I have a friend that built a coop in his backyard. They got a rooster and several hens. Best eggs ever. Are you building your own coop? How far away are your neighbors and are they laid back? Using for meat or just eggs?
I'm not sure Lizzlee. I think I might want to eat them after they stop laying eggs. We had barn animals (turkeys, ducks, pigs) when I was a kid, and I think I would be ok with eating them.
Plus I make a mean coq au vin.
ETA: Ginny, I'm like 90% on them being legal. Just the number is limited, I think. I would def check it out for sure before I bought any chicks. I'm just kicking it around. I like the idea. And it's something I'm going to do one day, I think.
This message has been edited by HOLDSDOWNSHIFTKEY on Feb 8, 2012 6:56 PM
Except you won't get very as many eggs without a rooster. In fact if you don't have a rooster one of your hens will become the rooster in personality. They really want to have a rooster. Roosters aren't too bad. I mean mine would crow occasionally and not for very long. And roosters are highlarious. They are so funny when they freak out.
A farmer needs a new Rooster to watch after his hens because his current one is getting pretty old,
So the new rooster struts around the yard, meets all the young hens, and runs into the old rooster.
The young rooster says "Get outta here old man, I'm the new man round here, so go retire!"
The old rooster says "I'll let you have all the hens if you can beat me in a race around the barn. Now I'm old, I got a bad ticker and I scare easily, so you gotta gimme a head start.
The young rooster agrees, and after he gives the old rooster a head start decided he can take care of the old rooster by scaring him as they race, so he chases after the old rooster squawking and flapping his wings.
The farmer sees this from the porch, gets out his shotgun and blows the young rooster away, yelling
"GAWDAMMIT! That's the third gay rooster I got this damn week!"
It's common here for cities to allow a limit of three chickens and no roosters. Several of my friends have them. Probably the biggest problems they have are with the chickens being attacked and/or killed by racoons, coyotes and predatory birds. They also attract lots of rats with their feed and their poo. The eggs are nice, but I'd give it thumbs down unless you build a maximum security coop.
Just put a net across the top of the coop. That will keep the predatory flyers out. Chickens like to perch too. And if you can find one get an open top wooden box or something like that and cut a 'door' in one side. Turn it over and you'll have a chicken condo for them in their coop. They LOVE condos. Don't feed them potatoes. They love most every other kind of scraps though. Another hilarious thing to watch is snack time.
Hey Caps...again I think it's a great idea for eggs or meat really...I buy all of my eggs and most of my meat from local farmers now when I can afford it...reduce your footprint when you can, avoid all that crap that is put in regular food plus the animals are well-treated and live a natural life until D-Day, triple win if you ask me...
having a hobby and being able to sustain yourself with it at the the same time is pretty cool I think...
here is a link for the chicken coop tour in my hometown, there are some helpful resources on there if you want to delve in a bit: http://tourdcoop.com/
My buddy does it. He built a nice 'chicken tractor' that they live in and also de-bug his lawn and garden from.
He had five hens, no roosters. He got a decent amount of productivity out of them - and I got a lot of fresh eggs. They are amazing - like really, really much better. So rich! Making pancakes with those eggs resulted in the lightest, fluffiest cakes ever.
I'd do it, but I've got my hands full at the moment. It's on the list - I say GO GO GO!
Not sure what your environs are like, but lots of predators will come calling if it's even suburban. Make sure they're safe! My pal had all sorts of things try to get at the chickens.
When I lived in Bridgewater there was a house nearby that had chickens & at least 1 rooster, and I used to see and hear then all the time. I actually enjoyed the sound of the rooster crowing in the morning.
My sister used to raise chickens, and she loved it. If your neighbors are OK with it, and the zoning laws allow, I say go for it.
There was a house in Cambridge a couple of years ago that lost their chickens due to asshole neighbors. I signed a petition to help them keep them, but it didn't end up working out.
Back to the deliciousness of happy chicken eggs - you will notice that these egg yolks are a lot more orange than the yellowish store bought eggs. I have been told by an eggsspert, yes I went there, that this is because of the higher protein content in these chickens diets. That protein comes mainly from their natural nutrient rich diets of bugs. So it seems our friend the chicken prefers a low carb diet, whooda thunk?
I think I'm going to sleep on it for about a year or so. I just moved into the neighborhood in May. I think I should let people get a feel for me before I ask them if they mind a loud cock-a-doodle-dooooo in the morning.
OK Caps, here's what I learned about the handling and care of chickens.
