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Other than Brewing => The Pub => Topic started by: phillamb168 on October 27, 2010, 01:53:41 PM

Title: Keeping chickens
Post by: phillamb168 on October 27, 2010, 01:53:41 PM
Yeast... Bees... Chickens. It's a natural progression.

Seriously though, we're going to building a coop in the front yard this winter and get some chickens in time for spring. Anybody done it before? How'd you deal with the litter? I know it makes a great fertilizer, but I'd like to keep my neighbors happy. My house growing up had its 35 acres fertilized with chicken litter every few years... the smell still haunts my dreams....
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 03:51:57 PM
I haven't done it yet, but my plan is to build a coop this winter so we can get a few in the spring too.  My coop will be in the backyard though, and hidden from the neighbors.  I just hope to keep the coyotes and raccoons away from them.  :-\

I've got a pile of scrap wood and some vague ideas of what to do - I visited a couple of friends who have chickens and checked out their coops to have an idea of the important elements of design.  A place to roost, some nests to lay in, and doors to make it easier to clean and get eggs.  A door that can be shut and latched at night to keep the predators out, a larger enclosure so the chickens can get out a bit during the day.  A water and food source.

If I'm missing something someone please tell me!
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: denny on October 27, 2010, 03:57:59 PM
when I moved into my current place, we had 3 chickens left behind by the previous owner.  They pretty much ran wild and roosted on a ladder in the garage at night.  They also laid their eggs in the garage.  I say "garage", but at that time it was more of an open shed (no doors) with a gravel floor.  They lasted about 3 years before the coyotes and raccoons got them.  We have a chicken coop I was going to restore, but we discovered it was painted with lead based paint, which had gone into the ground all around the coop.  we didn't want the chickens scratching in that, so the coop became a toolshed.  Plans are to build or buy a new coop...eventually!  This place here in Eugene sells some pretty cool ones...

http://eugenebackyardfarmer.com/
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: weithman5 on October 27, 2010, 04:01:06 PM
Yeast... Bees... Chickens. It's a natural progression.


don't forget the goats after that
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tubercle on October 27, 2010, 04:01:58 PM
Done the chicken thing. Been without for about ten years and was fixing to start up again when Lo! and behold, Ms. Tubercle's friend-girl at work has a bunch of chickens and loves pickled eggs but don't know how to make them. Tubercle does :D

  I get 3 dozen eggs at a time for the price of returning one dozen back as pickled. ;D

 Two dozen eggs every two weeks for the price of 1-1/2 cup of vinegar and a few spices and none of the hassle.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tubercle on October 27, 2010, 04:02:30 PM
Yeast... Bees... Chickens. It's a natural progression.


don't forget the goats after that

 And cheese...
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 04:04:20 PM
That sounds like a cool place Denny.  I'll probably get ours from this place.

http://www.grangesupplyinc.com/chicks.htm
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: Mikey on October 27, 2010, 04:31:19 PM
With chickens you get chicken $hit. I ran around at my Grandparents barefooted too much to ever want any of my own.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: bluesman on October 27, 2010, 04:39:19 PM
Chicken $h!T makes great fertilizer.  ;)
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 04:40:30 PM
I walk around barefoot too, but since they're my chickens (as opposed to my grandparents) I can keep them confined to a small area rather than give them the run of the yard.  I'll probably build a movable enclosure that I can put them in every day to confine the manure to a small area as opposed to the entire back yard, which is probably about 1/2 acre fenced.  It will make it easier to scoop and compost the manure.  That will make my garden happy :)
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: Mikey on October 27, 2010, 05:01:36 PM
You can keep them in a confined area, but if you let them run around they'll eat a ton of bugs. I really like the benefits of chickens and chicken$hit, but I do remember stepping in it. It does make great manure for a garden and you can get some very tasty eggs if they aren't cooped up all the time.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 06:05:40 PM
Right, I'm talking about a movable enclosure that is not the same as their coop.  I can put it in a different spot every day and let them work over the bugs there.  That way they won't kill the grass in any one spot, and I have a smaller are to look for the manure, and I know where they are when it's time to put them in at night.   :)

I'm thinking about a bunch of 1x3s to make a lightweight frame, and some chicken wire to keep them enclosed.  That one won't keep anything out that is really trying to get in, but it's for the daytime so hopefully it will be ok.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: denny on October 27, 2010, 06:06:56 PM
That's a great idea, Tom.  There's a CSA down the road from me that does that with both chickens and ducks.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 06:13:59 PM
Cool, glad to know it will work :)  I might have to start leaving the dog out during the day to keep an eye on them, but I don't think she'd like it much.  She's a people dog.

