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Garden and Chickens in the Spring!

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  • Garden and Chickens in the Spring!

    My husband and I have been planning to have a garden this spring/summer, and we are stoked. We've toyed with the ideas of chickens in the past, but after reading Made From Scratch, I asked my husband what he thought about getting three chickens, and he's all for it! Woo hoo!

    I am SO excited. Really, I just wanted to be excited around people who will understand why I'm excited, haha, but if any of you have tips for "urban chicken raising" I'd love to hear your perspective/experience

  • #2
    How exciting! I would love to have chickens, but unfortunately our county requires 3 acres for any livestock
    For lots of tasty recipes, check out my blog -http://lifeasadreger.wordpress.com/

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    • #3
      Where are you based?
      Check your housing deeds first (some properties have rules against any kind of livestock - bah humbug!).

      You don't need to spend a fortune - ask around if anyone has an old chicken coop. There are loads of tips online. If you buy hens at "point of lay" (POL) they may take weeks to lay anything so don't panic. The main thing would be to keep their feed in a pest proof bin - I use an old fridge laid on its back! And while it's nice to scatter feed around for them to scratch at, this is more likely to attract pests. I think the ideal would be a small amount of feed in a little trough, and then try and give the chooks the space to "free range" and scratch for bugs and things.
      Oh, in the UK it's illegal to feed them any kitchen waste. I can't think of anyone who doesn't break that law - stale bread, crusts, cereal the usual culprits. Apparently they also like pecking scraps of meat from bones. Ahem. (They can naturally hunt and kill small critters like mice and frogs).

      My three have been debeaked (which I didn't know prior to purchase) and I have noticed that this does make pecking at small bugs tricky for them - something to bear in mind.

      You can make it all very complicated, but it's not rocket science!

      Have fun!

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      • #4
        We have 4 rhode island reds, but have had up to a dozen layers in the past. We'll probably rise to 6 next summer. We are two adults and a 2-yr old. The production from 4 layers (in winter 2-3/day) is not quite sufficient for us. We have had ducks in the past (great producers, but messy - splash water everywhere). We have had cornish cross for meat in the past (dumb white meat birds are way too creepy). I find having layers is really easy, they don't need more than 5 minutes on a given day, you can leave them for days on end as long as their water and food hold out, their droppings are a grewat adition to the compost/garden. What's not to love. Btw, we are doing this on a small urban lot in a fully-built out older neighborhood.

        One Delta Ten Tango

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        • #5
          I've been thinking ahead to spring too. I'm going to demolish the swing set and build a set of square-foot gardening boxes in its place. (Though I have to get it done fast...my husband wants to install solar panels there, and they'd steal all the sunlight!)

          I've been looking after a friend's chickens while she's out of town for a couple of weeks. "Looking after" is maybe overstating it. I throw scraps at them and steal all their eggs. I currently have 53 fresh eggs in the fridge! Makes having our own chickens seem like a good idea...I'm just worried about the coyotes. We live further into a rural area than her, and we see/hear coyotes at least once a week.
          Liz.

          Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
          Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lizch View Post
            I've been thinking ahead to spring too. I'm going to demolish the swing set and build a set of square-foot gardening boxes in its place. (Though I have to get it done fast...my husband wants to install solar panels there, and they'd steal all the sunlight!)

            I've been looking after a friend's chickens while she's out of town for a couple of weeks. "Looking after" is maybe overstating it. I throw scraps at them and steal all their eggs. I currently have 53 fresh eggs in the fridge! Makes having our own chickens seem like a good idea...I'm just worried about the coyotes. We live further into a rural area than her, and we see/hear coyotes at least once a week.
            Rolling coops that include wire mesh on the top as well as sides seem to be a great option for people with coyote issues. You can roll them to fresh grass periodically and don't have to worry about the wildlife.
            For lots of tasty recipes, check out my blog -http://lifeasadreger.wordpress.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              how wonderful!! I've ordered a seed catalog from Baker's (?). all organic seeds. i'm excited for that! we've got a pretty big garden plot; just have to decide the best way to use it.

