Beginner - Are chickens low maintenance?

sevenfatcows

Songster
Jan 26, 2015
194
244
146
Little San Bernardino Mountains
My Coop
My Coop
https://homgar.com/products/rat-proof-chicken-feeder
http://allotmentheaven.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-make-rat-proof-chicken-feeder.html

Here's a couple examples. You can put a baffle or disc on the post and make the post out of smooth metal so the squirrels can't climb it. Rats can climb too. Rats climb extremely well.

Hardware cloth across the whole bottom small enough to stop rodents will keep chickens from eating the grass and scratching. Keep anything suspended at least a rat length off the ground (so maybe 10"-1'?) and 2' away from any walls. Still, these can be picked up and moved with relative ease.
I have the Roam Wild Pest Off feeder hanging from a tree in one of my runs. It is true that rodents and large birds cannot feed from it, but the sparrows can land on the feed opening and even on the little button that closes the opening when a rodent gets on it, and they feed very happily. A flock of them could empty the feeder in a day or two. I was disappointed about that and wish I could think if a way to make the "trigger button" (for lack of a better description) more sensitive to exclude sparrows as well. It looks like the birdie Berlin Airlift out there some days...
 

ChocolateMouse

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 29, 2013
3,073
7,719
447
Cleveland OH
I guess I just don't get it. :confused:
If a chicken tractor is secure enough to keep your chickens safe while you're there it should do the same when you're not. If a feeder/waterer stays full for a week while you're there it should stay full if you're not. I mean, your presence will delay some things, it allows you to react to some things, but it will prevent nothing. Ultimately the only thing standing between chickens and their predators is the walls you put around them. Ya'll see unnecessary loss of life when there's injury or disease you can't take the time and care to treat. I see chicken dinners and replacement chicks.

Maybe it's just me, but most days I do two things; feed/water my flock and open/close the door. I can't leave food out but my pen is not designed to be rodent/small bird proof. If it were I'd have an auto feeder. And if they weren't expensive I'd have an auto door. If your waterer/feeder/coop/pen fail occasionally when you're at home they're not good enough for this... So I wonder if people see the things that went wrong with their own equipment and dismiss this possibility. But solid well-researched and built equipment could make this very feasible. Especially in certain areas of the country.

I mean, lotsa people even leave for vacation for a weekend or even a week sometimes and leave their chickens or even cats with auto feeders and such.

It makes me especially sad that some of the posts have been so aggressive to the OP and their idea. Frankly, the hostility is not warranted. :/ That sort of thing turns people away from chicken keeping in general.

I'd ask the OP to keep us updated but it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't want to so... Whatever you choose, good luck. :)
 
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m1chelle1

Songster
Jan 12, 2017
407
990
232
The Great PNW
I guess I just don't get it. :confused:
If a chicken tractor is secure enough to keep your chickens safe while you're there it should do the same when you're not. If a feeder/waterer stays full for a week while you're there it should stay full if you're not. I mean, your presence will delay some things, it allows you to react to some things, but it will prevent nothing. Ultimately the only thing standing between chickens and their predators is the walls you put around them. Ya'll see unnecessary loss of life when there's injury or disease you can't take the time and care to treat. I see chicken dinners and replacement chicks.

Maybe it's just me, but most days I do two things; feed/water my flock and open/close the door. I can't leave food out but my pen is not designed to be rodent/small bird proof. If it were I'd have an auto feeder. And if they weren't expensive I'd have an auto door. If your waterer/feeder/coop/pen fail occasionally when you're at home they're not good enough for this... So I wonder if people see the things that went wrong with their own equipment and dismiss this possibility. But solid well-researched and built equipment could make this very feasible. Especially in certain areas of the country.

I mean, lotsa people even leave for vacation for a weekend or even a week sometimes and leave their chickens or even cats with auto feeders and such.

It makes me especially sad that some of the posts have been so aggressive to the OP and their idea. Frankly, the hostility is not warranted. :/ That sort of thing turns people away from chicken keeping in general.

I'd ask the OP to keep us updated but it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't want to so... Whatever you choose, good luck. :)
:goodpost::highfive::clap:clap:clap:clap:clap Agree 100%
 

BarredRockMom

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 9, 2013
580
1,464
277
Pennsylvania
I do not strive to be popular, and I don't tap dance around. I don't propose that everyone have chickens, even though I think that there are a lot of benefits from having them. In fact, I think the dream of having chickens is a great one.

