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  #1  
Old 01-13-2016, 05:31 PM
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Default Who here has backyard chickens?

I know this has been discussed before but it's been a while. Anyone care to share pics of their set up?

I'm thinking of getting several hens when we move into our new place. I checked out my county's restrictions and we just have to keep them contained somehow. No restrictions on proximity to neighbors (which was the problem in the last county I lived in with my sister). I do want to make sure we have enough space for them though. Our back yard is narrow but deepish. Also, do they smell much? Our home is a duplex so there will always be someone on the other side (although we may rent it out to my sister in which case we'd just share the whole yard and then we'd have even more space).

Anyway, we'd only need 4-5. DH is the only one who eats eggs but as a vegan, I'd prefer to raise the chickens ourselves so I know they're coming from a humane source. Plus, we love birds (we already have a flock of cockatiels) so they'd double as pets.

I'm looking at Rhode Island Reds and Orpingtons as possible breeds but open to other suggestions!

Is there a good place to order online if I'm only getting a few? Or should I look locally (I'm in the city but it's KY, I don't have to travel far to get to farm land lol). And should I get new chicks, older chicks, or fully grown?

I'm sure I will have more questions as I think of them. lol TIA!
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2016, 05:48 PM
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If you don't clean out the coop regularly, they get pretty smelly. I liked to let mine free range in the yard, but DH hated having chicken poop all over the back porch. They had a bad habit of sitting in a chicken pile by the back door waiting for me to throw out food scraps. if they were in the yard, they'd come running fast the minute they heard the back door open!

We have started off with full grown hens, and we have raised chicks. It doesn't matter much which you choose, IMO, but it's fun having babies and watching them grow. If you get full grown hens though, try to get ones all from the same flock, so you don't have to go through the hassle of slow introductions.
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2016, 06:19 PM
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Agree with what Mandy said!
My set up won't be helpful because they live in a stall in our barn. They are right by the door outside, so we let them out and they go right outside.
My advice would be don't get sucked in to ducks too. They are cute, but they make huge messes, will dig in the mud, stink to high heaven and are not as friendly as chickens.
Chicks are harder to raise, they can't always be sexed so you will end up with roosters, and can have a high mortality rate.
I would advise you to start with fully grown, locally raised chickens. You won't need to worry about roosters and they will be already laying. After you get that down, you can always get chicks when the layers need to be replaced.
Locally raised are going to trump hatchery chicks any day in terms of health (think puppies from a puppy mill), size, production and temperament. Also, Being vegan, I don't think you want to support the hatchery industry. I've got a pretty good idea where your morals lie
One more thought: there is a lot of buzz out there in regards to vegetarian fed chickens. Chickens are omnivorous and will be much healthier on a complete diet. This can easily be achieved by supplementing with insect protein (which can be cool to raise mealworms yourself) rather than animal protein.
My chickens and ducks will chase down and eat small rodents and even small snakes. We do give them meat scraps as well as pinky rabbits that die or are stillborn.
~~~~~~~
Thought of something else!
Locally raised chickens will also be adapted to your climate. Many people believe that chickens need extra heat in the winter. I absolutely do not advise using heat lamps for anything older than 2-3 weeks. Heat lamps are a huge fire hazard (I know of 4 barn/coop fires due to heat lamps just this fall/winter alone). Additionally, if your chickens are used to heat and you lose power, it will make them sick or (more likely) kill them.
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Last edited by CaerRuthryis; 01-13-2016 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost by CDN
  #4  
Old 01-13-2016, 07:52 PM
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I just joined a local group I found for hatching eggs but that may be a good way to find some young adults already in the same flock.

I had a pet duck when I was a kid and he was SO LOUD so I've luckily already learned that lesson.

The meal worms sound like a good idea because we wouldn't have meat scraps to give them! lol

The weather was another thing I was concerned about. So they'd be fine even in like single digit weather? We had a few days last year where it was literally 1 degree. lol But those days are few and far between. A typically "really cold" day for us is in the teens which is cold to me but probably not to those farther north who know what -40 feels like.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:05 PM
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Totally fine temp wise. You can easily fill the coop with some hay and keep them closed in if it gets that cold. Make sure they are draft free and dry and they will be fine. It's really dampness that is a problem, not cold.
~~~~~~~
If you have someone who will take roosters, it's really fun to incubate your own eggs. We did a bunch of turkey eggs a couple years ago. It was cool. That being said, no one wants pet roosters, so they'd likely be eaten if you were giving them away. That and the fact that you would have eggs right away is why I recommended older birds.
I really love having chickens, they are fun. My kids catch them and hold them all of the time. Orpingtons are super mellow and calm.
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2016, 08:48 PM
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I do
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:53 PM
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I bought day Olds from my local farm store and I've ordered from Meyers hatchery minimum 6 chicks. Never hatched myself and never had a roo.