I'm considering adding a duck, I've heard they're good with slugs.  I don't know what they'd do with this guy though . . .

(http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs349.ash2/62925_1532874315636_1048115648_1561881_3810246_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: jeffy on October 27, 2010, 06:20:37 PM
OMG is that real?
The ick factor went way up there just now.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: euge on October 27, 2010, 06:22:28 PM
That is monstrous!  :o

Even though it's illegal to keep them here I'd like some for the backyard. However, it also seems to be some sort of nexus point for all the neighborhood cats.  ???

I don't think the chickens would survive for very long.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tumarkin on October 27, 2010, 06:39:03 PM
That's a great idea, Tom.  There's a CSA down the road from me that does that with both chickens and ducks.

Denny ..... ok so what is a CSA (confederate states of america, chicken s*** amalgamator?)??

Tom - when I lived in Alvadore many years ago (not that far from Denny), I used to do what you're discussing. I built a frame out of 2x4's so it was a bit more solid & heavy. It was 8' square, and about 2' high. covered with chicken wire, and I'd throw a few plywood scraps over the top to provide shade & cover from rain for part of it. Moved it over 8' to new grass every few days. I used it for raising chickens for the bar b que so didn't have to deal with eggs, nests, etc. had a regular coop for that. Worked great, go for it.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: denny on October 27, 2010, 06:43:34 PM
Denny ..... ok so what is a CSA (confederate states of america, chicken s*** amalgamator?)??

You've been gone from OR for too long, Mark!  It stands for "Community Supported Agriculture".  It's like a subscription farm.  This is the one down the road from me that I was referring to...

http://www.wintergreenfarm.com/
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: capozzoli on October 27, 2010, 07:04:20 PM
Cool, glad to know it will work :)  I might have to start leaving the dog out during the day to keep an eye on them, but I don't think she'd like it much.  She's a people dog.

I'm considering adding a duck, I've heard they're good with slugs.  I don't know what they'd do with this guy though . . .

(http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs349.ash2/62925_1532874315636_1048115648_1561881_3810246_n.jpg)

Three words. butter, garlic, wine.

http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/how-to-prepare-and-cook-slugs_p_1.html
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 07:15:25 PM
OMG is that real?
The ick factor went way up there just now.
Yes, that is a real slug.  And yes, it is real pictures :)  Two of them to be exact, one taken in my backyard with the slug next to my hand to show the scale to a friend from MA, the other taken in my front yard to try to match the background when I cropped the first one.  If you look closely you can see a horizontal line running through it, it actually clips one of the leaves from the little plant on the right.

Here's the original.  This is a medium sized Pacific banana slug, ~6 inches - they can get up to 10 inches long, second largest slug in the world.

(http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs355.ash2/63537_1532533667120_1048115648_1561109_6139207_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tubercle on October 27, 2010, 07:40:38 PM
I'm thinking about a bunch of 1x3s to make a lightweight frame...

 PVC pipe might be easier and cheaper.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 07:51:34 PM
I'm thinking about a bunch of 1x3s to make a lightweight frame...

 PVC pipe might be easier and cheaper.
Hmmm . . . It will hold up better with our weather, and I already have the pvc cement . . . I'd have to design it a little differently to account for the great flexibility of the pvc, but that's no big deal . . .  harder to attach the chicken wire, but I have some rebar wire I could use to hold it in place . . . harder to take apart than if I use screws to hold the boards together, but I can dry fit parts of it and just take it apart in sections . . .

I doubt it will be easier or cheaper, those 1x3s are less than $1.50 each and don't require any special fittings to connect them to each other, just a screw.  But strictly from a longevity standpoint it might be the way to go.

Great idea tubercle!   ;D
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: MrNate on October 27, 2010, 08:05:22 PM
With chickens you get chicken $hit. I ran around at my Grandparents barefooted too much to ever want any of my own.

