Got my first chickens

trudyjean82(z8SWGA)January 4, 2005

yesterday. 8 right now, got them home and before nightfall 2 got out. I was able to get one back in the pen but the other is in a tree. Theses aren't chicks, they are about 4 months old I got for a dollar each from a friend of mine. I have to be at work all day today and worried my dogs will get to her before I can get home. Just wanted to share with others that are into chickens, DH could care less and didn't want me to get them in the first place. trudyjean

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I'm so happy for you! I know all the "old hands" probably think "so what", but I loved having chickens and wish I could have them now. I started like you did, no tiny chicks, and I understand that if they are raised from chicks they will be a bit tamer than the ones I had. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did!

My first 8 were killed by the neighbor's Rotties, and the second group were killed by a weasel, I think. When I win the lottery (ha, ha!) and am able to move back out of my parents' house, I will have some land and chickens will be my first livestock aquisition! I've got grand plans for a set-up.

All of mine were mixed bantams, but the eggs were wonderful, and I don't think I've heard a better sound than a happy hen. Of course, having bantams may have had something to do with mine being so skittish.

Just wait till your DH tries some "home-grown" eggs! I'll bet he changes his mind. I still rave to cooking friends how beautiful and ORANGE those eggs were. Store-bought ones look so anemic and watery to me now.

Sorry to ramble, but I am happy that there is someone else out there that wants to crow about their chickens. I wish you luck, and let us know how they do and when you get your stray hen in.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2005 at 11:43PM
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Thanks, came home after work and still haven't seen that hen. But have'nt seen any feathers flying either. I use to get fresh eggs from another friend, so DH has had fresh eggs before. He usually will eat whatever I fix, so it doesn't matter one way or another to him. Chickens are just not his thing, which is ok. He has his hobbies and I have mine. But I do like baking with fresh eggs verses store bought. Really makes a difference. Hope you can get back on track soon and get your chickens Kayva. Best wishes, trudyjean

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 5:16AM
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bestdeall(6 western NC)

This is my first year raising chickens and I am in heaven! I just love them. I got 2 roosters and 3 hens from our local freecycle site, that someone was giving away. We then went on halves with the same person and got 15 babies. Last night, we got another 2 Bantam roosters from another person, who was giving them away on another freecycle site that I belong to. There were 3 roosters, but one escaped while we were trying to put him into the cage. I was so upset because he was one of those "bad hair day" looking roosters...LOL! She told me when he decided to come home, she would pen him up and give me a call.
When I got my first egg the other day, you would have thought that someone had given me a pot of gold! I was so excited! I am hoping to get enough eggs to sell a few on the side. Nothing like a good homegrown fresh egg from your very own chickens!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 2:04PM
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garden_knome(z5 ont)

congratulations on your chickens. A weasel just recently got into my hen house and cleaned it out in a matter of one day, all I have left is a rooster. I ordered a dozen pullets the other day and I can pick them up in about two weeks, until than a friend of mine is bringing down a couple of hens to keep the rooster from dying of lonliness. I like having chickens and hubby loves the fresh eggs. Enjoy having your girls..Jaime

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 9:38AM
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Sorry to hear about your chickens. Luckily we don't have weasels here but we have plenty of other predators. I am trying to get a top over my pen to keep them from getting out, almost finished. Another friend was getting rid of all his chickens and gave me some more. Been getting eggs about every other day when its warm. Yesterday I was so excited, I got home and checked my boxes and I had a green egg. Trudyjean

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 5:21AM
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bestdeall(6 western NC)

Oh how cool....a green egg! I am now up to 2 eggs a day. I still have 1 hen who is not laying. I don't know if it is just because of the weather or what. I guess I will have to wait and see if she starts laying when it warms up.

I tried to boil 6 of my brown eggs yesterday to make deviled eggs. Those little things sure were hard to peel. I ended up taking almost half of the white off of the egg...LOL! The shells were stuck really good to the whites. Anyone know why that happened? Any tips for getting them to peel easily?

