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Chicken Questions
February 23, 2010
10:51 pm
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MandyP
Margaret, Alabama
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Game hens are the best mother hens I've ever seen. They will flat try to kill you over their eggs and their babies. I spent years dodging them on my Grandfather's farm. I hated gathering those eggs.

~Many of you have forgotten this truth but you must never forget it. You remain responsible, forever, for that which you tame.~Antoine de Saint-Exupéryn

March 18, 2010
11:03 am
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scorwin
NE Ohio
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OK, Buckey Girl.  I live in NE, OH, too.  I have one square acre but it is surrounded by a golf course.  I live in Medina county so I’m pretty sure I can have chickens.  People have horses around me.  My horses are boarded.  I have a bird dog so they couldn’t be free range anyway.

I really would like to have chickens but I’m not ready this spring.  No coop yet.  My brother-in-law has sisters with chickens. My sister says it’s very expensive to keep chickens.  Is that true?  How much a month to keep 6-8 chicken??  

March 18, 2010
11:35 am
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Flatlander
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No I don’t think chickens are expensive to keep.

I have 32 chickens and use appr. 1 bag of food per week..that is 10 dollar a bag.

On the other side..I get about 2.5 dz of eggs per day..I sell my eggs for 2 dollar a dz, so the girls “make” me 5 dollar a day.

So at the end of the week..I have made 35 dollar—minus the 10 for food is 25 dollar.

In the summer it is less, because they eat less store bought food and more greens and bugs.

That is enough to cover the cost of bedding (I use straw) and electric to prefend the water from freezing and buy a few more chicks in the spring..I would like to have 50 chickens.

Now you might not sell your eggs..but you still safe on the fact that you don’t have to buy any eggs.

Of course you need to start and get a chicken coop..but chickens expensive? no I don’t think so…a horse or even a dog is way more expensive, that is for sure.

 

 

March 18, 2010
11:36 am
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52
Stringtown, WV
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We buy about $20 in feed a month for the dozen or so chickens we have that stay in the coop most of the time. The others freerange and cost essentially nothing in upkeep. There’s not really any other ongoing cost, other than maybe oyster shell, which might be $10 a year.Chicken

52 Forever

March 18, 2010
11:43 am
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scorwin
NE Ohio
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Yes Flatlander, my other animals cost a lot.  Board, farrier, and all other costs to board 3 horses, really high.  My dog is just food but I have an asthmatic, diabetic cat that has cost me $1000s and $1000S!!  And he’s still going strong at 13!  I just didn’t want to get into something with big hidden costs!  Thanks for the info!!  Now, to get my brother-in-law to help me build a coop : ))  Can you only get chicks in the spring?  I have to get some books as you can tell!

March 18, 2010
2:52 pm
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Flatlander
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Here I can only order in the spring..but some farmers raise chicks and sell them at 19 weeks of age, just before they start laying, later in the summer.

 

March 18, 2010
3:50 pm
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52
Stringtown, WV
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Of course, the older they are, the more expensive.  You don’t want chicks without full feathers if you’re going into winter, either. Most hardware/feed stores around here get them in April. We paid $1.50 for straight run—unsexed—-last year and $2 for sexed.  Probably 2-3 days old.  I think I paid $6 for ducks—-most of which have since disappeared.   Turkeys were $12, which really makes them uneconomical, unless you want one/some for pets or to get eggs to hatch/raise your own.

52 Forever

March 18, 2010
6:29 pm
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Flatlander
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Wow 52 that is an expensive Turkey, I pay for mixed 4.35 each.

But yes they are quite expensive they die very easy.

Last year I bought 10, lost 3.

But the other grew and grew..I sold them for 1.30 lb, dressed.

And my heaviest turkey was 50 lb (dressed), but taking in consideration the amount of food they take in..I think I broke even….never the less..I ordered 20 for this year LOL

 

To stay on track chickens..I pay 2.25 per chick for the ISA brown…and/or 2.08 for the white leghorn. for pullets.

