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  1. #1
    Bronze Member feedjake's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Central Ohio
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    John Deere LA120

    Default Should I add Chickens this summer?

    So we've got our two dairy goats bred, and will hopefully have kids (for the first time) in late spring. Also we want to have another garden this next year. I'm wondering if adding Egg laying hens to my place (maybe five or six) might be too much in the same year. Dealing with new baby goats... a garden... and adding chickens ... might be a bit much... I would have to build a mobile chicken tractor to keep them in. I'd probably keep them in the opposite paddock of whichever the goats were in. Adding water/feed, and collecting eggs, and moving the chicken tractor ON TOP of everything else I'll have to do. Milk two does.... process the milk, clean everything. Yadda Yadda Yadda. Not to mention my three sons, and all of the homework. Just wanted to get some of your thoughts!

    Thanks everyone.
    __________________
    "...I'm just a country boy, money have I none. But I've got silver, in the stars, and gold in the mornin sun."

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    May 2005
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    Inland Portugal
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    NH TCE45

    Default Re: Should I add Chickens this summer?

    Yes. You can take the easy way out and keep them confined, or in any suitable building and let them roam for a while each day - depending on your predator situation. Calculate your feed costs before buying. Expect them to eat approximately one kilo (a little over 2 pounds) of a proprietary layers pellet each per week. How does that compare with what you pay for eggs? Your own eggs will taste better to you, even if other people could not tell the difference. You can cheapen your feed costs, but I never found it worthwhile when I kept big numbers on a commercial basis.

    Can you interest your sons in helping out? It is good for them if they do, although I would never force them if they do not want to do it.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member feedjake's Avatar
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    John Deere LA120

    Default Re: Should I add Chickens this summer?

    Wonderful advice! Thank you! About three years ago we had five hens (they were wonderful!), and they pretty much roamed about our little one acre place, and even went on the neighbours places. Everyone told me they didn’t mind seeing the hens on their place. Until I found the real story that the one lady right behind my place "hated them". So that's the one reason I'm thinking about a mobile house for them this time around. I might let them roam in the paddock and see how they react to the 48" high goat fence. They could easily hop over if they so desired. Although It would be nice if they would stay in the fence. I do miss having them!

    My sons would really be good helpers. They are ages 4, 6, and 9. I'm really seeing my oldest helping with the goats, especially when the babies come. Bottle feeding and maybe some milking. But I know he would just LOVE Chickens again. Really the 9 yr old, and the 6 yr old would love them.

    I agree also about NOT making them do it. Giving them a choice. However if they REALLY want to do it. I want to make sure they follow through. I'll wake him up every morning if he asks me, and make adjustments as time goes on however. If he wants to help after school instead of the mornings, That's fine!
    __________________
    "...I'm just a country boy, money have I none. But I've got silver, in the stars, and gold in the mornin sun."

  4. #4
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Should I add Chickens this summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by feedjake View Post
    Wonderful advice! Thank you! About three years ago we had five hens (they were wonderful!), and they pretty much roamed about our little one acre place, and even went on the neighbours places. Everyone told me they didn’t mind seeing the hens on their place. Until I found the real story that the one lady right behind my place "hated them". So that's the one reason I'm thinking about a mobile house for them this time around. I might let them roam in the paddock and see how they react to the 48" high goat fence. They could easily hop over if they so desired. Although It would be nice if they would stay in the fence. I do miss having them!
    Our chickens stay inside a similar fence. If they dont want to stay in, clip the primary feathers on one wing every few months. That will keep them on the ground.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Inland Portugal
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    Default Re: Should I add Chickens this summer?

    aczlan's suggestion usually works, and one thing I found when keeping large numbers was that it was easier to keep them OUT of somewhere than try to keep them in. That might seem strange, but we found that a 3 feet netting fence around my wife's flower garden and a similar one around the vegetable garden was sufficient to keep them out. At any one time several hundred hens were in close enough proximity that many wandered up to the fence, but it was extremely rare for one to fly over.

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