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Community Chickens project

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posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 09:40 AM
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Howdy folks...
been a while since my last post... been real busy getting the new mini farm up and running...
to that end let me tell you all a short story...

Most of you know we bought a little place out here in southeast Kansas... needless to say the fields were a real mess, over grown with weeds. right away we found ourselves with millions of ticks and spiders after taking a brush hog to the Kansas Prairie out back... there were even coming into the house and freaking out my wife and daughters...

my answer was to buy and let lose a flock of about 30 hens... in no time they went to work, snapping up all the little wee beasties and fluffing the soil was they went along... My place came with an old coop and I learned a long time ago the plastic kitty litter tubs my wife buys at wally world for her cats make the perfect nesting box. Mine are basically free range chickens so they require minimal feed. AKA Almost free eggs!
I'm glad to report today, thanks to my hens, my place is now pest free!!!! now they patrol the grounds for any more would be invaders! Grasshoppers with an eye on my garden better beware!

In case you didn't know free range eggs have "More" vitamins, less cholesterol and saturated fat — not to mention great flavor! — free-range eggs are far superior to supermarket eggs no need to worry about massive recalls or shortages!

as compared to the official USDA data for factory-farm eggs — contain:
1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
Two times more omega-3 fatty acids
Three times more vitamin E
Seven times more beta carotene
Now we’re looking at vitamin D, of which many people don’t get enough. New research is showing that this common vitamin deficiency may be related to much more than just weak bones — from diabetes and cancer to heart disease and multiple sclerosis.
.

That takes us to the title of my post
Mother Earth News Community Chicken's Project
this web site is your go to place for everything you ever wanted to know about raising chickens, keeping them healthy and yes even tips on how to can chickens as part of your SHTF goods...
If your thinking of making yourself a little homestead, Chickens should be near the top of your list!




posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:19 AM
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reply to post by DaddyBare
 


all that sound great and it's great info,

but I have to ask,....what about the chicken sh t?



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by network dude
reply to post by Daddy Bare
 


all that sound great and it's great info,

but I have to ask,....what about the chicken sh t?


Ya know..
bird guano (sh t?) is some of the best fertilizer you can buy!!!

one problem with chickens, they love to eat new baby plants when they come up so you also have to be able to keep them out of the garden during that new shoot stage... once the plants have some size, let them lose in there and you don't need harmful insecticides....



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:42 AM
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Great thread.

Chickens are great organic pesticides. Absolute death to bugs that can eat your plants almost as fast as they grow. ...and they fertilize as they go about their business.

My mom raised chickens, almost as many as you have oddly enough, and the noticeable decrees in bugs and demon spawned monsters (aka spiders) was almost immediate.

...and eggs? Couldn't keep up with them all. Neighbors got eggs. Family got eggs. Strangers walking down the street got eggs... It was amazing.


edit on 9/13/2010 by seagull because: removed ,,,, and substituted ...



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:48 AM
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This is a great thread because I have been wondering about hens for about a year now.
I have a small garden and wanted to fence off an acre or so of yard so I can build a coop and raise chickens...
The best thing about it would be the low maintenance of raising chickens.
I don't know if I need 30 chickens, but maybe 12 or so and maybe 1 rooster. (just incase)
I figure, the more I can do on my own, the more money I can save.


So now, I guess it's up to me when to get started.






posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:54 AM
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For those who might be interested in doing this sort of thing? Just remember this word of warning...

Don't get homicidally inclined roosters...They can make caring for the useful bug eating hens rather hazardous to ones ankles and lower legs... Those beaks are sharp.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 10:57 AM
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reply to post by havok
 


If your gonna keep coop chickens it doesn't matter when you start... however if your going to free range them... it's already getting late in the year so you'll need to plan on how to over winter them...

I have a buddy that has built a smallish green house for winter veggies and one end, he devotes a small place to his chickens. keeps them safe and warm on a cold winter night and if he ever gets a bug infestation in the green house all he has to do is open a little door and let them lose in there... Go check out the Community Chickens project web site... lots of good info including urban chicken raising....



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by DaddyBare
 


That would never have occurred to me...I'll keep that in mind for future consideration.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:02 AM
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reply to post by DaddyBare
 


I'm looking at the site now.
This is pretty informative, because I will probably wait until nest spring to actually start raising them.

With what I've read so far, there seems to be alot of info about chickens I never even thought about.
Maybe an acre is a little too big...


