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crimsonlonghorn

Raising Chickens

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8 hours ago, squib said:

My experience has been that hens lay far fewer eggs when the days get shorter and the weather turns colder. YRMV

Yeah, it has definitely slowed down since the days got shorter. My three marans haven't laid an egg for 4-6 weeks. All of the other breeds (cinnamon queens, orpingtons, RIR) have slowed down to laying every 2-3 days. 

The leghorns were all going strong until about 2 weeks ago and now they are finally slowing down slightly, but I'm still getting 4-5 per week from each of them instead of the usual every day like they do during the summer. 

On a related note, after the coons killed all of my barred rocks back in August, I got 4 new BR chicks. One has turned out to be a cockerel and he is going to be a very pretty rooster. He's at the stage now where his attitude is starting to flower a little bit and he should be crowing any day now.

I love my chickens. LOL

Edited by crimsonlonghorn

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Updated chicken coops71c6496fdfa2dfcb34424988e509c4c9.jpgd44b7d802d9cd887138b74c126bcbbf5.jpg

Realized that I hadn't post the updated Coop and run. After spending several weekends and countless hours making it dog proof, one of the dogs found a way to get it yesterday. He ate an egg then fell asleep in the middle while the chickens walked around and over him. I wish I got a pic, but it freaked me out before I thought of it.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 

Edited by Jameslaw121

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I fell into a youtube rabbit-hole this weekend watching the benefits of the pasture raised chickens for either eggs or meat. If I lived in a more rural area, it would be cool to pursue this as a hobby. At a minimum I'm changing my food buying habits.

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1 hour ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

I fell into a youtube rabbit-hole this weekend watching the benefits of the pasture raised chickens for either eggs or meat. If I lived in a more rural area, it would be cool to pursue this as a hobby. At a minimum I'm changing my food buying habits.

As mentioned above, mine live in wheeled tractors that I move around the pasture every 2-3 days. I'd love to let them be truly free range but you have to lock them up in the coop every night lest predators (raccoons and skunks) get them on the roost... and then you have to let them out every morning. If/when our house ever gets built on the farm, I'm probably going to let mine range more during the day. It's definitely the best practice. 

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Also, two of my marans finally started laying again this week. The dark brown eggs are the prettiest, even if there isn't a lot of them compared to the cinnamon queen and leghorn eggs. 

IMG_3616.jpg.70da167037d27ab6ea50499a123f525f.jpg

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1 hour ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

I fell into a youtube rabbit-hole this weekend watching the benefits of the pasture raised chickens for either eggs or meat. If I lived in a more rural area, it would be cool to pursue this as a hobby. At a minimum I'm changing my food buying habits.

Mine aren't quite pasture-raised. But they do get the run of the whole backyard a couple of times a week depending on the weather. And the actual run in the picture that has the green coop and the brown dog house is 20*10 for only 8 chickens.

I live in the middle of Allen, it's almost easier in the middle of town because we don't have much in the way of predators. So far haven't run into anything other than some rats eating their food. Very rarely actually lock the coop up at night, usually only when it's really cold or raining

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I grew up having chickens but my grandmother was in charge and didn't make me do much so I can't remember...is there daily work involved or just every couple days?

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Almost none, once they're pretty much grown. I have a large waterer that I fill up once a week (more often in August). A feeder I fill up every couple of days. Other than getting the eggs, that's about it

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Our chickens free range during the day unless we're out of town.  I usually let them out before I leave for work at 5:30.  They are fairly easy to put up in the evening.  One of the kids usually just has to go out there and shut the door.  They tend to put themselves in the coop when dusk falls.  We occasionally have to entice them into the coop with dried meal worms.

We had been over two years without any predator related casualties until October.  We lost three in one week to what I think ended up being a fox.  We're out on a few acres in Dripping Springs.  

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My 3 hens generally stay in our side yard, which is fenced off separately from the rest of the yard.  Had to do that to keep the dog from terrorizing them (mini-Aussie), and also keeps the hawks from being able to swoop in and grab them.  Side yard is two tiered and generally sheltered by trees so the hawks would have to go to the trouble of landing and then attacking from short range.  They seem to not care about them.

