Teaching class on raising chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by seattlefreeschool, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. seattlefreeschool

    seattlefreeschool New Egg

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    Jan 18, 2008
    I have a basic outline, and have gone over the faq etc posted here but I'm wondering if anyone else has something I should touch on, other good sites, you name it... here's the basics (it's for the Seattle area so might be a bit different from your area)...
    Benefits of chickens

    will do your garden clean up for you, turning the soil and fertilizing all without you needing to shovel!

    fresh eggs

    easy to maintain and relatively cheap

    Where to get chicks and food

    local feed stores (list ones with rare breeds)

    craigslist

    backyardchickens.com

    predators

    dogs

    racoons

    How to raise chicks to adulthood

    pullets (sexed) vs straight run... not getting a rooster!

    handle your chicks so you can pick them up later when they're big

    can go outside 5-12 weeks old depending on weather

    training chickens with treats, come when you call them

    housing

    flooring

    temperature

    lights

    feeder and waterer for the little chick vs the big ones

    medicated food for chicks

    housing

    lighter weight breeds can fly very high, a yard without a roof won't keep them in

    flooring

    keep chickens warm dry and keep their water unfrozen during winter

    make sure to have a cross breeze to take out ammonia fumes

    resources

    www.backyardchickens.com

    faqs

    eggs at 4-6 weeks usually

    moult- no your chickens aren't sick!
     
  2. Kristina

    Kristina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2007
    South Louisiana
    ok I did notice one thing for sure at the bottomunder faq's it says
    eggs 4-6 weeks usually

    Maybe that was a typo but it should be 20 weeks if your talking about when you'll start getting eggs from them. [​IMG]
     
  3. seattlefreeschool

    seattlefreeschool New Egg

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    Jan 18, 2008
    perfect ty, not sure where that number came from!
     
  4. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    Hi! I'm from the Seattle area (more or less). [​IMG] I raise ducks. You will find they are quite a bit similar to chickens. I think in many ways ducks fit well with our climate, which is why I chose them. I also think they have a lot of personality. [​IMG]

    I will try to help, if I can. I like that you are introducing kids to chicken-keeping. I hope you understand that these are suggestions and not criticisms of what you already have compiled.

    One thing is poultry manures are more concentrated than cow or horse manure, so you don't need as much in the garden. Also poultry bedding is a GREAT compost addition as it is balanced well between N and C.

    Poultry make good "pets" compared to cats & dogs, in that the chores are stable. Sometimes cats & dogs can be messy.

    You can get hatchlings from hatcheries too. They ship the day olds through the USPS.

    I would include birds of prey on your list of predators. Those who live in the country will also get bobcat, lynx, coyotes, wolves, etc.

    Your list of how to raise them might seem confusing to kids. I would try to make it simpler, such as:
    food --
    shelter --
    water --
    socialization --
    etc.

    In your list, lighting isn't a necessity. Some people add it and some don't. I like to let my ducks molt before winter, so I don't keep them laying with artificial light.

    I would include a discussion on free-ranging them (even if in an enclosed back yard) and the nutritional benefit of that, as well as the nutritional benefit of organic feed. I hear that conventional feed contains arsenic!

    I think the kids would be fascinated by incubation. I know that I was. It is amazing.
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Hey, Welcome!

    Last year I brought some chicks for a show and tell to a Seattle school after the hatching project went bust, is that you? I'm at UW. :p

    As for predators, outside of Seattle, hawks are another concern.

    I use the Everett Cenex for feed, and Monroe Farm and Feed has LOTS of chick varieties to pick from starting in March.

    Edit: As for garden, good for winter months, but as soon as you want to grow anything from it, you have to keep the chickens out because they will dig up, scratch up, and destroy all your plants.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
  6. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    I know that eagles do fly over Seattle occassionally too. [​IMG]
     
  7. seattlefreeschool

    seattlefreeschool New Egg

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    Jan 18, 2008
    Um, hmm... not sure how folks got that this is for kids, it's not, although they are welcome of course!

    As for hatchlings thru the mail you can not get less then about 20 or 25 from any hatchery I've ever contacted. With the limit for in city chickens being 3 this wouldn't really work.

    The school is specifically for folks living in Seattle so I suspect bobcat, linx etc will be a rare issue. Of course folks from the country are welcome, but I'd hate to see someone drive all the way to Seattle for the class. However dogs are a huge issue in the city, especially if you don't have a fence or if your chickens can fly over it.

    Nope, I'm not with any school. I'm starting the Seattle Free School, a free information exchange... more about the project here:
    http://seattlefreeschool.googlepages.com/

    If anyone who lives in the city wants to come to that class and help with the presentation or questions feel free... just email [email protected] and I'll put you on the list of chicken class folks.
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Places like Ideal and My pet chicken can do small orders depending on distance and time of year. Or if you are doing presentations, have a few people split a small chick order from ideal as they have a minimum dollar amount. Many people in Seattle break the 3 hen law so I'm sure they could get away with extras, and if not, just re home them early before attachment ensues. :p

    Oh, and just in case, pullets are only 90% for certain, so if people did get extras, just re home roos early on.
     
  9. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    LOL, I actually just checked the def. of a free school, and found your website, so I figured I had made the ASSumption about kids being taught. LOL

    Your mission is admirable.

    One never knows when one might move out of the city and into the country. [​IMG] I used to live in Seattle not that long ago. . . .

    But back on track, while there is a minimum order from hatcheries, wouldn't it be possible to pool several interested parties to make an order? Just be aware that if you order from a hatchery you might recieve an agricultural census by mail, so no I never recommended ordering from a hatchery, I just meant that it was an option.

    Feed stores and others in the community are a better resource. Have you checked out Seattle Tilth?
     
  10. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    www.mypetchicken.com does small orders of chicks - 3+, but they are more expensive per chick.

    There are a long list of other things that you need to add to that predator list. I have no idea what particular predators you have in Seattle (I couldn't find it on a map either), but the normal list includes
    - dogs
    - opossums
    - coyotes
    - badgers (I know your badgers are different to the Eurasian ones, but I'm guessing they still eat chickens)
    - raccoons
    - cats
    - bears
    - wolverines
    - wolves

    Actually, pretty much anything with claws & sharp teeth.
     

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