Backyard chickens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Big Tony, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. Big Tony

    Big Tony In the Brooder

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    I grew up on my Grandpa's farm when he was raising chickens, and I've haven't raised them since I was a kid. I am retired now and have a home in a small town, and I would like to raise a few hens in my back yard that is completely fenced in. I only want about 4 Buff Orpington hens, and I would like some advice about raising chickens for eggs. I have a square foot garden also, and I enjoy growing my own vegetables, and I would like the chickens to free range in my yard just for the pleasure of it.
    Big Tony
     
  2. Joeschooks

    Joeschooks Just clucking around

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    Welcome to BYC! There’s so many helpful, knowledgeable folks here and I’m sure you’ll find this site a very useful resource. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all do.
     
  3. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

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    Welcome to Backyard Chickens Tony glad to have you join is your garden fenced ? you will want to free range can be great and dangerous from aerial predators
     
  4. KathryninQuebec

    KathryninQuebec Songster

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    Welcome Big Tony, I would start in the articles for information. There is so much to know but if you start off on the right foot you will be able to learn more as you go like most of us. This site is invaluable but also get yourself a good book because the internet may not always work ;)
    I would suggest https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/how-to-raise-chickens.47660/
    Cheers!
     
  5. austintexasredhead

    austintexasredhead In the Brooder

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    I had the same setup in Austin a few years ago. Unfortunately, I did have to fence my garden because the girls would NOT leave my tomatoes alone. Nobody better be stealin' my 'maters!!! I also recommend keeping a few decoy eggs in the nesting boxes to encourage them to lay where YOU want. Mine would move their nests every few months. Good luck with your new chickens!!
     
  6. Foster's Freehold

    Foster's Freehold Songster

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    Welcome Tony!

    Happy healthy hens from a known production line is your best bet for egg production. The only thing about production lines is that they burn out in their second year usually. With Buffs, they are pretty steady layers, cold hardy, good personalities. Easy on the eye too.

    If you have a square ft garden (woot woot) you can rig a cover with some chicken wire and let them turn the box, then move hens and cover to the next box. If you just let them run loose, you are going to lose a lot. If they don't eat it, they may put more nitrogen in than you need, or they will scratch it until there is nothing left but turned dirt.

    Since you are a gardener, I'll tell you what my plans are. I'm going with deep litter in the coop, it's so easy. Toss in fruit and veg, what the chickies don't eat composts quickly. In the spring, you clean the coop down to the dirt and have some really great compost.
    Start the deep litter over, and by next spring, boomity, more great compost.
     
  7. oldhen2345

    oldhen2345 Songster

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    Welcome, Big Tony. This site is a virtual font of information.
    I also have a backyard flock. I only have 5 right now- different breeds, but 3 are different color Orpingtons. I am about to add a couple more-
    Mine are great about laying eggs and free range throughout the yard since it is behind a privacy fence. I do put fake eggs in the nesting boxes and it generally works- I only have one hen that didn't get the memo. she lays right in front of the run door every day.
    My only issue with these girls is that they eat the young plants in the vegetable garden and they root around in the roses and fig trees. Last year I put mulch out, didn't stay around the bushes very long. This year, I put a metal circle around the plants and filled it with rocks- maybe that will deter them. The vegetable garden is a problem. It is a raised garden made of cinder blocks. I got some long stakes and am going to staple netting to it and put the stakes down the holes in the cinderblocks, effectively making a movable fence. Hope that works. Last year I had to give up after replanting twice.
     
  8. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    Meg-in-MT and 007Sean like this.
  9. 007Sean

    007Sean Pheasant Whisperer

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    Howdy:welcome:frow Happy:ya to have you join the family. Enjoy your time here at BYC! :)
     
    Meg-in-MT and drumstick diva like this.
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    After harvest, you can let the girls clean up the leftovers and turn over the soil in prep for next year.
     
    007Sean likes this.

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