Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
BCM
User Panel

Site Notices
Posted: 6/19/2021 7:25:58 PM EDT
We've been considering getting a small number of chickens.  I've raised all kinds of critters but I have no experience with chickens.  I've checked the regulations, at least those I can find, and I've ensured that we are legal to keep up to 10 based on the property size.  I was thinking more around 5 or 6 chickens max if we decide to do it.  

If you've had any experience with raising chickens any advice or recommendations would be appreciated!
Link Posted: 6/19/2021 7:34:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/19/2021 8:12:08 PM EDT
We keep both egg layers and meat chickens.

Our egg chickens are free range, and the meat chickens are in a brooder for the first couple weeks, then moved out onto pasture.

Figure out if you are planning on keeping them primarily as egg producers, meat producers, or friendly outdoor pets that give you the occasional breakfast butt nugget. Then pick your breeds accordingly. We get our egg layers from McMurray hatchery and our meat birds from a local producer.

Make sure what your local ordinances are regarding the keeping of roosters. Most places that aren’t out in the country prohibit roosters.
Link Posted: 6/19/2021 8:47:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/19/2021 8:50:29 PM EDT by Brownie63]
My son and DIL in Woodstock have a few.  We get the eggs every once in awhile.

I'm out in the sticks in S. GA.  There's a family of foxes that play in our front field about every day.  They would love it if we got some chickens.  

As a kid growing up just South of Fort Benning, I had two batches of about 200 laying hens.  My dad thought it would teach me some responsibility if I had hogs and chickens to tend.  Thanks for making me think of him with tomorrow being father's day.  
Link Posted: 6/19/2021 11:20:16 PM EDT
I had 6 when we were in acworth. Finally got a coop built up here and will be buying some laying hens in a week or so.
Link Posted: 6/19/2021 11:30:48 PM EDT
According to the laws I've read so far we can keep chickens for eggs or pets only, the regulations prohibit keeping them for the purpose of eating them.

We would be doing it strictly for eggs, we have enough pets as it is.  We would not be getting a rooster because I'd probably kill it before the neighbors even had a chance.  I've lived near people with roosters and they are obnoxious (the roosters, not the people).  It was like living with peacocks which are also obnoxiously loud and annoying.  

I figure 5 or 6 chickens would provide plenty of eggs for just the two of us and if there were more than we needed we could give them away.
Link Posted: 6/19/2021 11:37:07 PM EDT
If eggs are your goal, you can’t go wrong with any of the sex-linked hybrids. Red star, black star, Golden comet, etc. are all very reliable egg layers. Give them a good quality feed and let them forage in your yard, and you won’t be able to buy a more delicious, nutritions egg on any shelf anywhere.
Link Posted: 6/20/2021 12:21:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/20/2021 1:12:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2021 1:34:48 AM EDT by Emu]
I've had chickens on several different occasions over the years. They are a LOT of fun. My favorite have been the "Easter Egg" layers. You'll nearly get a large egg a day per bird, but the colors will range from a pastel blue, to a light green, to a pinkish shade of tan. Eggs nearly too pretty to eat! Great birds, easy to raise, easy to keep, but never had one that was interested in sitting on an egg. Have also done Rhode Island Reds and Black Australorps. Both were good layers and good looking birds that kept easily. Never had either of those tend to go broody either. For a while I had a couple of Polish Crested, which gave us an egg 4+ days out of 7 or so per bird, but they were bantam size eggs. Or as my grandpa used to say: "They taste just fine, but it sure does take a lot of them to make a dozen!" But those birds I had to keep locked away from the others, as they got picked on by the others because of their fancy poofy crests.

Speaking of taste, I never knew one egg to taste all that different from the next, no matter what the size was, or the color of the shell, assuming you are talking about chicken eggs. The duck eggs I've had were pretty durn rich, and the emu eggs I've eaten have been off the charts for "richness." Think scrambled eggs cooked in copious amounts of Karo Syrup to begin to understand....

Uggg, ahem, uhhh, sorry for that, I digress! Knowing you to be the next best thing to a "cat lady," I think that you'd really enjoy collecting cackleberries fresh from your very own birds. (Those pesky cats can get out of hand in a hurry!)  Chickens are tons of fun, a great source of eggs, and an opportunity to make friends with the excess eggs, which you will inevitably have. I wholeheartedly recommend you jump in! I can also say that I have always had excellent luck with Murray McMurray when ordering chicks, or the local tractor supply generally will have a good looking supply of chicks in the spring or sometimes fall.