I do not see how, at this point in time, it can work out well for the chickens, given the parameters outlined. And frankly I'm more concerned with the chickens' health & welfare than I am about possibly offending pretty much anyone. If that comes off as aggressive, well so be it. I'm imagining a worst-case scenario (which will only be monitored once a week, maybe) & it has zero to do with personal experience. It has to do with being able to to say "Nope, not a good idea at this time."

Just because I think it's a bad idea at this time, doesn't mean that the OP should never do it, nor was that ever stated.

If the reader disagrees, OP or otherwise, then by all means, go for it anyway.
 

mathie

In the Brooder
Feb 24, 2018
4
4
16
San Jose, CA
First, thanks everyone for their inputs and good warnings. Everyone has their own opinions and I respect that and it did discourage me quite a bit initially. However, I'm a good DIY-er (engineer by trade), I like to tinker, and I can build things so I am not giving up yet. I've been doing a lot of research and reading up on different things and will do more. It's not like I'm just going to let the chickens on their own without any protection or consideration for their well-beings. So please calm down, ok? :)

After knowing that many millions male baby chicks (dual-purpose + egg-laying breeds) are killed/culled right after they're hatched, I feel that the chicks, that people choose to bring home to care for, actually are super lucky! Bad things might happen but it's unintentional and so it's much better than life in the factory farm or losing life shortly after hatching just because you cannot lay eggs and won't get fat!

Link:
Warning: if chickens are your dear pets then it's very brutal and graphic. Even if people only care about hens for egg producing, the male chicks are also living creatures as well. I don't see chicken as dear pets (at least not yet) but I don't see them as disposable either. They're living creatures that serve a specific purpose for us human.

Anyway, here are the things that I'm looking at:

- Cattle panel hoop coop with 1/2 hardware cloth:

- Chicken feeders (criteria: less waste, clean feed, harder for rodent to get into)

(with PVC elbows/corners)

(another style, with custom nipple at the bottom)

- Automatic waterer:

I have many 275-gallon IBC containers available so that's plenty of water.

Also, I'll start out small at home to ensure it's a working/viable setup first.
 

BarredRockMom

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 9, 2013
580
1,464
277
Pennsylvania
With the care & research that you are putting into it at this stage of the process, you are on the right track for sure.

I wish you all (you & the chickens) the very best success.

I hope that you will keep us posted. There are a lot of ingenious folks on this site with a wealth of experience. Everyone wants you to succeed.
 

jeepgrrl

Songster
Feb 25, 2017
164
248
187
North Central Ohio
Hi Mathie! I was curious if you ever followed through with your plans? I am one of the posters who is against your idea (no offense intended) but I've reread some of your posts and now understand that you view chickens in a different light than some of us diehard animal lovers (again, no offense intended, everyone is entitled to their own thoughts, ideas and opinions). I keep my girls mainly as pets that have the added benefit of paying their rent with eggs, while my three huskies and three porch kitties are all money pits and freeloaders :lau :gig. Anyway, if you did move forward with your plans I am interested to find out how you built a coop, more specifically what auto door you used and how is it working for you? One of the reasons I am not supportive of your idea is the dependence on technology in your absence and the likelihood of tech failure, i.e., the auto door not opening/closing. I had a very negative experience with my auto door. I spent $500 on what I thought was the best auto door on the market - it had wi-fi, a predator alert, a solidly built, thick wood door with a motor that opened/closed the door, and an electronic key pad to program the door. To make a long story short, I should have just took the $500 and set it on fire instead of wasting it on such a faulty product. I had many, many problems with the door not opening up in the morning. I thank my lucky stars that I was at home to manually open the door each time it failed. I finally had my hubby remove the whole darn thing so now it is up to me to open/close their coop every day. I would love to get another auto door, especially since winter is coming. Did you have a successful outcome with your coop/auto door? :fl
 

BarredRockMom

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 9, 2013
580
1,464
277
Pennsylvania
OP hasn't been seen on this site since Mar 27, 2018, according to site records so if anyone (else) has been wondering what's been going on & how the great chicken experiment is going/went, no news.
 
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