              we acquired 30 chicks last spring, which gave us 6 roosters. two chicks died and we gave one rooster away, so we now have 27 chickens with 22 hens (think i did the math right!). It's been a fun journey! we need over a dozen eggs/day, which is why we got so many. at the beginning of December (the snow hit the week before Thanksgiving), their production was down to 8 eggs/day! I've managed to increase their production up to 16-19 eggs/day thru the different "scraps" i feed them (read: fat and protein!). My boys built them a chicken coop so they can be inside, safe if they want to be. after they give us a good 14 eggs, we'll let them out to free range. we do have coyotes nearby but, sadly, a neighbor closer to the hills runs defense for us: he's lost 30 chickens this summer! Anyway, look FWD to hearing your fun chicken experiences!!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by it1958 View Post
                how wonderful!! I've ordered a seed catalog from Baker's (?). all organic seeds. i'm excited for that! we've got a pretty big garden plot; just have to decide the best way to use it.

                we acquired 30 chicks last spring, which gave us 6 roosters. two chicks died and we gave one rooster away, so we now have 27 chickens with 22 hens (think i did the math right!). It's been a fun journey! we need over a dozen eggs/day, which is why we got so many. at the beginning of December (the snow hit the week before Thanksgiving), their production was down to 8 eggs/day! I've managed to increase their production up to 16-19 eggs/day thru the different "scraps" i feed them (read: fat and protein!). My boys built them a chicken coop so they can be inside, safe if they want to be. after they give us a good 14 eggs, we'll let them out to free range. we do have coyotes nearby but, sadly, a neighbor closer to the hills runs defense for us: he's lost 30 chickens this summer! Anyway, look FWD to hearing your fun chicken experiences!!
                My friend's hens (about 10 I think? Hard to count them when they're running around clucking at me!) were down to just 4 a day. She put a light in their nesting area, and they're back up to 10 a day.
                Liz.

                Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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                • #9
                  We live in the city and we had three hens for a couple of years. Even without roosters they are pretty darned loud, and be prepared for rats.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lizch View Post
                    My friend's hens (about 10 I think? Hard to count them when they're running around clucking at me!) were down to just 4 a day. She put a light in their nesting area, and they're back up to 10 a day.
                    I, too, added light to their coop...wonder if just that alone would have made the difference in their production... they love fat, tho, and meat. so i give that to them. hay, too.

                    rats? shudder...

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                    • #11
                      We have rats anyway. Cost of living in the country!
                      Liz.

                      Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                      Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Be careful with chickens in rural areas. I live on 24 acres that backs on to a national park. Our chickens and their coop got decimated by raccoons and bears.

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                        • #13
                          I'm going to try to grandfather in chickens before the HOA gets established in our neighborhood, so we'll be hatching some eggs for science this spring. It won't get us eggs right away, but it will give us a chance to hand-raise the chicks and not raise evil, vile, demon-possessed chickens like we had when I was a kid. I should actually plan a trip to the farm supply store and the 4-H office to start making decisions on what we'll need. Wish me luck in sneaking chickens in, I figure if that dude down the street can have 5 dogs (which is against the preliminary CC&R's) then I can have well-tended chickens.

                          Plus, this year we are planning on expanding our square foot beds to 3 from one, and we want berry canes. The man wants red raspberries and I want blackcaps if I can find them, but we haven't established an area for those yet. I wish that I could find a landscape consultant who could tell me where to plant things and build the structures I want for the best possible yields. I have 1/3 acre, and I want our plants to be worthwhile and look nice.

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                          • #14
                            I am also excited about starting a vegetable garden this spring. We are planning on having raised beds 4 ft wide by 10 ft long. Our yard is small and we are debating getting two or three hens. We recently built a small house in a new suburb and are waiting for the developers to put in a retaining wall before we are able to put up a proper fence so might have to wait until next year. Plus I am worried that because both my husband and I work strange hours the hens would not get fed on a consistent schedule (our cat however does amazingly well despite our randomness of being home and never getting fed at the same time two days in a row, even if she does prefer licking the water off the shower walls to fresh bowls of water).

                            Here are a couple links to magazines you might find useful with raising chickens as well as with gardening:

                            http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/

                            http://www.hobbyfarms.com
                            The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. - Thomas Edison

                            Vancouver Island Primal and Paleo Living <<< join our Facebook Group

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