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Chickens

Discussions about how to grow your own food or raising livestock.
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Denob
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Re: Chickens

Postby Denob » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:05 pm

Goldie wrote:In a dire SHTF scenario, what are chickens fed ? assuming there is not place to go by feed

Yes, this has been on my mind for a while.
First of all, as I have no rooster, I would only have to keep them for a year or so...then they go to the dinner pot.
I have started to really keep track of how much they eat...on a daily basis:
400g commercial layer feed in pellet form
40g deer corn
30g oatmeal

The corn shouldn't be an issue, and I may try growing some feed corn this year to get an idea of how much to plant.
The oatmeal is just a treat for the cooler weather, but I'm pretty sure it's in the commercial feed.
What I need to do is find out what's in the feed and figure out how much I need to grow to make my own mix.
If I can grow my own feed, I'm sure I could get the feed cost down to almost nil!
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Denob
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Re: Chickens

Postby Denob » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:06 pm

Goldie wrote:Does this guy selling premade chicken coops have a website ?

No, he usually has them out on his front lawn, but I haven't been by that way in a while, so I don't know for sure if he still has them.
I have seen that exact design at local coop stores though...about the same prices.
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Goldie
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Re: Chickens

Postby Goldie » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:09 pm

I just noticed on sale at http://www.tscstores.com/CYBERWEEKEND2014.aspx

Tuscan Villa Poultry Hutch reg 499 on for 299 ( 97" x 27" x 60" ) for 6 - 8 chickens
and
Bay Window RABBIT Hutch reg 299 on for 149 ( 35 x 41 x 36 ) for 4 - 5 rabbits

You order it online and it ships to your local store
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Re: Chickens

Postby jonesy » Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:35 am

Goldie wrote:In a dire SHTF scenario, what are chickens fed ? assuming there is not place to go by feed


Scraps from your table. Think pigs with feathers. Up to and including cooked chicken carcasses. We always boil, dry, and crush their eggshells to resupply them with calcium for further egg production. As long as it's not raw chicken, or raw eggshells, they won't get a taste for their own:). Between our dog, chicken, and lawn ornament alpacas, our green bin rarely sees any deposits.

I found chickens love veggie peelings, shrimp tails, clams and crushed clamshell, forage from the yard, slugs, snakes, snails, etc. all of which come naturally from our neighbourhood. No feed required, except on the coldest, snow covered days. Best to ration feed if no resupply was on the horizon.

If it all comes down, don't kill them after a year, denob. Kill them when they stop laying. And before they do, borrow a rooster just for a few days to inseminate. Or drop your girls off with a rooster for a couple days. They'll be laying fertile eggs for at least a month, and will give you lots of replacements!

Just my .02
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Re: Chickens

Postby Denob » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:02 pm

I've actually been looking into growing some of the feed grains myself. The 4 that I have go through about 1 lb of feed per day.
1 25kg sac of feed lasts about 2 months and I keep 1 full one ahead of the open one.
The "one year" thing was an estimate based on the age of the hens I have now...but I plan on getting 2 more this spring and every spring after that to keep a young flock of 4 - 6 layers.
Because of my semi-urban land, I can't have a rooster, nor can anyone very close to me, but I will be looking in the spring for small local farmers that have chicks for sale, so that I can develop a relationship with them for just that occasion. I am sure I would have something to barter for the roosters services!
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Re: Chickens

Postby jonesy » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:28 pm

Good idea on the barter for insemination, Denob. Once inseminated, they actually can retain their fertility for a minimum of 30 days, but occasionally up to 90!! According to our local expert at least.

Also, my wife wanted to mention, in Cuba they don't feed their chickens, period. Mind you, there's enough bugs and plants going year round to sustain them. But while we can't have fresh greens going year round, between foraging for themselves and the feed you grow for them, plus scraps, you can almost do away with commercial feed...

I can't think of an easier livestock that gives such a great return on investment... Plus aeration of soil, fertilizer, and a solid dinner at the end of it:). By the way, use the slow cooker if you get a very old one. Tenderizes the oldest of birds!
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Re: Chickens

Postby OldTimeGardener » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:49 am

Now this is assuming that one can not let their chickens free range due to npnd (nosy people next door). And/or its winter time and the ground has turned in to white mtns.. :(

Do fishing?
You can feed fish to them as treats.
Same with hunting. What you don't want, they will eat.
I know some ppl that pressure can those bits and pieces for their dogs..so why not for chickens.

Gardening?
Grow winter squash. It stores very well over winter if cured well. I have had mine stored for a good 2 years and they were fine. It's very good for them, along with the seeds.

You can plant pumpkins as well, but they will not last thru out the whole year in storage, at least mine never did. Possible, I guess, to dehy. Then soak to bring back to life..?

Peas..high protein..grow, dry and store for them.
You can also dry corn and husk for them or serve on the husk...which ever suits you.

