Re: chickens

Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:01 pm

Those "chicken tractors" work well for chickens eating grass. The chickens love grass, but will destroy it in a run with their eating it, scratching and dust bathing. Moving the coop to different places does them and the grass good. Mine free roam, so my flower beds don't look as good as they used to. But, not as many Japenese beetles around, either. They love them!

Re: chickens

Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:08 pm

Varmints here keep us from letting our chickens out on free range, so I am going to make a big covered pen that the hawks and buzzards cant swoop down into and get the chickens! thanks ; sonny

Re: chickens

Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:39 am

Kevin Hi, Last august I was a state away at an auction and saw where chicks were sold, 20 for $10. Ok that works and my wife had been asking for chickens so with a quick call to her we got 20 chicks. Rhoad island reds. Mind you we had nothing set up at home for them. It was hot there so in they're box they'd give out a quiet peep here and there. Cute! That didn't last as on the ride home, two hours, the air conditioning breathed life back into them and they gave an ear ringing choris of peeping that the radio couldn't drown out. Well its funny now... :lol:
Once home I set up a kennel in the barn where they stayed during the day. At night they were brought in and kept in a warm plastic tub. Unfortunately two were lost due to not enough heat in the first two nights. Down to 18. Iseta bout to building a proper henhouse (read over-building the henhouse). It took me 2 months in my spare time( I don't know how the Amish build them so fast) and $1200. Yep,went overboard but it came out nice, worthy of bragging rights. Its 10'x6' with a 10' x8' covered kennel attached to the side. Chicken wire goes 3' up the side, a foot into the ground and 2' out to keep racoons and fox from digging in. Add to that are farm fencing rails with wire and gates that give me the option of leaving them in the kennel, just around the house, access to the garden in the winter months, or the run of the back yard area thats fenced in (3/4 acre).
That way they get to mess on my deck and dig in my wifes potted flowers. :roll: Anoying but they are fun.
Back to the chickens themselves. We ended up with 8 hens and 10 roosters... filled with spit and vinegar. When they were a few months old, and they grew big fast, the roosters would chase me and peck, hard! Leaving bruises. Thats stopped now, we have an understanding, don't peck and you won't become dinner. :mrgreen:
We did try cooking two of the roosters which though many kind folks on this forum helped with recipes, they were tough from running around. An old boot would have tasted better and been more tender. Down to 8 roosters. We figured 2 would would be a good number to keep as in mass the hens were suffering badly. One got beat up so bad that it suffered a 2" gash in its side. I took it aside and cared for its wound which has healed very well. 6 roosters have got to go.
One more later disappeared presumed AWOL. Samrt bird considering. Another was relocated by means of a drive by chickening (read my earlier post). I'm down to 4 extra now which are separated during the day which leaves the rest of the flock to peacefully forage in the backyard. They go in at night to protect them from racoons, fox, coyotte, and neighbors dogs. We have hawks but they havn't been a problem as I guess because these birds are heavy and knee high tall. We did forget the 4 extra birds in the garden area one night and a coyotte jumped the fence and nicked up one of the roosters before we drove him off. None the worse for wear though.
Yes, New Jersey has coyotes! Go figure, I thought that was a western thing myself.
Egg production turned out to be more than we need. We got our first 2 eggs on new years day and its up to 7-8 eggs a day, every day now. No one visits our home and goes home without eggs. :D The brown eggs taste great too!
I work nights and tend to them when I get home in the morning. It takes about 10 minutes to feed, water, and clean the hen house. Five more minutes in the evening. The collected manure gets spread over the garden. Not alot at all. Very easy to keep up with. I feed them a mix of equil portions of scratch grain, cracked corn, and layer crumbs. A small amount of crushed oyster shell gets added to make the egg shells harder and give the hens calcium. As said by another the hens scratch up the backyard some and mow the grass down to the nub but the warm weather brought the grass back nicely. I'm sure they're droppings helped a little too. With summer comming on soon I'm curious if the insect population will be in check because the birds seem to peck up anything that moves. :wink: Thats a good thing for sure!
We were new too chickens last year and the learning curve has been fun. Aside from the problems caused by having too many roosters, its been something that I'd do again in a heartbeat. As I had read,I'm going to get in touch with the local 4H club to see if they want the remaining surplus birds. That was a good idea thanks.
Enjoy your new flock, Mike.
Ps- My blind Jack Russell loves to spar with the roosters which show her great patience and get along great with her and our cat!