If you buy mixed they are a bit cheaper. (ISA brown 1.70 and leghorn 1.36)

But I don’t like roosters, so to be safe..I buy the pullets= girls

If I want to buy the 19 week old the chickens cost about  7 or 8 dollar each

March 19, 2010
10:23 am
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52
Stringtown, WV
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I think that was for a “single breasted” turkey, by the way.  Never heard of those til last Spring. Golden Something’s , I think——–

I’ll never raise turkeys again—-unless Suzanne says I have to.  Wink Poke

52 Forever

March 19, 2010
11:04 am
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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Laugh

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

March 19, 2010
12:01 pm
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Suzanne McMinn
Sassafras Farm in Roane County, WV
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52 said:

I think that was for a “single breasted” turkey, by the way.  Never heard of those til last Spring. Golden Something’s , I think——–

I’ll never raise turkeys again—-unless Suzanne says I have to.  Wink Poke


 

I want geese!

Clover made me do it.

March 19, 2010
3:19 pm
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52
Stringtown, WV
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This is a chicken topic !!!  ( And a little turkey.)   Not geese———

52 Forever

March 22, 2010
4:24 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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I was absent for a bit, but to discuss the topic of cost of poultry… (that’s geese too 52! hehe)  Chickens are so so so inexpensive to keep once you have the coop and the main supplies (feeder, waterers etc, I like the gravity water fonts, so that’s a bit of expense, feeders can be built or just use a pan etc) .  I use about a bag of layer mash every month for my dozen hens.  I get 7-11 eggs a day and am selling the excess for $2 a dozen… mash is paid for!   

I want to get ducks this spring, but not sure I will, and I have 25 more (straight run) day olds coming in April.  They are quite pricey though because I wanted a heritage breed, and I got them from a breeder who has a reputation for quality birds.  My current hens are mostly red sex-link layers which are very inexpensive, and very good layers.  Mine are specifically ‘Golden Comets” which are a hybrid of a New Hampshire Red Rooster and a White Rock hen (with the silver factor).  Sex-link hens are very inexpensive because there is no real chance of error while trying to sort for pullets and cockerels.  At a day old, the pullets are clearly reddish and will grow out to be red, the cockerels are pale yellow and will grow out to be white.  They are prolific layers, and wonderful birds.  I just wanted an older standard breed as well, which is why I ordered the Buckeyes… (yes, that’s right, Buckeyes for BuckeyeGirl!).

I also have 4 Ameraucanas, they are the ones who lay blue, green or pinkish eggs… or brown eggs LOL.  I have 2 blue-ish layers, and two brown-ish ones!  It’s the luck of the draw! 

I’d love to have geese too Suzanne, but I have less room than you, so for now I’ll restrain myself… though I’d also love to get some Guinea Hens!!!  Ooooooohhh…. now there’s a thought!!

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 22, 2010
4:55 pm
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lavenderblue
WNY
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I thought I’d asked this question once before but don’t recall where. Can anyone tell me what “sex-linked” means as pertaining to chickens. I’d “google” it but I’m afraid of what would show up on the “inter-nets”.

You know, I know I’m not supposed to have chickens but as I was spring cleaning the yard, I got thinking, there is a space about 4′ by 10′ under my kitchen window. It’s bound on two sides by our fence and on one side by my house. If I covered the top with chicken wire and built a little raised coop…… and planted grape vines on a trellis at the short open end, I wonder how long it would take the neighbors to guess?

And how many could I keep in a little space like that? I’m thinking about six.

Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.  Ogden Nash

March 22, 2010
5:55 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Sex-links are a hybrid of two breeds, which when crossed will produce chicks that are different colors depending on which sex they are.  Like I said one post up… mine ‘Golden Comets’ which are a cross between a New Hampshire Red Rooster and a White Rock hen.  The day old males are pale yellow, which grow up to be white, and the day old pullets are dark reddish and grow up to be red. 

If they are crossed properly, it’s a never fail sort of thing, this makes them very inexpensive because they don’t have to pay someone to sort them who needs a lot of knowledge and skill at it.