We have a coop and mini run then we have a larger run fenced off of the yard, so they can't get into the garden unless we let them into the yard. The coop sits inside the larger fenced off run, if that makes sense.
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Old 01-13-2016, 09:17 PM
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This is the one we bought and my husband used scrap lumber and pieces of the old crib to make it be twice as big. Here are pics of the finished product


you can see a piece of the sides of the crib being used as a door here


here you can see better the difference between the wood that came in the kit and what we added to it.

here it is from the other view.

As you can see, not only did we make it twice as big, but added a couple more nest boxes to it. it doesn't look as clean as the picture now because it's been used for a year now. there's not really a smell to it. the 10yo goes out each morning to clean the coop and he puts all the poop in a bucket that will eventually become manure for the garden. The area where we have the garden is covered so the chicken (only one left now after a couple died, we need to get more) can't get in it. We let the chicken run around the yard during the day and she goes back into the coop at night.

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  #9  
Old 07-06-2016, 03:05 AM
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bumping this- we want to get chickens when we move to our almost 3 acres. I want to start off with chicks so the kids can be invested.

I've been watching a lot of Justin Rhodes videos and joined a forum specifically about having backyard chickens. I had chickens growing up I was responsible for but its been a few years so I feel like a newbie!
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:00 AM
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We are sitting at 14 right now, 4 of which are only 8-10 weeks... shhhh, don't tell the city, we are only supposed to have 4.

I need to get a pic of our 2 coops. We really need a third, maybe, as trying to integrate the babies has not gone well and one of them is in my living room at the moment, as she was attacked earlier this week by the big girls.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:15 AM
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We were only ever supposed to have 3 (well actually 0, if you got really technical on our lot size ), but we had 9 at one point.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:02 PM
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hah- glad to hear that- because honestly we'll be having an illegal amount technically.

The new house is "technically" zoned as commercial office. It will cost a lot to rezone.. and then they'd only let us have like 10-15 chickens anyway and you have to have a buildling permit. We will only have 1 neighbor (who has animals) and the land behind us is protected. They won't be free ranging or be seen from the road (house and garage are in the way..) So- I told Eric we should just do it anyway.

I don't understand the need to go through that many hopes to have some little backyard chickens to produce my own eggs.
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:49 AM
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we do, but can't get pics right now. if you go through my pics on facebook you can find them, though
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:51 PM
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Lacey, the beat-up baby, went back out last night. Now that she has healed, I am very proud of how far it closed... they had split her poor neck clear open!!

The 10 "big girls" are laying 6-8 eggs a day, which is pretty good for this intense heat we've been having.

Here are some old pics of the babies... little black one, Primrose Monster Chick, I am afraid is a roo and we won't be able to keep him. He's a silver laced wyandotte. The other babies are a Buff Brahma (Lacey) and 2 New Hampshire reds (Taffy and Windblade).


Ben with a baby Windblade... she is SO patient with that boy, even today:




Baby Lacey, she is gorgeous!!

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Last edited by yeswehave8; 07-14-2016 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost by CDN
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Old 07-15-2016, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciles View Post
hah- glad to hear that- because honestly we'll be having an illegal amount technically.

The new house is "technically" zoned as commercial office. It will cost a lot to rezone.. and then they'd only let us have like 10-15 chickens anyway and you have to have a buildling permit. We will only have 1 neighbor (who has animals) and the land behind us is protected. They won't be free ranging or be seen from the road (house and garage are in the way..) So- I told Eric we should just do it anyway.

I don't understand the need to go through that many hopes to have some little backyard chickens to produce my own eggs.
One of the reasons there are so many hoops has to deal with is animal health. The city/county/whoever is issuing the permits, etc. Has to know where the flocks are, how many there are, how close the flocks are together, etc. In case of some form of outbreak (avian flu, or whatever). If everyone keeps secret or even extra chickens, then it becomes very difficult to manage disease outbreaks, and mitigate damages.

I do think there should be an exemption process for people in your situation. Although it's strange that you're even allowed to live in the house considering the zoning!
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