Seems to be a fairly easy thing to do, and I'm guessing that certain hens live longer than others?
There's alot of info on the site that I'm soaking in, so I'm certain that raising a few hens is what I want to do.


Thanks.





posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:04 AM
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reply to post by havok
 


If I'm remembering correctly, and it's been a while, but Rhode Island Reds seemed to live longer when my mother had chickens...



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:07 AM
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Originally posted by DaddyBare
Ya know..
bird guano (sh t?) is some of the best fertilizer you can buy!!!


that is a good point. After almost stepping in a pile of ..er.. fertilizer this weekend and having a buddy comment on the amazingly strange feeling of chicken sh t squishing between your toes, the thought was still ...shall we say..fresh in my mind. I have been in the burbs too long. I guess I need to get out more.
Great thread as usual.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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reply to post by DaddyBare
 


Chickens are fun to raise, but predators will get them once the predators find out there are chickens that aren't fenced in that can't fly out in the open fields wandering around looking for bugs and worms. Your flock will decrease in size very rapidly on bad days because of the predators. Your family probably won't be home when the four legged critters invite themselves to a tasty chicken dinner. This knowledge comes from years of experience raising birds in Kansas. A few times I had up to 25 birds disappear at a time. I've raised many different breeds of chickens, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, chukar and ostriches.

Weeder geese are great to have around on property such as you are talking about. They will keep your property looking like a golf course, and you won't ever have to mow your property, plus they lay about 40-80 eggs or more a year and each chick is worth about 3-7 dollars. If you raise the chick till its about 4 months old you can get up to 30-35 dollars a bird. Geese are well worth the time if you can keep the predators away. Each female goose has the potential to bring you $120 to $1,200 profit a year depending on if you sell their chicks or their larger weeder geese offspring that are about 4 months old.

www.cacklehatchery.com...

www.swartzentrover.com...



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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I bought "Speckled Sussex" Chicken's
For no other reason than that's what they had available in the feed store when I went to buy my hens...
turns out their a good heavy bird, good for meat and winter laying as well ( not all chicken's will lay year round ya know)

Why I bought so many was they were cheap and I plan to freeze a lot of them for eating once they grow a bit bigger



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:20 AM
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reply to post by DaddyBare
 


my wife said her dad raised chickens one time. She said she played with them and named them. When it came time to eat, nobody would eat Judy's chickens. She cried and everyone else had leftovers. Just sharing a story.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:20 AM
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I live on a working farm, this farm raises field crops, there are 20 acres out front and 20 acres out back. I limit my own gardening and animals within about one acre of space (actually less than that). I have been at this home now for 8 years and my oldest chicken who came with me when I moved in just passed on recently.

At any rate, I highly recommend Backyardchickens.com if anyone wants to meet up with knowledgeable people at this husbandry. As well there are several sister sites attached Backyardherds, and TheEasyGardener. All of these are bulletin boards and I am not linking them, sorry.

My first several years I allowed my chickens full access to all of the grounds. They were very active at bug collecting but they also were very active at eating plants too! LOL For some odd reason they always knew the ones I wanted to grow versus the ones I didn't. So it didn't take long before I realized that all the seedlings were being taken before they could establish themselves. By Summers end the plants were always taller than the chickens by far, but the diversity was lost and also most of my 'good intentions' were removed because they were consumed...voraciously! LOL

I have since learned to be cruel and start locking them away from my garden spaces. Up went the fences, but sadly anything 4ft and under means they just fly right over. I had to provide runs that were enclosed on the top as well (both for my garden's safety and their own from predators). Now I am at the point where I buy all the feed. I can no longer provide them the spaces they require to forage enough for a healthy existence.

As well I also provide straw for bedding and for cleanliness and sanitation. I now utilize "fly bait" traps which can get costly but is worth it, and I have a collection of antibiotics, de-wormers, and vitamins for them. I typically spend about 2-3 hours worth of chores in regards to them, watering, feeding, cleaning, and dealing with any problems. Mites were a problem at one time until I switched from the normal pyrethrin-based products (the mites became immune) to Moxidectin which is a systemic pesticide.

Eggs are great, but come winter they stop laying unless you begin to provide more lighting. They cycle the eggs based on the amount of sunlight they receive, not the temperature. I am fortunate that I do not have to provide heat for mine in the Winter, but there are so many States that fall below 20 degrees at night and this is when combs, waddles, and feet are at risk of freezing. Chickens after all are descendants of Jungle-Fowl and they do not freeze well unless you have dressed them (farm humor there sorry).

