Your on your own chicken!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by domromer, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. domromer

    domromer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2007
    Flagstaff,AZ
    Here is a hypothetical question.

    Say you have no money and can't afford to buy chicken feed anymore.

    How much land would a chicken need to survive on it's own. By land I mean your normal suburban lot, grass, tree's bushes ect.

    The reason I ask is because my grandparents had chickens during the depression and told me many times how there was times of no food back then. I doubt that they were buying feed, yet they still were able to collect eggs.

    So that got me thinking, how much land would you need so that other than when they are chicks the girls would free range al the time and get all the food they need and you would collect all the eggs. Sort of like a closed eco system.

    Just thinking..don't worry I'm not going to starve my girls!
     
  2. muddler6

    muddler6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Jefferson County, PA
    Well, the size of the land isn't as important as what is on it, from my limited experience. And you can supplement feed with table sraps, stale cereal, garden extras, but you have to make sure there is a balance of all the dietary requirements. They will eat grass and bugs and such on their own as long as they can get to them, and make sure they have a supply of water.
     
  3. herechickchick

    herechickchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    Good question. I know my great grandfather raised chickens during the depression and they did not buy feed either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2007
  4. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    NY
    :)

    A suburban lot will not provide a good closed eco system that your grandparents would have had.

    Think of watching the waltons or little house on the prarie. Plenty of land, woods, marshes, creeks over grown fields.
    even a chicken just going into the barn would get seeds from hay/wheat/oats that had fallen to the ground. and plenty of bugs after the poop :)

    A back yard even a big one can not provide that. BUT yes you can give them all your left overs.
    even when you go out to eat bring the crap/back :)

    tell your neigbhors if they have old bread you'll take it. And have fresh water every day.

    And winter is a worry hens need a good source of food to keep warm and ward off illness so a bag of feed is a must in the winter to go along with the scraps.
    "layer pellets"


    If you do not want the food to be waisted from other rodents getting it. Only feed them once a day and only what they can eat at one time. Keep the bag of feed inside a garbage can where the chipmunks/mice can not get to it and carry it off. give any scraps later in the day. and they can look for bugs & grass inbetween.

    GOOD LUCK
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2007
  5. herechickchick

    herechickchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    True Fluffnstuffs! Good point.
     
  6. Chickee's Mom

    Chickee's Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2007
    Lacombe AB
    Always wondered what the pioneers did??
    Do you think they fed their chickens uncooked potatoe peels??
    Wonder what grains they fed in the winter??
    How did their chickens survive without added supplements??
    What about a heat source, guess they were probably in a barn if they had one, with all the other critters.
     
  7. Rosalind

    Rosalind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    Always wondered what the pioneers did??
    Do you think they fed their chickens uncooked potatoe peels??
    Wonder what grains they fed in the winter??
    How did their chickens survive without added supplements??
    What about a heat source, guess they were probably in a barn if they had one, with all the other critters.

    I live in a 300-y.o. farmhouse, and the history, provided by a local architecture historian, came with it. I only know about Anabaptist (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) and New England Puritan farms, though, so probably doesn't apply to Western pioneers.

    Livestock were mostly fed scraps and weeds, and chickens got whatever bugs and forage they could find as well. If you've ever farmed, or eaten completely from your own veggie/fruit garden, you know that there are LOTS of weeds that should be hoed while small and soft, lots of veggie scraps. And they had hayfields and cornfields specifically for livestock feed. They did not let their animals free range over the woods, because the animals would certainly have been eaten by predators, possibly stolen by the enemy of the day (e.g. British soldiers, hostile Native Americans, annoying neighbors). They were kept in pens on the farm if the farm was big enough, or herded into a town commons area to range under supervision. Especially mucky animals, like pigs, were kept in separate pens.

    In winter, chickens and pigs both got kitchen scraps. Chickens might have gotten spoiled grain, such as grain that rodents or bugs had gotten into, unfit for humans but chickens don't mind a few mealyworms.

    The chickens (and the humans as well) mostly didn't survive without supplements, medications, first aid, etc. High mortality rates were normal to them. It was perfectly normal to have your whole extended family die of an especially bad flu season. Nowadays we consider that unthinkable, but that's how it was--up until the 1930s, you expected that half your children would not survive to adulthood. My grandparents had five children and calculated that they could just about afford to raise two or three, and were awfully surprised when antibiotics and vaccines came along to ensure that all five kids grew up healthy! [​IMG]

    Barn designs to keep animals warm varied with respect to how much money the owner had. Some barns were clearly designed with ease of use in mind; mine was designed by a fairly middle-class farmer who counted on having paid help, so the hayloft is darn near impossible for only two people to use. My barn, built in the late 1800s, has trapdoors in the two sections that held animals, the space underneath is a manure pit that is open in the back. The composting of the manure provided some warmth, and there's a tiled area and an opening in one part of the barn where there was once a woodstove. The woodstove is still there, just disconnected and laying in a rusty pile on the other side of the barn.​
     
  8. domromer

    domromer Chillin' With My Peeps

    704
    1
    171
    May 11, 2007
    Flagstaff,AZ
    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies :

    :)

    A suburban lot will not provide a good closed eco system that your grandparents would have had.

    Think of watching the waltons or little house on the prarie. Plenty of land, woods, marshes, creeks over grown fields.
    even a chicken just going into the barn would get seeds from hay/wheat/oats that had fallen to the ground. and plenty of bugs after the poop :)

    A back yard even a big one can not provide that. BUT yes you can give them all your left overs.
    even when you go out to eat bring the crap/back :)

    tell your neigbhors if they have old bread you'll take it. And have fresh water every day.

    And winter is a worry hens need a good source of food to keep warm and ward off illness so a bag of feed is a must in the winter to go along with the scraps.
    "layer pellets"


    If you do not want the food to be waisted from other rodents getting it. Only feed them once a day and only what they can eat at one time. Keep the bag of feed inside a garbage can where the chipmunks/mice can not get to it and carry it off. give any scraps later in the day. and they can look for bugs & grass inbetween.

    GOOD LUCK

    I disagree. They did not live on the prairie and the chickens weren't down by the river. They live in the same house now as they did during the depression. The yard is about .75 of an acre. So it must be possible to raise a few chickens without an entire forest.​
     
  9. Chickee's Mom

    Chickee's Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2007
    Lacombe AB
    Thanks Rosalind, that brought back memories of my Grandpa's old barn, always seemed to be warm and cozy in there.
     
  10. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    My uncle gave me a rare old book on 1800s chicken care, inscribed in 1870, called "The Practical Poultry Keeper". It's fascinating. They fed them everything from grains (oats, barley, buckwheat, rice, Indian corn) to beans, peas, milk, potatoes, meat, and ale. It's a great book.
     

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