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 Sustainable living - Chicken tips please

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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:56 pm

All this chicken talk is making me sorry I gave mine away. 
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:08 pm

TheBear wrote:
So, here are my first pictures of the chickens. This is from the first day I got them home; they were just exploring their new environment. They were a bit shaken due to the drive from Monaghan (and because my nephew - seen in the background - was chasing them whenever I turned my back), but they settled down soon enough.

No eggs yet, and the jokes about chicken soup and the like are becoming more frequent. Let's hope they start laying soon.

(As can also be seen, Mr and Mrs Bear ran out of steam halfway through clearing the garden. I figure the hens will help out on that front, picking at everything that grows.)







Do chickens like suburbia. Do they get on with cats. When it comes to the time of eating your hens, who rings their necks or do you run over them with your lawnmower by accident and then eat them as roadkill ?
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:24 pm

Large breed hens like the ones above shouldn't have a problem with cats. Mine didn't and I have five cats. I wouldn't go for bantams though. Hens will make mincemeat of a smallish garden but if you don't mind that I can't see any reason why surburbia would be a problem once you don't have a cock. Killing them is another matter! I know I couldn't do that and while I inquired once, before getting them, about having hens slaughtered and plucked elsewhere it would have been ridiculously expensive.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:29 pm

What do I need a cock for ? Won't the hens be cawing and screeching in the mornings it might wake the neighbours.

I'd hate to kill anything especially if it was an animal so I'd probably let it live until it got old and died. It's not wise to eat meat which died of natural causes is it?

Is the bears garden big enough for those big hens ? They look like they could empty it of worms and whatever else they eat in no time. I suppose you have to buy them birdseed as well - wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy eggs from SuperValue ?
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:01 pm

Hens do make a bit of a racket when they lay but not for long and it is generally later than that dawn crowing of a cock which could wake the dead if next door. My own neighbours never even realised we had hens until I happened to mention they were gone! Mind you they were out at work long days and weekending on their boats types. I wouldn't recommend eating critters dead of natural cuses although I have seen articles on making use of roadkill!I used to buy a bag of chicken feed from a farm suppliers and a bag of wheat to supplement it (advice from breeder). These were very inexpensive and lasted ages. I don't know if you can feed them the birdseed from supermarket but it would cost a fortune. The start-up costs are the worst bit I think. A proper custom made henhouse can easily set you back €400 and thats before you think of a run. I did it on the cheap by converting a large old kennel that someone was throwing out. It was an eyesore though and in a small garden people usually want something pretty to look at. If  I was doing it again I'd get a small garden shed. Easier to clean as well since you can walk into it. No backbending. Bears garden is plenty big enough from the look of those pictures as long as she doesn't care about having her garden torn up. In fact hens can be kept in  far smaller space. I can't locate the books I have on the subject a the mo but I think the minimum space was 2ft square per hen. I generally had mine freerange unless I was sick of them eating new plants and then would pen them for a time by fencing of a third of the garden. That's someting else that's madly expensive - chicken wire. Tbh keeping hens in a garden is something to do for fun as opposed to saving money though fresh eggs are gorgeous - much nicer than shop eggs which are at least two weeks old when you buy them I read.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:44 pm

Thanks for that advice - sounds like a kind of a hobby I wouldn't be into yet. Maybe hens are a kind of handy space-saving subsitute for keeping horses? I heard chicken wire was steep alright - I think I was going to get some to put into a concrete floor once.

Into the bargain, eggs give me indigestion so I think I'll leave the comparative advantage to someone else unless I'm starving.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:46 pm

You have five cats? *eeeek* do you live in Suburbia?

You must be like my girlfriend, 2 cats and a mad dog... drives me up the wall.

A friend of mine has over 10,000 chickens so that is where I get my eggs...
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:37 am

johnfás wrote:
You have five cats? *eeeek* do you live in Suburbia?

You must be like my girlfriend, 2 cats and a mad dog... drives me up the wall.
A friend of mine has over 10,000 chickens so that is where I get my eggs...
No - I moved from Dublin out to a North County Town a few years ago and while I live in a small estate of ten houses it's about 2km from the village and with good sized gardens. I enjoy animals and went a bit mad when we first moved out. At one stage as well as the hens, cats and two dogs I had over twenty guinea pigs, two rabbits, a hamster and fish. The kids loved it but have now grown past the rodent stage. Now I just have the cats and dogs. I never intended to acquire five cats but I can't pass a stray kitten so I've ended up with another each year! I've promised hubby the next one goes to the cat sanctuary.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:04 am

Twenty guinea pigs Shocked

Personally I don't really like cats so it is a chore being in the girlfriend's house when they decide they want to wander about the place.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:31 am

johnfás wrote:
Twenty guinea pigs Shocked

Personally I don't really like cats so it is a chore being in the girlfriend's house when they decide they want to wander about the place.
At least twenty - started of with two sisters who turned out to be brother and sister! They breed faster than the proverbial rabbits. I wonder are cats a female thing. I don't know any men who set out to have them as pets although some seem to get fond of them in spite of themselves. Each of mine has such a distinctive personality and they are very amusing creatures. Sounds like you are going to have to learn to appreciate them.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:40 am

Are chickens vegetarians? Besides eating worms like; do they eat steak for example ?

