Feasability of raising chickens

Discussion in 'Livestock' started by Jack Aubrey, May 24, 2009.

  1. Jack Aubrey

    Jack Aubrey Well-Known Member

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    Hello all.I have three wooded acres on which I live.We are putting in a garden and I would like to build a chicken coop and raise meat chickens.We have all the predators such as racoons,opossums ,hawks,owls and snakes...nothing a shotgun can't fix.What I'm being told by family members is the feed will cause it to be about $10.00 per chicken in the fryer.Is this so?I have read about "free ranging/grass fed" chickens but they need to have feed to supplement their diet.My main concern is feeding the family in a 1930's style depression scenario.The house and land are owned outright and we have a well.I want to limit my family's dependence on "store bought" foods.But if it is so outrageously expensive to raise the little buggers why start? What is the word? Best regards,JA
     
  2. Jack Aubrey

    Jack Aubrey Well-Known Member

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    sorry this was a double post
     

  3. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

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    chickens

    My free range hens consume a lot less feed. I don't raise meat chickens so I can't follow up more with that.

    For feed, I supplemeted them over the winter with cull apples from my storage. They loved them. In spring with the grass and new pickings, they selectively ignore storage apples. The birds are smart.

    Grass clippings, garden trimmings, movie theater popcorn, there are lots of sources of additional free food that can store a little while.

    Golf balls or smaller fake eggs put the kabosh on snakes. Works charmingly well.

    Don't even suggest to shoot a hawk. Federaly a legal no-no. Big trouble. I had a hawk problem. My set up is not condusive to netting or overhead wire. My dog is a chicken herself.

    I put up a 2 ft plastic owl. I was told it would not work, that hawks do not fear owls and are not predators of Hawks.

    It keeps the smaller birds away and it seems to work with hawks. With the owl on a 6 ft fence post overseeing the chicken yard, the hawk has not returned (competition or jealosy?). I do move the owl around a bit, randomly.

    Putting a live trap out (away from the pen) with an egg inside will catch coons, cats and snakes. I found eggs better bait than cat food or chicken parts.

    Just a few thoughts to share. I've had my hens 15 months. Others will follow up with better ideas.
     
  4. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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  5. JCfans

    JCfans Member

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    It depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to raise the big meaty birds you get in the grocery store you just can't raise them as cheap as you can buy them. They will taste better than the grocery store variety. When we raise our cornish x birds we usualy have about 5 dollars worth of food in the bird. You can buy the birds on sale in the store for around $3. It is worth it to us to know what they were fed and that they lived good. You can't really free range the cornish x birds because they grow to fast and just want to lay around and eat at the feeders. You can go with color range broilers though. They will free range well and grow to be nice fat birds but will take quite a few more weeks to get to slaughter weight. Keep in mind with both of these types of birds you won't be able to breed them and get the type of bird you originally had because they are special hybrids. If you want to raise a dual purpose heritage type breed you can breed your own and free range them. You can raise them really cheap like that but they will be tougher, much smaller, and take many months to get them to slaughter weight. On the up side though most people think they taste allot better.


    You can find everything you ever wanted to know about raising chickens at
    backyardchickens.com
     
  6. Herbalpagan

    Herbalpagan Well-Known Member

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    I did meat chickens for years. Free range, or penned and feed scraps, or put in a chicken tractor, and it will cost less. Yes, your chickens will cost about $1 (maybe a hair more) per pound, but this should include buying the chicks, feeding them for 10 weeks and butchering. My chickens were about 8 pound average and all white meat and easily fed 5 per half chicken. I would do it again if I could find a butcher guy who'd come to me. We kept them penned because of predators.
    Laying hens are different and though they will cost you the same, they keep giving you eggs. PLUS, if you pick the right kind, you can get ones that give good meat also. All chicken feed can be supplimented with scraps which will help with the cost. No animal is cheap, but a half dozen to dozen egg layers are a good investment.
    My problem is getting the pen made cheaply.
     
  7. Jack Aubrey

    Jack Aubrey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for the replies,very helpful indeed!I suppose I mis spoke.It was not my intention to shot the hawks,personally,I like them.We have two different species of owl here as well.Actually,I would think keeping the chickens penned with some type of overhead netting or chicken wire would suffice .Again,Thanks for the input.Best regards,JA
     
  8. QuiltedWorm

    QuiltedWorm Member

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    We too have a lot of predators in this area but when we put in the coop we attached the yard to it. Chicken wire over the top keeps the hawks out and we buried the fencing about 4 feet down to keep out any diggers (raccoons, etc). No signs of snakes at all. About 10 weeks now and not a single problem.
     