I had to clean out the coop, collect the eggs, and feed those little bastards my grandma had. I will never feel bad about eating a chicken as long as I live.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: boulderbrewer on October 27, 2010, 08:42:05 PM
Yeast... Bees... Chickens. It's a natural progression.


don't forget the goats after that

 And cheese...

And Ducks, Turkeys ......and I can't wait for what is next. ::)
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: EHall on October 27, 2010, 08:51:36 PM
I'd stick with wood, but use either treated, redwood, cedar etc... they'll hold up alot longer.
If you choose to go with PVC, you can always add thinner rebar or dowels to the inside to reinforce.. but you'll just up your cost to do that... Guess it just depends on how much time you want to spend maintaining it...
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: boulderbrewer on October 27, 2010, 08:54:28 PM
Don't get cockerels unless you plan on butchering them. They will piss off your neghbors when they start crowing at 4 am. They usually start crowing around twelve weeks, for good laying breed the boys  dress out around 2 to 3 pounds at that age. The amount of manure depends on how many chickens. The biggest pile will be under the roost poles.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: jaybeerman on October 27, 2010, 08:55:16 PM
OMG is that real?
The ick factor went way up there just now.
Yes, that is a real slug.  And yes, it is real pictures :)  Two of them to be exact, one taken in my backyard with the slug next to my hand to show the scale to a friend from MA, the other taken in my front yard to try to match the background when I cropped the first one.  If you look closely you can see a horizontal line running through it, it actually clips one of the leaves from the little plant on the right.

Here's the original.  This is a medium sized Pacific banana slug, ~6 inches - they can get up to 10 inches long, second largest slug in the world.


(http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs355.ash2/63537_1532533667120_1048115648_1561109_6139207_n.jpg)

LOL, nicely done
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: Mikey on October 27, 2010, 08:56:46 PM
With chickens you get chicken $hit. I ran around at my Grandparents barefooted too much to ever want any of my own.

I had to clean out the coop, collect the eggs, and feed those little bastards my grandma had. I will never feel bad about eating a chicken as long as I live.

The best chicken is a barbecued chicken. :)
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: blueskies on October 27, 2010, 09:19:37 PM
Hi tschmidlin - I live just down the road from you. We have kept chickens for a long time now.  A couple of area specific tidbits for you - the predators we have problems with are racoons and hawks.  Racoons mostly at dusk and at night.  We have not found an enclosure that is truly racoon proof.  In our case it has to be sturdy enough that the racoon can't get in without waking the dog.  The hawks only seem to take the chicks and pullets.  Once they are full grown we have not lost any to hawks.  Having a top to your enclosure will help keep hawks out and will help keep chickens in.  Ours will fly over a 6 foot fence just fine if you don't clip their wings.

And they don't seem to be interested in eating big slugs.  The little ones are OK, and other bugs are fine.  Throw a big one in there and I think they don't recognize it as a bug.  Go figure.  Guess with fencepost sized slugs the racoons at your house might not be hungry for chicken anyway!

Back to your regularly scheduled beer programming...

Bruce G
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: weithman5 on October 27, 2010, 09:21:51 PM
tom, you must be a small guy ;D  actually i used to live in port orchard, wa and i remember those creepy things.  somehow slugs used to make it into the window ledge in my shower.  scare the crap out of me picking up the soap in the morning.  also for your chicken coop.  it is hard to beat cheep replacable wood.  but another thought would be lightweight aluminum angles. bolted up they will be plenty rigid.  will allow you to attach chx wire, should last well, and you can modify your design well.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: Slowbrew on October 27, 2010, 09:58:09 PM
Your enclosure should be pretty solid if you used 2" PVC and attach the chicken wire with zip ties.  Just a thought.

We raised fryers every year while I was growing up.  We never had laying hens.  Mom and Dad would order around 150 chicks each Spring and feed them out.  Last 2 weeks we fed straight corn.  Man I miss those birds for BBQ.  The shed we had them in would have about 6 inches of, shall we say leftovers, which was always a joy to clean out come the end of July.  Nothing says summer like 90+ degrees and a pitch fork.   ;)

Have fun!

Paul
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 27, 2010, 10:09:07 PM
I'd stick with wood, but use either treated, redwood, cedar etc... they'll hold up alot longer.
I might stick with wood, I'll have to see.  If I do, I'll probably go with pine to keep it light, even though it will rot faster.  I'll see how long it lasts with that and maybe a coat of paint on it, then consider upgrading to something longer lasting.  It all depends on how well the chicken raising is going.

