Anybody Here Raise Chickens at Home?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by rabbithutch, May 7, 2013.

  1. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've been considering the notion of building a coop and small chicken yard. Haven't had any chickens at home since I was a small kid. Dad and older siblings looked after them; therefore I learned little about them.

    My thoughts have been to get about 6 chicks every six months and keep the brood at around a dozen - no roosters. This, of course, depends on city regulations. I'm thinking this will keep me in fresh eggs and fresh poultry. I'm not looking to get them any cheaper (no pun intended) just fresher and better tasting than the supermarket stuff. I can build the hen house and chicken yard easy enough but don't know what breed(s) to consider.

    Suggestions will be welcomed.
  2. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been considering that myself.

    To the point need to think about building a house on a small lot or getting a small and simple farm for some more tax breaks etc.

    Interesting to see where this goes.
  3. The wife wants a coop.  I think the dogs, foxes, and coyotes want me to get one too.  I am not so concerned about keeping the chickens in as I am about keeping the local canine community out.  ...not to mention the local red tailed hawks that frequent the skies.
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  4. oldcountrygirl

    oldcountrygirl Fire Starter

    I have had chickens for several years, and I would not be without them. They are fun and fresh eggs are unbeatable. I have had to deal with fox, coons,hawks and bears!!! But we beefed up the pen and put up a hot wire and are doing ok. I do let mine out during the day. I also have guineas.....they are a hoot!!! Good luck I know you will enjoy them.
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  5. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  6. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The only alarm system better than a flock of guineas is a flock of peacocks. Unless you are deaf, they will warn you long before any stranger comes close enough to do harm.
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey, Hutch. How's it going down at home[​IMG]  If things are like they were when I moved, you should be able to have a small Flock . They do it on the East side. [​IMG]  As long as it doesn't bother the neighorhood , I wouldn't see why not.

    As always, have fun and...
  8. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have 6 hens that just turned a year old. Converted an old outbuilding/shed into a coop for roosting & laying. They are free range all day on about 1/4 acre pasture in back. I was going to get all Golden Buff's but went with some Speckled Sussex & Wellsummers as well. I get at least 5-6 eggs a day now, less in winter of course. Great for bug eating and keeping some weeds down and just cool to have around. All veggie scraps and bread trimmings from work go to them as well as fruit tree windfalls in the summer. I had some years ago as well so not my first trip with them. Here's a site I used for ideas and info when getting started again and they had some sweet coop builds shown
  9. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Howdy, Stan!

    Things are about usual around the old home town. S&W announced their intention to merge with the Baylor healthcare system which will make it one of the 10 largest in the country. Drayton McLane funded the construction of a new 6 story building beside the old King's Daughters Hospital (which was purchased and turned into a S&W Children's Hospital). The new facility is called the McLane Children's Hospital at Scott and White.

    One of Temple's finest confiscated an AR15 from a US Army master sergeant who was accompanying his son on a 10 mile hike through wild hog and cougar country (to earn a BSA merit badge for Eagle Scout). The city and county are trying to stonewall the situation but it has drawn national attention (from Glenn Beck and others). I saw the video and the I'd convict the cop in a heartbeat and take his LEO license for the way he handled it.

    Bluebonnets came and went. They were more plentiful this year but didn't last as long as in most years. Indian blanket is already in full flower.

    I think I told you that the old Bluebonnet Cafe closed down a few months back. The lady who ran it passed away a few weeks ago. It will be reopened my an Hispanic couple who will sell TexMex food.

    As for the chickens, that might wait until next year. We have a trip planned to NC this summer and no one to care for a flock.

    My best to Fay!
  10. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have several friends who have flocks. The Crazy Lady (long story) that lives across the street has 4 chickens.  She said she called Animal control to find out if that was okay....but failed to call the City and find out about the Ordinances.  There is one with NO livestock in residential areas here.  I would check both places!

    Good luck!

  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After chickens for 30 years, this year the foxes finally hit that last nerve. Last year they ate over 40 chickens, that was with a second restock. This year they wiped out another 30+ in less than 3 months. I assume it was foxes because we killed some. Was odd, there was never any feathers indicating a fight though. I have seen a few bald eagles roosting in the big pecan trees mext door too. Anyway I am out of the chicken business. If you are doing it for any other reason that the good taste of fresh yard eggs, don't do it. Jumbo's store boughts are cheaper and less involved that yard eggs, seriously!

    I gathered every day, rain or shine, hurricanes or hail, you must be consistant if you plan on getting eggs.

    Set up a yard, they will pick it clean to the dirt. BUT they are better than a pig trough for getting rid of scraps. No composting required. What comes out will make the biggest sweetest strawberrys ever seen or tasted at the state fair.