Keep us posted!!!
Link Posted: 6/20/2021 10:36:13 AM EDT
Just getting into it.... coop and run just arrived.  We have 8 chickens inbound once I set it up.
Link Posted: 6/20/2021 1:05:28 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 0627Devildog:
Just getting into it.... coop and run just arrived.  We have 8 chickens inbound once I set it up.
View Quote

Does that coop have two doors?  
Link Posted: 6/20/2021 3:39:07 PM EDT
Not sure letting them forage in the yard will work since only part of it is fenced and there's nothing to keep them from roaming.  Plus we have outdoor cats so I'm not sure who would win that fight.  Maybe one of those mobile pens that are fully enclosed but can be moved easily?
Link Posted: 6/20/2021 4:01:59 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 0627Devildog:
Just getting into it.... coop and run just arrived.  We have 8 chickens inbound once I set it up.
View Quote


Would you mind posting some pictures of your coop and run?  I need to learn as much as possible before we decide one way or the other.
Link Posted: 6/21/2021 8:51:40 AM EDT
A related tip McMurray was mentioned above they are great to deal with and you can mail order chickens. I have a friend who has used them.
Link Posted: 6/21/2021 4:06:45 PM EDT
Mail order chickens? How does that work?  

I got an ant farm for Christmas one year as a kid and you had to send away for the ants.  I'm pretty sure they didn't mail me a tube full of dead ants on purpose but that's how they arrived.  My attemps to catch ants and their queen were unsuccessful.  That ant farm never came to be. I still feel disappointed to this day lol.

I kinda really want to try the ant farm thing again. How dumb is that?
Link Posted: 6/21/2021 4:43:31 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brandi:
Mail order chickens? How does that work?  

I got an ant farm for Christmas one year as a kid and you had to send away for the ants.  I'm pretty sure they didn't mail me a tube full of dead ants on purpose but that's how they arrived.  My attemps to catch ants and their queen were unsuccessful.  That ant farm never came to be. I still feel disappointed to this day lol.

I kinda really want to try the ant farm thing again. How dumb is that?
View Quote

You pick the breeds you want, and the hatchery has a minimum order you need to make to ensure that they stay warm enough during shipping. Then they ship them 2 day air and you pick them up at the post office.
Link Posted: 6/21/2021 5:42:08 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brandi:
Not sure letting them forage in the yard will work since only part of it is fenced and there's nothing to keep them from roaming.  Plus we have outdoor cats so I'm not sure who would win that fight.  Maybe one of those mobile pens that are fully enclosed but can be moved easily?
View Quote


moveable electric netting.
Link Posted: 6/21/2021 6:39:59 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Naamah:

You pick the breeds you want, and the hatchery has a minimum order you need to make to ensure that they stay warm enough during shipping. Then they ship them 2 day air and you pick them up at the post office.
View Quote


Very interesting...thanks.
Link Posted: 6/21/2021 10:53:13 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brandi:


Would you mind posting some pictures of your coop and run?  I need to learn as much as possible before we decide one way or the other.
View Quote


Not at all.....once I set it up this weekend.

In the meantime here is the link to what I bought:

https://overezchickencoop.com/products/large-overez-chicken-coop

https://overezchickencoop.com/collections/all/products/rugged-ranch-chicken-run-7x8x4
Link Posted: 6/22/2021 2:24:32 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 0627Devildog:


Not at all.....once I set it up this weekend.

In the meantime here is the link to what I bought:

https://overezchickencoop.com/products/large-overez-chicken-coop

https://overezchickencoop.com/collections/all/products/rugged-ranch-chicken-run-7x8x4
View Quote


Much thanks.  

That's like a high end chicken condominium.  Probably has a chicken HOA lol.  That's way out of our budget so we'll probably build ours.  It won't look that nice if we do it though.
Link Posted: 6/22/2021 7:56:21 AM EDT
We live in town and have 4 chickens.  

We had 2 killed by a racoon that I had to dispose of.  

We currently have 2 Rhode Island Reds that are very productive layers except for when they get broody.

We have a Bardrock who is our oldest Hen and she is very sweet and decent layer.  

We have an Australorp who is very loud and broody.  Supposed to be a wonderful layer, but this one has been sporadic.

The first one killed by the racoon was a bantam leghorn(best description of her but may have been a different white breed) who laid beautiful blue eggs.  White birds are by far the meanest which is why she got killed inside the hen house trying to fight off the racoon.  I was told by an old fellow at the feed store they are the best for keeping free range as they are fast enough and mean enough to deter predators.

