Keeping chickens

Discussion in 'Animal Husbandry' started by Tessa, May 19, 2016.

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  1. Tessa

    Tessa Member
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    Chickens are really one of the easiest and most inexpensive animals to raise for food. The initial investment is pretty low, feeding and maintaining them doesn't cost much, and they provide meat and eggs so the payoff is pretty high. If you add in the benefit of having composted chicken manure to use as fertilizer, you really can't lose in my opinion.

    Personally, I'd skip the broiler breeds sold by a lot of hatcheries for quick meat production and go with an old heritage breed. Look for term like "dual-purpose" to find breeds that are good for meat and egg production. I really like wyandottes and keep the silver-laced variety. They're big, healthy birds and lay extra large eggs. They're hardy and essy to find, too.
     
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  2. Correy

    Correy Expert Member
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    Another very nice farm animal, if you don't mind pens, are large breeds of bunnies. Sure they're cuter than chicken which makes them that much harder to slaughter, but they breed like, well... rabbits. A pair of bunnies can multiply their number almost every month, and the female is able to be pregnant and breastfeed the previous batch of pups at the same time. But one should be careful in separating the males from the females that gave birth, because males might attack the pups.

    They can also prove very managable in feeding as long as you have grasslands nearby. Some amateur pen keepers keep them or place them in wire cages, where the bottom is only loosely woven wire. So when they move them on top of a grassy spot, the grass passes through the holes and the bunnies forage from that. When the grass is eaten, you move them to the next spot...it's also a great makeshift loanmower for your yard.
     
  3. Tessa

    Tessa Member
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    Moving the pens like that sounds a lot like a chicken tractor, it's the same idea. You get to move it around so that they always have grass to forage and it lets the previously-eaten grass grow back. I didn't know it was done with reabbits too, definitely good to know. Thanks!
     
  4. John Snort

    John Snort Well-Known Member
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    Integrated chicken and fish farming would even be better.

    You won't need to buy fish food because all the food spilled by the chickens can be eaten by fish and you won't by fertilizer for your pond because chicken manure could fertilize the pond [to encourage plankton growth].

    A small farm could provide you with more food than you'll need.
     
  5. acheno84

    acheno84 Member
      18/23

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    My father-in-law has a few chickens and he LOVES having them around. Not only do they give him eggs daily, he uses their manure for his garden, which has doubled in growth in comparison to mine. He got his from a feed store and doesn't have any plans on eating them, but he loves his girls and loves their eggs.
     
  6. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    Would you believe that some of the folks in the rural areas rarely feed their chickens? Especially when there is a big expanse of land that is grassy or a field with crops, chicken are natural scavengers and they search for food on their own. Loose chicken are fatter and has more flesh than chickens that are fed inside the coop. So that means the loose chickens get more protein from the worms that they get.

    When we moved to this house which is inside a village that has a rural color with the vacant lots and trees around, we had planned on having chickens in the yard. It would be wonderful to have something that can provide you a meal which does not need much attention. However, we have a car and the chickens might sratch the paint. Second concern is our dogs. What if our dogs wouldn't be friends with the chickens? And third, there are chickens in the neighborhood so it's not a good idea. Until now there are loose chickens and ducks here.
     
  7. iseeyou

    iseeyou Member
      18/23

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    Chickens i believe don't need a lot of work to keep around for food. They are pretty harmless and doesn't leave that much mess so they are one of the safest bet to raise for food. They also like to hunt their own food especially if they are free to roam around your land.
     
  8. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Chicken, ducks, and goose can pretty much take care of themselves and don't need much feeding unless they are in a enclosure where they won't be able to search for food. My uncle use to have all 3 of them on his land and he just let them roam around on the property. He did give them some feeds every now and then but for the most part they just ate what was on the ground. You know what, I never saw a cockroach or centipede at his house.

    But chickens, if you have the right breed can be a excellent source of fresh eggs. The right species can produce an egg a day on average and that will give you more then enough for your family. If you had 20 of them around the property, That easily 20 eggs a day as some chickens lay more then that.
     
  9. SirJoe

    SirJoe Expert Member
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    Chickens don't give a lot of work but be careful with the amount of egg layers you have. They will lay eggs everyday with out fail, fortunately it's not all year round but you might find yourself having a problem getting rid of them. I had 7 egg layers at the one time, its easy to do the maths 7 x 7 = 49 eggs in a week. If you could sell them in a farmers market it's a great way of making some extra revenue. unfortunately I couldn't sell them at the time.
     
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  10. Deeishere

    Deeishere Member
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    We have about 7 chickens. We just lost three within the last week. Some critter that we are not sure must of bit the head of 2 of the chickens when they had it out to eat grass. My husband did catch a possum in a trap but we are not sure was it that animal that did the killing. It is wonderful to have fresh eggs every day. We were getting up to 9 eggs a day! Great for selling too but we have been just giving them away to other family members.
     
  11. Vinaya

    Vinaya Expert Member
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    I have raised chicken for food in the past and currently I am again toying with this idea, to build a chicken coop for 500 chicken. In the past the maximum chicken I have raised was 20 and now I am thinking to take this to a higher level. I want to raise chicken not just for food for me and my family, but also sell some and make money. Since I have already raised chicken, this is not a difficult task to me.
     
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  12. joshposh

    joshposh Expert Member
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    Raising chickens can be a lucrative business. 500 hens will give you a lot of eggs to eat and sell on a daily basis. That's if those chickens lay a lot of eggs. Some breeds are known to lay 1 egg a day on average. With the right set up and food supply, you could be on your way to sustainability.

    Locally a tray of 30 eggs here is about $4 usd. If you are successful, then you are looking, on the lower side of making at least $40 usd a day. That's more then enough for daily feed. Just keep on producing more hens, double those overall numbers and you should be on your way.
     
  13. Deeishere

    Deeishere Member
      18/23

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    @Vinaya, Let us know how you do. 500 chickens? Wow, that seems like a lot but I can imagine you can make a nice amount of money with that many and you will be set for a minute with chicken meat. I would see your chicken coop once you get started. We are seriously thinking about getting some type of electrical wiring to make sure we have no more problems with predators. It's really frustrating to work so hard to raise chickens only for the critters to think your place is Critter's Cafeteria.
     
  14. Tom Williams

    Tom Williams Moderator Staff Member
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    Two types of chickens layers for eggs and chickens for meat raise both
     
  15. HappyJackSlade

    HappyJackSlade Well-Known Member
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    Great post. Thanks for sharing
     
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