Swiss Chard..again excellent for them. Dehydrated and store in closed jar for winter feeding.
I sprinkle it over mac/spag./rice/oatmeal (cooked) or what have you that's damp and sticks to it. Great for winter time feeding when, like us, they crave greens.

Plant sunflowers and feed that to them come winter...sparingly. They don't need to get to fat on those. Its like candy to them and they will pig out on only that, if you mix to much in with your grains/hen scratch.

There is more, but that's a start.

Feed extra eggs back to them. Boil 'em up, cool them down, crack them against something, then stand back before tossing to them.
I have also made 'omelets' on real cold days for them, add in crumbled S.chard, a real good sprinkle of c.pepper.
I have mixed in left over from the nights before meal....of rice, corn, peas, any tiny bits of meat/fats, pieces of bread, etc.

Crickets....you can raise your own to feed to them. Search the net for info. on raising them.
Then there is worm raising.
Or dig around in the compost pile, if you compost.
I put some old boards down in their runs, then every other day or so in summer, I will turn them over.

I think after the SHTF is bad enough to close down stores or cause massive shortages, the 'ppl next door' will not complain if you have a roo to look after the hens. They will be only to happy to get eggs once in a while!
They might even get a little concerned if they don't hear that roo crow, knowing that will bring more chickens then eggs your way or their way. :lol:

After all when hatching, there not all hens. Those extra roos will be invited for a meal I am sure.
Also extra roos and hens might just make for a great trade item in SHTF times. Mind, you might have to do some s'plaining to do about the facts of life..that is chicken life..to those folks. ;)

Winter time growing a few plants of leaf (not head) lettuce and/or s.chard is also an idea for both you and your feathered friends. It grows pretty fast and doesn't need a whole lot of light.

I feel in summer they do not really need extra hen scratch/grains, only need layer pellets, they can find their own treats/grains/weeds.
Course in summer time there is weeds and what nots to toss to them if they cannot be free ranged for their own grub.
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Dakota
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Re: Chickens

Postby Dakota » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:13 pm

I have 8 hens and one roo. Had 13 but ended up with more roosters than I expected or wanted. Bought them last year and I have found some of the breeds hardier than others. Alberta winters can be pretty brutal. I have an insulated unheated coop. I do however have to heat the water. My breeds include buff brahma, black Langshan, partridge coshins and copper maran. My Favorite are the brahmas. They eat almost everything. As has been written they love sunflower seeds, but also love raisins and pretty much any scraps coming out of the kitchen. My copper maran roo is a wonderful rooster. Gentle with the hens, always on the guard and even the kids can hold and hand feed him. The amount of eggs forces us to give away to neighbours and coworkers. We made our shed 8x20 and split the shed at 8X10 on each end. One side is for the chickens, the other for goats. The system has worked out to be wonderful in colder weather as the animals heat help keep the little barn warmer. We are extremely happy with how everyone is doing.

Just to update now in Aug/15- all is great! Lots of eggs! Natural remedies for immune boosters have kept the chickens in great health!! Chickens and goats share the field and do wonderfully together! Love the heritage breeds!! Next year we will let the hens have their own babes as they want badly to brood. Good homesteading experiment with these birds. Happy with the results!!!

Update Jan/16- chickens fantastic Hardy birds! Put used straw from the goat pen down in the run today so they can run around in the yard without getting too wet from the deep snow. They stopped laying when they went through their molt and looks like they will start laying again shortly as their combs are starting to get red again. This year we will let them hatch their own!!! The group wants to be here for the hatching of the chicks and the birthing of the goats!! We think it will be a good experience for all the families! You live and learn!!

Update March /17- We were very successful with both baby chicks and the goats births last year. All my kids (goats) were male so I've sold them as great diary studs and was picky about who bought them(I won't even get into that adventure!). I had to cull a roo that was hatched last year because he was behavin badly with his dad. Luckily the rest hatched were female.
This spring/summer hope to see some hens go broody again so I can add to the layers. My first bought hens will be coming close to their end of good laying years in the next 2 years so I'd like to start to rebuild the flock. Don't think I'll breed the goats girls this year-give them a break. Also, I bought ducklings last year, they are AWESOME! Hardy as heck, lay more eggs than chickens, sold my extra 2 drakes -kept 2 hens and 1 drake. Hoping those hens go broody as well, to add to that flock. I used an old insulated dog house for the ducks house and they did well. Welsh Harliquin Ducks rock!!!
Last edited by Dakota on Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ready
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Re: Chickens

Postby Ready » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:53 pm

Hello, I am near Coldwater, Ontario and am interested in raising some egg layers. Any ideas where the best place to start as far as what I will need? We are an older couple, so our back strength is somewhat limited, but we really like the idea of having our own fresh eggs. Thanks for any help.
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