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  • Free range chickens in your backyard?

    I came home to visit my parents for a few days in Austin and they have chickens for eggs in the backyard, eating bugs and pieces of veggies my parents feed them. I think my parents supplement with chicken feed but it got me thinking... Does anyone else raise animals in their backyard for food purposes?


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  • #2
    We have bees and chickens. The chickens are mostly for eggs but if we have roosters we eat them. We were considering butchering some of the hens that slacked off in their egg production (still good for bone broth) but then miraculously egg production increased!
    Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Urban Forager View Post
      We have bees and chickens. The chickens are mostly for eggs but if we have roosters we eat them. We were considering butchering some of the hens that slacked off in their egg production (still good for bone broth) but then miraculously egg production increased!
      They must have been reading your mind.
      "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

      B*tch-lite

      Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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      • #4
        We also have bees and chickens. There is no better egg around. Ever. Plus they are cute and entertaining. We have just installed the hive this spring so have not harvested any honey yet, but they are also fascinating to watch. We have the bees on 26 acres where we will eventually raise beef and the chickens are at our rent house. 🐓🐝🐄💛

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        • #5
          I think it depends on what you mean by having them "in the backyard".

          For a lot of people, there are pretty strict zoning laws in regards to chickens. Roosters are often forbidden as well....if you live in the country as I do though, you run into a lot of other problems with keeping them. In short, you have 2 options:

          1) Build a hen fortress, have a few full-time patrol dogs (Rottweilers are AMAZING at this task), and enforce big time roosting hours to avoid the dawn and dusk, heavy predator times. This will take a lot of money and a lot of time. I wouldn't recommend it unless you have many chickens and possibly sell the eggs. Also, with this you will need to supply a lot of your own feed. Free range = free meals for predators

          2) Have them as "house chickens", keep a loose movable pen, maybe keep a few to wander around the house. You will need to have a rooster even if you aren't letting them brood, for protection. (My rooster literally stands on top of the hens when they lay to protect them!) The better this guy is at his job, the more ornery he will be toward you as well Put up some roosting holes, just elevated platforms, so they don't have to sleep on the ground....BUT keep in mind that despite all of this, you will lose them occasionally to predators. Last spring I had 22 of them, had two go broody and produce 13 chicks....of these only 7 survived (lesson learned. Gonna help my next brood get out of their eggs myself!), and we lost 8 to predators including 4 roosters.

          I think it may be better in other places, but where I am you either have to build a hen military base or be cool with about a third being eaten by mammals NOT in your home I had a bobcat get into the moving coop last week and get another rooster (good man, protected his hens) before my dog ran it off. Fox, fisher cats, etc, all of them find them just as delectable as I do.

          It ain't for the faint of heart, I guess in the drift.
          "The soul that does not attempt flight; does not notice its chains."

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          • #6
            Laying hens and bees on an eighth acre urban lot. The chickens are confined to a coop and pen. When they get out, they tear up the greens and shit on all of the deck furniture.

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            • #7
              Yes, I have three chickens and yesterday was a three-egg day! Usually just one or two. Their area is literally the far end of my backyard and is approx 8mx10m. They have done a pretty good job of cleaning it up, but I am reluctant to let them out to range further because they will eat my veges and poop on my porch. I toss them pellets twice a day and a few scraps.

              Suburban neighbourhood - no predators. Just the occasional cat passing through. No rooster.
              Annie Ups the Ante
              http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread117711.html

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Annieh View Post
                Yes, I have three chickens and yesterday was a three-egg day! Usually just one or two. Their area is literally the far end of my backyard and is approx 8mx10m. They have done a pretty good job of cleaning it up, but I am reluctant to let them out to range further because they will eat my veges and poop on my porch. I toss them pellets twice a day and a few scraps.

                Suburban neighbourhood - no predators. Just the occasional cat passing through. No rooster.
                I am so jealous. Exactly what I want. Just a couple of hens..no rooster. Not to bring up a negative but what will you do when they are beyond egg laying age?

                Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 2

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                • #9
                  People who live in our city are permitted to keep half a dozen laying hens. However, our lot is so small I am not sure I could build the henhouse as far from the property line as is required. Also, to allow the hens to roam around the yard, the yard would have to be fenced in. So we aren't considering raising any.

                  Besides, my neighbor behind me seems to have a couple dozen that keep escaping and rummaging through my garden, so I don't need any of my own for insect control purposes.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by oceangrl View Post
                    I Not to bring up a negative but what will you do when they are beyond egg laying age?
                    I believe stews and bone broths are the answer here... We don't have any chickens yet, so I don't speak from experience!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by oceangrl View Post
                      I am so jealous. Exactly what I want. Just a couple of hens..no rooster. Not to bring up a negative but what will you do when they are beyond egg laying age?

                      Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 2
                      Yes, this is my husband's point and I have been studiously ignoring it. My previous chickens died a natural (or unnatural, perhaps dehydrated) death and so we buried them. I guess I will keep them on to weed under my plum tree which is yet to be planted in the centre of their area.

                      In theory I would be willing to eat my non-laying chooks, but in practice I have no one who would give them the chop for me. I have a friend whose teenage son was willing to do the deed, and she said the taste of the meat was fantastic and nothing like supermarket chicken.

                      If you don't, they can live for years, my niece is 18 and I think she has a chicken almost as old as she is.
                      Annie Ups the Ante
                      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread117711.html

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                      • #12
                        Chickens can live quite a long time (6-8 years or so) and will lay eggs for most of that time. They do stop laying when they molt every year, or when they get sick, but are pretty productive critters. Most laying hen breeds have a pretty thin body frame, not having alot of meat on them, but they can be used for bone broth and chicken stock.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Aldergirl View Post
                          I believe stews and bone broths are the answer here... We don't have any chickens yet, so I don't speak from experience!
                          Lol..I think I stupidly would become too attached so I would end up with a bunch of really old hens.

                          Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 2

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by oceangrl View Post
                            Lol..I think I stupidly would become too attached so I would end up with a bunch of really old hens.

                            Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 2
                            I've decided that, when we have chickens, Knifegill gets to do the honor. I don't think I'd do as good of a job as he would... and I'm far less likely to get up the nerve to do it unless I'm starving. That's why I have Knifegill!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ssn679doc View Post
                              Chickens can live quite a long time (6-8 years or so) and will lay eggs for most of that time. They do stop laying when they molt every year, or when they get sick, but are pretty productive critters. Most laying hen breeds have a pretty thin body frame, not having alot of meat on them, but they can be used for bone broth and chicken stock.
                              That's a relief - 6yrs not so bad. Though I still think my niece's bantam is older than that. Maybe 12? And yeah, if there's not much meat on them anyway then I wouldn't feel so bad burying them when their laying life is over.
                              Annie Ups the Ante
                              http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread117711.html

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