  9. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    Excellent feedback SurvivalNut. Clever idea on baiting animals with live eggs in a separate house.
     
  10. Riverdale

    Riverdale Well-Known Member

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    Use marshmellows to bait raccoons into live traps- they LOVE them, and it's the only thing you'll catch.
     
  11. Von Helman

    Von Helman A very simple man

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    Our chickens free range in a sense, and they require very little to keep them happy. As others mentioned any grass clippings, food from the house, corn and even rice work very well.

    After we finish cleaning he table off we sometimes throw certain foods to the chickens and they eat it up like a garbage disposal. Some of the things they really enjoy are shredded cheese (even if it’s a little hard), bananas, and other such stuff. You will be surprised and just how little maintenance chickens are and what they will peck at.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2009
  12. allen_idaho

    allen_idaho Well-Known Member

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    I used to raise chickens several years ago. They were kept in a square pen made of chicken wire with a wire roof. I used an old shed to make them a coup.

    The only problem was the raccoons. The pen worked great at keeping them out, but they decided the best course of action would be to pull the chickens heads through the fence and bite it off, leaving a headless corpse for me in the morning.

    To circumvent this, I would suggest adding a second layer of fence. Leave a dead zone of about a foot between the main fence and the secondary fence. That way, the little buggers can't reach. You might also consider putting some rock salt down between the fences to keep large weeds from cropping up in there.
     
  13. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    That's a great idea! I never even thought of that. :2thumb:
     
  14. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    I had the same issue. It took live traps and late nights with the .22. I baited the traps with Peanut butter and Aluminum Foil, and sat them a few yards in front of the coop. It took the better part of two weeks to convince the stupid raccoons to take the bait but they did. If you keep the foil in sheet form they seem to prefer it. Then one night I heard all the chickens squawking ran out there just in time to see one running of with a piece of a chicken. I took care of him with the .22. I never had a problem after that.
     
  15. SnakeDoc

    SnakeDoc Well-Known Member

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    I raise a mixed flock. I hatch out eggs each spring and the roos get eaten and the pullets produce eggs for a year or two until their egg production slows. Once they slow they get eaten as well.

    I sell my eggs for 1.50 per dozen. Currently I have 28 hens and get about 24 eggs per day. The egg sales, plus knowing farmers that let me salvage spilled grain, left overs and garden waste cover the costs of the flock.

    I fear a 1930's style scenario as well. Having meat and eggs for sale or barter gives me a sense of sense of peace. I can increase the flock size and plow my entire yard if need be and can feed the Mrs and myself.
     
  16. SnakeDoc

    SnakeDoc Well-Known Member

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    Most will find Chickens very easy to raise. If you are in town and worry about noise rabbits can be a good source of meat that is easy to raise.
     
  17. SnakeDoc

    SnakeDoc Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Not a great pic of my set up. But you will find a chicken flock requires only 10-15 minutes of work per day. It is an easy and fun hobby that can produce protien and a barter item for SHTF time.
     
  18. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    I just like the Idea of having aces to protein. Eggs can be prepared in so many different ways in survival situations that it doesn't make any sense not to have them.
     
  19. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

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    This time of year I have a small fluorescent lamp on a timer, set to extend the daylight hours in the roost to encourage the hens to keep laying. The 4" white pipe inside the garden shed is the feeder, I can fill this up without going into the chicken coop, and will last up to a week if we are gone. There are some photos of my greenhouse, not much but it works great, have a dark gray colored 55gal drum inside filled with water, the sun hits this during the day and warms it up and distributes the heat at night. Also have a water wall on the south side, 2 gal containers filled with water that the sun heats. Have shade cloth up on the coop to discourage the small song birds from eating the feed and possibly spreading diseases.
     

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  20. SnakeDoc

    SnakeDoc Well-Known Member

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    Cool setup, Bob, mine is more sturdy due to the snow loads. But figure each layer wants about 4 sq feet of space (YMMV). Sufficient feed and water and a dry, draft free environment is all they need.

    The birds that I get are dual purpose birds that are excellent for eating after their laying days are over. I also plan on brooding an extra 24 meat birds this coming year.