There are several combinations that do it, and they produce slightly different variaties of either red sex-links or black sex-links. The reds are always a red breed of rooster, and a silver patterned hen, the blacks are a cross between a barred hen and a solid rooster.  (that’s slightly simplified, but not much.  The color of the rooster and the hen is specific, it doesn’t work if you get them the opposite way around!) Oh, interestingly, the black sex-links usually hatch out both sexes black, but the cockerels have a white dot on their heads, very odd I think!

there’s Golden Comets, ISA Browns, Cinnamon Queen, Red Star, Black Star, and probably several more I’ve missed!

Also, you won’t get anything crazy if you search as long as you have the whole phrase ‘sex-link chicken’ in there.  Google has gotten pretty darn smart about it.

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 22, 2010
7:20 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
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Oh, I forgot to say that if you breed either the hens or a rooster from these crosses, they don’t breed true for either sex anymore, you’ll get a crazy mix of the original two breeds because of the combination of recessive or dominant genes that get in the soup.

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 23, 2010
8:58 am
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lavenderblue
WNY
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Thanks Buckeye, I think I sort of get it. Now I want a whole big flock so I can experiment. What a great biology lesson this would be for the more advanced homeschoolers.

Golden Comet and Cinnamon Queen sound really pretty.

Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.  Ogden Nash

March 23, 2010
10:28 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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They’re good birds but if I hadn’t been given these, (and I’m happy to have them! Thanks Jim!) I’d have gotten a mix of other more standard breeds, more like what Suzanne has.  I love to have a mix of colors and patterns in my flock.  I’ll gradually work them into the flock so I have some barred and cuckoo (a type of barring) and different colors out in the yard to go with my Buckeyes.  Maybe some Lakenvelders, Dominiques, Speckled Sussex and/or some Chanteclers, oh, and a few Old English Games because they go broody so well.  I’d like to see how the individual breeds fit their standards, see how they fit in on our property, which is partly wooded right on a river bank.  I also love the mixed colors and enjoy the variaty of a mixed flock. The sex-links while extremely prolific layers, are too boringly alike.  That’s just me though.  I’ll probably keep a few for their laying ability…  I’ll have to get some hens that when crossed with my soon to arrive Buckey rooster will (hopefully) produce some sex-links… hmmmm!

Located in N.E. Ohio

March 23, 2010
6:00 pm
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Grandmatotwochicks
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Hi, yesterday I brought home two Americana pullets, they are six weeks old, I have them set up in our wood box outside of our house for now, but I am wondering how I will introduce them to the OTHER six hen’s, I know they are small now, and should stay in the wood box until about 12 weeks old, but if anyone has any ideas on how to introduce them to the other hen’s I would appreciate it.  Thank You!!!!!!!!!Butterfly

March 23, 2010
6:30 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Hi Grandma22!

The answer to your question is, “Carefully”

The other hens will bully them, I promise you!  They will need to be separated from them till they are FULLY feathered, and of a good size, by which I mean mostly grown… I have a brooder pen that shares a wire ‘wall’ between it and the main section of the coop.  My young’uns live in there for a good long while so the older hens are totally used to them, and they don’t mix till they are WELL able to escape.  Hens are MEAN if given the chance to bully a new bird, and they can easily turn into something resembling a velociraptor out of Jurassic Park! 

If you don’t have the means to actually build something like that, you can get a large(or medium perhaps with just 2 noobs) dog crate, and let them live inside that, within the main coop area once they get half grown. 

When you do let them mingle, make sure you will be Right There!!! 

That’s my best advice.  I’ve had lots of good luck, and a few unfortunate situations.  The thing is, they DO need to work out the pecking order for themselves eventually, and someone is going to be at the bottom.  It isn’t usually terrible, but if they start in on a young bird too badly, the lowest one can get so downtrodden, they never really recover well.  You can’t prevent it totally, but if a noobie has a few friends of the same size/age to form their own sub group like your 2 new ones, they should do ok as long as they are feathered out well enough at first, and strong enough to escape. 

This is partly why I love to have a broody hen hatch them out right in the coop.  Mama protects the little darlings ( usually ) and the larger hens get used to them quickly.

Located in N.E. Ohio

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