I'm not really new to chickens, since I was the "helper" when I was a kid and we had chickens. I even took a 4H class in Poultry, and didn't do too bad, lol. However, aside from occasionally helping my sister-in-law and her (sometimes) boyfriend (long story, you don't want to know), I hadn't been around them in more years than I care to admit to. This spring, we ordered 50 "barnyard mix" chickens, and I soon realized I'd forgotten a *whole bunch* more than I remembered!
Since then, I and 99% of the chickens survived the learning curve. Some of the extra cockerels have already made their way to the freezer, and yesterday we got our 1st 2 eggs! I posted the pics on my facebook, if anyone's interested: [https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2095510680785&set=a.1831023148762.103626.1635885362&type=1&theater][/URL]
We still have 24 chickens, including a few extra cockerels who may need harvested...depends on how well they behave. ;-) Of course, if I can get them some more girlfriends, it won't be an issue! :-D
We have Rhode Island Reds (or so they appear, or maybe Barnevelder mixes?), of which most are pullets, Barred Rocks (or a cheap version of the Dominique- their combs aren't like Barred Rocks' are supposed to be...), which mostly ended up being cockerels, and a couple of what we assume are mixed-breed Black Copper Marans - odd-looking critters that are black/nearly black, with some very dark red thrown in for flavoring. Also, one that's either a Naked Neck with a bow tie, or a little gal that managed to scar her skin when she was little and too enthusiastic in the feeder...She started out with chick fuzz, but very quickly lost it. Yet, there was no visible injury to the skin, just a lack of fuzz/feathers So she's a mystery...
They can't be all the time free-range, since we have too many wild (and possibly tame) critters around here that would love to help themselves to a feathery buffet, day or night. They're in a fenced & chicken-wire-covered pen around 8ft x 16 ft, with room to expand the pen another 8 x 16 once I get that half covered in chicken wire. (too many projects, too few hours in the day or days in the week) They get let out in the late afternoons to forage and play, and then "let themselves back in" come dusk (usually with no herding involved...), but only when one of us can supervise.
Their coop, though, I'm pretty proud of, if I do say so myself! At an auction very early this year, we got hold of a 6 x 8 garden shed (the 2" x 4" and siding kind you'd pay several hundred dollars for, new) which had been "adapted" for some reason (I don't think I want to know...) to have a roof made of a pickup's camper shell, rather than the actual roof it should have come with. Still, everything else on it looked nearly new, and we knew we could get it fixed. Got it for $20, since no one else wanted it, lol. Using materials we got from the ReStore near work (Habitat for Humanity's line of stores, stuff that's used, leftovers, etc., really cool kind of store!!), stuff we saved from the long, one-way trip from work to the land-fill, some shingles left over from another project, and some ingenuity, we built a pretty cool coop. My facebook album on that project is here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1747111051012.94709.1635885362&type=1
I ran across your awesome website while looking at the idea of setting up a "maggot farm" to give my guys and gals some nice, fresh proteins. I have been wandering the forums and fascinating threads ever since!
Anything you might possibly want to know about me, and possibly way more than you care about, you'd discover at my facebook homepage, to which either link above will eventually lead you. A synopsis, however, would go something like this:
I'm a 40-something gal who is a semi trailer mechanic at the same shop as my awesome hubby works, to whom I've been happily married close to 3 decades (and I think I'll keep him!). We have two sons, several dogs & cats, and 3.3 acres out in the middle of nowhere outside of a tiny town no one has heard of unless they live nearby.
I love the outdoors, fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing, gardening, hiking, etc. and am one of those recycling/composting/reduce-reuse-recycle tree-hugger types, who absorbed a lot of my outlook on life on my great-grandmother's lap when I was a little thing listening to her tell the old Native American stories. My mother, a genuine Ozark Hillbilly, has also taught me a deep respect for all things, and I've always tried to live the "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" creed that comes from that hillbilly background.
And, now, off to wander the forums again