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Author Topic: wanting to get started with chickens  (Read 7075 times)
reinbeau
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2009, 02:45:49 PM »

The Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart is a great place to investigate what chooks you'd like to have.  My Pet Chicken has a neat breed selection tool, you enter your criteria and it tells you what chickens fulfill your desires
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Shawn
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2009, 10:45:23 PM »

Reinbeau, thanks for that link. Very interesting!
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2009, 11:24:03 AM »

Thanks to all for the links and for starting this thread - I have done nothing but sit around and surf "chickens" for two days! Not a bad way to spend a miserable weekend.

- Jess
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Shawn
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« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2009, 03:52:20 PM »

Just found this site when trying to figure out what birds Im going to buy.

http://www.chickencrossing.org/basics.php
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poka-bee
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« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2009, 06:12:01 PM »

Jess, Me too!!  My eggs sell out before I even leave the CSA so I need more chix & want some darker egg layers to mix in, Maran or Wellsummer I think & more EE's.  The EE's come in so many different colors & patterns, you never know what you will get! They are like bees, MORE MORE MORE!! Speaking of chix...better get out there & clean the coop...UGH! tongue  J
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2009, 06:18:05 PM »

What is CSA? No use abbreviating, someone is going to ask.
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poka-bee
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« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2009, 07:53:00 PM »

Community Supported Agriculture.  A small (11 acres)organically grown farm (Take Root Farm, it's on the web)grows veggies & a bunch of us buy shares each season.  Every week we pick up a box of assorted veggies & fruit. In the winter she goes to the organic co-op or market or wherever (Maybe Chef knows?) & gets our stuff. It is fresher than @ the store & for me, the thought of hundreds of people not walking by sneezing or letting their kids w/boogity hands play with my food is priceless.  Also, if we are not going to the store all the time, it cuts out all the "impulse" buying of things not good for us.  We do get all the U/cut kales, mustard greens, swiss chard, mints & herbs (whatever is still growing) we want & in the summer huge bouquets of flowers. Jen is letting me put some bees there in the spring!  The other members are clamoring for honey already so I have a ready made market! J
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2009, 08:40:34 PM »

Hi Poka!

Yes, I have been looking at Welsummer, too. A farm in MD that I know has them and they look like great layers and friendly chix. (google Whitmore Farms - he's got a nice page on the Welsummer - and he has fainting goats - who raises them anymore!?). I had never heard of the Welsummers before.

I have been doing research on the Easter Eggers, too - it is a bit disappointing that the breed has been so muddied. Again, Whitmore has true Ameraraucanas (or claims to and I kind of trust him) so since I am only going to do 3 chix I am thinking I will do one each Welsummer, Ameraraucana and was thinking Delaware but honestly am now leaning towards the Isa Hubbard mentioned here earlier. Of course I also used the pick your chicken tool and saw Barred Plymouth Rocks would be good for me - I have been in love with them since I met a few at Mount Vernon several years ago.

What do you have now - would you recommend them for backyard chicken-ing?

Honestly, waste is my biggest concern since I won't be able to compost ALL of it and I really am in a suburban/backyard setting so I've got to be proactive about odor. Any advice out there for disposal?

- Jess
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poka-bee
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« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2009, 09:33:53 PM »

Jess, with only a few chix it isn't so bad.  I use deep litter, where you put 3-5" of shavings down & mix (I use a hoe) it in every few days. Add some more shavings every week or so.  You can go weeks without clearing it out completely, it sort of starts to break down right in there.  I also use stall dry & diatomateous earth for the ammonia (works great in the catbox too).  You can compost it to use in the rest of the yard.  I have Blk. Sex Links, Danish Leghorns & EE's.  They are all very friendly, even the leghorns that are sposed to be flighty.  The Sex Links are very pretty.  Nothing beats your own eggs, you won't even want to eat an omelet in a restaraunt anymore cause they look anemic!  J
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2009, 12:10:29 AM »

Jessaboo,

Are you doing mail order or will you pick them up. Every place I know of will only ship orders of 25. And Estes Hatchery throws in a couple more for Justin Case.

You know Just in case a couple die.
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2009, 10:44:02 AM »

I confessed to Jessaboo my desire to have chix myself. I too live in heavy suburbia and cant afford to "bee a nusiance." Particularly w/ bees in my backyard. I dont think I could live w/o at least a hive or two in my backyard and wouldnt want to draw attention to me. I will observe her attempts and maybe try next year. Just a few for eggs, bug duties etc. I dont see myslef butchering, but give me time. I love jerked chicken!!! Oh, and absolutely no roosters.
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poka-bee
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« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2009, 04:15:34 PM »

JM, I like Estes too & am going to order 25 & hope someone else around here wants some!  They were 100% on the pullets last time. I don't want to wait for the feedstore to get em..would like to get em fledged out & ready to go to the outside pen early April for eggs between June & July.  The EE's seemed to take longer to lay than the Sex Links or Leghorns at least for me. Don't know bout the marans or welsummers huh   J
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2009, 04:44:42 PM »

I got one rooster out of the 27 they sent. He is pretty though.

I got mine July 23. Some started laying the last of November and others started all through December.
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2009, 05:02:41 PM »

Hey Jerry -

My plan is to pick them up. I know most hatcheries are really not interested in selling one or two (although looking at McMurray he does have pricing for one chick). I would really like chicks, of course, but if I can't get them sexed I am going to have to get pullets. I am in a situation where I don't want to risk even one rooster crow! I also don't want my local post office to see me coming in to pick up live birds - that's just BEGGING for trouble.

