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SLBunge

Raising Chickens

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Brought three day-old chicks home this afternoon. They seem happy in the re-purposed dog kennel.

 

I've got 6 to 10 weeks to build a coop and a run in the back yard.

 

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As surprising as it may seem, the black one on the right is not dead but just resting with her feet stretched out. Scared us when we first saw this.

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I was a little worried, too!

 

Are these all going to be solely for egg-laying purposes? Is there a rooster in there somewhere?

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Roosters are not allowed in the city so these are all laying hens. Each will lay 6ish eggs per week although in the winter the production is typically down.

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Winter seems like a challenge - I know chickens can survive a bit of cold but I can't imagine they can handle subzero (F) temps. Are you going to set up a heater?

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There seems to be two schools of thought on this. We will probably have a panel heater in the coop and will definitely have a heater for their water. The coop will also be insulated.

 

Lots of people seem to think that giving them a heat source makes them soft but a MN winter seems sort of harsh for most birds.

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There seems to be two schools of thought on this. We will probably have a panel heater in the coop and will definitely have a heater for their water. The coop will also be insulated.

 

Lots of people seem to think that giving them a heat source makes them soft but a MN winter seems sort of harsh for most birds.

Many of the Vermonters I know that keep chickins use higher-wattage incandescent bulbs to provide some heat and are pretty dinked about the coming progressive outlawing of incandescents. Maybe they can switch to solar panels or something. <_<

 

We have plans for a flock, but ran into a stumbling block in the form of our dog, who wantonly killed a friend's chicken one afternoon. I'm not sure how/if you can train a dog not to kill them.

 

Good luck with them, SL. I think they're a lot of fun (just spent a week chickensitting for friends).

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I'm not sure you can train a dog to not kill them. We've got two small dogs who aren't particularly interested in birds but may react differently when they have to share their yard with them full time. We'll have a chicken-run that they can't get into and won't let the chickens out of the run when the dogs are out.

 

Apparently you want light in the coop in the winter to keep their laying reasonably consistent so it makes sense that some folks increase the wattage and rely on that for heat.

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Jennifer Reese's Make the Bread, Buy the Butter has an interesting discussion of her chicken keeping. Although she's in northern California, where it's a lot warmer in the winter.

 

Haven't read it, but after witnessing a large coop after the cooling system had failed in the Israeli summer, I feel like I'd spring for one of those WiFi temperature alert systems whether the issue is hot or cold weather.

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I feel like I'd spring for one of those WiFi temperature alert systems whether the issue is hot or cold weather.

I sort of suspected those exist but I hadn't looked for them yet. I'd probably pop for one of those since the power for the coop will come from a GFCI receptacle on the garage and that GFCI could pop due to moisture.

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I feel like I'd spring for one of those WiFi temperature alert systems whether the issue is hot or cold weather.

I sort of suspected those exist but I hadn't looked for them yet. I'd probably pop for one of those since the power for the coop will come from a GFCI receptacle on the garage and that GFCI could pop due to moisture.

 

They're pretty cheap these days, there are even models that run off pre-paid sims and can text you.

 

There's all kinds of troubles you can predict, like rodents managing to dig their way in and eating the eggs, or a mongoose (do they have them there?) doing the same and killing all the chickens just for sport, but if it's just a handful of hens then it's not as tragic as in a large scale operation. Mostly you're just going to have more eggs than you need (and certainly more eggs with double yolks than you need when they're molting), but it's fun.

 

 

 

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I’ve been looking into them too. We’re moving to Northern Westchester in a couple months and will have plenty of land to house (and hide) a coop. Apparently they’re not legal on properties less than 2 acres. We only have 1.3. (I need to confirm and/or make really good friends with our few neighbors)

 

I found (and I’m sure youz did too) www.backyardchickens.com, a valuable resource for getting started, suitable breeds, coops, feed and everything else involved including training dogs to protect/leave them alone.

 

I plan on a small coupe - 3 or 4 birds. Maybe a Rhode Island red or white, a Wyandotte, a Golden Spangled Hamburg, or just to say I have one, a Golden Sex Link. All yield well and built to handle our winters. I’d like an Araucana too which lay blue eggs but not sure if they’re tough enough.

 

Wife wants a pygmie goat too for cheese. She’s been talking smak a few years now though she’s never attempted a curd. These little guys can yield a couple liters a day and supposedly don’t make terrible pets.

We might be getting ahead or ourselves a bit but it doesn’t hurt to dream. Move over Eddie and Eva.

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