We have serious hawk and eagle issues in our area.  We were at a kids birthday party where they let their chickens out to play with the kids when we heard a scream and saw a hawk take off with a full grown chicken.  It got about 25' off the ground and dropped the chicken.  Since then we have kept the chickens in a 10x10 dog kennel with roof.  They rome the back yard every evening when we get home.


Link Posted: 6/22/2021 1:51:54 PM EDT
That was the other thing I was concerned about, raptors.  We have a few that frequent the vicinity.  Normally I love watching them but it does seem like it might be a problem with chickens.

Link Posted: 6/22/2021 2:45:00 PM EDT
Range Rooster welcomes Spring
Link Posted: 6/22/2021 3:54:43 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brandi:
That was the other thing I was concerned about, raptors.  We have a few that frequent the vicinity.  Normally I love watching them but it does seem like it might be a problem with chickens.

View Quote

I don’t know if you are allowed to keep roosters, but I know ours earn their keep fending off hawks. I have seen our Mille Fleur beat the snot out of a hawk while the other roosters herded the hens up under cars and overhangs. He’s a pain in the ass, but he’s earned his retirement.
Link Posted: 6/22/2021 5:04:17 PM EDT
I've always had good luck with RhodeIslandReds...not the most prolific layers, but they are hardy.
For 6 hens, one of the pre-built coop thingies would be fine. We have about 50 now, so our setup is a bit more extensive.
Avoid anything that lays pretty easter egg looking colors or the much vaunted Leg Horns. Demon chickens that will drive you insane. Never could keep mine in until I went full retard.

Link Posted: 6/22/2021 5:05:07 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Naamah:

I don't know if you are allowed to keep roosters, but I know ours earn their keep fending off hawks. I have seen our Mille Fleur beat the snot out of a hawk while the other roosters herded the hens up under cars and overhangs. He's a pain in the ass, but he's earned his retirement.
View Quote
much truth!

Link Posted: 6/23/2021 4:56:18 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Naamah:

I don’t know if you are allowed to keep roosters, but I know ours earn their keep fending off hawks. I have seen our Mille Fleur beat the snot out of a hawk while the other roosters herded the hens up under cars and overhangs. He’s a pain in the ass, but he’s earned his retirement.
View Quote


Roosters are mean motor scooters but according to what I've read, they aren't allowed for where we are.
Link Posted: 6/24/2021 5:01:24 PM EDT
When you consider the costs involved (chicken feed, housing, veterinary costs, etc), how well do you come out financially?  

In our case, should we choose to accept this mission, we would be building our own coop and pen instead of buying them so that saves a little.  How long before you start to break even?  Do you ever really come out ahead?  We generally only eat around 2 dozen eggs a month when buying them from the store.  If we had our own supply I can see that amount increasing but it's just the two of us so not by a huge amount.
Link Posted: 6/24/2021 5:08:35 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brandi:
When you consider the costs involved (chicken feed, housing, veterinary costs, etc), how well do you come out financially?  

In our case, should we choose to accept this mission, we would be building our own coop and pen instead of buying them so that saves a little.  How long before you start to break even?  Do you ever really come out ahead?  We generally only eat around 2 dozen eggs a month when buying them from the store.  If we had our own supply I can see that amount increasing but it's just the two of us so not by a huge amount.
View Quote

It really depends on how much you’re paying for your eggs, how much you eat, and whether you factor in quality into cost. If you’re buying eggs for $1/dozen, you’ll never recoup the cost. If you’re buying the expensive organic/free range/colorful eggs for $10/dozen, you’ll eventually come out ahead. But you simply will not get the quality from store bought that you will get from your own birds. They are richer and have so much more flavor when homeraised.
Link Posted: 6/25/2021 1:38:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2021 1:56:28 AM EDT by Emu]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Naamah:

It really depends on how much you’re paying for your eggs, how much you eat, and whether you factor in quality into cost. If you’re buying eggs for $1/dozen, you’ll never recoup the cost. If you’re buying the expensive organic/free range/colorful eggs for $10/dozen, you’ll eventually come out ahead. But you simply will not get the quality from store bought that you will get from your own birds. They are richer and have so much more flavor when homeraised.
View Quote

+1,000,000

You'll never come out ahead if all you want is a few dozen eggs each month. But if you desire to have feathered friends that can be incredibly entertaining, exasperating, endearing, and un-economical, chickens will be right up your alley. Just like cats, they will each develop their own personalities. Just like cats, they'll be your best friend, and/or your worst nightmare. And just like cats, they'll cost you much more than they'll ever save you. But after having cats, can you ever imagine NOT having cats?!?  

