The Natural Chicken Keeping thread - OTs welcome!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bulldogma, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. delisha

    delisha Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 13, 2012
    Racine, WI -
    My Coop
  2. BlueMouse

    BlueMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2013
    Esperance NY
    today I was busily digging a very large trench for the pathway to my garden, I'm going to put down gravel and some pavers so it's easy to trundle the wheelbarrow back and forth. Let me tell you, digging is MUCH harder with chickens in the trench looking for worms under your shovel. Like "Hey, I know that you only have that shovel so you can turn over a clod and I can look for worms right?" I kept having to shove people out with the shovel, and then they were so offended. lol. I threw a bunch of worms into the fenced area with the littler guys, which was pretty funny too, they were like baseball outfielders: all lined up at the fence, they'd see me throw, run back and forth under it, then all JUMP when they saw it land. Hilarious. I pulled all the dandelions out of the sod that I pulled up (turned the sod upside down and used it to fill the low spot in my garden. I'll have to put some cardboard over it though.) I threw some into the two brooders, but still had a lot left over, so I washed it (which was probably uneccesary, considering how much dirt chickens eat, but hey) chopped it pretty fine, roots and all, and stirred it into my ferment bucket. That stuff is just packed full of vitamins and minerals, truly a superfood. I figure it's especially beneficial for the chicks that are still inside. I bring them sod squares, but they don't get to really forage for beneficial herbs like the big kids outside. We'll see if they eat it or pick around it.

    an integration question for you more experienced folks. Right now I have my 7-9 week olds free ranging in a smaller fenced area during the day, and sleeping in a dog crate with a roost next to the big roost at night. When can I integrate them? Right now I'd be afraid that my adult hens would seriously injure them. I could put some slats over the front of the dog crate so they could get in but the big kids couldn't, but how long would they need that for? I had the 9 week old out with the big girls, but any time she picked up anything off the ground one of the big girls would fly over and peck her. She was spending all her time hiding in the hen house. So I threw her in with the younger guys during the day, but she still roosts with the big kids at night. who knew it could be so complicated?
  3. kian

    kian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancaster, CA
    Thank you. I'll keep an eye on things to see what happens. She kicked two of the girls out today and they layed in the other box.

    Every one else layed today but I am watching!
  4. CoopChick719

    CoopChick719 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2012
    Hi Kian, About your broody...I am a newbie...only had the chickens since October. Let me say first & foremost, I was a nervous wreck for 21 days even though my broody girl did all the work. One of my Silkies decided to go broody in January. It took me a while to figure out what she was doing. I jumped on the Old Fashioned Broody Hen thread and learned soooo much!![​IMG] If I had a question...didn't matter if I thought it was silly or not, I posted it and got answers & support from some very lovely people...many of them are on this thread as well. I didn't separate her from the rest of the flock mostly because no one was bothering her. February 1st--She hatched 4 of the 6 borrowed eggs...raised them right in the coop with everyone else including my roo. When the chicks were first born, I did coral them with a few bales of hay and a cardboard box so they would learn where their food & water was. When they started hopping over the hay bales, I gave up and let them have free range of the coop. My roo was & still is very protective of his brood....would let them eat from his beak. [​IMG]He points out food for them and stands guard while they eat. He does not like anyone to pick them up. We can pick up the older girls but not the "kids"! Everyone in my area told me "You can't keep those chicks in the coop...the roo will kill them." "Those chicks need to be at 95 degrees for the first week yada...yada...yada..." I did provide a heat lamp but it was not 95 degrees on the floor of the Maine. Momma did a good job of keeping them warm and protected. I did spend a lot of time in the coop watching how the older girls reacted to the chicks but between Momma & Papa Roo, they were well protected. Hope this helps!
  5. bgallentine

    bgallentine New Egg

    Apr 21, 2013
    aoxa, would you please elaborate on your experiences that cause you to feel this way about the Wyandotte & Orpington. I am considering a black Ausrtalorp and a Gold Lace Wyandotte. As a general question to all, What breeds can't be kept in a mixed flock as the only one it's breed. < please don't flog if this a dumb question, but don't worry I can take it!>
    So far my little flock a da future is :
    1 Black Australorp
    2 Black Copper Marans
    1 Plymoth Barred Rock
    1 Rhode Is. Red
    0 Buff Orpington
    1 Gold Lace Wyandotte
    0 Blue-lace Red-Wyandotte
    Black Jersey Giant
    2 EE
    1 Blue Sumatra
    Many of the birds in this wish-list are based on pics of members' chickens like stoney's 'Mama'. I surprise myself that I like the darker color birds, they're all exquisite. I'm new all reading as much as I can everyday and so welcome all coomments, advice etc.
    Thank you,
  6. kian

    kian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancaster, CA

    It does help, thank you so much! I am keeping her with the flock, I think it will be easier in the long run. I'm going to check out the broody thread!
  7. jeepgirl13

    jeepgirl13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2013
    My goodness that's a lot of posts I missed...... my FF is going Great! This Arizona heat really sped up the process. Thanks to everyone who helped me out on this little project! It was fun and a great learning experience! Thank you for the info on the lid. I've got a plastic sheet with a brick in it for a lid. Lol. Should I find something more.breathable?
  8. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

    Mar 3, 2011
    The Land of Enchantment
    Hi Brian,

    I've been reasearching BYC and other sources for 6 months, and finally got my first chicks this weekend! Once you decide on what you want, you might need to get on some waiting lists if you are in the same situation as I am - only want 1 or 2 of a breed, and definitely no roos.

    For me, chickens have been hard to find! I just want 2 female Welsummer chicks - can't find any anywhere. Maybe we could find 22 other people to go in on an order and have some shipped from Whitmore farms = LOL
  9. pigeonguy

    pigeonguy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Northwest Illinois
    We go around and get straw bails from what people put around their house in the winter about 40 to 50 bails a year. FREE. To prep I run the mower over the straw from the previous year to chop it so it will rototil in better. Garden is about a quarter acre not quite though. Rototil the rows for planting but not in between them. Plant the plants. After first rain after planting and ground is saturated open new straw bails take them a leaf at a time (that is one section of the bail) and shake and fluff it up around plants making sure not to cover the plants but getting the straw about 12 to 18 inches deep. We only do this to the rows so straw side to side is about 18 to 20 inches wide. We then leave enough room between rows that I can mow between them. The next year we rototil and make the rows where I mowed this year and mow where I planted last year. The straw will get matted down in the next rain. That is exactly what you want it will then be about 6 to 8 inches deep and formed a mat around the plants. No weeding holds moisture and good mulch. Mom and Dad say I loved playing in the straw when I was a baby. A lot of work for a couple of days but we always have so much fun doing it. Then the rest of the season we just watch it grow and pick the fruits of our little labor.
    I know not about chickens but just so it is. I have a broody also so unfair they just started laying good. I might let her keep some eggs. I don't know I don't need any more but I am going to see if the neighbors do. I am waiting on 8 HRIR. That will give me 25 layers. That's enough.
  10. Leahs Mom

    Leahs Mom True BYC Addict

    Feb 9, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    I did the same w/my broody who hatched Dec. 28 and raised them totally outside with no heat. (I didn't have a rooster so can't comment on that!) I slso recommend the broody thread.

    Lots of helpful folks over there and the ones that are EXPERIENCED give good advice!'s really sad that someone has to worry about being attacked because they ask an honest question! I'm sorry if you've experienced that!

    I don't have an answer to your question...but I LOVE Stony's mamma too! I always say I like "birds of color"!

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