When they're in the main back yard, though, I usually won't let them out unless someone is out there.  And of course the dog would have to be on a leash or inside.

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My fenced in coop and run are low enough that some of the skinnier hens can fly over it. But, they'll let me know when they want back in by coming up to the back door. And usually they'll just follow me to the gate and go it. 

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This was yesterday. There are two white ones that will try and get my attention when I'm in the kitchen to help them back into the coop

Pardon the mess, my backyard looks awful right now bb8b6f7444953bbb230e0d63e9addaae.jpg

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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I know the feeling, my patio was always covered in chicken shit until we had a pool installed and screened in. I don’t miss those days one bit.

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51 minutes ago, crimsonlonghorn said:

During the winter I can leave mine for 2-3 days no problem, but during the summer they drink a lot more water and I have to go fill it up more often. 

How big is your water container for how many chickens? Mine is I think 10 gallons for 8 hens. Usually only once a week this time a year. But yeah, summer I check it everyday and fill up at least twice a week. 

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I just bought a 50 foot erosion fence to cordon off the part of the yard with the coop, so they quit shitting on our porch, and so there’s no more chicken shit for the dogs to eat. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jameslaw121 said:

How big is your water container for how many chickens? Mine is I think 10 gallons for 8 hens. Usually only once a week this time a year. But yeah, summer I check it everyday and fill up at least twice a week. 

Much smaller. Probably 4 gallons for 12 birds. It needs to be smaller because I move the tractors every 3-4 days and the drinker has to be portable. 10 gallons would be too big for me to move in and out of the tractor. 

EDIT: Should add, if/when I'm finally able to go free range, I'll likely be able to get a more permanent bigger drinker. 

Edited by crimsonlonghorn

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Wife just informed me that my birthday present - I am 46 today -  is two new roosters that we will go pick up this weekend. They will replace the ones lost to the raccoons in August. 

Not sure about the breed. Mrs CL says I can pick out whatever I want when we get to the feed store on Saturday. 

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With HEB running short, this here Chinese Virus has been great for the egg business. My hens are laying 3-4 dozen every day and we are selling every single one. 

Quite a few people have come by and asked to buy the actual chickens. Not happening dude. 

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Making good use of "shelter in place" by tearing up an old shed that was falling apart to build our new coop.

Ordered 30 Barred Rocks, and we go pick 'em up on Wednesday. I would have preferred having them in place before this all started, but if it makes a comeback this fall, I'll be ready.

20200311_112458.jpg

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On 1/2/2020 at 2:18 PM, Jameslaw121 said:

This was yesterday. There are two white ones that will try and get my attention when I'm in the kitchen to help them back into the coop

Pardon the mess, my backyard looks awful right now bb8b6f7444953bbb230e0d63e9addaae.jpg

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 

They are so cute!

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On 3/19/2020 at 7:53 PM, crimsonlonghorn said:

With HEB running short, this here Chinese Virus has been great for the egg business. My hens are laying 3-4 dozen every day and we are selling every single one. 

Quite a few people have come by and asked to buy the actual chickens. Not happening dude. 

Haha I've been throwing around the idea of chickens for a few years.  Shit like this makes me think twice as hard .  Ultimately it comes down to the fact that I'm not sure I could keep them alive.  Too many predators around.

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Not going to lie, been thinking really hard the last few days about grabbing a few and putting together a coop.  The only thing we've had to hit the store for is eggs.

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1 hour ago, fattyflattie said:

Not going to lie, been thinking really hard the last few days about grabbing a few and putting together a coop.  The only thing we've had to hit the store for is eggs.

4 months before pullets start laying. 

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7 hours ago, Pato del Muerto said:

4 months before pullets start laying. 

At least. 

It's something of an investment since you have to care for them for several months before you ever start seeing anything in return. The chicks I picked up in August after our raccoon invasion just started laying in February. And I have a dozen BC marans that I got at the start of the year and I expect them to start laying sometime in May/June. They are halfway there. 