Chickens are kind of like that....    

And you get "FREE" eggs to boot!  

Edit to add: forgot to mention that if you can arrange for some free range time, chickens will do an incredible job of getting rid of your ticks and other creepy crawlies from your yard. I suspect that any outdoor kitties that you have will appreciate their voracious appetites. I know I always welcome my neighbor's chickens when they come to visit/forage over here!
Link Posted: 6/25/2021 4:17:24 PM EDT
Hmmm....you both make a good argument in the "pro chicken" category.  

If the chickens do go free range and get onto other people's property do you think it would cause problems?  As mentioned, they do help control the bugs and nobody likes bugs.  

If they do wander off property do they always come back to their henhouse in the evening?
Link Posted: 6/25/2021 4:30:53 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Brandi:
Hmmm....you both make a good argument in the "pro chicken" category.  

If the chickens do go free range and get onto other people's property do you think it would cause problems?  As mentioned, they do help control the bugs and nobody likes bugs.  

If they do wander off property do they always come back to their henhouse in the evening?
View Quote

Depends on the chickens, really. We have some that faithfully return to their henhouse and some that prefer to roost in some of our trees.
Link Posted: 6/25/2021 11:46:03 PM EDT
Like most all critters, they need to be trained in how they are expected to act. When you first get them make sure that they know "home" is in the chicken coop. They'll need to be in there for several weeks to learn where home is. It's also a good idea to feed in the evenings before roosting time to give them a good reason to come home to roost. When you start to let them out, be sure to sprinkle some feed on the ground to give them a reason to stay in your yard. They ought to be thrilled to scratch around for that grain.

It's also not a bad idea to have a few logs/rocks/boards/tarp/etc. Laying around the back yard so you can turn them over and let the chickens feast on the exposed bugs/worms/grubs. Once they figure out what you're doing, you'll have a lot of happy chickens following you around your backyard. Turn them out late in the afternoon with stuff to keep them busy, and always give them a good reason to return to the coop as the sun begins to fade. Treats or feed work best, just like any other critter. And as stated above, some will just be plain stubborn and will prefer to roost in the trees. The heavier breeds tend to be less likely to fly up, but I once had a MASSIVE Rhode Island Red rooster who preferred to sleep in the trees. I'm pretty sure that a possum got him. You will likely learn to hate possums if you get chickens!

As for your neighbors, you'll just have to ask them. However, if your birds start laying before you start training them to forage, taking free eggs to the neighbors will probably make them more inclined to smile than call animal control when they see your flock traipsing thru their backyard. You'll also need to check the codes to see if they'll even allow you to let your birds out. If not, they're still awfully fun to mess with, even if you have to keep them all cooped up.

Just a few random thoughts.
Link Posted: 7/2/2021 10:58:38 PM EDT
I keep mine in their coops unless I’m out in the yard to watch them now, I’ve had too many good laying hens picked off by hawks and who knows what else while left out all day. I tried the rooster thing for a year, but honestly got too sick of listening to him, he kept waking up the baby and would act aggressive with the other kids so I did away with him.

I keep around 15 laying chickens, and just did my first round of 15 meat birds, I got 10 of them in the freezer this week, have 5 more to do tomorrow.

Link Posted: 7/3/2021 12:04:57 PM EDT
I think we've decided to wait till next year before deciding.  With all the repairs needed on our new house and barn plus one of the cats having surgery there's not a lot of extra funds to invest in chickens this year.  At least now I know a whole lot more about the subject than I did, so thank you all.  I'll have to refer to this thread again next year.

Good news is the kitty seems to be doing better.  They removed a large stone out of her bladder.
Link Posted: 7/12/2021 6:56:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/12/2021 6:59:05 PM EDT by M-1975]
Chickens don't have to be expensive. I got 5 chickens of various breeds from a local feed store that were past the mortality age. I got a coop from Tractor Supply and a 10x12 dog run that I zip-tied a tarp over with some PVC supports, then ran hardware cloth around the bottom with 1/2 size cinderblocks to prevent anything digging under. If I were to do it again I'd use scrap wood for the coop and a used run off of FB.

I live in a county that doesn't allow roosters, so I had to build a fortress because we have foxes, feral cats, hawks, falcons, and at least one juvenile eagle that has nabbed squirrels and bunnies out of my yard and tried to get one of my girls last year. YMMV.

PS: roosters are jerks but they serve a purpose and are not pets. Their sole purpose is to protect the hens and make more chickens.
An error occurred on the server when processing the URL. Please contact the system administrator.

If you are the system administrator please click here to find out more about this error.