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lawns and chickens

Posted by Truscifi 9 - Citrus county (My Page) on
Tue, May 10, 11 at 11:21

We got chickens this spring! My hubby built a chicken tractor, so we have been moving them around the yard. They have been clearing each spot pretty well - still a few roots and tiny sprigs of grass (centipede I think) but not much. My question is what do I put down behind them? This is an area that gets partial sun this time of year. I would like some sort of mix, perhaps different grasses or something like clover, that would look and feel nice but also be tasty for the chickens when they make their way back to that spot. Any ideas? If more info is needed please let me know, I will give as much as I can.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: lawns and chickens

Oh I am such a jealous city girl!! Send pics!


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I would love to if you tell me how to post pics here!


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RE: lawns and chickens

chicken tractor?


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tractor - as in a moveable chicken coop. Very effecient and keeps the chicken safe from hawks, etc.


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CHICKEN TRACTOR???
I somehow cannot see in my mind harnessing up a flock of chickens to plow the lower 40

I think I will continue using my John Deere, besides, She thinks my tractor's sexy!

Lou


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If you load your photos to photobucket.com all you have to do is click the HTML link beside your photo and it copies it, then past the link inside your post..try it and if you get stuck give me a shout.


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RE: lawns and chickens

  • Posted by izhar Karachi Pakistan (My Page) on
    Wed, May 11, 11 at 1:39

lol... I always look for Lou's posts in threads...

Izhar


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RE: lawns and chickens

OH, YES!! any guy with a well accessorized tractor is sexy! ;o)
cora


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  • Posted by katkin 9b/10a PSLFl (My Page) on
    Wed, May 11, 11 at 7:05

Izhar, I am with you, Lou, makes me laugh.


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RE: lawns and chickens

I have a 8' chicken tractor with 3 girls. Mine was built for me as a gift when I went away last summer. At first moving the chickens around the lawn worked great but in the winter they ate the lawn quicker than we could get it to recover. I didn't have much lawn in the back yard to start with. I am hoping once the summer rains start I can get it looking good again, We are discussing setting up a regular coop, if I can find a spot that will work.


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Our chicken tractor is 2 story, with an 8x7 base. We have 7 chickens and they can totally decimate the grass in the 8x7 area in 2-3 days. And they are still juveniles! I would love any suggestions of what seed to put down behind them.


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BTW, the link in my previous post is to my photobucket chicken album.


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Truscifi I can't see your pictures :( In the winter we put down rye grass seed and they ate the grass right up, but it not the roots so it came back till it got too hot. Right now I am embarrassed how bad the lawn or lack of looks. When the rains start we are going to resod it. I know many people are against grass but we have 2 small puppies that love to play out there. What do you do with the manure? I let mine compost but would like to try some way to use it sooner.


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I see them!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


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Yep, that's them. I couldn't figure out how to put the actual photos in. Right now we are mixing a little of the manure and pine shavings from the roost with chopped leaves and using it as a mulch. Once all the beds are mulched I'll start adding it to the compost.

I looked at the rye seed to seed behind them, but I think this is the wrong time of year. Also, my hubby is thinking about getting bees next year so he thinks we should seed with clover or wildflowers to prepare for that, but this is in our front yard so I want something that will look nice.


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Tru,
That is a mix of different chickens you have. I'm in the middle of another batch of chicks hatching today, so far 23 have hatched. I will take pictures in a day or two when they dry out and get all fluffy, right now they are wet and gooey from hatching and look bedraggled in the brooder. I hatch 20 to 30 chicks every three or four weeks in my incubator.

Lou


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Lol Lou - yes, we purposely got a mix. We have 2 Americaunas, 2 we think Easter Eggers but not sure beyond that, an Andalusian, and 2 Rhode Island Reds - one of which we think is a roo. The rest are all hens. We wanted lots of different kinds of eggs.

I would love to see pics! It sounds like you stay busy - what on earth do you do with all those chickens?

Hubby and I planned on only having hens, but now that we have a roo my son is conspiring with one of his friends who breeds chickens to hatch a few next spring.


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You have to be careful about using fresh chicken manure in the garden as it is very strong and can burn the plants. It's best to compost the manure and then mix it with regular dirt to reduce the risk to your plants. Of course, the strength of the manure also varies depending on how much of it there is.

Kara


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Nice chicks and tractor!

Lou - I am curious too about what you do with so many chicks. I have a chicken question for you. The nine chickens that I bought early November are laying small eggs. They get the same food as my 2 year olds, only their coop is in a shadier spot. Some of them have been laying for a couple of months now so it seems to me that the eggs should be full size now. What are your thoughts?

