Hello from Southeast Bama country

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MunchiesChicks, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. MunchiesChicks

    MunchiesChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Are you new to chickens / when did you first get chickens?
    Last year I tried to have an organic garden. Did pretty well for awhile until we were invaded by giant horn worms [​IMG]. Shortly after the fire ants invaded and destroyed the roots to all our plants. Solution... Chickens! This year my husband went to tractor supply and told me the chicks were in and we ended up over the course of 2 1/2 months obtaining 44 chickens. I never intended to have 44 chickens! Started with red Sexlink, then Cornish Rocks, Araucanas, Australorps and Leghorns.

    We established that the Cornish Rocks and all Roosters were dinner. Which lead to a very funny moment when my 18 year old daughter told one of the chicks it was ok there was nothing to be afraid of, and I piped in "till they're dinner", all Cornish rocks and roosters were then called "I don't want to be a pie" from Chicken Run. :p We live in a subdivision and my garden which is in a fenced off area of my backyard is 50x100 feet long about 1/4 of the whole back yard. The garden never got planted, the chickens decimate any Fire Ant hill that dares to pop up in their area. Toads, frogs, field mice, snakes and the occasional flying insect are treading in dangerous territory once they enter the chicken area and I can usually tell someone has something from all the cackling and noise they make.

    I'm building a second coop 4x8 raised with a lot of research including ventilation, metal protected electricity access mainly for fan, door and light, water nipples and automatic feeder. I've chosen to caulk and paint every joint and cranny to prevent bugs and mites from having a place to hide.


    How many chickens do you have right now?

    I have 8 Sexlink hens, 3 Australorp hens, 3 Leghorn Hens, 3 Araucana hens and 1 Australorp and 1 Araucana roo. Our Cornish Rocks were processed at 10 weeks, the dogs got 2 before they became friends and 4 were taken to another farm, the rest became pie.
    [​IMG]

    Meat and Eggs

    Yes, I do process my own chickens and I have seen the wide opinion of how people feel about it. We are very realistic with our kids and ourselves when it comes to our chickens. I have become attached to my chickens because of the interaction I have they all come running to greet me. I can pick them up (except the leghorns) without an issue and constantly am checking legs, beaks, eyes and general health. We found that night time is the best time because they tend to be sleepy and relaxed. We separate the chickens the morning of from the rest and are given lots of water and fruit pieces and soft veggies for feed. We put a board up to keep the chickens from seeing what's happening and the coop is closed. We talk to the chicken and thank them, I know it sounds silly but for us it's a mental process. We don't cone the chicken or put them in some device. Simply we lay them on the ground my husband holds them gently and talks to the chicken while I find the artery and avoid cutting the airway as I don't want them to panic by suffication. We also found that a new razor blade receives almost little if no response to being cut compared to a knife no matter how sharp. Once the cut is made I tend to stroke with my fingertips along the comb and the are calm, it also gives me the ability to watch for when their eyes close which we then invert them.

    I''ve read articles who call what I do "hipsters" and "neo-something's" even Slate has used comments from BYC. There is something about raising your chicken from day old, choosing what they are fed and being there till the end. I don't do it to be a movement, I do it so myself and my children have food that is healthy. Our chickens get regular feed, forage on grass and insects and get supplemented vegtables, fruit, cooked pasta, beans, and dairy. My girls have the responsibility of feeding, keeping their coop and yard clean, collecting eggs, assisting with health checks and socializing. The oldest one assists with prepping everything when it's time to process the chickens. I'm the cutter, my husband is the holder and when it's over with we as a family have provided for each other. My girls learn responsibility, respect for animals and they have knowledge that most adults have no idea. My oldest can tell you everything about the production of an egg, bloom and how salmonila is as about as common on a chicken as staph is on our skin and that proper handling and cooking is best.

    How did you find out about BackYardChickens.com?

    I've been stalking the BYC site whenever I have a question. Most recently on to paint or not to paint. I find it an valuable resource for most of my chicken needs.