Don't get cockerels unless you plan on butchering them.
From the place we'll get them, they're not sexed.  If we end up with boys, they'll be gone one way or another :)  I'm not keeping them around.  I might prefer a male duck though, I don't really go for duck eggs.  :-\

the predators we have problems with are racoons and hawks.  Racoons mostly at dusk and at night.  We have not found an enclosure that is truly racoon proof.

Thanks Bruce.  I've heard the chickens will often scratch the larger slugs, so whether they eat them or not isn't so important :)  We have some bald eagles and bobcats in the neighborhood sometimes, they might go for a full grown one.  Maybe not.  The coyotes are regular visitors though.  I rarely see raccoons, but that doesn't mean they're not there.  I figure as long as I remember to lock the chickens up at night they should be ok.  Or not.  We'll find out :)

tom, you must be a small guy ;D  
Most would not say that, but maybe I'm just bad at estimating length.  Guys are supposed to over estimate length though, right?  :)

Mom and Dad would order around 150 chicks each Spring
Feeding an army?  Where do you keep 150 chickens once they're slaughtered?  Did you just have a huge freezer?
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: phillamb168 on October 28, 2010, 09:47:14 AM
Yeast... Bees... Chickens. It's a natural progression.


don't forget the goats after that

 And cheese...

And Ducks, Turkeys ......and I can't wait for what is next. ::)

Oh God... Homebrewing has turned me into... a HIPPY!!!11!ONE!1
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: phillamb168 on October 28, 2010, 09:57:08 AM
Funny thing about Raccoons here in France. There used to not be any until WWII, when GIs came over here with Raccoons as unit mascots. Unfortunately they would escape, and now while they're not everywhere (you still have to go to a Zoo to see them usually) you can find them. The population is growing fairly rapidly from what I hear... maybe soon I'll be the first to bring that great Arkansas tradition of coon huntin' to La France.

tschmidlin, for coops and those fenced-in things that let you control where they peck and scratch, there's this: http://www.omlet.co.uk/homepage/ I think I'm going to order my coop from them. Plastic coop, which means all you have to do is borrow somebody's pressure washer every now and then to get them all clean.

A friend of mine has two chickens, which his kids named "Stupid" and "Stupid," which pretty much sums them up, but they get fresh eggs most of the time and given how much a guy can pay for "free-range" these days it seems silly not to do it myself. Let me know how it works out for you, maybe we can keep this thread open with photos etc once it gets going.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tubercle on October 28, 2010, 01:14:25 PM
I'd stick with wood, but use either treated, redwood, cedar etc... they'll hold up alot longer.
I might stick with wood, I'll have to see.  If I do, I'll probably go with pine to keep it light, even though it will rot faster.  I'll see how long it lasts with that and maybe a coat of paint on it, then consider upgrading to something longer lasting.  It all depends on how well the chicken raising is going.

  Wood attached with screws might be best if you're not sure this will be lasting thing. It can be taken apart and the wood used for the next big project.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: boulderbrewer on October 28, 2010, 01:39:11 PM
Tom, there are plenty of places you can get the chicks sexed and they seem to be cheaper than the web site you posted. Some will ship less than the 25 chicks that most require. I was going to suggest ducks, ours lay better than our leghorns and the eggs are wonderful, but you don't sound like a fan of them.


Phillamb168, the next thing is quail. ???  Is quail good eating? Do you skin them or pluck them?
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: weithman5 on October 28, 2010, 01:46:10 PM
my good friend growing up lived on the farm where president harding was born (blooming grove-galion ohio)  they had a huge chicken farm.  factory really.  supplied tons of eggs, and then when the chickens were old they sold them, i think, to campbells soup. 
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: phillamb168 on October 28, 2010, 02:13:01 PM
Phillamb168, the next thing is quail. ???  Is quail good eating? Do you skin them or pluck them?

In my book, if you can smoke it, it's usually good eating. For a nice bit of cross-thread referencing, http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2009/04/quail-catfish-brussel-sprout-and-wild.html
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: 1vertical on October 28, 2010, 03:19:43 PM
If I'm missing something someone please tell me!

