Got my babies today and the coop is primed and ready!!
GUILTY AS CHARGED... not to mention the fresh eggs daily and the meat should one of them wander to close to my axe.
Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Marans, and R.I. Reds
junglegal - Well, I can't say that I have chickens for their manure. It would be more accurate to say that it is a wonderful by-product. You have a very attractive set-up for your new chicks.
I have 13 mature hens: 10 Rhode Island Reds and 3 white ones (hybrids) that are nearly two years old now. At the beginning of October I bought replacement hens since my mature ones aren't laying very well due to their age. The new babies are barred rocks, americanas, black austrolops, and buff orpingtons. One of the barred rocks is so sweet that it would make a great pet.
My compost bins are located at the backside of the coop which makes for quick disposal of the manure.
I had to keep the brooder cage in the house for a few weeks until the chicks were feathered out enough to go outside.
Luckily, I had some space in my greenhouse to fence off an area for the chicks. They are too young to combine with the adults especially since my R.I. Reds are aggressive. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do with the chicks when they outgrow this spot.
Lou - Glad that you can eat your chickens when the time comes. I don't know if I will be able to.
I am so envious of everyone's chickens! Brenda, that has got to be the prettiest coop I've ever seen. Really very ornamental, and the bamboo next to it looks great. Now, what kind are the kinds you got?
I don't know anything about chickens. Are there ones that are better egg layers than others? Better personalities? Why did you all pick the types you did? Are some better suited to our climate? I'm still tinkering with the thought of getting some, but I don't know how realistic that is.
Christine, no wonder your veggie grow so well.
I have to agree that the R.I. Reds are scrappy as heck. I had to build another cage for the newbies. My wife likes the green eggs from the Maran's the best, I like the temperament of the Orpingtons & Barred Rocks. The Marans are nervous birds but great layers.
I would love to have chicken, but I am in the city limits. Tropical Botanical Gardens and Nursery has them free roaming and there isn't an insect in site. I agree that is a very pretty coop,JG.
I wanted to keep the topic relevant to gardening, hence the manure talk :) Quite sure these will end up babied like the rest of the zoo. LOL
Thanks for the compliments on the coop. I had it built from someone off craigs list. I started this chicken journey just wanting fresh eggs. Little did I know, $1400 later I'd be nursing little ones in my back bedroom!!
Um, expensive eggs.
The 2 bigger birds of the 4 are bantam silkies. They stay small & it's said they have the best personalities of all poultry. These will be 'lap chickens' with the bonus of half size eggs. They are known to be great mothers. Which is exactly what they are doing for the little one. Taking them under their wings. It's so adorable as the silkies themselves are still just babies. Born to be mothers.
The red one is rhode island red. An excellent layer. Some can be cranky as noted but I've met a lot of nice birds too. They all have different personalities.
The black one is a sex-link. That means one parent is a rhode island, the other a barred rock. The sex links I've met have had great personalities & are great layers because of their parentage.
I wanted a barred rock but there were non locally available & I couldn't wait. I will give all of them lots of loving and hope they turn out stable LOL
PS. I am in the heart of the city. St. Pete allows up to 5 hens with the permission of your next door neighbors. I ignored that part LOL. When they ask me if they can park a taxi on their lawn or rent an apartment illegally, we'll talk!
I LOVE chickens !! Had them a long-time ago, 50-60 and sold eggs and meat, the meat to a Butcher w/A&P... and he did the killing for what we ate.. the culls, and roosters.... I'm in downtown St Pete and would love some chickens in my back-yard, but don't feel they are practical now, after all, how many eggs can 1 ole' gal eat ? Have fun, sally
Brenda, Christine and Lou, thanks for all the chicken info. Makes me really want some. Brenda, those bantam silkies are really pretty and sound so sweet. Just think of it as an expensive hobby. And, by the way, home grown eggs are so much healthier with the lack of hormones and the increase alpha omega fatty acids if they get greens. Enjoy your new brood.
Christine, that's my fear- what to do with the chickens once they stop laying. Don't know how I would feel. Also, my niece in upstate NY has chickens and says hers (I imagine the feed), attract rats and that has been a concern of mine. Is that a problem down here?
I use the Rat Zapper Infrared Ultra 2010 Model. This trap uses infrared to sense when there is a rat inside then hits it with a bolt of lightning just like a bug zapper but on a bigger scale. It then turns on a little LED light to alert you to empty the trap. It runs on 4 flashlight batteries.
With my small brood of 4, I plan to take in the feed nightly, just like I do for my 2 cats.
Mine won't free range here in the city but they'll be spoiled rotten with treats.
I'll hang cabbage heads from the rafters and things like that to keep them occupied.
I buried hardware cloth 18" out to keep critters from digging in. Small 1/4" hardwire cloth surrounds the whole coop/run. If a rat gets in some how, it may get a morsel or two but one of my cats/employees will be waiting for their exit I'm sure.