    I have an interest in Chicken conservation and the need to keep chicken lines going now that commercial interest are in fast heavy breeds and the heritage breeds tossed aside. From my research and interest I have fallen in love with the Buckeye chicken and am frustrated that my interest comes late in the season and I am unable to obtain any Buckeyes. I want to show these wonderful birds as well as introduce them to my current flock. I know your not "supposed" to have your chicks inside but they are staged in my office until they become large enough to move to the pens in my garage to be brought out in movable pens during the day and put back at night. There's about 3-4 events I can show starting in April so I will keep looking until then.


    Thank you for this site!
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] I really enjoyed your introduction post. And I must say, I was a bit worried when you mentioned fire ants as I've read some horror stories where the chickens usually got off worse. It sounds like your flock are not going to let the ants mess with them! lol And your method of processing sounds great! I don't eat chicken, so I don't process any, but if I ever need to, I'll keep your technique in mind. Enjoy the site and hope to see you around.
     
  3. MunchiesChicks

    MunchiesChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Like a mother hen I kept a watchful eye on my 2 month olds the first time they attacked a Fire Ant nest. The Aracanua started eating them first and everyone else just followed suit. I had to pick one or two up a few times and dunk them in water. Living in the southeast I have to be careful they don't invade the coop. We are going to a raised coop for that very reason.

    I am by no means even beyond expert in the area of chickens. I followed a post once about just cutting off the head and having it done with. I will never do that again period. First the chicken violently flapped it's wings the instant the head came off then in my surprised state I dropped the chicken. Nothing but shocked looks from those in attendance when I had to chase after my running, flying headless chicken. It's all about respect from the time we acquire them, acknowledgement of their purpose, and respect at the end.

    I'm glad you liked my post :)
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Ants in coops can cause chaos, especially when you have chicks hatching, you do NOT want them anywhere near then. If you need ant repellent tips here's a discussion that may interest you: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/562838/ants-in-coop

    When I was a small child, the neighbour's rooster attacked me quite viciously, so when processing day came they cordially invited me to come "help" dispatch it. So, I went and "helped" hold him down while they chopped his head off... and promptly let go off him. Seeing that rooster running around the yard spewing blood everywhere was quite awful. It was many years ago, but I still remember it quite well. When we raised pigs for meat and their time was up I used to round up the kids on the farm and made sure they were far away from the pens, just in case. Not that my 7yo would be fazed by anything like that!
     
  5. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    Glad you joined us. I have not processed freezer camp birds but I am not opposed to it! I was raised on a farm and I know where my food comes from - the freezer!
    My grandfather used to process the livestock and we never saw that part but the freezer was always full of neatly wrapped meat.

    Caroline from Florida
     
  6. MunchiesChicks

    MunchiesChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow great link! So far I've taken steps such as clearing underneath the coop, it will be set on cinder blocks buried in the ground with just 1 inch above the surface. I have a feeling that the issue will only come up if they pop a nest while they are in the coop at night, otherwise I usually find a crater from the chickens digging at the nests.

    I have to admit, I had a hard time eating my own birds eggs and meat. My dogs enjoyed a few birds and couple dozen eggs before I could get past the whole commercial food is USDA approved so it's better for you. My husband actually "slipped" me one of our eggs and I've been ok ever since. My friends and neighbors tend to sing the same song as I once did. We've been brainwashed to believe everything good for us is wrapped or packaged with stickers.

    Thank you for the warm welcome... My next adventure to was or not wash an egg lol
     
  7. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! I enjoyed reading your intro.
     
  8. MunchiesChicks

    MunchiesChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    @Liz thank you and I see your at Northern California :love. I'm from the Bay Area and grew up near Truckee. Been missing home recently and the fact that Fire Ants were never an issue unlike here in Alabama. Thank you for the welcome
     
  9. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]Happy you joined! :)
     
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    [​IMG] I really enjoyed reading your story and hope you will continue writing- there is a section for "pictures and stories of my chickens."
     

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