Cool. I remember the days when they had minimums of over a dozen and you couldn’t get them much past late spring. I was surprised to see them at TS recently. Got ours (split an order with a friend) a year ago in early May. Been laying since about Oct, and this is the first time one has been broody enough to hatch out chicks.
@chienfou@tinamarie1974 I’ve only ever had hatching eggs shipped. I used to have small flocks of BCMs, olive eggers, salmon faverolles, white bresse and bourbon red turkeys. I loved it but between that and the veggie field, it was too much work for me on my own.
@chienfou@sillyheathen my parents have babies shipped. They have had several different breeds, but at the moment they have salmon faverolles, a white silkie and ISA Browns. This current mix get along really well, but for some reason they are just not laying.
@sillyheathen@tinamarie1974 that’s odd, but the ISAs should start shortly…
BTW, I am assuming you have them penned/cooped and not totally free range. I can be a real PITA to figure out where they are laying if they have a large space in the yard to roam free.
@chienfou@sillyheathen yeah dad built them the Taj of coops. It is like 7’ tall maybe 12’x12’ for no more than 7 chickens. I bought them a chicken swing (no one uses) and some other toy (no one plays with), but I try…
I suggested a couple of those ceramic eggs to maybe entice the girls but he has not taken to the idea just yet. Oh well, store bought eggs for now
years ago, when i had a few chickens, we kept them in a relatively low-topped (4 ft, if I recall correctly) 6’x6’ enclosure that we moved to another spot each day. A bit over half of the top was plywood, and one corner was also plywood-sided for shade. The lawn got debugged, trimmed, and fertilized one patch at a time, the chickens were fat and happy, and the predators were completely frustrated.
yeah, I have been thinking about building a ‘chicken tractor’ to put over the garden spot etc, over the fall/winter. So far it is pretty far down the list of must-do projects. Right now I am getting totally frustrated trying to locate a riding mower since mine bit the dust in May.
Probably like this:
My current set-up is a 6x6 coop on legs for a half dozen chickens in a run that I keep them in so I can run the tiller and “recooperate” the black gold they create from the kitchen scraps and grass clippings (which currently are coming from an electric push mower… see lament above) I throw in there. Run is totally enclosed, with a wire fence top (discovered the hard way years ago that owls like chicken…) It has a pair of charged lines running the perimeter to keep the critters that come out of the bamboo forest behind my property at bay in the night…
Oh, and when the local Dollartree clearanced the plastic easter eggs I bought a bag to toss a couple in the corner of the coop to encourage them to use the one corner I want them laying in. I have plans for nesting boxes that will be bumped out the side of the coop… some day… For now, they lay in that corner and I can retrieve the eggs with a small 3 prong cultivator on a short handle.
@chienfou@tinamarie1974@werehatrack We’re almost finished with our set up. The coop is small since we will only have 8-10 birds. It will open from the back so we can clean it easily and there will be a set of four best boxes on the side.There will be an 8x8 enclosed run where the food and automatic water will be kept. I dug holes and sunk posts in the back corner of our property and created a yard that is about 50’x50’. It will be bisected so they will rotate yards every few weeks so they always have fresh greens and bugs. Whilst they’re adorable at this stage, I can’t wait for them to get bigger and bumble around the yard.
That is where we got our chicks & ducks in the past, they bring in SO MANY to sell! (Except when our hen went broody and hatched her own, so cool!)
You’d be up to your ears in both chicken poo AND eggs if you took ALL of them home!
@Lynnerizer I had a pet rooster as a kid. He grew up without other chickens and thought he was a person. My daughter learned in her animal and poultry science class that commercial chickens are really mean. But he was a sweetie.
@Lynnerizer@sammydog01 my parents have chickens and I really think it comes down to how they are handled as they grow. Their chickens run to the door of the coop when they see someone coming to the door. Some want attention or food. Others want to be held.
@chienfou I like to put fresh herbs in the brooder. I also usually add a bit of cinnamon and turmeric to their feed when they’re a bit older. Between that and regular cleaning it doesn’t ever smell. It’s kind of ace.
@sillyheathen Well, see, the problem is we ordered these back in April when we only had 4 chickens. Since then I bought 2 orders from other hatcheries because they could get to me faster and a bunch of $1 chicks when I went to TSC and they were trying to clear them out before their new order showed up the next day.
My only excuse is that I hate bugs and they are amazing at getting rid of bugs.
