckets from the feed store. They hang off hooks attached to the side of the coop. The chickens prefer the tubs, but like has been pointed out already they make their water super filthy very quickly.

posted on Feb, 1 2015 @ 07:07 AM
a reply to: FaithandArms

This information is invaluable for people (a friend of mine) who are in the planning stages of chicken farming. I am also wondering about this hose attachment watering system (see link) in cold climates. How would one prevent freeze-up. I suppose insulation could be wrapped around the piping, or something in a solar energy capturing set up? This watering system seems to be the answer to less work for older arthritic people.

They also have a patent-pending water supply system that allows you to hook them to a hose, but doesn't keep the nipples under constant hose pressure. Instead it acts as a valve to detect when the reservoir is low and then allows the water to fill the vertical reservoir. Since the nipples are not under constant pressure, that means you can easily insert additives (cider vinegar, medicine, etc.) to the water if desired.

edit on 1-2-2015 by InTheLight because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 1 2015 @ 03:25 PM
a reply to: eriktheawful
Ya chickens could be a bother. And there not the most brightest of animals.

The only thing I can say really is, try to build a fence on your property, you know so no more dogs come running in willy nilly and kill them like that, plus other predators out there. And after a while all the pets you have like that husky will get used to them and not even think about attacking them. Oh and let them free range more if you got the space, not only would that not kill all your grass in the area and turn it into a pig sty, but they will be more happy and likely lay more eggs, plus they will get rid of bug pests around all the while fertilizing soil over a wide area. Just you know if you got space keep them from around the house or places were you go, because your likely to have chicken poop everywhere then.

Oh and if the roosters fight which they will do if you keep getting so many of them. You can always bring out the family and take bets on who will win.

posted on Feb, 1 2015 @ 09:52 PM
If ya plan on getting chickens, and eating them ?

Get one of these!

Of course shop around.

The Chicken plucker:

Of course your gonna get tired of doing it the old fashioned way, and pluck by hand.

Been years since we had chickens.

posted on Feb, 1 2015 @ 11:22 PM
a reply to: neo96

Which is why my girls are for eggs only.

When they finish up and can't lay anymore, I'll put them in a different run where they can enjoy retirement.

posted on Feb, 2 2015 @ 12:16 PM
a reply to: eriktheawful

Glad you're having fun with your birds. I can't wait to start my own setup.

The only thing I can add to your invaluable post is possible solutions to the (apparent) problems of owning chickens. "The problem is the solution" is a common phrase in permaculture and is a really powerful mind-frame to get into if you want to grow your homesteading op.

As far as the poop...depending on your property size you have options. If you have around an acre or more you can build a chicken tractor which gives them a place to perch, poop, and eat. They'll be happier because they're eating grass and grubs and you'll be happier because their poop is an awesome fertilizer. The only maintenance is moving the "tractor" around when the grass is sufficiently grazed. You will probably still need to supplement their diet with organic feed but there are ways around this as well such as feeding them primarily on kitchen scraps. Look up Geoff Lawton, Jack Spirko or Paul Wheaton (permies). They will expand your abilities and understanding of natural, zero-waste, systems. If your property is smaller then an acre you could look into a paddock-shift system. I'm really short-changing the information out there because I'm in a time-crunch but those three names are a great place to start. Happy to see this kind of information on a website flooded with illuminating the problems but, sadly, few real solutions that we can all agree on. Raising chickens is a big part of the solution, imo.

posted on Feb, 2 2015 @ 02:09 PM
I keep chickens, a few breeds but only meat and egg types because I hate keeping useless animals.
You will never solve the water pollution problem completely but the metal, many gallon water cans help a lot. The food issue is easy, i use a hanging feeder hung with the feed at about low breast level to them, they tried to roost a few times but the swinging feeder convinced them otherwise. Poo is great to keep in compost for the garden, so don't be afraid to pile it on.

The illness issue is tricky with chickens but most times a bit of Tylan for a few days will clear up a lot of their problems. I have never had to deal with bird flu so, no clue about that.

And OP, your tractor supply story made me LOL so hard

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