But, all that said, it's still a fun hobby. 

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9 hours ago, Pato del Muerto said:

4 months before pullets start laying. 

Yeah my folks have a few dozen about an hour up the road.  But that’s not very convenient.  Trying to figure out how I can do it here without pissing the neighbors off. 

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45 minutes ago, fattyflattie said:

Yeah my folks have a few dozen about an hour up the road.  But that’s not very convenient.  Trying to figure out how I can do it here without pissing the neighbors off. 

There is a place in Denton called DNL Feed. They have "teenage" chickens. Not laying yet, but old enough to be outside on their own like full adults are. If you have a decent size backyard, the neighbors shouldn't be a problem if you only get like 4 chickens. They're not louder than any other birds plying around, and as long as you spend half an hour each weekend taking care of them, you won't notice any smell or anything 

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3 hours ago, fattyflattie said:

Yeah my folks have a few dozen about an hour up the road.  But that’s not very convenient.  Trying to figure out how I can do it here without pissing the neighbors off. 

Back when I lived in the middle of the city, I had a simple solution to this problem:  I bought them off with free eggs.

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My direct neighbors are cool. HOA dick and whatnot.  Still don’t think it’d be much of an issue, but it would require a nice looking coop.  Kind of out of the nature of the whole deal, but fresh eggs are nice. 

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So, we'd intended to get Barred Rocks, but that farm changed their mind and didn't sell. We ended up getting a straight run of Australorps, which lay about as well, but are a little more docile. I prefer the Barred's because they tend to defend themselves against possums and raccoons a little better than other breeds we've tried, but oh well.

As for the straight run, if the stats hold true, we'll have a dozen or so roosters, so.... lotsa meat birds in addition to our egg birds.

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1 hour ago, Walden Ponderer said:

So, we'd intended to get Barred Rocks, but that farm changed their mind and didn't sell. We ended up getting a straight run of Australorps, which lay about as well, but are a little more docile. I prefer the Barred's because they tend to defend themselves against possums and raccoons a little better than other breeds we've tried, but oh well.

As for the straight run, if the stats hold true, we'll have a dozen or so roosters, so.... lotsa meat birds in addition to our egg birds.

The meanest rooster I have right now is a barred rock. No damn raccoons going to ever get any of his girls unless he dies first.

IMG_3632.jpg.4fca055ca4be49278db1265eb1f5b529.jpg

 

 

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Whelp, they've survived a few nights outside now, and in that short duration, I've chased off a couple of coyotes and a raccoon. Looks like (knock on wood) I engineered a solid enough coop for rural North Carolina. Now we wait for the roosters (aka "fajitas") to announce themselves, and the hens to lay eggs.

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On 5/3/2020 at 10:50 AM, Walden Ponderer said:

Whelp, they've survived a few nights outside now, and in that short duration, I've chased off a couple of coyotes and a raccoon. Looks like (knock on wood) I engineered a solid enough coop for rural North Carolina. Now we wait for the roosters (aka "fajitas") to announce themselves, and the hens to lay eggs.

 

Barred Rocks? Cool. Should be pretty easy to tell the boys from the girls in about 2-3 more weeks. The stripes on the males are much more brightly colored compared to the females. Hard to describe but you'll be able to tell easily. My understanding is that this is because the males get their barred coloring from two different genes whereas the females only get it from one single gene. The overall color appears lighter because the white stripes are whiter on the males. 

Here's a pic of that previously posted rooster when was only about six weeks old and still nice to people. He looked like a cartoon, the coloring was so bright on the stripes and the caruncles. Bright yellow feet and beak, too. 

IMG_3179.thumb.jpg.5098c1c33a6d7d343b5f34effeae1379.jpg

 

 

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56 minutes ago, crimsonlonghorn said:

Oops, just reread your posts and they aren't barred rocks. 

Roosters will still be easy to tell soon enough. 

Australorps are actually kinda cool, too. Barred Rocks crossed with Orpingtons. A little less aggressive, but every bit as productive as layers. I haven't slaughtered any before, but I'm guessing the meat will be just as good as a Barred, too.