I have a friend who is fairly local who gets Easter Eggers every year and has offered me a few from her chicks this spring so if all else fails getting the birds I really want I will go that route. She orders from McMurray and has been happy with their sexing accuracy, too. I think they also send Justin Case one or two more to make up for "unfortunate shipping accidents."

- Jess

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Natalie
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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2009, 06:47:45 PM »

Well all this talk about chickens, I just cleaned the 2 coops and the grower pen today and it took me 2 hours.
Its so cold that some of the shavings were frozen to the floor where the waterer leaked a little and I had to scrape it all off. What fun.
But they all seem very content with their nice new fluffy shavings.
I agree with the easter eggers, at least my experience is that they lay later, I never had any of mine lay until at least 7 months.
The rest all came into lay around 6 months although my cuckoo maran just laid her first egg at 8 months, thinking it could be the cold weather but I don't know.
I have around 50 chickens now. I have a few of those black copper marans that are suppose to lay the chocolate eggs, the darkest of all with the copper and brown spots.
Well, of course they aren't laying yet either, just like the easter eggers, the colored layers like to keep  you waiting for those pretty eggs.
I love welsummers, very pretty and good temperment.
Right now I am raising, Black copper marans, cuckoo marans, black sex links, easter eggers, silkies, buff orpingtons, blue orpingtons, rhode island reds, new hampshire reds, barred rocks, giant blue cochins,
speckled sussex,silver laced wyandottes, blue wyandottes,araucanas,frizzles and sizzles.
I think I remembered them all.

If you are worried about raising chickens in suburbia, its really not an issue unless you have roosters.
Just don't get roosters and keep the coop clean and the neighbors will really not care. Especially when you are sharing all those free local eggs.
I have a fenced in yard and I just turn them loose every morning and they go into the coop on their own at night, if you are concerned for their safety you can just build a run, as long as they get access to the outside world they will be happy.
I have one that thinks she is a dog or maybe even a human, I haven't figured it out yet,and  she follows me around, and screeches outside my kitchen door to be let in the house.
People will come over to visit and you can hear her screeching and sqwaking outside the door and pecking at the door with her beak, she gets very indignant when you ignore her. It sounds crazy but its true.
If I am not quick enough she slides right in behind me and starts walking around the house like she owns the place.
A couple of times I have come out of a room to find her in the house and i have no idea how she got in, I can only assume that someone else was not quick enough either and they didn't realize they let her in.
If I call the dogs in she comes running in behind them and goes into the pantry with them for a drink of water.
I had no idea chickens had such personalities, they are a riot to watch in action.
You guys will love raising chickens, I wouldn't worry about the 25 minimum order because you will end up wanting more anyway.
The reason I didn't order from a hatchery was because I didn't want 25 chicks and now I have more than that.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2009, 07:02:07 PM »

The twenty five minimum is for the chicks body heat during shipping. Little birds like quail the minimum is much higher.

Natalie, Do you give yours an average of 15 hours of light? I hear when the days get shorter they won't lay as much and might even stop until longer days.
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Natalie
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« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2009, 07:42:09 PM »

Jerrymac, I have heard that about the light. I have not been supplementing light but alot of my pullets came into lay this winter which surprised the heck out of me. I thought I would be getting zero eggs since we have these short ,dark cold days here in Massachussetts right now but for the most part we are doing well. There has been a couple of days where the egg production will drop off sharply but then all of a sudden they are laying full swing.
I don't know if them being out in the sun all day helps or not. I let them out of their coops early in the morning so they are out in the sun all day.I don't know how else to explain the sudden lows and highs in production.
But then again, I do have a couple of 8 month old birds that have only just started laying and they are laying sporadically, one is a wyandotte, but her sister is laying and the other is the cuckoo maran.

I meant to say that mypetchicken.com ships chickens and they will ship as low as 3 at a time. Although I don't know if that is a great idea I haven't heard anything bad about them.
I had a breeder ship me 10 marans in september and they made it through fine. I don't think too many people get chicks in the mail around here, my mailman seemed very anxious to drop them off and he said everyone at the post office was yelling at him to hurry up and get them out of the post office. They were so nervous.
Just be careful to anyone who orders less than the minimum at the hatcheries or if you don't specify on your order correctly that you do not want packing peanuts.
If you don't know the term, packing peanuts are extra baby roos they have and they use them to keep the pullets warm. Its also a good way for them to unload their roosters but its bad for you if you don't want roosters.
I know someone on one of the chicken forums ended up with 15 roosters this way.


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Jerrymac
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« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2009, 04:06:16 PM »

I have a timer rigged to give light just before sunrise (5am) and then goes off. It then comes on in the evening until 8pm giving 15 hours of light. Out of 27 hens I get anywhere from 19 to 23 eggs per day.
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Natalie
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« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2009, 06:22:43 PM »

Do you have any problem with getting the girls to go back into the coop at night with the lights on?
I use to put my floodlights on out back whenever I switched the lampost light on out front.
I found though that the chickens would just start lingering in the yard instead of going inside at dusk.
I could not force them into the coops for anything, so I shut the lights off and then instead of going in the coops they just stood around in the dark.
I had to chase them around for a week after I stopped using the floodlights, it was like their systems were all out of whack.
Those are some pretty good results with the lights, I have heard they work well.
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poka-bee
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« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2009, 06:32:19 PM »

I do the same as JM, they get 15 hrs of light. I don't have a floodlight in the yard.  When it starts to get dark outside they just put themselves to bed. Miss Ginny sleeps with them now too. They do hang out on the ramp by the door of the coop yakking & take a little longer to settle down but they are all inside when it gets fully dark.  I have 16 chix & get 10-13 a day. They are very happy this afternoon cause I brought a box full of loose lettuce leaves from the farm.  J
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