(L) Backyard Chickens

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(L) Backyard Chickens

Assuming your HOA will let you HAVE a backyard chicken, here's where you can learn what to do with it.

Members: 456
Latest Activity: Feb 22

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Egg Eater

Started by Jodie Westwood. Last reply by SusanLea2 Aug 10, 2013. 3 Replies

One of my hens has developed the nasty habit of eating eggs.  At first I thought it was just eating her own - now it has moved to others.  How can you catch that bad bird?  They are gathered promptly…Continue

Take your best guess on attacker

Started by Jodie Westwood. Last reply by SusanLea2 Jul 26, 2013. 5 Replies

We've had a guinea on the nest for close to a month and today she is gone.  Hubby said he heard a bird shriek at 4:30 am.  She was in a fenced but not covered area - setting on 7 eggs.  Bird feathers…Continue

Hens stopped laying.

Started by Chris Jackson. Last reply by Ellen Peavey Jul 24, 2013. 7 Replies

After we had down pouring rain for 2 weeks straight my hens will not lay eggs. I dont think something is getting the eggs. Any suggestions?Continue

Help! Why did our Great Pyr kill our guinea fowl?

Started by SusanLea2. Last reply by SusanLea2 Jul 23, 2013. 6 Replies

We got Misty as a puppy and trained her to guard our chickens and ducks.  She has always been fine with them, even when we moved them to a pasture to free range.We recently brooded 2 turkeys and 5…Continue

Comment Wall

Comment by Amber Williams on December 4, 2011 at 8:48am

Hi ~ I am looking forward to learning much from all of those who have gone before me!  My husband and I are very interested in raising our own chickens for the purpose of egg eating.  We have 5 acres of land which includes our home and some woods.  Is this enough to raise hens on?

Comment by Amber Williams on December 4, 2011 at 9:45pm

Thank you Sarra for your thoughts.  Do you know how many hens one might need to feed (with eggs) a family of 11?

Comment by Catherine Kauffman on December 5, 2011 at 5:59am

Hi Amber, the answer, of course, depends on how often y'all eat eggs and how many eggs per person at each sitting, how much sweet baking you do, and how many egg based dishes you normally prepare. A healthy hen, once she reaches the point she is laying regularly, will lay one egg a day. When they are younger, the eggs are smaller and sometimes production is irregular. When she gets older (roughly age 2), her production will begin to decline and you may get one egg every two or three days. This is when they are good for stewing. When broody (and if you want more chickens to follow... you will need one good rooster and at least one or two hens to go broody), you won't be getting any eggs from her (and possibly other chickens who laid in her nest) at all for about a month. When the hens are molting and growing new feathers (late fall and early winter here), I don't expect to get many eggs out of them.

So the short answer is a minimum of 11 hens if you eat eggs every day and everyone only eats one.

My family of five (when my boys lived here), did not eat eggs daily, but I did bake quite a bit and we had quiche from time to time. Six hens was plenty for us. When the flock grew to 12, I was able to sell a few dozen a week to others which helped pay for their scratch feed.

Also keep in mind, that you will need to have a coop large enough to hold them at night with nesting boxes for laying or you will be hunting eggs all over your five acres.  Also remember, someone will need to clean that coop from time to time.

Comment by Amber Williams on December 5, 2011 at 12:03pm

Thank you everyone for the good advice.

Comment by Homesteaders in Training on December 12, 2011 at 1:10pm

How quickly will 7-10 chickens destory the grass in an area (about .5 acres). Would I save the area if I rotated them between 2 coops...each week? Or would I just end up with 2 dirt piles. I like the idea of the chickens in our orchard area but don't want to end up looking at dirt. Any suggestions. Please and Thank you!

Comment by Chet on December 12, 2011 at 3:06pm

We just started raising chickens and have 7 chickens in a grassed area approximately 40 foot by 40 foot square, surrounded by a flexible poultry net. We have a coop in there and move that around every few days. The coop doesn't have a bottom, so the droppings end up on the ground. The coop is more like a chicken tractor with a roosting area and provides protection at night. After moving the coop, I rake the manure to break it up and help it to decompose faster.

I move the netting after a month or so to a new patch of grass. So far the grass has held up pretty good. There are small areas where they have dug up a hole for a dust bath, but other than that the grass is doing quite well. 

Moving the entire netting area every so often is important to let the area rest and restore, and allow the manure to decompose and fertilize the soil.

I would think a half acre of land would be plenty to raise 7-10 chickens without killing the grass, but would welcome others with more experience to comment also.

Comment by Homesteaders in Training on December 12, 2011 at 3:27pm

Thanks Chet. I like the idea of a coop without a bottom! How do you move it around?

Comment by Chet on December 12, 2011 at 11:00pm

I have a loop of rope tied to the base on each end that I can use to drag it around. It's not too big -- 4ft by 8ft by 2ft high sides, with an A-frame roof  on top where the chickens roost. The sides are just 2x2 framed with poultry wire covering the sides. It's small, but seems to work for them.

Comment by Jenn on December 14, 2011 at 8:27pm

Anyone interested in doing some egg swaps in the spring? We have Black Copper Marans currently laying and will have Frizzle and Silkies - they just hatched so it will be awhile ;)

Comment by Homesteaders in Training on December 15, 2011 at 2:28pm

Why do you need to use poultry fencing? Is it alright if you have the fencing with small squares (5" x 5")?

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