My little baby chicks are getting bigger. Now they are at that "so ugly they are cute" stage! But I won't tell them they are ugly...I don't want to give them a complex....LOL!

I'm having to keep my 2 little Bantam roosters separated from my other 2 roosters. Those little guys keep trying to pick a fight with my big guys. Guess I will have to end up building another chicken house coop just for them. I just hope my baby chicks can get along with the bigger chickens when I put them out in the yard. I don't have room to build a 3rd chicken house coop!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 7:26AM
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Kathy547(z8 AR)

You can clip the wings if you want to keep them from flying off, but we made our chicken coop out of the old smokehouse on the property. There was alittle hole at groundlevel that wasn't quite big enough so we enlarged it & then took chicken wire & pvc pipe & cedar posts & enclosed them alittle yard. It's also covered so the only way out was through the door. Once they got use to the henhouse, we let them roam free & they go into the house at night or in bad weather. We had a dog that was a problem but my husband beat the hell out of him & he stopped killing chickens. An oldtimer told him to tie a dead chicken to the dog's neck for a couple of hours & that would cure him from killing them. My husband also did that but I'm not sure if that was as effective as method #1. Same thing for the cat. Now, the chickens roam all over the place & I'm wanting to put them back in the pen fulltime - too much poop everywhere! Also watch out for skunks on your predator list.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 6:44PM
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I've finally got a top on the pen, so no more escaping. I've been told to clip the wings, but now with the top on I don't think its necessary. So far I haven't lost any more chickens. I realized I had 3 roosters and gave 2 of them away last night to a fellow neighbor just getting started. I am down to 8 hens and the 1 rooster now. I am getting anywhere from 3-6 eggs a day which is pretty good I think.

I don't want to beat the dog due to when we got him as a puppy I think he had already been abused. He stayed under the porch for 2 wks and wouldn't come out. When he finally did come out he really shied and coward down to anyone that came near him or even looked at him. So I haven't gotten on to him to much for that reason. He's a pretty good dog for the most part, scared of his own shadow and minds reasonably good. I think its cause they were new to him and in "his" yard. I don't want the chickens to free range cause of all my flower beds. I have to much time invested in the flower beds to just turn them over to the chickens.

My rooster has one of his spurs curling into his leg and was told I needed to clip his nail to redirect it away from his leg. But I don't know how far back I can go with out causing any problems. Anyone know? Trudyjean

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 9:47PM
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foolyap(z5 MA)

I tried to boil 6 of my brown eggs yesterday to make deviled eggs. Those little things sure were hard to peel. I ended up taking almost half of the white off of the egg...LOL! The shells were stuck really good to the whites. Anyone know why that happened? Any tips for getting them to peel easily?

Kathy, I had always heard that fresh eggs are very hard to "peel" when hard-boiled. You might try letting them age a coule of weeks in the 'fridge first?


    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 10:07AM
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bestdeall(6 western NC)

Thanks Steve for the idea...I will do that.

Well, I lost 4 of my baby chicks last week, now I'm down to 11. Found out it was probably due to stress...can't remember exactly what it is called. Put them outside yesterday most of the day to enjoy the sunshine. They were so cute running around checking things out. My bigger chickens stayed by the fence alot checking the babies out, while the 2 Bantam roosters were not interested at all. I think at first the Bantams were a little preturbed because they got ousted out of their little enclosed place in the chicken yard. DH built them a little spot on the backside of the yard which is bigger than their old space.

I am now up to 3 eggs a day...wooohooo! Can't wait for the babies to get big enough to start laying. Told DH that if there were any roosters in this batch of babies, they were going into the freexer....4 roosters were enough already! I know he will not kill the 2 Bantams or the other 2 roosters we have...he named those 2 Chuck and Charlie. I really have my doubts that he would kill any of thme for that matter.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 8:44AM
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I can sympathize with your DH, I couldn't kill any of mine either and thats why I gave my 2 extra roosters away. At least at this point, perhaps its cause they are still new to me. Ask me in about a year or two and I may feel

I get my order in next friday, I can't wait. I ordered 4 Wyonettes, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 4 Americanias. So far the most eggs laid for my 8 hens have been 7. With today being stormy and the pen floor being flooded they still gave me 6 eggs with one of them green. Such good girls they are!!

