Chickens 101: How NOT to Raise Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hooligan, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. hooligan

    hooligan Songster

    Aug 20, 2007
    Got this on a House Chickens group I'm on...thought I'd pass it on to anyone who needed a laugh here [​IMG]

    Chickens 101: How NOT to Raise Chickens

    Chick: A hatchling

    Pullet: A female chicken under one year old.

    Hen: A female chicken over one year of age.

    Rooster: A male chicken over one year of age.

    The longing for fresh eggs from your own happy free-range chickens can lead down the path of temptation. Be cautious. Your dreams may become scrambled. Raising chickens for the first time is a humbling experience. When I first called my local feed shop, I was trying to sound like a pro. I asked, "Do you sell pullets?" "Yes", the man replied. "Are they all females," I added. It's been an uphill battle ever since.

    Pullet parenthood is as much of an adventure as child rearing, only with more feces per pound of body weight. However, I've been reading quite a bit on poultry matters. (Yes, my coolness just turned over in its grave.) So if I am correct and I am quite certain I am not, here is how chicken rearin' goes.

    Go to your local feed store and purchase $10 worth of chicks and $50 worth of food and supplies. Don't forget the water dispensers. Buying the metal ones, never plastic is always advised. Must be country humor. I have yet to see a metal water dispenser.

    Next, place the chicks somewhere sheltered, like a bedroom closet. Toss in some highly flammable straw or wood shavings and promptly dangle a glowing heat lamp just above them. Note to self: Update homeowner's policy.

    For the next several weeks feed them 3 lbs of food per day and remove 4 lbs of sh*t per day from the closet. Despite all logic the birds get bigger. As the adult feathers grow in be sure to clip one of their wings. That is one per bird, not just one wing total. If clipping is done late chicks will nest in your toilet. This is a bad thing.

    Clipping can be accomplished by tossing your scissors and yourself into the heaping mound of chicks, feces and straw. Grab a wiggling screeching bird from the bile pile. Restrain it with one hand. Stretch the wing out with your second hand. Clip off 50% of the wings outer ten feathers with your third hand.

    As the birds grow adjust the heat light temperature down by one degree per day. No, this is not actually possible. That's not my point. You start at 100 degrees for hatch lings then continue down by one degree per day until your bedroom is a minimum of three degrees cooler than the spring blizzard outside your window.

    Once you have frozen your ear to your semi-cannibalistic down pillow and the chicks have grown their adult feathers, they can be moved outside to the coop. I estimate the initial closet rearing stage to have taken five years.

    Before the move, experience the Joy of Wing Clipping one more time. Feather clipping never works the first time. No one knows why. Still, after all the hassle you probably don't want them to fly the coop in under sixty seconds. Of course, if you're like me, by this time you may be inclined to pack them each a lunch and leave a stack of Greyhound tickets by the open coop gate.

    Regarding habitat construction: Hen houses and chicken coops are a competitive art form. Pampering pet birds can be a passion. There are a myriad of websites showing off architectural designs from Chicken Chateaus to Bird Bordellos. The meticulous craftsmanship makes my own home look like, well, like a chicken coop.

    Always fashionable, I went with a shabby chic motif for my coop. The nesting boxes are an eclectic mix of stolen milk crates affixed to the wall by anything in arms reach. As for the coop itself, there is a gift for tight chicken wire which eludes me. Quite frankly, my first attempt at a coop looks like Dr. Seuss dropped a hit of acid, blasted some Jefferson Starship and rolled around on the wire with every Who in Whoville. I think I'll keep it.

    Inferior design aside, I ultimately learned a thing or two. The nesting boxes are supposed to be up off the ground. That is correct. For those of you keeping score you just spent two weeks cutting back the birds flight feathers only to hang their houses in the sky. It's just sick.

    Higher than the nest boxes, you are to build a roost. This is where the birds poop at night so they do not poop on your breakfast eggs. Of course, the roost is usually OVER the nesting boxes, so whatever you do, don't use those perforated (stolen) plastic milk crates.

    They say for young birds you should maintain a heat light in the hen house. Then on cooler nights an animal with a brain the size of a bulimic toe nail clipping will make the conscious decision to forgo your nest boxes, bypass the instinctual roost and leap into a tanning bed.

    And finally there is the feed regime. I asked several experts and read up on feeding as well. Make sure to give your chickens starter formula, mash, growth formula, start & grow, brood formula, grit, no grit, scraps, no scraps, goat placenta, nothing suggested on the internet, tetramyaicn, no antibiotics, medicated starter, non-medicated starter and never, ever switch in-between.

    I may not be Queen of the Coop yet, but I'm working on it. Though I am a zoologist and I still know Birds 101. Here are two myths I can help with. First, you do not need a rooster to get eggs. Most folk, especially those who have never kept chickens, will advise you all about chickens. Each will insist you need one rooster to do his manly duties.

    Roosters are only needed to make fertile eggs. Hens are all that is needed to make breakfast eggs. Fertile eggs are just peachy if raising chicks was such a joy the first time you want to repeat the whole freakin' process. Years of therapy will follow.

    To keep it straight in your mind consider this: You are going about your life. Suddenly massive balls of calcium start stacking up inside your abdomen. They want out. Are you going to hold on to them just because you have not had a date lately?

    The second bird myth is totally unrelated so I thought I would mention it. Penguins occur in nature from the Equator on Southward. That is down to the Antarctica, not the Arctic! Not up North! No, they do not hang out with Polar Bears who live in the Arctic. No, you did not see them when you worked in Alaska, in the Arctic. Those were puffins. No, I am not sorry you look stupid to all those folks you told penguin tales to.

    Yes, some penguin species even reside on the Galapagos Islands at the equator (Cold weather would kill them), not floating around on icebergs - and not in the Arctic! Yes, I realize my eggs are not all in one basket. Delusional, close-minded people who insist you need a rooster to fertilize your penguin eggs so polar bears won't lose their food supply drove me crazy! So did my chickens. And I love every one of the little buggers
  2. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    That is so funny. I had seen that article when I first started raising baby chicks and it wasn't nearly as funny as now - 4 batches and one year later.

    I just started a thread where I'm posting this newest batch of baby chicks being raised a more natural way - the way I've raised all my chickens because, let's face it....this article is so true it's funny - everything you read says something different. I got to thinking - how has it been done since the dawn of time, by the mama hen, and on real farms where the farmer would laugh at us bunch of chicken babying weirdos acting like we're growing hot house orchids. [​IMG]
  3. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    Thanks for sharing that ! had a good laugh on the highly flammable stuff in closet.just to funny and true [​IMG]
  4. elliemb

    elliemb In the Brooder

    Sep 22, 2007
    Very cute![​IMG]
  5. Stormhorse23

    Stormhorse23 Songster

    Aug 22, 2007
    Haha. I wish mine would hurry up and go outside to join my hens. All I hear is peep peep peep. The duck doesnt even quack quack quack. It peeps. I did not know ducks peep. Well, this one does. So as I drift off to sleep, PEEP! I run to check out my darlings and allow whichever one that peeped to sleep with me... :eek:
  6. Sunny Chook Farm

    Sunny Chook Farm Songster

    Jan 23, 2008
    had a good laugh... [​IMG]

    thanks for posting it...

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