newebie with lots of questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by echosmaster, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. echosmaster

    echosmaster New Egg

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    Jan 11, 2011
    Hi, my family has decided that we should try raising some chickens and we are very excited but not very knowledgeable. This site seems like an invaluable resource. My first thought was to get some hens already laying in the spring and butcher in the fall, but after a bit of reading here, it doesn't seem to difficult to keep them over winter. But with no heat in the coop, how do you prevent the eggs from freezing? I thought we'd get a few egg layers and some meat chickens as well. A friend at work with some experience raising chickens told me I should probably keep these birds separate as the larger meat birds will beat up the laying hens. Is this a real concern? I'm sure I'll have more questions, but we'll start with these. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome to BYC! This is my first year raising chickens and the people of BYC have been great.

    You might want to check out my BYC page. It has links to my blog posts that might inform or entertain you.

    A lot of people get dual purpose breeds. Suggest you think hard about how many eggs you can handle. (Yay Lipitor!)

    Also, if you have no experience processing chickens, don't make it a key part of your plan yet. I had intended to do so, but now I have a bunch of pets that give me breakfast.

    The thing about not mixing layers and meat birds is probably related to size difference. A big meat bird would give my little production red a smackdown and eat all her food too.
     
  3. BigIslandChicks

    BigIslandChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 10, 2010
    yeah what Chicken.Lytle said! i personally like dual purpose breeds for eggs and meat...(although i have not done any processing yet [​IMG] ) but nice to have if i decide to... and i have been getting lots of eggs! [​IMG]

    [​IMG] from hawaii

    theres tons if great info and people here to help with all your questions! [​IMG]

    aloha [​IMG] bedtime here...i think its snowing on the mtn. [​IMG]
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Nov 12, 2009
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    It is -20 this morning. My girls do not have any extra heat. I feed them well during the cold. For what you are wanting, go with a few dual purpose birds, and some sex link birds, they lay very well. That will give you a little color in your flock, and pretty steady supply of eggs, and supper if you need to.

    As for freezing eggs, it will happen, and it really does not hurt anything, if they crack, I just put them in a bowl and use them first.

    My egg production has dropped big time this December. Last year I had 7 month old hens, and they laid right through the short days, this year, my pullets were too young to start laying, they were hatched in July, not my plan, my broody hen's.

    It is a wonderful hobby, often time if you get chicks, you will get a few roo's, and those can be raised to eat. If you get hens, they are a bit more sturdier, (it is not uncommon to lose a few chicks, especially at first) and you get to eggs quicker. Which is nice.

    Good luck! MrsK
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    South Georgia
    Quote:Read in the meat birds section and decide what KIND of meat birds you want. If you will eat dual purpose (DP; traditional meat birds) then they can easily be kept together; you process the roos around 14-18 weeks, which is about when having too many roos becomes a problem, when their hormones kick in. If you want Cornish X, which are what store bought chicken is, yes, they need to be separate, they are fed and handled completely differently.

    A great look at dual purpose vs Cornish X:

    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/cookingwheritagechicken.pdf

    You will find there are other choices, like freedom rangers, which fall somewhere between DP and Cornish X.

    The answers to many, many questions depends partly on your location/climate. It would help a lot if you would add this to your profile.
     

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