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Last month my kids convinced me to let one of our broody hens sit on some eggs and try to hatch them. Rather than let the hen lay them all we collected eggs from two coops and gave her an instant clutch of nine eggs. May 7 (tomorrow) was supposed to be the day.

Two eggs broke early on and were thrown out. We found a dead premie in the coop on Monday (gross) but then opened the coop this afternoon and found these with the mother still sitting on four more eggs. 

Never hatched eggs before. This is kind of cool. 

They will all be mixed breed since none of the roosters and hens in either coop where we gathered the eggs are of the same breed. The one on top is likely a cross of the Barred Rock rooster and a Buff Orpington hen. The one on the bottom hatched from a white egg, so we know she's 1/2 leghorn (and looks like a leghorn chick) but can't tell which rooster was her daddy. 

IMG_4124.thumb.jpg.1e572d4bf2b5a6a7ea2d40dd668cead9.jpg

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15 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

I wonder if chickens get some of the same benefits from hybrid vigor as cattle do. 

They do. Hybrids tend to be healthier than pure bred birds. 

The "problem" - if you want to call it that - is that most modern breeds have an emphasis on egg production bred into them, so hybrids tend to lay fewer eggs as part of the "reversion" back towards the natural state. 

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Another pic. Today is the due date and is last day we let her sit on these eggs, so if no more new chicks tomorrow we're tossing those eggs and being perfectly content with just two babies for our first attempt. 

(Ms CL is a UVA grad, hence my son's shirt)

IMG_4132.jpg.fd63b35a766fd10089581c13f7582999.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Our neighborhood has been infested by a gaggle of wild turkeys. We are on a dirt road that ends at the lake and one of the neighbors set up a turkey feeding station. Now they have infested from her house all the way down to ours on the lake. Wasnt sure where to put this but I kind of want them gone. They have power in numbers so they aren't even phased by our dogs, they just puff up and the dogs are like fuck this its 30 to 2. 

 

and yes I have thought about shooting them, but I am pretty certain it isn't turkey season in metro detroit and that my feeding the turkeys neighbor would snitch. 

 

Edited by Juicy

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1 hour ago, crimsonlonghorn said:

Another pic. Today is the due date and is last day we let her sit on these eggs, so if no more new chicks tomorrow we're tossing those eggs and being perfectly content with just two babies for our first attempt. 

(Ms CL is a UVA grad, hence my son's shirt)

IMG_4132.jpg.fd63b35a766fd10089581c13f7582999.jpg

WAHOOWA!

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On 5/5/2020 at 1:36 PM, Walden Ponderer said:

Australorps are actually kinda cool, too. Barred Rocks crossed with Orpingtons. A little less aggressive, but every bit as productive as layers. I haven't slaughtered any before, but I'm guessing the meat will be just as good as a Barred, too.

Only way I've been able to tell pullets from cockerels is when the saddle feathers start to emerge on the boys.  They're much narrower and longer.

400

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Damn, got all interested in this and found out in my city you have to live on over an acre to have Chickens.

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So that was it for the chicks. She abandoned the rest of the eggs so I got 2 chicks out of 9 eggs. I'm satisfied with the result. 

Friday morning I found one of the chicks walking around outside of the tractor. Guess he squeezed through an opening and couldn't get back in, so I moved the mama and the two chicks into the brooder box for a few days to keep them safe while they are so little. Good thing I found him before a snake or a hawk did. 

It's pretty funny to watch them with their mother. She waddles around and scratches in the shavings and they try to stay out of the way and peck at whatever she pecks, then she plops down and puffs up and they burrow underneath and keep cheeping while they are hidden underneath.

I'll probably move them to a separate pen next to her regular tractor next weekend and then a couple of weeks after that I'll move them all back into the general population. 

Photo below. She keeps knocking over the feeder so it's messier in there than I would like. 

IMG_4137.jpg.97c8ed92f1bcabb54c29837c41ff1d7e.jpg

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