    I suggest you start low and slow, make sure its for you first before jumping off head first in the shallow end. I suggest an easily mobile tractor. Nearly always one for free in the wanted section of the paper. Thats should tell you something.

    Make sure you have some old shoes/boots the yard will be messy. Ewwww.......

    Make sure you have plenty of friends, I have no idea how many eggs we gave away, 2 doz a day for 25+ years is a bunch.

    Poultry pellets (laying pellets), make a difference and crack your own corn!

    Use a large pan for water, chickens know that turning over the automatic waterer makes you mad, you make them mad they retaliate! Good place to reread about boots above.

    Check and buy birds for your location and check their Production rate, egg size, disposition, enviroment recommentations (confined or free range), etc etc.

    I live in the south, I still have a heat light above the roost if its a cold winter night.

    Check the local feed & seed to start, they usually have carry overs (the buy in bulk and sell how ever many you want) they may be close to laying or not. The older they are the more expensive they get. A .25 bulk chick at 3 months costs 10.00

    Mites and fleas must be dealt with I always use Sevin dust in the nests and a flower pot for them to roll in.

    Everyone has their favorites but...... contact Meyer Hatchery in Polk Ohio and get a master poultry catalog. They are my favorite. I am sure there is much more I am forgetting, but its not brain science. Buy a hardy breed w/ a good disposition, visit 'em daily water and feed, gather eggs, LOL.. oh and get your neighbor involved too. When you have to go to the grand babies for the week someone has to take care of 'em. But start small and don't cuss me, I warned you.

    I highly recommend a yard/pen instead of free range. Chickens are dumber than possums and coons about cars. LOL.. about most anything.

    Look for an easily Mobile Tractor to start.

    LOL.. we always had some Aracondas, people get a big kick out of the naturally green egg color. I also like the golden buffs, if I ever start again they are my first choice. Excellant disposition, they will follow you around and get mad if you ignore one. Good production if they are good for your area.
    Last edited: May 18, 2013
    whittling chip likes this.
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I am sure there are cheaper ways to get started. But for a guy with no special construction ability, this is pretty cool!...JJ

  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Can Chickens fly over a 4 foot fence?...JJ
  14. I too have been wanting to get chickens. I have an older cousin that has some, and he recommended the golden buffs to me. He has a rather large portion of his back yard fenced off, and ran a small dia. cable wire from side to side and laid chicken fence on top to keep out flying predators. He told me to get an old dog kennel fence that comes in panels and assemble it as the main perimeter fence. You can find these on Craig's list and other places at at decent price.
  15. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the info!

    I especially like that wagon!

    This is likely to turn into next year's project, though, because we are going to travel to NC for a few weeks this summer and I wouldn't want to start 'em and have to ask someone else to look after them while we are gone.

    Again, I really appreciate the info.
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    JJ Nice looking! You'll be able to get those high class chicks with that layout. Both of mine are wood, and not nearly square, plumb, or straight.

    As to a 4 foot fence, I am guessing the breed has something to do with it but..... I have a 6' chain link industrial fence and the chickens pretty much came and went as they choice. You can clip their wings, but I never saw the point. If they flew out, it will take them the first time a couple a days and they will come back. The grass is always greener and all that, but the pellets are on the inside! Chickens are very social birds.

    You'll always get at least one rooster, sexing is pretty good but there is always one. He's always the first one out which I never understood. Free food and water, a yard fulla women and he wants out?

    One more time, I MOST HIGHLY recommend that you see about getting a breed catalog, I like the free Meyer hatchery's.You can pretty basically pick what ever you want, mixed and matched, all you have to do is pick them up at the Post Office. If only buying a few, you may have no choice in breed at the feed store. Check Craigs also for your area. For chickens, NOT girls.

    If you live in the piney woods, have theft problems, or plan on plucking and eating, Guinea's are great. Best gumbo bird in the world! If you are a light sleeper forget it. Ducks are fun if you have water but they don't tend to stay around, and geese are just geese. They are like the Dallas Cowboys, they either love you or hate you but there is no middle ground. I have tried probably 10 to 15 breeds, each has its good and bad, but the Golden Buffs or Red Star are my favorite.

    Kids or grand kids, my little nephew long ago came in and got his first introduuction to chicks, I had just recieved a box and it was too cool for the pen so they were in a cardboard box in the spare bathroom. When you give a little kid a chick to hold their eyes do light up. I asked Will if he knew what those were, he looked down and back up at me and said, each one is a gumbo! Think my dad had already showed him... LOL
    Last edited: May 18, 2013

Share This Page