Re: chickens

Thu May 01, 2008 10:02 am

Nice story. We should get extra points for long posts. Maybe vote on them.
Here the wife is not so keen on the chickens but likes the eggs. Folks call these mobile setups "chicken tractors" but they are more "chicken implements" me thinks. :lol:

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 2:15 am

Yeh sorry, get a little long winded sometimes. Working the midnight shift gives me a bit of free time to kill and that doesn't help either. :wink:
One of the extra roosters got tired of fighting and went to the neighbors house, an older couple. I found out where he was at 06:30 am. when I got home as he was crowing away...over in thier back yard. :roll:
I got a call from them later that morning, figured it would be a complaint but they asked to keep him. :mrgreen:
His eating from thier hands and antics have made them happy. Nice how things work out.

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 6:13 am

I Had to put my wife off for this year, I have always had chickens as a kid and as a married man. Hatching my own. When we moved to our new home we had 3 hens we called the girls, The were a cross between black cochins ans Barred rocks
size of the barred rocks but the looks of the blacks, the feet were feathered as well.
Then the Foxes came and we had to get part with them .We have always left them free roaming, So this spring TSC had some Bramas and my wife wanted them right now
I have always sexed them using a magnet. Has anyone else used this method. You place a magnet on the end of a string, put it close to the body,but not touching, hold a still as possible, it will either rotate or move in a straight line side to side. Males side to side Females rotate.
I have used this to be 100pecent Correct.
Having raised birds , chickens wild waterfowl, Swans etc 30 yrs. plus... Have had contact with lots of old timers that use this method. I though of as the divining rod thing etc. But many things are not seen and not understood 100 percent.
I went to tractor supply to get some pekin ducks for a friend, he wanted hens.I asked an employee if I could borrow a magnet ,when she asked why,you should have seen the look at me . Thought I was Nuts. It will be even more strange when someone who wanted a mix of males and females ends up with all males at home.

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 7:03 am

Last spring my wife wanted a koi pond so I built her a 12x8'-3' deep pond and stocked it with fish. Then every frog within a mile must have decided that my pond was the cool place to hang out all night. Imagine having several hundred frogs chirping, croaking, etc withinn 60' of your bedroom window from 9PM to the 2AM every night. So four weeks later my wife has me dropping loads of fill dirt in the pond with the backhoe so she can get some sleep...

This spring she tells me that it would be neat to have chickens and a chicken coop and the first thing that I thought of was the frog pond disaster. I told her, "You know that in order to have hens that lay eggs, you need to have a roster, right? And you know that rosters like to wake up really, really ealry EVERY morning and can be pretty loud, right?" So, lets say that I am letting her sit on this one for a while...

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 8:30 am

No I mean long stories are good. :)

Sexing chickens with a magnet? Wow never head of that. I have seen sexing by checking the wing feathers and squeezing them till they poop and looking at how the squirt comes out the vent to tell males from females. There are experts that do it all day.

I am fairly sure those hens in the "egg factory's" have never seen roosters. :wink:

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 9:13 am

Checking for male or female with a magnet works for all animals . Not just birds
Try it it works

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 11:28 am

I am a major league skeptic in all things, I am not from Missouri but you are still going to have to show me.

I assume a rig of a small common 1-2" bar magnet on a thread sort of a crude compass is what you are talking about. I guess a compass wouldn't work cause you are talking about the center of the magnet precessing around or swinging not the magnet trying to orient itself any way other than north south. I have two dogs one of each other wise very close in size. I'll try it later.
Last edited by markwayne on Fri May 02, 2008 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 11:46 am

I also was an extreme skeptic. I use a round small earth magnet, tie a hex nut on string, let the magnet hang from the hex nut. I usually touch the body of the animal softly to get it stopped from swinging, then hold off about 1/2" from the body. It will start slow and start swinging . Should only take a few seconds.
Just because we can't explain things does not mean it isn't true.

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 1:14 pm

So males swing back and forth and females round and round? There is a joke in there somewhere. :wink:

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 2:16 pm

I would not recommend going there?
Been there , I guess there were to many females around when I said it. :oops:

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 10:34 pm

markwayne wrote:So males swing back and forth and females round and round? There is a joke in there somewhere. :wink:

I have one particularly nasty rooster that sits on the eggs that the hens have laid. He also prefers to ignore the hens and molest the other roosters...wonder what the magnet will do for him??? :lol:

I'm gonna show this post to my daughter, shes going to have to test this!
One for Myth Busters for sure! :D

Re: chickens

Fri May 02, 2008 11:36 pm

Ok this is weird. I just tried the magnet trick on Sadie (female pointer/dalmatian, my rescue foster) and Houdini (Dalmatian male but neutered, his head shot is my avatar). A quick run with a GE dongle refrigerator magnet, thread on a paper clip to hold it, the technique seemed to work :shock: I am going to change magnets and set up a tripod to eliminate my hand movements and try it again when the dogs are snoozing so they will be still.