My family and I will be making a move within the next year or so and we're planning to buy a little more house on a lot more property Right now we live on 1/4 lot in a subdivison and we process our own firewood, hunt and fish, and grow a small garden, but the town won't allow chickens and we need more room anyway. We want to get our girls (1 and 4) started early-the older one has already become interested in 4H and has been begging us for chickens. I have been testing her by having her take a more active role in caring for the dog (making sure he is fed and watered, letting him out in the morning, at night, etc...) and she is doing well as she is just one of those kids who loves anything to do with animals. Basically what I'm looking to learn here is the following:
- How many chickens it takes to supply a family with about a dozen eggs a week - We really only want to produce eggs for our own consumption and don't wish to try to sell them, but we do have friends and family who would be happy to take excess eggs.
- How "hands off" one can be with chickens - My wife and I both work away from the house full time. She is a schoolteacher, so she gets home earlier than I do, and of course is off for three months of the year, but I work about an hour away and work longer hours. Can this work with raising chickens? What about other types of livestock (turkeys, rabbits, goats, etc...)?
- Generally can laying hens be slaughtered for meat when they are done laying, or are there breeds more suited to being used for meat?
I'll be browsing the subforums for answers to these questions and more, but thought I'd include a decent amount of information in my intro post in the hopes that others who are in similar situations can relate their experiences.