Describe 'my-chicken-raising-story' here
This is a compilation of stories from my chicken raising experience. Hopefully you can learn something from this story and enjoy the reading. My family had recently moved to the country, so coming from the city I knew very little about chickens. I was around eight years old when I got my first chickens. They were a mix of mutt bantams, an old English game bantam hen, some bantam game mixes and some Japanese bantams. I didn’t even know what breeds they were at the time. Their coop was a drafty stall in the corner of our old barn. All we fed them was scratch grains and kitchen scraps, like the old time chicken keepers used to do it. They laid, brooded and raised their chicks without human intervention, well almost. Being total newbies, we didn’t know that chicks start peeping while still in the egg. We once heard chicks start peeping under one of our broody hens, but when we checked, we didn’t see a single egg hatched. Listening and staring at the eggs some more, we heard more peeping coming from an egg. My dad and I decided that the chick must be stuck and agreed that a little egg surgery had to be done. Thinking back on this I can’t believe we did it. Anyway, opening the egg went fine, but what we found was shocking. A not yet fully developed chick chirping and shivering. Needless to say, we learned our lesson. LEAVE NATURE ALONE. This chicken experience ended when we went away to visit family and left the chickens under the care of my uncle who happened to not be staying faraway at a worksite. He checked on them a couple of times while we were gone and everything was fine. But, when we returned home we found our very insecure coop filled with dead birds, some half eaten and others with only their wings and tails left. Some predator had tunneled under the back wall where the wood had started to rot due to it touching the ground. Lesson learned; don’t leave your chickens unattended for long periods of time unless you are positively sure predators can’t get to your birds. Give them a safe enclosure and, caretakers are not at all a safe guard against predators, they simply let you know how your birds are doing and keep them fed and watered. We then moved to a mountain not far away. There, I purchased more birds, and was a little more informed about chickens (I had done some research online). I built some proper enclosures this time. That was really important. Before building them their pens they spent their nights in the trees (that’s no good). I started out my flock on the mountain with a trio of Red Pyle Old English Game Bantams, followed by a pair of Sumatra bantams and later, more OEGB’s, some Easter eggers, a Dutch bantam rooster and some leghorns. We lost our Sumatra bantam hen to some predator when she went broody in a corner of our old barn. Lesson learned; move your broody hens to a safe coop where they can finish brooding their eggs. I didn’t know about this practice, and previously had one of my OEGB hens successfully hatch chicks in half a metal barrel out in the woods, so I thought the Sumatra hen would be fine. We had a good dog and little problems with predators. Although, we did lose the occasional chicken when we let our guard down and let them sleep outside the coop or when they would lay and go broody out in the woods (we lost a brown leghorn like that. When we moved from the mountain we went to do mission work overseas. During this time, I continued to do lots of research about chickens on the internet, since I could no longer own chickens at the time. It kind of became an obsession. I learned a whole lot more during this time though. And when we finally moved back to the states I was anxious to get more birds. But there was still a long waiting period before I could get some. It was during this time that I discovered BYC. My patience paid off and the time came when I could finally get some birds. I started my flock this time with a Rhode Island Red rooster two RIR hens and a Barred Rock hen. I also ordered some chicks from Ideal-Poultry Breeding Farms, two each of Blue Cochin bantams, Black Tailed Buff Japanese bantams and Easter Egger bantams. I am happy to report that they are three weeks old and doing fine (minus a jap. who died). My large fowl weren’t so fortunate though. My family had to get up and leave at about three a.m. for a two hour drive to attend a family emergency. That day we called a friend who lived nearby so he could take care of the birds. When he pulled up our drive way to attend the animals, he seen our dog run out of the pen that the chickens were in, to greet him. When he assessed the situation he found the hens gone, feathers everywhere and the rooster on his back, with some really raw injuries. Our friend took the rooster home and he recovered well. As I write he is still alone (I’m getting some White Rock hens for him tomorrow). So that’s the joust of my chicken raising experience, which has grown into some sort of an obsession. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something that can help you in yours. I plan on raising and selling bantams and red stars, as well as expanding my operation in the near future.