I also had read somewhere about letting the eggs get a couple weeks or even a month old won't hurt before you boil them. Tells you a lot about those store bought ones huh! No telling how old they are by the time they get to our homes. Trudyjean

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 6:08PM
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I'm considering getting some chickens. I went to a poultry seminar last night at Blue Seal. Most of the people there who already had chickens had electricity in their sheds/coops, and used lights in winter so they would continue to get eggs. I wasn't planing to get my coop hooked up to the electric. What do you folks do in winter, or do you just don't worry about them laying in the winter?

Also, I have never had banties, and although I want to get Rhode Island Reds, I'd love to get some Bantams too. If one got them all at the same time would they get along & share the same coop? Also are bantie eggs big enough to eat? I mean how many bantie eggs to equal one small "regular" egg?

My husband isn't thrilled with the idea of getting chickens, but hopefully he'll like them after I get them. :)


    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 7:27PM
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Orpingtons are known as good winter layers and there are others as well. We get decent production even during the dead of winter. Good natural light from a south facing window helps. We got a couple of old sliding glass doors and installed them. Plus, your hens will lay well for three or four years if you don't burn them out with artificial lighting. Author/farmer Gene Logsdon says the only ones who win with supplemental lighting for chickens are the power companies. Given the cost of electricity I tend to agree.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 10:14PM
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Thanks David! I couldn't remember if my Dad ever used lights in the coop, I didn't think so, but it was so long ago! I certainly do remember we still had some fresh eggs in winter so I guess they must have still laid during the winter.
Thank goodness I don'r need electric because last fall my hubby had to dig a treach out to the greenhouse for the electric to be put in. He rented 2 different treachers from Home Depot, & both didn't work when we got them home. A piece fell off the second one when he started it! A long Saturday wasted running each of those heavy suckers back & forth to the Depot. He finally had to dig the darn thing by hand. Now he has to dig another treach for the greenhouse propane line. I would have hated to tell him we need to electrify the chicken coop & need another treach!!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 8:50AM
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I fully agree with the "artificial light" issue. I never used lights in my coop & all my chickens laid year-round. Sure - I didn't get the production I got during the spring/summer, but so what? Figured the birds could use the rest.

I found that the only breeds that didn't lay as well during the winter months were the more lightweight breeds - Leghorns, Polish, Houdan, etc. My Aracaunas, Rhode Islands, Sexlinks, Barred Rocks, & Cochins laid fairly well year-round. But I still did get eggs from all of them at one time or another.

I also liked the fact that as the years went by, while the older hens - regardless of breed - laid less frequently, when they did lay I had SUPER JUMBO eggs - quite frequently with double yolks. And when they did stop laying, I still kept them on as "pensioners", & simply let them help me out in the garden - weeding & pest-picking - lol!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 10:09AM
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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

Where we live in Indiana, the extension office has a program called "Incubators in the Classroom" (use your imagination) and the resulting chicks are pretty - well - unwanted after a day or two. Teachers are always looking for receptive homes for them. Call your extension office to see if this is a possibility. Here, the eggs come from Purdue and are all white leghorns. But the price is right, and you may be saving chicks from the dumpster!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 10:43AM
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Hey - I got a chick from a similar program to that - although a lab program.

He grew up into an extremely tame White Leghorn rooster whom we named "Baby Chicken". He had his own separate cage/run outside, & at night we'd open the cage door & he'd run up to the back door of the house. We'd open the door & he'd run across the living room, go up the stairs, & hop into the cardboard nest box he had as a chick for the night.

And who says chickens aren't smart - lol!!!!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 5:40PM
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undercover_owl(8 Pac.NW)

Hi everyone!

