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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by scrambledmess, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. scrambledmess

    scrambledmess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 26, 2008
    NW Ohio
    I was a member here once before. I couldn't remember my handle or password. So, I re-registered. [​IMG] I will re-introduce.

    We are a homeschooling family in a rural community in NE Louisiana. My sister in Indiana has chickens, goats, and draft ponies. I always love visiting her and having fresh eggs and milk for breakfast. I had decided I wanted that experience with my children. I figured it would be a good learning experience and offer us healthier eggs. The goat a bit was more work then I wanted to undertake at the time. Thus why I was a member here once before.

    However, I wasn't able to convince DH on it with my plans. But with the economic crisis, DH is all about being self efficient now. He isn't directly worried about his job. But he knows layoffs are coming in his company. Thus, he has been researching gardening and asking me to look back into chickens. I even heard him on the phone with BIL talking about goats.

    We only have a half acre. So I am not sure how feasible it is to have chickens, a large garden AND a goat. But we are definately going to move forward on the chickens this winter and garden for next summer.

    We have a "housebuilding book for kids" that we are going to change one of the plans a bit to build our own coop. I actually think the coop is the easy part. We have decided on the breed of the Australops. They seem to be good egg layers and are listed as a friendly and hardy breed.

    My first questions are these: How do I go about finding chickens to purchase? I know there are places online where we can purchase eggs or live chicks. Which is easier to deal with and most cost efficient, eggs or live chicks? I am thinking live chicks are probably easier, upfront, especially if they can be sexed. I really don't want a bunch of roosters and do not want the hassle of getting rid of them.

    But if we get live chicks, what then? Is there an easy link to follow that tells you what to do with them between baby phase and putting them in the coop? Where do we house them? Don't they have to be kept very warm? We have two big toms in our house who would love baby chicken as a meal appetizer.

    Or should we just look into adult hens? If so, WHERE do you find those, especially the breed we want. I couldn't find anyplace online that sold adult chickens and I rarely see anything advertized in the papers here.

    Thanks in advance for your help. Even though I had lost my membership, I have still breezed back through here on occassion. So much information, what a great resource of people!

    Scrambled
     
  2. illinichick

    illinichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2008
    SE Il
    You may order from any of the hatcheries this spring and they'll be ready to lay around August. You can choose a straight run and get roosters and butcher them next fall. I just put them in the crock pot all day with water and pick the meat off and place the meat and broth in ziploc freezer bags for chicken and noodles. This way you have a few hens for eggs and roosters for the freezer. If you wish, you may order all pullets from the hatchery, pay a little more and occasionally, whoever sexed them makes a mistake and you still get a couple of roosters. This makes it ok because then you have fertilized eggs next fall and then you can incubate!
     
  3. roosmom

    roosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 3, 2008
    upper peninsula
    Scrambledmess [​IMG]

    I would think that your property could support at least three hens. Kautz62 is correct in ordering a straight run or you can order pullets. This would mean culling the roosters and or extra hens when fall came.
    I ordered my chicks from the local feed store in April. We got them may 21st. We have all Buff Orpingtons. Without having any experience with other breeds of chickens I would say that mine are very friendly. I do occasionally have to get out my pecking finger and remind them that I am boss, LOL. They are not laying yet. Soon tho I hope. We have 51 chickies and we will be culling about half for the freezer.
    Since you mentioned self sufficiency, check out the sister site Sufficientself.com at the bottom of the page here. I think it may help you a little. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  4. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Mar 25, 2008
    Virginia
    First off, [​IMG] !!! Second, I am also a homeschooling mother of 5 and have found the chickens to be very educational in every aspect. They are teaching my kids responsibility and we've have lots of opportunities to learn and grow raising them. If you would like to integrate this experience with your schoolwork, I would recommend getting an incubator and hatching your own. You will end up with roosters, but you can raise them up and then eat them or sell them. I let my kids sell some excess roosters we had and it taught them a great lesson on how to barter along with getting some good people skills in. If you don't want to be that ambitious to start with, you could check your local Craigslist or order from a hatchery. Privett is located in NM and has great chicks! I would also recommend the book "Your Chickens - A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing" by Gail Damerow. It has been very educational for the kids and will also answer most aspects of raising your chickens. We also built our coop together as a family and taught the boy's how to use and read a tape measure (great math skill!), how to draw up plans, how to read plans, how to use power tools (only the teenager's had that privilege [​IMG] ), and how to work together. I think you will find your chicken adventure very educational along with helping put your family on the road to being self-sufficient. [​IMG]
     
  5. La Banan

    La Banan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2008
    Hey Scrambled - welcome! I think it's great you are getting hens. Your kids will learn so much from them. And you have plenty of room with half an acre. There was a time when everyone who had a home even in a town or city had a small flock for their own use. It is a practice I dearly hope comes back into favour. We have a couple of acres but most of it is cliff and not so usable. We have 12 chickens - they are young yet - got them as day olds. I just want to put a pitch in for getting heritage chickens. They are the ones you see that are called dual purpose - Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex etc... They are better at protecting themselves and hardier for the conditions that most small holdings have available and when you raise them you are helping to keep the breeds going. All good. You might have to hunt around a bit to find them but for sure someone in your neck of the woods will be selling them or have a few extra.

    Have you considered bees??
    That's what I want to get going with next year. I'd love goats but I think my guy will draw the line there.
    rats.

    The other thing I wanted to say is that as soon as my girls start laying the local daycare is going to bring some of the young kids up to see where eggs come from! Yay!

    Jan la banan
     

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