Would they ever get violent with any other animal, the chicken, or do they deserve their name ?
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:41 am

What are you thinking of mixing them with Auditor?

A friend of mine's goddaughter came home from the Zoo once with a penguin hidden in her school bag.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:49 am

johnfás wrote:
What are you thinking of mixing them with Auditor?

A friend of mine's goddaughter came home from the Zoo once with a penguin hidden in her school bag.
That's a joke- right?
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:51 am

Absolutely not a joke, it was in the newspapers at the time. It happened about 5 years ago at this stage, she was on a schooltour at the zoo aged about 7 or 8 and she put a baby penguin into her schoolbag and took it home. Her parents found it in the bath later that day. One of the more bizarre stories I have come across!
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:07 am

I was just wondering would they ever attack anyone johnfás - I'm not thinking of getting some chickens or anything really. Chicken nuggets maybe ...
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:09 am

Are they still on the Eurosaver?
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:21 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
I was just wondering would they ever attack anyone johnfás - I'm not thinking of getting some chickens or anything really. Chicken nuggets maybe ...
My late grandmother used to have a really vicious cock. As kids we had to carry a broom around with us to fend him of. But I've never heard of a hen attacking anything apart from each other. 
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:30 am

johnfás wrote:
Are they still on the Eurosaver?

Now that's not a tip I can give - not at least until Mickey D's is finished in Ennis. Then I will have the pleasure of making my stingy former bank manager do my bidding around the kitchen in there doing all sorts of stuff for me - even putting little smarties on ice cream. O vengeance will be mine - he'll be sorry he ever gave me that loan. Evil or Very Mad

imokyrok
I thought that the cock was a vicious bird alright. You have to swap him with the neighbours cock every now and again though do you? just to keep the inbreeding from becoming endemic in your herd / batch.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:40 am

You'd need 905 to advise you on that one Auditor. I'm no expert. I doubt it would be much of an issue though unless you're a large scale breeder or into hobby breeding which is a big deal in the UK.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:20 pm

We just had a break out. One Welsummer and one Isa brown went missing. The remaining Welsummer ( a bit of a stool-pigeon if you ask me) stayed behind and came to tell me that the others had gone.

The ISA Brown I found in the Unfriendly Neighbour's vegetable patch (what was left of it). No sign of the missing Welsummer for ten minutes, until I eventually found her in a newly-made nest hidden in a dense thicket of reeds 20 yards or so up river.

They are now back behind the bars of their orginal coop until we can reinforce the hedge with chicken wire.

Just when I was going to tell you that the eggonomics of egg production were going eggsellently well for us, we are faced with this unexpected eggspenditure.

Any suggestions ?
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:23 pm

Build a better fence?
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:36 pm

cactus flower wrote:
We just had a break out. One Welsummer and one Isa brown went missing. The remaining Welsummer ( a bit of a stool-pigeon if you ask me) stayed behind and came to tell me that the others had gone.

The ISA Brown I found in the Unfriendly Neighbour's vegetable patch (what was left of it). No sign of the missing Welsummer for ten minutes, until I eventually found her in a newly-made nest hidden in a dense thicket of reeds 20 yards or so up river.

They are now back behind the bars of their orginal coop until we can reinforce the hedge with chicken wire.

Just when I was going to tell you that the eggonomics of egg production were going eggsellently well for us, we are faced with this unexpected eggspenditure.

Any suggestions ?
Oh boy!! I guess you're going to have to start with some serious humble pie and reparations to your neighbour. I don't envy you. Chickens are remarkable escape artists considering they have such minute brains! The chicken wire for the hedge will be essential if you wnat them to room free at all both to keep them in and keep foxes and dogs out. It will need to be well peged down as they can find every little gap. I found my chickens could fly considerably higher than I had anticipated too so you might want to clip their wings. If I remember correctly I was advised to do one wing to keep them of balance and therefore making it more difficult to attain height. Having said that even then one of mind cleared a five foot fence reguraly. Thankfully my garden is fully walled to a minimum of eight foot and so mine was the only garden they could damage.You are just cutting feathers so it doesn't harm them. If it turns out to be too expensive to fence of your garden to the appropriate height you may have to just stick to using a pen. It's incredible the damage chickens can do to plants in a very short space of time.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:44 pm

If you could get some weldmesh fencing they wouldn't stand a chance.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:46 pm

Electric barbed wire, trained Alsation dogs, .22 rifles, escape-sensitive sirens.
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PostSubject: Re: Sustainable living - Chicken tips please   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:46 pm

Have you ever been hunting, Auditor?
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