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Old 02-18-2012, 02:37 PM
 
267 posts, read 188,657 times
Reputation: 87
Default Anyone have a chicken coop?

Someone I know mentioned that chickens are very easy to take care of and produce lots of eggs. Do any of you have experience with it? I saw one on House Hunters earlier this week as well. Some thoughts:
  • Is a permit needed and can I get it?
  • I wouldn't want to feed them corn. If I let them out periodically, then will they find enough to eat?
  • Are they really that easy to take care of?
  • Are they loud or any other concerns that I should consider?
  • Am I insane?
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
6,822 posts, read 10,507,142 times
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Check out the annual Austin chicken coop tour:

Funky Chicken Coop Tour - Austin, Texas - April 7, 2012

The resources link should have answers to all your questions, and if you go to the tour it'll give you a lot more info and ideas.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:07 PM
 
267 posts, read 188,657 times
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Neat - too bad I won't be in Austin at that point but maybe in 2013.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
74,367 posts, read 34,513,740 times
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If you want eggs, get laying chickens. Yes the girls make noise. Sometimes they just have to announce to the world that they just laid an egg

To feed them get a bag of Layena feed (mine like the crumbles) and a bag of scratch.
You can get at any feedstore or TSC.

I also feed mine other tidbits from the house..they love mashed up tomatoes, lettuce, watermelon, split pumpkins. They will eat bugs and grass but if kept in a restricted area will need supplemental food because you'll have no grass left.

They do need to be locked up from dusk to dawn ...the night predators will get them otherwise.

Ideal Poultry is located out in Cameron and you can pick up day old chicks..about 1.5 hour drive.
Ideal also has a website with helpful information on raising chickens.
http://www.idealpoultry.com/

Easiest of the livestock to raise. My favorites are Buff Orphingtons..golden colored docile birds. I'm out in the country and have a roo..his name is George
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Volcano
11,953 posts, read 9,732,647 times
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Here's a useful link, with answers to most of your questions: Raising BackYard Chickens, Build a Chicken Coop, Pictures of Breeds

The Funky Chicken Coop Tour is coming up in April: Funky Chicken Coop Tour - Austin, Texas - April 7, 2012

Here's a MeetUp group for Austin Chickens: The Austin Backyard Poultry Meetup Group (Austin, TX) - Meetup

Chicken regs for 25 cities here: http://urbanchickens.org/files/Ordinance%20research%20paper.pdf (broken link) Of course, Austin is "unclear"

Key thing is coop has to be 50' from neighbor's house, and chickens have to be confined (pens) rather than being allowed to run free.

Chickens will eat bugs, snails, weeds, grass, your table scraps. And they will tear up the ground, so some people like to move them every once in a while with "chicken tractors."

Some breeds of chicken are known for being quiet. Get those. If you keep a rooster (don't have to) and it is noisy you can get a noise citation. Here's an article that will give you a feel for it: Austinites' backyard chicken flocks grow
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
216 posts, read 190,668 times
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The Austin backyard poultry meet-up group (mentioned by OpenD) is very active and very friendly and informative. I recommend linking up with them when you decide you want to have chickens. We had a small flock in Allandale and loved it!
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:25 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
16,547 posts, read 19,163,588 times
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We've had a bit of publicity here in Savannah over folks illegally keeping chickens. Now they are changing the laws so that 1 hen per 1000 sq ft of yard is permitted, but NO roosters unless there is a large buffer between neighbors.
A few things I know about raising them are that they must be protected at night, or else they will get eaten by predators, and you don't need roosters to get eggs.
I lived in the country and was considering having some, but I worried that they might be stinky, or that I would attract more foxes or coyotes, etc. I also could not kill one, so unless I left the old ones unprotected, so they would get eaten, I feared I would probably wind up with a bunch of old hens that I had to feed and clean up after.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:33 PM
 
228 posts, read 359,098 times
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We're in south central Austin, 78704 area and have 3 hens fenced off in our side yard where they have a good amount of space to run freely. They make great, low maintenance pets and we're always encouraging others to go for it. They will turn your grass to dirt though, which is why we fenced them to stay in our side yard. But they repay us with eggs. Time commitment needed is very little. With our setup we can go on a weekender and keep them locked in their run and not worry about them.

We use Coyote Creek's organic feed available at Buck Moore and Callahan's. They have an old fashioned organic no-soy version we've been using. We also spoil them and buy them organic collard greens from the store to treat them throughout the week, and other misc veges from our garden - they love tomatoes. An interesting note to any allergy sufferers - my wife is convinced the eggs help with her allergies.

Someone down the street has about 8 or so hens and a rooster that they allow to free range through the neighborhood. There's no HOA that I know of and besides I don't think anyone minds them. We love when we see them out grazing around when we go on a walk.
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:17 PM
 
267 posts, read 188,657 times
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All great information. You could bury your chickens I guess but you might feel guilty eating other chickens with them in the backyard maybe. I could see having a hard time with older chickens but no worse than having any other old pet. Some great links - thanks for the info! What would having a coop in the backyard do to the value of a half million plus home now?
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,316 posts, read 20,100,568 times
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Make sure you visit building inspection so you understand the requirements before putting one in your back yard. With some properties it can be tough to site the coop 50' away from any adjacent houses.

Statesman Watch update: Chickens in compliance in Central Austin

Quote:
A Central Austin couple whose chicken coop was in violation of a city ordinance for being too close to a next-door neighbor's house are now in compliance and can keep their chickens.
"Our inspector says it's now 51 feet from the complainant's house," said Robert Wright of the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. The city requires that a coop must be at least 50 feet away from a residence.
More than a week ago, the coop in the backyard of Patrick and Perri Beathard's home on West 391/2 Street was 43 feet away from next-door neighbor Shirley West's house. West complained to the city that the coop did not meet the 50-foot requirement, and she was right. A health inspector visited the Beathards and gave them a notice of violation for loose chickens. The Beathards complied and housed their chickens.
Wright said that the Beathards' coop is far enough away from West and other neighbors. "And in lieu of asking them to reduce their chickens down to one, they are being allowed to keep all five because they met the 50-foot rule," he said.
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