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Thread: Garden and Chickens in the Spring! page

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    jqbancroft's Avatar
    jqbancroft is offline Senior Member
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    Garden and Chickens in the Spring!

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    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

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    supersellen's Avatar
    supersellen is offline Senior Member
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    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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    NorthernMonkeyGirl's Avatar
    NorthernMonkeyGirl is offline Senior Member
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    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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    OneDeltaTenTango's Avatar
    OneDeltaTenTango is online now Senior Member
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    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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    lizch's Avatar
    lizch is offline Senior Member
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    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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    supersellen's Avatar
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    Quote 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/

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    it1958's Avatar
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    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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    lizch's Avatar
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    Quote 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

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
    it1958's Avatar
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    Quote 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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