If you don't like them, butcher them and eat them up. The rooster is not going to be any more (or less) noisier than the brood.
Chickens like to be really warm. If you live in a cold weather climate that means your coop will need to be insulated and you'll need heat lamps. Chickens will pick which box they like to lay in but they all will share. They are very social and hierarchical.
They like fresh water. You'll need to buy feed based on what chickens you have. There is layer food and there is meat bird food. Then you'll have to mix a little oyster shell in. Cheap cat food will work too. I don't remember why now.
I would check on the chickens in the morning before going to work, open up the coop and let the ladies and poor bastards out. Again at lunch if I went home (might as well since I'm here), check for eggs. And again before dark, put the ladies and poor bastards to bed.
In the summer, sometimes on my lunch break I would go and eat my lunch and watch them. Throw some lettuce, fresh alfalfa (they LURVE fresh alfalfa) or peas or whatever (remember, no potatoes) and they can be really funny. Oh yeah, and grasshoppers. If you can stand handling grasshoppers and can catch some throw them in the coop and prepare to laugh. I know its evil but its funny.
You'll probably need straw. The easiest way I found to clean out the coop (remember they are birds and they shit evey where) is to lay a big piece of cardboard down and then cover that with straw about 1/2 - 1 foot thick. Get yourself some 'coop boots' and gloves. About once a week (we had what, like about 20 chickens?) you just pull that cardboard out and dump it all in your wheelbarrow or whatever you are using. Chicken poo is great fertilizer by the way. You don't NEED a pitchfork but you'll want one.
If they are going to be meat birds - don't name them.
Oh - and if you leave home very often then you probably shouldn't get them. Unless you have a responsible neighbor kid who will come over and feed, water, and collect for you.
Oh yeah, absolutely. The dogs even became friends with them. I never imagined that they could have the personalities that they have.
If you can handle the shit factories, get a couple of ducks. They are the best. You just need a little kiddie pool. I would clean my pool out by just dropping the garden hose in and letting it run. But I wasn't paying for city water or anything. And again the poo is yard happy.
OH! but don't let your chickens near the pool. They can't swim.
Plus duck eggs are good. Maybe you should just start with a couple of ducks? They are the best. If I'm ever in the position to have foul again, I'm getting duck before chickens.
I was going to try to start something about how if you don't like them then you can still eat them and then I grossed myself out. LOL
Anyways, I think at Ace hardware we replaced my well pump for just a few hundred dollars but I don't have a clue how it all works. And plus I didn't run the garden hose for very long. You know, just long enough to flush the kiddie pool out and the duck poo water drained onto the yard, so win.
Well, that's my 2 cents. Let us know what you do.
This message has been edited by BidersSpite on Feb 9, 2012 9:00 PM
We never had hens, just one rooster. He was my sister's science project (she hatched him) turned pet. I loved the crowing in the morning. He had a mean bite, but was a fun pet. Until something ate him. No crowing that morning
We had chickens when I was growing up. Are any of these people that mention eating the chickens also plucking and prepping said chickens? I can still remember the smell. Oh, the humanity. Fresh eggs are great, though.
When my parents bought a bunch of land & built a house on it (just down the road from the house I grew up in) my Dad decided to raise pigs and capons. They were far away from the house so that we didn't have to smell them, thankfully. I never dealt with them or named them, because I knew I'd be eating them. Each year there were 4 pigs -- one would be for us, and the rest for other people. We also had half of a cow from some other farm. I was lucky to have such good meat growing up!
My pal slaughters them and cleans them. He has a 'clean' method for the kill, but I forget what it is.
I've never had to do that, but I've visited a factory-style chicken processing plant. Pretty incredible. The part I remember most was the spot where their heads got cut off. A conveyor with chickens hanging upside down by their feet going past a v-shaped blade as fast as it could cut.
If you said, "Head, head, head, head, head, head, head..." for a minute at a normal speed, that's about how fast it was. At some point about 200 feet from there, the feet go one way and the rest of the body goes another.
I've cut up thousands of chickens and other birds in the food service industry, but never had to de-organ or defeather one thankfully.
If your neighbors are anywhere close to you and you don't want drama, skip the rooster. Anything you've ever heard about†roosters only crowing at dawn is a big fat lie. They go at it ALL. DAY. LONG. Maybe you can tune it out, but it's more likely it will be like hearing a clock ticking - you might not notice it at first, but once you hear it, it drowns out everything else.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I am a hero. - Hep C