Well, I finally decided to join up here at BYC. I've been perusing the site for a while and I think these forums in particular are great. I'm basically brand new to raising chickens and a large chunk of my research was done right here.
Now on to the good stuff. My chicks were born on about May 1st. Bought from Cackle. No vaccinations. 10 RIR pullets and 5 OEG Fowl straight run. All 15+1 OEG arrived ok. They lived in my basement for 4 weeks due to unseasonably low temps... in a sanitized and renovated garbage coop in front of a wood stove (no CO leaks).
Wood frame brooder with double floor, 1/2" hardware mesh, manure tray in between. Turned once at 2 weeks, and emptied once at 4 weeks. Tried homemade feeders--too much waste. Bought the upright TSC jobs--perfect. Single 100W incandescent bulb per Cackle. Drop cloth for draft protection. 2 thermometers. Red oak bark (mostly) and bark dust??? in a frisbee for dirt bath at 3 days. Dumor 24% during this time.
Moved about 200 yards away to renovated hog house and run at 4 weeks. Raised house, full size TSC feeders, birch log roost rack over manure box. Dry dead leaves and twigs for bedding. Feed was low at 6 weeks. Started mixing 20%. 24% is now gone. 3 OEG pullets and 3 OEG cockerels. Wire is buried 18" down.
Just last week, something took an OEG pullet's head off through the wire. Turned into Mr. Hyde. Built a box trap. Wood frame, 1/2" hardware mesh over 2x3" wire, 11x11x36", steel door. Dead chicken parts inside. Backup plan: Ruger 10-22. Night 3--all bait disappeared. Fox? Reset with freezer burned venison and loose feathers last night. Nada.
Went to do nightly lockdown. Rather large coon spotted. Commenced backup plan. Success. Black bears that like to eat the family lambs (2 subjected to larger version of backup plan) don't seem interested in chickens. Can't usually catch birds, so maybe not interested? 15 adolescent chickens are doing very well.
All things considered, chickens are low maintenance once properly set up and quite relaxing to watch. I have a vacant sheep house and I imagine broody hens toting chicks around it in the future.
I spend most of my time retail spot trading foreign currencies (forex)... and typing apparently.
Hope everyone enjoyed my intro, or maybe even found it informative.
Edited by RJo1 - 6/21/12 at 8:35pm