Adorable! All those pics of cute hot chicks really made my morning. Thanks for sharing!
As far as your straight run chicks… I never learned the “proper” way to sex chicks, but did learn from an old hand that if you take a chicken by the feet and quickly flip it upside down, more often than not the gals will curl up as they try to right themselves while the guys will tend to just hang there with their wings out. Not 100% accurate, but the flip test combined with observing sizes of their budding combs and wattles can usually give a good guess as to the sex. And a lot easier and less invasive than getting all up in their business inspecting parts
@Star2236 we used to have white bresse and bourbon red turkeys which we let free range in pasture and later harvested for meat. We always had a breeding group so I didn’t have to constantly buy chicks. I also used to sell hatching eggs and chicks which paid for their room and board and the electricity needed to run the cabinet incubators and hatchers. It was fun and I loved all my flocks. I just couldn’t do it on my own.
@Star2236 Hens don’t usually come up for free unless someone’s HOA is on to them or they’re old. Roos come up because 1) You don’t need roosters for eggs to eat. 2) 1 roo can service a LOT of hens and 3) if you have “too many” they fight. (too many can be any number greater than 1 but it depends on if they’re willing to split the flock or not.)
Also, hens are fat and delicious, roosters aren’t unless they are pretty young or you’re doing something very labor/time intensive. (Coq au vin) So while they’re edible, they aren’t anyone’s first choice.
@Star2236 We tried butchering and eating some of our roosters early on, but:
The kids refused to eat them and 2) no matter how we prepared them, they were tough as shoe leather. Probably waited too long and they were too old.
So now my wife takes any excess roosters to a local auction. I don’t know what the buyers use them for (perhaps diversity in their breeding stock?) but they usually go for $8-12 apiece. I can buy a whole already-cooked chicken at Costco for 5 bucks, so I don’t get it, but whatever.
(BTW, it was a shock to see how high a headless chicken can jump. It was also unsettling to see the other chickens grab the head and fight over it - nothing but disgusting feathered lizards.)
yep, they are just tiny dinosaurs!
We had a rooster that would attack my daughter when she went into the coop when she was about 8. Her brother grabbed a stick and told her "don’t worry… I’ll protect you, then promptly plunked the offending bird when he came at her. Problem solved… he (son) was now top of the pecking order.
Eventually the rooster became freezer bait and we labeled the package “attack rooster”. The kids rejoiced when we prepared it. But yes, (A) it’s not usually very tender, and (B) when you can buy an entire pre-cooked tender juicy chicken for $5 bucks it’s hard to justify the PITA involved in dressing them.
@macromeh@Star2236 Never purposely killed any of our chickens, but totally agree on how vicious they can be! Of course sometimes that isn’t a bad thing.
Happy memory – as a kid, I had quite a few chickens and every summer would help supervise the poultry barn at the county fair. This was a mostly suburban county, so livestock were foreign to the “city folk” that just came to gawk at animals and ride the carnival rides. Anywho, my favorite way to occupy the time sitting watch was to troll the clueless grownups by conspicuously eating take-out fried chicken at my station by the barn entrance. Then, every time a snooty suburbanite made some comment about how terrible it was to eat chicken in front of the birds, I’d tear off a little chunk of meat and toss it into the nearest meat/egg pen (those always have at least 3 birds to a pen) and start an immediate feeding frenzy to the horror of the onlooking commenter. Good times…
I don’t trust those big batch precooked chickens anymore. Used to love them and eat them all the time. Went to Costco one day and picked one up bc hey it’s $5 and I don’t even wanna tell you what the next day looked like. Couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t even drink water I was so sick. Day two I called my mom at 5am and told her I needed to go to the hospital. The nurses were coming in the room with what looked like full hazmat suits bc my poop smelled so bad and that was if I even made it to the bathroom. I had never pooped my pants or the bed so many times in my life, it was super embarrassing (I had done it so many times in one day bc getting out of bed with an IV and everything took way to long that they gave me a stack of my own bedding for me to change myself, they were kinda mean too). Finally MY dr showed up to do his rounds and said I had food poisoning so bad it was only something he’s seen in third world countries.
I spent a week in the hospital drugged out of my mind bc it was not only horrible but so so so painful. Every inch of my body hurt all the time, I had a constant migraine from hell, and the constant running to the toilet to get the Costco chicken out of my system.
