Montana chickens

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by vickiemontana, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. vickiemontana

    vickiemontana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Montana
    HELP! I'm very new at this and after this last winter, I'm scared for my chickens. I bought 28 chicks from a popular hatchery and 5 arrived dead, all but 5 died within days. I hand fed them but they were just too week. My husband ordered 10 more from a more local breeder in Idaho. They sent 11 and they have all caught up in size to the others. So we have 16 ladies now. No one is laying yet. Maybe next month. I have a couple of questions. I need to know what is the lowest tempurature I should be concerned with. Do I just leave the door open, during clear weather, and let them decide whether they want to come out or not? We are free ranging them now, pinning them up at night. Do they stop laying in the winter? And on another subject, we have a really pretty Buff hen that is meaner than a hound dog. She keeps pounding my other hens. [​IMG] I don't plan on eating her, but she is being a menace. What do you do with a hen with a rotton attitude like that?
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Do I just leave the door open, during clear weather, and let them decide whether they want to come out or not? We are free ranging them now, pinning them up at night. Do they stop laying in the winter? And on another subject, we have a really pretty Buff hen that is meaner than a hound dog. She keeps pounding my other hens. I don't plan on eating her, but she is being a menace. What do you do with a hen with a rotton attitude like that?

    1. I would open a door to the run or yard, if you have a chicken door cut out. In the winter, I leave the main door closed. I have found the birds are very wise as to what weather they can tolerate.

    2. They can slow down in the winter and even stop. Some folks provide a light in the coop to keep them laying better in the winter. As I prefer the more natural way, I let them cycle. Supposed to make their total laying years increase if they are allowed to take a break.

    3. Do you have a rooster? You didn't say. This hen could be taking the dominant, leader of the flock position if you are without a rooster. If you don't have one, its a good idea to do so. Mine breaks up bullying, alarms for hawks, finds food for his girls, protects them from the cat,etc. If she is just being a bully, you might want to cull her. You don't want that aggressiveness to be bred back into your flock and she could inflict some injury on your other hens.

    I don't know the answer to the temperature issue, but there are several folks on here who live up north and keep chickens. They might advise you on any precautions they take. I insulate my coop walls with thick cardboard and clear plastic on the windows in the winter. They seem to stay pretty snug. I've heard if you coat their combs with Vaseline it will guard against frostbite, but I've never tried it. Good luck with your flock!!!!​
     
  3. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    Its nice to see a post from a fellow Montanan! I am just outside of Conrad, about an hour from Great Falls. Where are you? I just got chickens this past Feb. We have an insulated coop but did have to run a space heater for a few weeks due to the crazy MT winters! Our girls were pretty young though, we are hoping this coming winter we won't have to as they will be able to generate their own heat. However if it gets 30 below...thats another story![​IMG] Welcome to BYC!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  4. vickiemontana

    vickiemontana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Montana
    Thanks. I can totally understand the Queen of the coop attitude. Maybe I'll get a rooster. If my husband won't kill me for it. "Boots" looks like a small yellow lab running across the yard. She was taking on the weaker hens, one has a broken leg "one leg" and the other has some sort of head shakin palsy "Shakey". But now she is going after anyone in her way. We had a long winter, as "the chicken chick" can tell you. Maybe I'll just take her out to the Amish. Chicken Chick, I'm in Whitehall, Jefferson Co., between Butte and Bozeman. We get a lot of wind here. Not much snow pack, I'm not looking forward to -30 either. This last winter we had one day -54, wind chill. I'm not used to that. Let me know of any ofther ideas you may have. I can't imagine vaseline and feathers. [​IMG]
     
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    My family and I have been contemplating a move to Montana...it is so very beautiful! My son is going to go to vet school at Colorado State U. as soon as he gets done with his Nat'l. Guards training and he would like to relocate out west. If he does, I will also and we have our eye on Montana. You guys like living there??
     
  6. vickiemontana

    vickiemontana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Montana
    Love Montana. We're from So Calif. YUK. I don't know what WV is like, but here the sky is so big you can't see it all in one day. In Calif. you can't see the sky.

    There isn't any state sales tax. We are on a small ranch, 10 acre, we have our own well, creek, burn wood in the winter and propane for cooking. We have an electric bill and use a small amount of propane. It's really cheap to live here.

    I know there is a vet listed for our town, but it is actually about 40 miles away. Small animal vets are prominent within a 100 mile radius. I've seen one large animal hospital/surgical and rehab center about 50 miles away. Large animal vets should do good here. Especially during calving season. And during Rodeo season. There is an Alpaca farm here in town. And I've seen two goat farms. I'm the only one I know of who does chickens. But I hear there is another woman who sells eggs at the farmers market. Might be of the Amish. I plan to expand once I get the hang of it. Hoppers are bad this year and the chickens are getting fat on them. If they are bad next year I think I might try some turkeys too.

    Stay in touch, look forward to having another chicken lover in Montana.
     
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I love the idea of all the still-rural land there. Its getting crowded in WV...anywhere within the proximity of D.C. is getting crowded. The land prices are so high in my area, noone can afford to buy. My sky is big and beautiful, as we have big mountains and big valleys in this part of WV, but not nearly as big as your sky! I've wanted to live in Montana since I was a little girl and wanted to be a cowboy....yeah, I know, girls can't be cowboys but you couldn't tell me that! I was a tomboy.

    Eli, my #2 boy, wants to have a small ranch also and we decided we would go together to buy one. As long as he helps me build my strawbale/cob house in one corner of it!! [​IMG] He plans to be a large animal vet, heard there is a shortage out there. Mostly, their clients are so far apart, the gas to get there kills the profits. I'm urging him to get his helicopter pilot license in the Guards, so he can buy a Dragonfly and hop from ranch to ranch for his business.
     
  8. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    I LOVE MT! I was born and raised here so I may have a biased opinion![​IMG] I have to say though that when I see other members pics of all that lush green I get a little jealous! Our mountians are beautiful and green but our praire is pretty dry. We have had a drought for years now. It seems our jobs don't pay as high as in some states, but as vickiemontana stated we have no sales tax and the cost of living is nothing compared to some places. My hubby lived in Alaska for 5 years. He loved it, said it was fantastic fishing and just gorgeous but the COL was so high. He was paying in rent for a 1 bedroom apt what most people in MT don't pay for a house payment. I say Montana could use some more good ole chicken lovers! We welcome you! So come on beekissed get packing![​IMG]


    And yes, there is a shortage of vets here. The ones there are, are so overwhelmed that sometimes I think the care is rushed. Kind of like when we go to a DR!
     
  9. vickiemontana

    vickiemontana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Montana
    Beekissed, the pilots license is a great idea. And check this out, World Champion 2007 Womens pro rodeo Kay Blandford. And in Montana, anything can happen. Let us know when you land. Chicken chick and I will be waiting for ya.[​IMG] Maybe someday we can all three get together and float the Yellowstone, or the Jefferson, Madison, Missouri. Did we mention all the rivers and the massive amount of fish?
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Oh, man, you just had to mention the water, didn't you? I have been wanting to go whitewater all my life and can't get any of my friends interested! Seems to think they will die.... [​IMG] Well, I'm prepared to die and I'm also prepared to LIVE....bring on those rapids!!!

    The RODEO is one of the reasons the boys want to go....they just want to try it a little. Plus Eli saw the pics of the rodeo team at the college and spied several "hot" girls! [​IMG]

    You just gotta post some pics on here of your places, y'all! Show me what I'm missin!
     

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