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We're in the Chicken Business Now!

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  • #21
    Beautiful set up--now that is what I call "free range"

    I can't wait to get my own chickens--I really want Sumatras, and this year at my county fair they actually had some!! Very docile and calm, the rooster didn't make a peep, and showing is high stress (a lot of smaller roosters and such were very tense) I would never butcher because I don't like meat that well and I really commend you for doing so! And I agree with other posters-if you lived around me, I would buy!
    I LOVE my Chickens!


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by Tom King View Post
      Just a note on the possibility of going into the cattle business. It's hard to make money raising cows if you have to buy hay to feed through the winter.
      I have also been thinking along those lines as much as I want Highlands...raising my own right now may not make much sense as I do generally have to feed hay in winter. I can overseed with rye but it's usually not enough to keep the horses going on grass over winter.

      Perhaps just buying some feeder steers in the Spring and finishing them by the Fall on grass makes the most sense for our smaller farm.

      Thanks for the advice Tom. Know anyone in our area that sells feeder steers in the Spring?


      • #23
        Not sure my experience is what counts as I've only had these 6 for a couple weeks. We put their food and water in their place in the barn and lock them in for the night. During the day they have free range of the 2.4 acre pasture and the run in of the barn, plus their room. We would prefer they stay int eh pasture but the little buggers have figured out how to get out -- first by getting UNDER the gate and yesterday by simply walking between the hotwire strands. Silly chickens! But really they haven't roamed very far at all... sticking to the general vicinity of the barn.

        I read on another forum that if you lock them up for a couple days should they roam that their brains will "reset" and stick closer.
        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by skip916 View Post
          do yours tend to stay around? once they are big enough to range i am a little concerned about them wandering off the property- anyone have ideas about how to teach them where home is?
          Yes, they generally won't range that far from their coop/shelter once they learn that is "home" and a roosting area. I use electric poultry netting to hold mine in a certain area and to protect them from predators.

          Good luck with your chickens!


          • #25
            My girls are just over 1yo - hatched last March, I got them as 9wk pullets.
            I mostly kept them penned with a nice fenced yard until recently.

            I'd let them out when I got home from work and on weekends for some supervised "freeranging".
            Just this month I let them truly freerange.
            They go out at 6A when I feed and put themselves to bed as soon as it starts getting dark.
            I leave the coop door open so they have access to that & their attached yard but mostly they stick around the house/lawn areas of my 5ac farmette.
            I live at an intersection and so far they don't seem to wander into the roads.

            They have yet to make it into the pastures (where I would like them to go), but have managed to discover my veggie garden and lay waste.
            Next year veggies will be fenced and hopefully they will discover the bug buffet in the pasture poop piles.
            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


            • #26
              Not to derail this wonderful thread but anyone have any experience getting dogs used to chickens (read: NOT chase them)? I've noticed especially with the Newf (3 years old now), if it runs, he's game for a short chase. I don't want this with the chickens but woudl like to turn both him and the cattle dog out in the pasture (our only real fenced area).

              I also have a question about rats, but will start a new thread.
              "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

              "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


              • #27
                my dog could not resist chicks but leaves grown chickens alone

                with Beavis, dog figured out that Beavis is MINE so he protects him

                and when B would get a little testosterone poisoning and decide to attack the dog, dog just grabbed him, put a foot on him and held him down for a bit -- then they'd both walk away
                Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                • Original Poster

                  The electric netting and a bad experience with it has convinced my JRT's that chickens are to be feared and kept at a safe distance. I'm not sure what would happen without the netting but I will probably find out at some point. JRTs have a high prey drive but they are earth hunting dogs so I may be OK. The chickens have no fear of them and I think that is actually in the favor of the chicken...if it does not run a dog sometimes is much less likely to chase it.

                  The other day the neighbors dogs were over here standing by the electric fence and watching my chickens also. My husband ran them off but they did not apparently try the fence. I shudder to think what damage they could do in a few minutes.


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                    The chickens have no fear of them and I think that is actually in the favor of the chicken...if it does not run a dog sometimes is much less likely to chase it.

                    When my hens were still quite young a friend came to visit with her JRT.
                    We were standing on my back porch and dog, spying the girls roaming in the yard, started to bark at them.

                    Far from being frightened, one of them started up the stairs towards the dog, plainly saying in chickenspeak:
                    "You want a piece of this?!!?"
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                    • #30
                      I have been raising chickens for about a year, but mainly for eggs. I have one customer who buys every egg my chickens lay because I feed soy-free, and we eat the duck eggs (when they are laying, darned things stopped laying a month ago). We were getting into cornish and turkeys, but got a bird with fowl pox that killed all my young chicks and poults.

                      I found that with my cornish (from Cackle), they did go out and graze quite a lot. I was able to leave them with my mix of feed all day, and they would go find bugs and such with the big chickens. That's what got the last couple killed, but they at least lived a nice happy life. I loved those little guys.

                      But just a word of advice, vaccinate against fowl pox. We lost over $100 worth of chickens to it. The vaccine is $6 for 1000 doses. It's very contagious, spread by mosquitos even from wild birds. Once my young ones get a bit older, I am going to order the vaccine for them. It's just not worth the risk. And once you have it, it can hang around for a very long time because some of the birds will shed the virus without symptoms.