Anna, Start up cost was mucho $$ for me because I have a small yard and looks were really important as it's a focal point. You can really go on the cheep (ha) if you can hide the coop. Biggest expense will be hard-wire cloth. I bought stain, paint, paint supplies, low voltage lighting and on and on & on...Silkie chicks were $20 & the little ones $5 a piece. Feed costs $8 bucks for a 25lb bag. Should be a breeze from here on out.
To name a few breeds of pure bred chickens;
Golden Lakenvelder, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Barred Plymouth Rock, New Hampshire Red, Ameraucana, Araucana, Silver Lakenvelder, Speckled Sussex, Welsummer, Blue Andalusian, Blue Copper Marans, White Marans, Black Copper Marans, Black Australorp, Silver Spangled Hamburg, Golden Cuckoo Marans, Blue Splash Marans, Buff Orpington, Blue Birchen Marans, Partridge Penedesenca, Wheaten Penedesenca, White Empordenesa, Blue Orpington, Blue Ameraucana, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Spitzhauben, Golden Penciled Hamburg, Rhode Island Red, Lavender Orpington, Light Sussex, Golden Spangled Hamburg, Black Ameraucana, Blue Hamburg, Black Orpington, Blue Sumatra, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Golden Polish, Wheaten Marans, White Marans, Wheaten Ameraucana, Barnevelder, Buff Brahma, Light Brahma, Pumpkin Hulsey, Brown Leghorn, White Leghorn.
I'll stop there... just gives you an idea of the many many varieties and I didn't even list any of the game birds.
Your coop is lovely, looks like it matches your outdoor sitting area if I remember correctly. I have 3 hens a buff orpington and 2 barred rocks, picked for their personality. We have a tractor which means we move it ever other day to a fresh part of the yard. It gives them fresh grass and whatever I can't clean up with a rake fertilizes the grass. My hens were supposed to be laying by halloween but so far no eggs. I thought the guy we got them from was wrong about their age (we got them as pullets) but now Im thinking they need a light in there and am trying to figure out how to do this with a mobile unit. So the long answer your question is yes we are raising chickens as fun, entertaining manure producers.
Thanks Robin. From what I've read, it's natural for chickens to slow down this time of year due to shorter days. It's like a natural rest period for them. I bet they'll go gang busters with laying come spring
If I remember correctly, the manure is HOT.... it can burn whatever you put it on and needs to compost for a long time, it is very strong also.... it seems to be abt. the strongest of all the barnyard manures because there isn't hay and straw and other chaff in it..... and as far as being a good layer, it depends on the hen and her configuration... you hold her in your hand with your fingers under her breast-bone, and measure the width between her legs, the wider this area the better a layer she is.... if she is narrow (less than the width of your fingers) she should be culled... and eaten..... maybe Lou or some of the more 'modern' farmers can update this, but this is the olde-way.... and then you are not buying feed for a non-productive hen.... and remember, when they become 'broodey' they will hide their eggs... to catch a hen you wait until dark and they are in the roost, you can just reach and grab them..... sally
You are correct. It's hot manure. I have 2 composters for that reason. I just may end up with pets if they don't lay as I don't have the heart to cull them. Then, they'll just be my little poopin machines!
There are only 2 of us in the house so I'd be happy with a few eggs a week. Hopefully mine will be configured right :)
Wow, everyone, there is apparently a lot to learn about hens. Lou, I didn't know there are so many types. Seems overwhelming. I don't know how serious I really am about having some. I want some, but don't think I can take care of one more thing. I have little time to give. I will have to just admire your girls. By the way, it's nice to see so many of you have hens. I had no idea. Nice trend.
Chicken manure is a by-product. Eggs and meat are why I have chickens. Built a very inexpensive chicken-tractor and a lady several miles up the road ,who lets her chicks free range ,gave me 6 peeps because she had too many that a broody hen and "hid" a nest on her.She did not wish to sell them to some unknown person. She knew I planned to eat the roosters and that was not a problem because they would live a good life and be put down as humanely as possible. They are small but the 2 that survived have been good layers. Ate 2 roosters and lost 2 hens to varmits because I use to let them free range the last hour or two before sunset. Too many bobcats and raccoons.
The poultry industry innovations has made many items available for backyard hen houses. I have all automatic waterers that connect to my garden hose. It is a plastic dish that hangs down and the water level is regulated by gravity. They also have nipples where a hen can nudge it with her beak to get a little drip of water. Metal gravity feeders that can take thirty Lbs of feed in it so you fill it once a week. My hen house has a screen floor above the ground so the poop drops through and I clean up under with a rake and shovel into a wagon then dump it on the compost pile. All that makes caring for hens very easy, the biggest chore is collecting eggs daily which takes 5 min at most. When I go to collect eggs I scatter chicken scratch (it's like a birdseed mixture) they love it. They also love the leftover cornbread my wife makes. If you've planned out your hen house well, it consumes very little time. Having peace of mind knowing where your eggs and meat comes from is well worth the effort.