There is a thread on the Farmlife Forum about dogs & chickens. I personally think that dogs can be taught to show at least a modicum of respect for your chickens. We introduced the baby chicks to my rottweiler by letting him watch them and sniff them, under close supervision.
Of course, the chickens stay in a 6' high pen...and no dogs allowed!

To catch loose chickens, try a fishing net.

I enjoy having a mix of different looking chickens so I can tell them apart. My 3 barred-plymouth rock hens are named "the fat girls" because all 3 are fat, and look exactly alike. All the other ones look at least a little bit individual.

Who says chickens aren't smart:
Yes, they have a few mental talents, such as communicating with a wide variety of peeps & chirps. They are very social birds.
I don't think I'd call them brainiacs, though. LOL

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 9:46PM
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Abbey_Lives(z6 KY)

We started out with about 90 Chicks (we ordered 25 White Leghorn Hens, 25 Red Stars Hens, 10 Domineckers Straight, and 15 Buff Orpingtons Straight). McMurray shipped an additional 15 Leghorns for Warmth. We built a coop inside of one of those pre-made barns that they assemble on side, and fenced in our rabbit hutches for about a 15' x 15' space that they could run out in.
We had about 5 die (failure to thrive, pasted, etc.), but we did very well on our first attempt. We then proceeded to wipe out about 25 of them (the roosters), and now we have around 60 and we get 8-9 dozen eggs a week.

Could not be happier. The Doms are beautiful birds, but they do not produce on the same caliber as the others.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 1:49PM
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I have been raising chickens for eggs for several years now. You can fix the problem of hard to peel eggs by putting them in ice water for 15 min right after you take them off the stove. It makes peeling very easy.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 7:32AM
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Something else that helps is to gently crack one side of the egg before sticking it in that ice water. Allows some air & water between the shell & the egg.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:54PM
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We started out with a small flock (hand raised chicks). DH wasn't into it ... especially the poultry smell in the dining room and then giving up the Sacred garage as they got bigger before they went out. Having two dd and a determined wife, he was out numbered in body and will power >:) One thing dh stated about chickens was that they were so stupid (never having had chickens growing up, I can understand his ignorance). I had a pair of banties from my grandma and loved them dearly (until the visiting step sibs dog massacred them). You can train a chicken to come just as any animal buy relying on their stomach (husbands included). I feed the chicken grain and leftovers in the avairy late afternoon (they are up all morning, mid afternoon they roam the garden and put up at evening) when I feed I call in a soothing voice "shoo-shoo, gooooo home" and they make a mad dash for the feed. I did this when they were chicks and on up. Now I can call "shoo-shoo, go home" a couple of times while doing other things in the yard and they basically will put themselves up! LOL! But some times I don't have leftovers or have forgotten the cracked grains, being slow to close up the avairy, they will come running back to hunt me down and cluck and cock their heads like 'whats up?!' Maybe you can start the training process (for the chickens) and get them working with you instead of against.
The hard boiled egg thing: I agree, you need lot older eggs and an ice shock to get an easy peel.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 6:39PM
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Raising chickens is very productive in harvesting your meat, eggs, incubating new chicks, "chicken house fertilizer" and just plain fun to watch.
I have raised chickens all my life.
I was raised in SW GA (Bainbridge area, Spring Creek and Brinson)and "rung chickens necks" as young as 10 yrs old, today we live in KY and still raise chickens (even while serving in Active duty military). My kids enjoy the "farm lifestyle, plus it is very educational for them.

Tip for boiling farm eggs, start by using you oldest eggs first, fresh eggs are for breakfast (or "hard time hash" for dinner)either fried or scrambled; use cold water to approx 1 inch above the eggs, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling water, boil 6-10 minutes (depending on if you want soft boil or hard boil) then remove to very cold water, peel when they cool to handle easily by cracking the egg on all sides and gently roll between palms of hands. By chilling the eggs immediately it will prevent the yolk from having a greenish tint, in other words the yolk will stay bright yellow.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 8:59PM
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I'm happy for you! =)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:56AM
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