Where I live Aerial Predators are a thing to consider as well....hawks, owls, eagles....they
like chicken dinner too!   
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: 1vertical on October 28, 2010, 03:20:41 PM
Done the chicken thing. Been without for about ten years and was fixing to start up again when Lo! and behold, Ms. Tubercle's friend-girl at work has a bunch of chickens and loves pickled eggs but don't know how to make them. Tubercle does :D

  I get 3 dozen eggs at a time for the price of returning one dozen back as pickled. ;D

 Two dozen eggs every two weeks for the price of 1-1/2 cup of vinegar and a few spices and none of the hassle.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: 1vertical on October 28, 2010, 03:21:49 PM
Done the chicken thing. Been without for about ten years and was fixing to start up again when Lo! and behold, Ms. Tubercle's friend-girl at work has a bunch of chickens and loves pickled eggs but don't know how to make them. Tubercle does :D

  I get 3 dozen eggs at a time for the price of returning one dozen back as pickled. ;D

 Two dozen eggs every two weeks for the price of 1-1/2 cup of vinegar and a few spices and none of the hassle.

You knew this already, but ya HAD to make me say it in the Bee thread didn't ya!   ;D
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: Slowbrew on October 28, 2010, 03:47:39 PM

Mom and Dad would order around 150 chicks each Spring
Feeding an army?  Where do you keep 150 chickens once they're slaughtered?  Did you just have a huge freezer?
[/quote]

Pretty much.  8 kids (4 boys and 4 girls), 2 24+CF freezers and a rented locker in town.  Don't forget the cattle, hogs and ducks too.  You'd be amazed at how much food 8 kids eat at every meal. The table looked like a buffet and was picked clean after every meal.  :D

Paul
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tubercle on October 28, 2010, 03:58:50 PM
Done the chicken thing. Been without for about ten years and was fixing to start up again when Lo! and behold, Ms. Tubercle's friend-girl at work has a bunch of chickens and loves pickled eggs but don't know how to make them. Tubercle does :D

  I get 3 dozen eggs at a time for the price of returning one dozen back as pickled. ;D

 Two dozen eggs every two weeks for the price of 1-1/2 cup of vinegar and a few spices and none of the hassle.

You knew this already, but ya HAD to make me say it in the Bee thread didn't ya!   ;D

 I'm slow sometimes. Takes me while to catch on :D
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 28, 2010, 04:32:05 PM
http://www.omlet.co.uk/homepage/

Thanks for the link - looks the same people as omlet.com :)

I think you should get the coon hunting going now, before they're totally out of control.  Either that or bring in some mountain lions to help keep the population down.   ::)   ;D

I'll post pics as this gets going, it will be several months before we get chicks.  I just need to have the coop built by the time they're ready to move outside.

I might go with an online place that sexes them, but I think I'd rather buy locally and take the kids to pick something out.  more fun that way.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: boulderbrewer on October 28, 2010, 05:11:22 PM
After checking the website a little closer they do mention pullets, they must be getting them in from a hatchery. So you should wind up with mostly pullets. Way more fun to take the kids and let them pick some out!
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: brewmichigan on October 28, 2010, 06:45:43 PM
You should try some deer fencing. Cheaper than chicken wire, plastic, and super tough. Slightly lighter as well, if you're using large amounts.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 28, 2010, 07:31:57 PM
You should try some deer fencing. Cheaper than chicken wire, plastic, and super tough. Slightly lighter as well, if you're using large amounts.
Sounds like a great idea - where would you buy something like that?  I'll have to look at how much wire fencing I've got left from other projects, and if it's not enough I'll get some of that.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: denny on October 28, 2010, 07:49:53 PM
Sounds like a great idea - where would you buy something like that?

Around here, I get it at a farm supply place.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: brewmichigan on October 28, 2010, 08:00:00 PM
Sounds like a great idea - where would you buy something like that?

Around here, I get it at a farm supply place.

Yeah, farm supply. I know tractor supply carries it around here. Also, I believe Menards (home improvement) carries it.
Title: Re: Keeping chickens
Post by: tschmidlin on October 28, 2010, 08:14:11 PM
Sounds like a great idea - where would you buy something like that?

Around here, I get it at a farm supply place.

Yeah, farm supply. I know tractor supply carries it around here. Also, I believe Menards (home improvement) carries it.
They probably have it at the place I'm going to get the chicks then.  Thanks guys.   :)