Aged chicken manure makes great compost. I let it sit for a year.
I currently have 35 chickens, and the manure is spread all over the property, since they are free-range. Much ends up on the patio and deck, which is annoying. The hens love to hang out on the door mats, gossiping and pooping.
I use the deep litter system for their coop, which they turn over constantly and it stays nice and dry. I clean out the nest boxes every other week, with new shavings. They prefer to lay in the mud, or under the palmettos. Ornery gals!!
I do not collect and use the manure as fertilizer.I don't need to, as they poop all over.
They are quite annoying birds, as they dig up everything, poop everywhere, produce eggs only when they feel like it, and dig huge holes that I trip into.
They sure are pretty though, so I have not killed them yet(G), they do have redeeming qualities. We only want them for eggs and insect control, so they will grow old here.
My favorite breeds are Delawares,Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks. All gentle, large birds that stay inside a 4' fence.
Big breeds are safer from hawk attacks.
I complain about them being messy, but I really do love my chickens!!
I have no idea what you all are talking about? My chickens are quiet, never make a sound in fact and not messy at all. Perhaps I just have defective chickens?
Just how many eggs per day do you get from your defective chickens and do you really eat those little eggs they produce?
They produce hundreds of eggs each per day......granted the eggs are a bit small.
bamboo, what breeds do you think best for producing meat in our down south location here? Do you sell breeding stock or where do you get yours? Boy, did we derail this theme of chicken manure!
That was my fault, just adding a bit of levity, sorry Junglegal. Florida whites work fine as do California or New Zealand. Most important thing is full shade. I have yet to loose an adult to the heat. I do not sell stock, meat or eggs:) There is a good breeder here in Inverness that does sell stock and meat as well as a commercial breeder not far from here that sells New Zeeland's. She supplies the entire Publix chain with rabbit meat. She produces 3,000 per month. It is a bit expensive to buy breeder stock from her, almost triple what the guy here in town charges. If you want contact info on either of them just drop me a email.
Lisa, I was so happy to see your post. I've missed 'hearing' from you. Your posts are usually so filled with incredible veggie and flower pics, and then there are all your gardening friends which I love seeing. Show us your girls when you get a chance.
Bamboo rabbit I love seeing your rabbits too. Once you mentioned to me that they fight if they are in the same cage. Are these getting along because they are young?
Bamboo hijack way! don't mine a bit, same (s)hit, different smell as they say up north
Bamboo, I laughed my a** off after reading your post.
Such cute Bunnies, and the "eggs" stuff was hilarious!
I wanted to raise rabbits over turkeys(in high pens)in my big Turkey house, but was told/read that rabbits were very difficult, hated change and noise, so I never tried raising them, I stuck with poultry. The expense of bunny cages and watering systems are high to start up.. I have lots of books on raising them. They are quite delicate, and finicky.
But, the cost of rabbit meat is so outrageous, so I may try it.
I wish they were not so cute!!!
Yes that is why. Does are fine with their own young and the young are fine with each other until they hit about 4 months old. Since they head to "freezer camp" at about 12 weeks they never hit that point. Now the last batch I kept 30 and grew them to 5 months as they were destined to be ground, I had to segregate by sex and even then there were some fights.
I have never found rabbits to be jumpy with noise. My rabbits are on the outside of my shop and the nest boxes are actually inside the shop and I run power tools, planers, jointers you name it almost every day. The rabbits don't seem to care at all. Once you have the first generation born on site they are use to that environment and it is normal.
As long as you have shade and the temps are not over 100 I bet they would do fine. Rabbit meat at our Publix is $8 a pound. Yes the standard watering systems are a bit pricey. I designed my own using off the shelf irrigation products from Lowes and the entire setup for 20 or so pens was less than $40 dollars.
Far as I am concerned rabbits produce the best manure and can make an average gardener look like a pro.
When I lived in Canada, we were in the country, and during the winter my hubby went out in the woods out back and set up snares for rabbit, we had delish. rabbit-meat all winter...sally
Bamboo, makes sense. Maybe someday I will get the courage and accomodations to try.
I have about 100 chickens nowadays lol. I mostly have Marans that lay the DARK chocolate eggs(Black copper, blue copper, blues/black/splash, wheaten and golden cuckoo), but I have alot of other breeds as well. I also have some guineas and muscovy ducks.
My newest chicken additions are 5 Key West chickens that I adopted from the Key West Chicken Rescue. The Key Westies are the cutest things. I got a roo and 4 hens. I am so happy to be helping out the Key West Chicken cause.
We are building them a Tiki/Surf Shack themed coop LOL!
I do! Actually, I just have chickens because I like chickens, but the coop cleanings go right into the garden. Great stuff!! I dont know how I ended up with 100 chickens...I just dont know how that happened...but I have Ameraucanas, Plymouth Rocks, Marans, and some interesting crosses.
And I havent had a tick on my dogs since I got them. Love me my chickies.