Games Anyone keep chickens?

Scouse

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Thinking of getting four or five chickens. I've got the space to be able to free range them but first up I'd need a decent run so the cat could be normalised to them (don't want them taken out by the other farmyard animals at least).

I've been reading my Haynes Chicken Manual and obsessing over different types and styles of chicken coops - I want one I'm able to move relatively easily so I can house it in different places. Maybe an auto door-opener so if I combine it with a decent run then if I decide to fuck off for a few days I won't have to worry about sorting out someone to come down / let them out / feed etc.

Anyone ever kept them?

Got any tips / advice so I don't make spectacular mistakes?
 

Embattle

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My chickens make no noise or smell...but then they are in boxes in the fridge/freezer :p
 

Scouse

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From my wife they stink haha. And so does their poop
You have to have proper ventilation in the coop as there's a lot of ammonia in their droppings. I intend to collect them (and the bedding/floor material) and compost it.

The birds themselves shouldn't afaik (a mate keeps them, says kept well they're clean (and funny as hell)).
 

dysfunction

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Probably need an electric fence to keep the foxes/predators out and the chickens in.
 

Scouse

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Probably need an electric fence to keep the foxes/predators out and the chickens in.
I considered that but tbh in the day I don't care where the chickens are going to roam and I'm not worried about daytime foxes. The run will be for when they're too young and are vulnerable to corvids and other birds of prey and for when I'm away during the day and at weekends when I'm not about. I can get an automatic door opener/closer - so a run will be necessary to let them stretch their legs safely then.

To do that it'll need to be fully enclosed - including the top, rather than an electric fence which foxes can jump (apparently) and birds can fly over.
 

Moriath

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I considered that but tbh in the day I don't care where the chickens are going to roam and I'm not worried about daytime foxes. The run will be for when they're too young and are vulnerable to corvids and other birds of prey and for when I'm away during the day and at weekends when I'm not about. I can get an automatic door opener/closer - so a run will be necessary to let them stretch their legs safely then.

To do that it'll need to be fully enclosed - including the top, rather than an electric fence which foxes can jump (apparently) and birds can fly over.
Mrs grew up on a farm and they had chickens. Also need to remember that if you get bird flu notification they will need to be kept inside and not roaming around.
 

Lamp

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I have 6 frozen chicken breasts in the freezer.
I'll defrost them this weekend but I don't fancy they'll lay many eggs
I can but try :poke:
 

Scouse

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So plans have developed somewhat. My coop is ordered. Now I'm trying to figure out exactly what I'm getting chicken-wise.

I'm thinking of getting dual-purpose birds (Ixworths (didn't know there was an article about them in the grauniad!)) - so eggs and meat are a possibility (rather than just layers). And hatching my own and keeping a cockerel - that way I can have a steady stream of chickens for the pan. Males'll get it, females can either be added to layer flock or dispatched if the flock is too big.

Also thinking of getting Guinea Fowl too. :)
 
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Moriath

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So plans have developed somewhat. My coop is ordered. Now I'm trying to figure out exactly what I'm getting chicken-wise.

I'm thinking of getting dual-purpose birds (Ixworths (didn't know there was an article about them in the grauniad!)) - so eggs and meat are a possibility (rather than just layers). And hatching my own and keeping a cockerel - that way I can have a steady stream of chickens for the pan. Males'll get it, females can either be added to layer flock or dispatched if the flock is too big.

Also thinking of getting Guinea Fowl too. :)
Guinea fowl are yummy
 

Scouse

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So in my incubator there are eggs for these and these. Due to hatch in 21 days.

Guineas have been in since last friday. I candled them and disposed of 3 that weren't developing and put the six chicken eggs in alongside them. Guineas take 28 days, chickens 21 days to hatch - so they should all hatch at roughly the same time.

I'd be amazed if all 14 hatch - looking for an 80% hatch rate and (hopefully) mostly girls, otherwise a lot of neck-stretching will be going on next spring.
 

Raven

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You need to keep your cock out though. Or you won't be self-sustaining.

Set up properly, and you can have meat and eggs. Just don't name your chickens.
 

Scouse

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You need to keep your cock out though. Or you won't be self-sustaining.
How come? You can eat fertilised eggs no problemo. Stick 'em in the fridge.

If I like it, in a few years I'll expand and obtain a few breed-standard roosters from another flock.

Don't want all my chickens playing banjos ;)
 

Raven

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Also, make sure you are absolutely 100% fox proof. They will get through chicken wire. Or get a shotgun, or even rimfire.
 

Scouse

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I suspect electric fencing is going to be a requirement.

Shame really. I like the idea of them walking free during the day.
 

Scouse

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It's lockdown day today.

I have to remove the eggs from the incubator and candle them to see if there are any 'quitters' (shine a strong light through the egg to see if any are dead and if so, remove the egg before it explodes).

Then I need to line the incubator with a non-slip surface so any hatched chicks don't get "spraddle legs", put the eggs back in and raise relative humidity to about 70% so hatching chicks don't become "shrink wrapped" by the membrane drying out when they pip!

Hopefully they'll all be done by the weekend. Wonder how many will make it?

The chick feed and feeders I ordered two weeks ago still haven't arrived tho. Fuckers :eek:
 

Overdriven

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This sounds like a really long way to make roast chicken.

Do you know supermarkets do all this for you?
 

Scouse

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This sounds like a really long way to make roast chicken.

Do you know supermarkets do all this for you?
Have you eaten the shit that comes out of supermarkets?

Organic free-range birds that have had time to develop muscles and ligaments and things and aren't pumped full of antibiotics and all that shizzle for me please.

And my guinea fowl will take care of my slug problem for me. Free gardening! Just add chickens! :)
 

Moriath

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Have you eaten the shit that comes out of supermarkets?

Organic free-range birds that have had time to develop muscles and ligaments and things and aren't pumped full of antibiotics and all that shizzle for me please.

And my guinea fowl will take care of my slug problem for me. Free gardening! Just add chickens! :)
You getting that ‘Good Life’ feeling.

i think you find most ppl have eaten the chicken from supermarkets.

the guinea fowl i have comes from waitrose.
 

Overdriven

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I only eat Dodo. Guinea Fowl is too common for me.
 

Moriath

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I only eat Dodo. Guinea Fowl is too common for me.
Main reason for guinea fowl s that its a smaller bird than a chicken. So we eat most of it on a sunday roast.

a chicken from satans shop usually had too much left over.
 

Raven

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I'm toying with the idea of doing a chicken over my fire on Friday night.
 

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