It was so bad I as even contacted by the cdc to ask what I had eaten for the past 7 days. They told me they hadn’t seen food poisoning that bad in my county in a lot of years and did a whole case on me.
So next time you pick up one of those Costco chickens (Kroger, Meijer or anywhere else) think about my story. Bc it was bad, very, very bad.
No but I know it was the chicken, I’m positive. I are it the night before and it didn’t look right (like undercooked) but I ate it anyway bc I way sooo hungry and I thought how could Costco sell me a bad chicken.
Well they managed to escape the safety of the area I had set up for them. Mom tried well to keep them all covered last night when it rained, but one managed to find a hole in the fence and get outside and was on the other side of the fence all wet and bedraggled when I came home from work last night. I tucked her back under mom, but it didn’t look very promising. Sure enough this morning when I got out there I only have three chicks left. No sign of the other one. Guess the other five chickens dispatched! that one. Barnyard life is cruel! enter image description here
so… I spent an hour after lunch reinforcing the chicken pen. Wife went out to check on them in the pouring rain (since I am at work) a couple of hours after I went in. Turns out the little shits can fit thru a 1 inch chicken wire mesh (with a struggle). So 2 were out in the ‘general population’ and one was still sequestered in the area I had closed them in (probably the one that hatched out first since she would be the biggest and maybe not fit thru the mesh). Mom had jumped the fence (I intentionally left it short so she could get out if needed) but was having a come apart since one was inside and two were out with her.
I made a high speed run to the house just as the sunset once I got all our ER pts settled in and could sneak off for a few minutes. Grabbed mom and the 2 wayward chicks, chucked 'em over the holding pen fence, then pulled off the shoe covers I had put on ( did I mention the rain…) and headed back to work. Total time away was less than 20 minutes.
Tomorrow starts my 7off so I guess I know what I’ll be doing. Hopefully TS/TD Fred will hold off until I get that done since the last track I saw was centered over my area of the state.
@chienfou Is she a speckled sussex? I’m going to use 1/2” hardware cloth in the enclosed run and 2x4 no climb in the yard. I’m contemplating welding some of the 1/2” hardware cloth to the bottom of the no climb so if a broody winds up with chicks, we don’t have that issue. Granted I have quite a while until that’s even potentially an issue.
Depending on the size/length/location of your pen (50x50 I seem to remember) you may be creating a big pain keeping the grasses along your fence under control if you weed eat. With a two by four grid the cut grasses will fall out, but with half inch hardware cloth, they will get bound up in the mesh and it will be very hard to get them down. More an aesthetic problem, but still something to consider.
Also, do you have any problem with aerial attacks? Locally we have a fair number of hawks and I had a real problem with owls years ago when I had chickens at first. I ended up having to cover my coops and runs in order to keep the losses down and avoid having to bury patially eaten chickens. Or worse, having to dispatch them first because they were still alive after the attack.
@chienfou@sillyheathen My niece has ducks and hawks can be a problem (along with foxes, at least I think she said foxes). They get shut up in a shed at night as they seem mostly ok during the day on the pond and the area near there (much of which is woods).
@chienfou@sillyheathen We do have assorted birds-of-prey around here, but our main chicken predators are coyotes and raccoons. I finally had to enclose the top of the chicken run (vertical walls are 6-ft chain link) because the raccoons could climb in and out and the coyotes learned to run at the fence to spook the chickens into flying out, then grabbing them. It’s an ongoing escalation of tactics/defenses.
OMG… Did he come home with a lawn tractor too? I’ve been looking for one for 3 months and they are not to be had in AL,GA,MS, or N FL. I was willing to drive up to 3-4 hours if need be. Thought I had found one at a Home Depot on the other side of Atlanta. Actually let me get to the checkout online and was going to take my $$ but I decided to call to be sure before i drove 3+ hrs… Nope not in stock. Would have been REALLY pissed had they taken my money and I had driven there and it not be available!
@chienfou it has been a battle finding one here too, but he did find one and purchased it. We just need to borrow a vehicle with a trailer to actually pick it up. Pickin’s are slim because the supply chain is so screwed up still
@mbersiam I’d loan you my trailer if I was anywhere around you if you could steer me to a riding mower that is available! Want a rider for the bagger so I can collect grass clippings since I use them in the chicken pen and as mulch in the garden…
Rumor has it the MTD supply chain (Husquvarna, Ariens, Troy Bilt etc) should open up in a few days… we will see!
