How did the old timers keep chickens year round?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by keepitlow, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. keepitlow

    keepitlow Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm talking about medieval times to the early homesteader years. Seems to be they would have had a hard time just feeding themsleves in winter. Did they keep flocks year round?

    Thanks
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sure they did -- it would make sense to select a few to keep for breeding more - also to eat through the winter -- in the old days around here, people did not buy chicken feed, just let them forage and gave table scraps and veggie trimmings and such, maybe some grain if they got it cheap.
     
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Before modern times, chickens were a little more seasonal. More chickens were killed before winter hit and fewer were over wintered. In the spring the hens raised chicks again and the flock was built back up, when they could be out foraging for more of their food. Chickens also lived with other livestock in the winter.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Before modern times, back in the dark ages, back when I was growing up on the farm, the chickens pretty much took care of themselves. Chickens raised with a flock that forages can feed themselves if they have enough room and the ground is accessable. If the ground is covered with snow or is frozen then they need supplemental food. If they have been brooder raised and are used to somebody providing all their food, then they don't know how to forage. Our chickens were not brooder raised. The broodies took care of that. I grew up in an area that usually did not stay below zero Fahrenheit for long and the ground did not usually stay frozen all that long in a stretch. Most snows melted off after two or three days. Different areas would have different conditions so they would have to handle the situation differently.

    We fed hay to the cattle outside on the ground. The chickens could forage through the leavings for some grain, but mostly they just foraged. If it was pretty rough out, such as the ground frozen or covered with snow, maybe a strong blowing snow-storm that lasted a day or two (I don't want to say blizzard because I respect what others go through in a real blizzard) we would feed them some shelled corn to get them by. If the pond was frozen over, we would break the ice so the horses, cows, and chickens could drink.

    We did not go to the bait shop and buy them crickets. We did not knit them little mufflers and wrap them up at night. We did not provide any supplemental heat. We gave them a dry, well-ventilated, draft-free place to sleep at night, helped them when times were rough, and let them be chickens.

    With most people on this forum, chickens are pets. The chickens do not know how to take care of themselves. I'm not criticizing anybody for how they keep their chickens. I don't keep my chickens the same way my parents kept theirs. But you asked how it was.
     
  5. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Amen! I want chickens like that! I want tough self reliant chickens.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    Quote:I would like to give another thumbs up. My chickens were livestock, not pets. I did have a couple that I was fond of and named, but in the end, their name was food, with their other sister food.
     
  7. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I may have misunderstood, but Boyd do you know longer keep chickens?
     
  8. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Some of mine have names, but they are there to provide eggs, and the occasional entertaining chasing of a mouse or some other bug. They don;t get any extra heat, or ice water in the summer.
     
  9. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    MI
    Quote:didn't misunderstand, I can't have them at the new house. I could fight it because of the MRTF but it's not a big deal. I have been 100% chicken free since july. Sad, I know. I can keep rabbits, but no poultry of any sort unless I have more than 40 acres and register the land as a farm.
     
  10. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:didn't misunderstand, I can't have them at the new house. I could fight it because of the MRTF but it's not a big deal. I have been 100% chicken free since july. Sad, I know. I can keep rabbits, but no poultry of any sort unless I have more than 40 acres and register the land as a farm.

    Well shucks!
     

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