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Old 07-18-2008, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Texas
208 posts, read 406,313 times
Reputation: 89

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We are trying to prepare the space for some layers and probably a rooster. We have the coop ready other than the nesting boxes, but we're trying to come up with an inexpensive way to make a chicken run that won't look trashy. I saw some cute chicken runs that were basically some wood posts made into frames with chicken wire stretched tight in the frames, and so far this is the cheapest way we've found that still looks attractive. How did you make your runs?

Also, what have been your favorite breeds? We are probably going to get some Rhode Island Reds, but might mix it up a little. Murray McMurray has some nice looking pictures of the different breeds on their website, but if you order from them you have to get at least 25 and we don't want that many.
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:34 PM
 
5,640 posts, read 16,135,718 times
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I hope your coop is not closer than 300 feet away from your neighbors. They will complain about the smell from the chickens and noises from a rooster. You can hear those things for blocks. A rooster is NOT for the farmette under an acre for sure! Besides, unless you want to have/raise chicks in order to raise chickens for food, you can have just chickens and still have eggs.

The smell of just a dozen chickens will knock your sox off at closer range if you don't keep up with it. Smells like a toilet that hasn't been flushed for days.

Check your zoning before you get livestock.
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Historic Bessemer Alabama
629 posts, read 3,132,992 times
Reputation: 468
Yummy!
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Old 07-19-2008, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Gary, WV & Springfield, ME
5,826 posts, read 8,069,321 times
Reputation: 17206
For starters, MOST cities ordinances allow citizens to keep chickens as long as they are confined to a coop or cages and the owner doesn't put up a "farm fresh eggs" sign by the street. The sign makes it a commercial operation and that's a no-no. And if you are offering your eggs to neighbors or friends, make sure you are giving them to friends or neighbors and not selling them. It's OK to share your eggs with friends and neighbors but when money starts changing hands, you really don't want the USDA coming to pay you a visit.

If you don't want 25 chickens, then make sure you have a few friends lined up that will go in with you on the initial purchase of chicks. There is no better source for healthy chicks than McMurray. And yes, that is an informed opinion. Order all pullets and you won't have the rooster issue. Anyone who can keep two cats in the house and keep up with the cat litter box will not have any trouble keeping the coop clean - assuming you will have 12 or less to start off with. Just remember that they need the same things we and our pets need - fresh water, fresh food, clean air and exercise.
I was able to keep up with a 500+ poultry farm all by myself working a couple hours a couple times a day. But when you love what you do, it's not work. I think we all know that up front.

Coops. Don't think in terms of keeping your chickens in. Think along the lines of keeping predators out. That means snakes from beneath, hawks from above and everything from raccoons, fox, loose dogs or worse from the sides. If your coop is not designed with a roof and footing, there is no telling what will/can get to them. Always think safety of the birds first and foremost.

Exercise is essential, they like to run and socialize. Scratching the ground is what they do naturally and is how they find extra protein. Trust me on that one. Give them plenty of elbow room and more than one food and water trough. Feed is expensive, so don't waste it by throwing it on the ground like Timmy's mom always did in early episodes of Lassie. Their food belongs in a food trough and place them on at least two sides of the coop. You will reduce bickering that way. Keep the water clean and fresh - flowing is even better.

Grit, sand and very well cleaned seashells or oyster shells are needed to help them gain the amount of calcium they need and helps them digest their food so there is no feed-to-egg-ratio loss. In southern climates, reduce the amount of direct sunlight they get as they can get sunburned too. Let them out in early morning and early evening if you are going to let them free range at all. This is plenty of natural light for them. Keep a single light bulb on in the coop and that will ensure they lay more eggs for you.

When the chickens are pets and cared for as such, there is no reason to discuss such things as the smell and the noise. Very few places have a "not closer than 300 feet" rule. Perhaps if you were running a commercial hatchery, but I seriously doubt it. That rule is about discharging a firearm or a horse stable manure pile.

You'll enjoy your feathered little people. They make excellent pets and are really very personable.

I like the buffs, rhode island reds, frizzles, feather-footed banties and brown leghorns. They are all wonderful little people.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:17 AM
 
5,640 posts, read 16,135,718 times
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The OP never said where they live.

Still of the opinion that chickens should not be anywhere except on a farm away from neighbors. They smell bad and are very loud (I know from experience).

Try a couple bunnies! They're quiet.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:40 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
6,042 posts, read 13,254,870 times
Reputation: 7074
I love this website:
Chicken Tractor Gallery compiled by Katy (http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html - broken link)

Among other things, she collects pictures of chicken coops. Hundreds of pictures, so I'm sure you can find one you like.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,041 posts, read 12,199,529 times
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My son has a blog...The Chick Camera Memoirs of a Metro Farmer near Charlotte, NC. He lives near to Charlotte, NC. Also, there are a couple of forums just for chicken pets...they are listed on his site.

also be very careful of predators...racoons, foxes & coyotes have all been unwanted visitors to my son's little flock.

have fun! they are great!
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Old 08-06-2008, 04:37 PM
 
2 posts, read 14,761 times
Reputation: 10
If you go to [URL="http://www.mypetchicken.com"]www.mypetchicken.com[/URL] they have a breed selector to help you choose what chickens work best for you. Also, you can keep the smell down with DE and by scooping the poop on a regular basis. Your place does not need to stink!

For run/coop ideas check out [URL="http://www.backyardchickens.com"]www.backyardchickens.com[/URL]. Everything under the sun is available on there, and if you need more help, just let me know.

~Caran
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,232 posts, read 12,707,448 times
Reputation: 5981
We've got 21 of them. They're just loose in our backyard which is fenced in with rabbit fence. They hop over and help themselves to bugs around the yard but always go back to their 'house' when they're bored or it's feeding time.

The smell is bad if you don't stay on top of it. We water the entire back yard down very well every day and don't have a problem. The roosters are just now getting old enough to crow and it's fun to watch them learn how.

I have no clue what kind we've got. A couple kinds I guess. There were a few solid black ones. Most were all yellow. Some were yellow with brown 'lightning bolts' on top of their heads.

When we got them:
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r246/MRS1885/Pets/Chickens/Chickens008.jpg (broken link)

When they were big enough to move outside with their yard mate, Sherman, our sulcata tortoise. They seem to think she's their personal armored bodyguard and follow her and ride her everywhere:
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r246/MRS1885/Pets/Chickens/Pensandcritters130.jpg (broken link)

And this is how social they are. A chair on the back patio. As soon as you sit down they are all over you:
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r246/MRS1885/Pets/Chickens/IMG_1825.jpg (broken link)
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:04 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,361 posts, read 38,508,140 times
Reputation: 13109
Wow, this is a really cool thread. Love the pics. Interesting info, Alice.
I used to live next door to chickens, but have no first-hand experience with caring for them.
I hear someone's rooster every now and then but have no idea where he is.
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