The part that was the hardest for me was the Processing. This is the part that I always threw me, dispatching a little life that doesn't mean any harm to anyone, raising a fluffy little babe into a fully feathered friend and then having to take them "out". One of the most important things to learn is that dying of old age is cruel. It is painful and it is pitiful and has no place in a farm. If there is an injury or sickness the person in charge should also be responsible enough to step up and do the right thing. Dispatching is fast and it is nearly painless. It does not stress the animal out like a long winded illness or a festering injury.

Well, I won't live without chickens. Now I have two turkeys this year and they are like big dopey friends! LOL I thought through the processing of the Turkeys and I cannot do it. Not by my hands, no way they are much too big. They will be dispatched by a bullet to the brain; it is fast, it is humane.

Then the best part. Learning how to clean and prepare a bird, and then learning the importance of aging the meat enough to let it become incredible! I have found with Chicken that 4-5 days of refrigeration is an excellent time-frame, some take it over 10 days. Fresh chicken is tough and needs to be relaxed to bring out the goodness (it is in fact a "rotting" process). It is also nice to note that now some Countries are moving away from the young birds because they lack flavor. In France a 3-year-old hen is the time to process, which brings in the best of flavors and textures to the meat; very much contrary to how Westerner's see the chicken, they raise them in record time and then it is over, no life at all. Why not let the bird have a healthier longer life, everything deserves to live, especially for flavor-sake!

OK, well I do love Chicken! I Love how the Rooster Crows all day long, I love how much my Mulch bin has benefited by the coop mess I clean seasonally. My orchard is now bare of any greenery except the trees themselves. I Love having fresh Eggs! The taste is unlike a store-bought bleached eggs that must be refrigerated.

Oh yes, in Europe it is not uncommon to see fresh chicken eggs kept in a basket or bowl in the kitchen, out in the open. Here in America it is considered a "no-no" and most people fear an egg sitting out getting warm. The reason they can do this is that they have not "washed" the eggs at all, and that the natural flora that envelopes the egg as it is passed from the Hen prevents bacteria from infiltrating the egg. An unwashed egg can sit on the counter for up to 5 weeks before you use it, or hatch it! Seriously, an egg can sit for that long as long as you do not handle them (oils on fingers) or wash them. I keep all my eggs on the counter, never in the fridge. I wash them as I am using them; however, I have had a hot kitchen at times during the Summer months and I have opened several in mid-development as a result. That is kind-of sad to run into.

I think everyone should raise chickens. They are humble and even if you only provide them with a box they will think they live in a palace.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by Russian Scientists
 


Good point... but I do have my little 6 acres fenced on three sides, the fourth border is a good sized pond.
On the other side of that pond I've seen a coyote eyeing my hens but their pretty smart and stay near in the yard where my dogs keep four legged chicken predators away (We have some pretty good sized hawks here to ya know) they sleep in their coop at night where I shut them in until morning.


So far so good but if I start losing birds I might have to make other plans...



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 11:26 AM
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reply to post by Greensage
 



I think everyone should raise chickens. They are humble and even if you only provide them with a box they will think they live in a palace.


I loved watching them take dust baths, they looked like they were having so much fun. No, it didn't take much to make those chickens happy. "Here, chick, chick, chick..." and they would come running. 'cause from me, that meant worms were about to be dug up for 'em...and they just loves a good juicy worm.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 02:23 PM
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I've done the same except by placing 3 or 4 European mantis egg sacs strategically around my perimeter.

Works well too. No tasty eggs though.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by DaMod
I've done the same except by placing 3 or 4 European mantis egg sacs strategically around my perimeter.

Works well too. No tasty eggs though.


there was an old lady who swallowed a fly.

Sorry, but that is what comes to mind with that idea.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 03:47 PM
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Great to hear about your chickens DaddyBare and I wanted to echo the joy of owning chickens that you and other posters on this thread have said. We live in a small village in the countryside of the UK and have our chickens in a run and then will be opening up the garden to them as we have finished chicken proving the garden.

We have not purchased eggs from the stores for over a year now, and there is nothing better that eggs from your own chickens. We give then layers pellets and corn as a treat, and any non meats scraps, go to the chickens.

As we clear the garden, I shread the garden waste and this goes on the floor of their pen, encouraging creatures for the chickens.



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