Christine


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To those people that asked "what on earth do you do with so many chicks";
I have a barter deal going with the local feed barn, I swap the chicks for bags of feed and they sell the chicks to customers. This way I get my eating eggs and chicken poop fertilizer for free.

Christine,
I'm not sure what to tell you, my hen house is located in the afternoon shade of my barn. All but one hen lays full size eggs and I also have no clue why she lays smaller eggs but I do notice she is at the bottom of the pecking order. Not sure if pecking order is related to egg size though. When I hatch out the smaller eggs along with the other eggs they make healthy chicks and within a few days the chicks grow to all around the same size.

Lou


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That's a great deal, Lou! We minimize the amount of feed needed by moving them around the yard to eat grass and such and by giving them produce scraps from the restaurant where hubby works (which helps them cut down on waste disposal fees too), but they still go through a bag pretty quickly. I've been thinking about what to do when they start laying though. We have 6 hens that are all supposed to be good layers, so we may wind up with more eggs than we can eat!


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Tru,
With six hens you have the possibility of the hens making a dozen eggs every two days when they get into full production, but most likely you will get around 3 dozen eggs per week. I hope you are ready for that.

Now here comes the eye awakening news, guess how many laying hens I have here? YEAH! only 6 hens like you have. Two hens (in a separate pen (no rooster) supply the table eggs) The other four hens are in the pen with the roosters and supply the fertile hatching eggs for the incubator.

HINTS & SUGGESTIONS;
Start saving your empty egg cartons NOW, you will need them later.
Check with your neighbors & friends if they would be wanting your eggs when the hens start laying.
Build a separate chicken house for raising your meat chickens so you don't get attached to them as pets.

Lou


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Lou - That's a great deal to get your chicken feed for free. It's so expensive. The chicks are sooo cute- saw the pics in the other post.

I called the farm where I bought some of the chickens to ask what she thought might be the cause of the younger chickens laying small eggs. She had no idea either. Her suggestion was to be patient to see if the eggs get larger as they get older. At any rate, they are laying very well.

Egg cartons- YES, save them. You can't have too many. I thought that I had enough, then people stopped giving them to me. When spring came and production suddenly increased, I was in trouble.

Lou, what is your favorite egg producing variety?

Christine


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Christine,
My wife prefers the Ameraucana blue eggs. The shells seem slightly sturdier and don't flake and fall into the pan when you crack them she says.
All my hens have been producing close to one egg per day each.
I like the temperament of the Plymouth Barred Rock best. The Rhodes Island Reds are scrappy fighters (there's always a commotion going on with them as they enforce the pecking order) and the Ameraucana is bossy with everybody including me (if I'm late with the feed she scolds me, if I'm late collecting her egg she tosses it out of the nest).

Lou


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Christine one of my girls laid smaller eggs when she first started also. In a few months she will probably catch up. All my eggs are large now.

Lou I also like barred rock chickens. I found that they as well as buff orpington are easy going. I picked both breeds for exactly that reason. I would love to have those blue eggs tho. I have found all my egg shells so much harder or sturdier than store bought eggs so I am trying to imagine the ameraucana being even harder to crack and picturing your wife as a strong farmer type with gusto in the kitchen. :)


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Keiki,
I have to agree that Barred Rocks and Buff Orpingtons are the nicest easy going chickens of all, and most of the Orpingtons make great brooder hens, they would save me fussing with the incubator if I had some now.

My wife is a city girl, a bonified plant killer. Born in Florida, raised in N.Y. City, schooled in Europe. Now she's back in Florida and on a farm and loving it. Says she couldn't live in the city again, the people are too indifferent.

The eggs are not that much different in hardness, just the shells don't seem to flake and fall into the pan or bowl as much when you crack them. We grind all the dried egg shells to powder and I use them in the potting mix for the minerals.

Lou


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americaunas are the cutest chicks they look like little owls with thier fuzzy little cheeks.
Here are some pics of my blue ameraucanas when they were babies.
Photobucket

Photobucket


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Thanks for the tips. I wasn't thinking we would get anywhere close to that many eggs. I will definitely start saving cartons now. I had not considered hatching some of the eggs and raising the birds for meat. Do you process them yourself?


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Truscifi I forgot to say in my last post how much I like your tractor. Ours is 4' wide by 8' long and only 3 to 4' tall. It is an a frame similar to yours. What kind of chicken is that buff colored one in the second picture?

Sultry they are so cute! Do you have pictures of them as adults?


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Tru,
I haven't processed any as yet because I kept making pets out of them. I intend to make a new hen house for the chickens I intend to process. I'm starting with only four to see if this is feasible and if I can refrain from fussing over them.