My neighbor used to have cool looking ducks when we were little. They would let them out to play with us in their back yard and we would go inside their duck house bc we thought it was cool. They had them for a number of years then a bunch of foxes came and ate them one by one and no more ducks for us to play with.
We had chickens when I was a kid. And sometimes in the garden zucchini would be missed and would grow to be the size of a baseball bats. My mom would chop up the giant tough zucchini and cook them up, and Carry a huge pot of hot zucchini out to the chicken yard, calling, “I’m going to throw zucchini to the chickens!“ Us four dumb barefoot country kids would come running, and she would throw the steaming zucchini into the chicken pen. The chickens would run to the middle of it and start eating it, but they would burn their feet so they would run and peck the nearest chicken. We thought it was hilarious. I asked my mom once why she didn’t let the zucchini cool before throwing it to the chickens, and she said “it’s bad enough I’m cooking for the chickens, I don’t have time to stand around and wait for it to cool!”
@marylynne7 The whole thing seemed so bizarre once I was grown, I wondered if I had dreamt it or misremembered. but I checked with my parents and that’s What happened. I also realize now it doesn’t take any extra time to let a pot cool on the stove and get it later, so I’m not sure why my mom wanted the chickens to burn their feet.
I still have to make a ladder roost and nest box inserts but they’re officially spending their first night in the coop! Can’t let them into their yard until I get some netting. We’ve had tons of hawks around lately and a Cooper’s hawk tried to get at them in the little yard we had set up by the house. Very happy to have them outside!
Wow, that makes my set-up look like a slum!
Especially like the ‘drawbridge’ style entry.
Update on my chicks: I am down to “0”, zilch, none, nada… I think the other ones ate the last three.
Note to self: Separate baby chicks better next time…
I’m always up for anyones coop pics/plans. Well and chickens. Pretty girls.
I have not built one and I have a bad habit of “next year idk” but maybe for real this time? I have lots of ideas off backyard chickens but i was leaning toward a 4x8ish on back Wheels. Hardware cloth floor. To move along for waste disopsal every now and then . Not a chicken tractor persey. just less to clean And letting them runmuck the neighbors do. Once they know where home is and if they are locked in every night. I wouldn’t think I’d lose many. Foxes and racoons are nocturnal and hawks are around but a rooster or two…
@Kidsandliz well the neighbors don’t seem to have a major issue with that. Although one is using my garage down the road as a fenced in coop.
MY cats aren’t allowed out and the strays seem to be mouse hunting. But I could see a hungry one going for them. Might have to adopt it. I would think a protective rooster with a flock would be ok. But of course I wouldn’t have that the first year. Obviously keep the cats away from the chicks while indoors. Might take some fencing lol.
@unksol There are so many great ways to keep out predators. I’m a big advocate of having the enclosed run that they can escape to if hawks are around. Doesn’t mean that it is predator proof but definitely helps. We’ve built many coops over the years and so far this is my favorite.
We’ve waterproofed the inside of the coop itself. I’m putting a drain in the floor that will be capped when not in use. I put down heavy butcher paper with shavings/bedding on the floor and pull it once a week. Every other week I will just hose it out. I’m going to start with a bucket under the drain. If it’s too much water, I’ll plumb it to the outside of the shed their coop sits in.
Now I need to build them an automatic waterer, PVC feeders and some chicken swings.
@sillyheathen I like being able to move it cause I have a few acres and want them to forage. And easier cleaning. but if hawks turn out to be an issue is def an option. Manually set up/fold out or a fenced fixed run along the side of the field they can run too
@unksol I’m not sure what you have to move it or how many birds/ type of birds you’re planning on (beware the chicken math!) but I bet you could easily build a similar set up that could be moved. You can’t see it but I buried hardware cloth down the sides and into the floor so nothing can dig it’s way into the enclosed run.
I used to spend a ton of time on BYC. There are some really helpful folks in there though also drama. I guess it lives everywhere. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re thinking about chickens. I’m always happy to chat about it to if you want to bounce ideas or need advice.
@Kyeh me too! We have to be careful with them here in the PNW because it gets so wet. I think they’ll be fine though because I’m rotating their yards so there will always be green to keep down on mud which can become an issue for the heavy feathered feet. Lots of straw in the run and grass in the yard should make for happy chooks.