You won't start off getting full egg production, but around a years time from when they were hatched you will find they are making very near one egg each per day as they reach their peak. Then it will slowly decline as they begin to have more and more days they skip making an egg. So from what information I've garnered from when you've started with your chicks, next spring should be your peak egg production time.

You might want to buy a few ceramic eggs and place them in the nest boxes to show them where eggs should be laid or else you will find the eggs dropped willy-nilly everywhere until they learn. I had one hen dropping them from their three foot high night roosting board... SPLAT! until she learned the nest was the place. Just by placing ceramic eggs in the nest they all learned very quickly. Unless you enjoy a daily Easter egg hunt, and believe me they will drop them anywhere and everywhere until they learn.

SJN,
I agree the americaunas are some of the cutest chicks but then again I think all the chicks are cute, even the black crow looking chicks from the barred rocks.

Lou


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Keiki - Thanks! We started with my son's old wooden swingset. It had a "fort" with a 4'x4' base. Hubby used that to make the roost up off the ground since we have a lot of predators around here. He kinda cobbled everything else together from there using scrap lumber, lol. And the chicken posing in the second pic there is our head hen, Easter. I believe she is an Americauna. She is definitely our prettiest bird, and our bossiest.

Lou - I will start looking for some ceramic eggs! I'm thinking the girls should start laying sometime between July and September from what I've read - the oldest will be 20weeks in mid July. How long do they keep laying? And what do you do with them when they stop?

Also let me know how it goes with the meat birds. We are raising our first meat animal this year (a Duroc pig) and haven't gotten to the hard part yet.


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Tru,

The old hens are pretty much only good for soups if you decide to process them. I enjoy soups in the wintertime and Dee always has a soup simmering. It will be up to you to determine when the feed to egg ratio becomes too much and the old hen falls into the pot.
You are correct on your approximation of egg production start. (but it can vary)

Lou


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You don't have to buy ceramic eggs. You can go buy some clearance plastic easter eggs probaby for under a dollar right now at walmart. I use them all the time. Some people use golf balls. The chickens get the hint..they don't have to be the appropriate color or anything.


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SJN,
That's a great idea using golf balls or plastic easter eggs. I never thought of that and bought the ceramic eggs. Color don't seem to mater unless it is red. Red anything upsets them, I wore my bright red flannel shirt once and both roosters flew up and attacked me and when I reached in to put the feed dish into the other cage wearing the same red shirt the hens attacked my arm with beaks and claws. When I removed the shirt they went back to their normal self and let me put the feed dish in and did not attack my bare arm. A different red shirt had the same effect weeks later, no other colored shirt I wear has had any effect except for the red. Go figure why red excites them so.
Red Fox or Red Hawk syndrome??? I've no clue. Has anybody else had this happen to them?

Lou


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No, but I don't usually wear red. I'll tell my son not to wear red when he goes out with the chickens either!


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I haven't had any attack me with red but then I don't really wear to much red either lol. It is true chickens are attracted to red. That is why they will peck each other to death if they get one to start bleeding. On the contrary, a red light calms them down when they are chicks LOL, go figure.

I guess, when they were jungle fowl (which chickens decended from), they were omnivores that ate anything they could get including small mammals or other dead half eaten things so it might be instincts.


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A chicken tractor LOL!! that was really awesome, all you have to do is t move the chicken house in a certain location in order for the soil to be plowed

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicken Farm


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We have a chicken tractor and two R.I. reds. Ours are very docile. We had 8 of them to start. We decided to free range them until the neighbor's dog killed 6 of them. They were very docile. I was told that I could use their manure right away on my brussel sprouts by the Agricultural agent at the county extension service. We have Bahia grass which grows back rapidly when my hubby moves their tractor. We feed them weeds and collards in the winter for their greens. We either hold the collards in our hand for them to peck at the leaf or chop them up into fine pieces for them. We put a few boards near their tractor to draw crickets. They know what they might get when they see us flip the boards over and catch crickets and throw into the cage for them.


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I used golf balls too. When my Buff Orpington went broody, she gathered the golf balls that I had taken out of the nest box and put them back in with the eggs she was sitting on.
I think our chickens are the cheapest pets we have. We have four hens and one roo and they eat about 1 bag of Layena every two months. We free range ours at least a couple hours a day and they get scraps from the garden and house.
Our black hen which is the biggest, has always layed the smallest egg. The Production Red's are exactly like their name. The BO has always layed large eggs. She just wants to go broody every now and then. I may let her next time she does it.


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Haha thats funny thats your BO is trying to hatch golfballs. All my chickens have been trying to go broody all over the place. I have two key west hens sitting on eggs right now. They just dont know that I gave them Silkie eggs lol. I think the weather is fooling them this winter they all seem to think its spring.


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