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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Chicken People, Lend Me Your Brains!

    I've wanted to try keeping chickens for about ten years, but for a long time it just wasn't feasible. It might be now, but I need to know a lot more about the time/money/space involved. I think I'd like three or four chickens to start with.

    Background: We live in a mid-sized mid-western city (zone 5). I'm not sure how cold hardy I would need the birds to be or what kind of shelter they would need over the winter.

    Our house is set on the rear of two city lots, so we have a pretty open area. I have a lot of lawn-obsessed, retired neighbors so my shelter has to either not stand out or look decorative.

    I can't afford to fence my whole yard, so I'm looking for something portable like a smallish chicken tractor.

    My mom works at the local animal shelter and animal control told her it was okay to have a few chickens in town, so legally, I should be okay.

    I need the birds to be on the quiet side, be docile, and lay eggs.

    How much can I expect feed, etc to cost?
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  2. #2
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    my parents have chickens- they stay in a shed that's similar to a large dog house sort of it's always well lined with straw and when it gets cold they stack bales of straw around the edges to keep it warmer... the chickens eat table scraps and corn, so it's pretty cheap for them... as long as you don't have roosters, the chickens are pretty quiet as well... as I'm not too far from you, the same chicken rules should apply

    they grow Golden Comets, which are pretty hardy as far as weather goes and are VERY reliable brown egg layers... they're also easy to tell apart genderwise as chicks, so you shouldn't end up with a surprise rooster!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    my parents have chickens- they stay in a shed that's similar to a large dog house sort of it's always well lined with straw and when it gets cold they stack bales of straw around the edges to keep it warmer... the chickens eat table scraps and corn, so it's pretty cheap for them... as long as you don't have roosters, the chickens are pretty quiet as well... as I'm not too far from you, the same chicken rules should apply

    they grow Golden Comets, which are pretty hardy as far as weather goes and are VERY reliable brown egg layers... they're also easy to tell apart genderwise as chicks, so you shouldn't end up with a surprise rooster!
    Pretty! I was just reading up on the whole sex-link thing, which is really cool and handy. Also, brown eggs seem to be really popular, so bribing neighbors into being happy about having a crazy lady nearby might work better with those.

    I thought there was some kind of local rule about having to buy at least 25 chicks at a time. Do you know if that's still the case or how the rule applies?

    My neighbor gave me a monstrosity of a dog house that his son made in shop class years and years ago. My dogs won't go near it, but you're giving me ideas about converting it to my evil purposes.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    sounds like a plan! a bale of straw alone should make it quite cushy and comfortable for chickens!

    we've bought chickens from local farmers before, so it was easy to choose whatever chickens we wanted, but the hatcheries that I've visited here let you buy however many you want- most of the limits apply to ordering by mail

    those are the friendliest chickens I've met as well!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    sounds like a plan! a bale of straw alone should make it quite cushy and comfortable for chickens!

    we've bought chickens from local farmers before, so it was easy to choose whatever chickens we wanted, but the hatcheries that I've visited here let you buy however many you want- most of the limits apply to ordering by mail

    those are the friendliest chickens I've met as well!
    Oh man. I'm excited. I'm planning on starting next spring and the hubby is being evasive about whether or not he's going to go for it. I'm going to have trouble not bugging him about it.

    Edit: This is the dog house. Obviously it needs some TLC, but would something like that work if it had a door to keep out predators at night? What other modifications might it need besides adding straw? I would move it off the patio and onto a grassy area. Would it need to be raised off the ground or anything like that?

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    just up the road from me lives a guy who has chickens. i could maybe talk to... oh snap, he only speaks czech and i wouldn't be able to understand anything he said anyhow. oh well. sorry i even brought it up.

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcvcdc View Post
    just up the road from me lives a guy who has chickens. i could maybe talk to... oh snap, he only speaks czech and i wouldn't be able to understand anything he said anyhow. oh well. sorry i even brought it up.
    Thanks for the thought. Maybe you could just scope out his set-up and report back. :chicken:
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Chanteclers

    Chanteclers are a very hardy bird; Wyandottes are too and a good dual purpose bird.

    Basically you want a chicken with a small or short comb for cold weather.

    As far as heating, Shop The Coop.Com: Chicken Coop Heaters - works well for a small space, no danger of setting the coop on fire ...

    And you could put a little pen with chicken wire on the front, for the summer and they can scratch up in the front.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  9. #9
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    My friend had a chicken and it ended up getting eaten by the neighbors dog. She wants to get her yard fenced in if she tries it again because of that. Her brother in law made this awesome, awesome coop, I can prob rips some pics of facebook.

  10. #10
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    Chanteclers

    Chanteclers are a very hardy bird; Wyandottes are too and a good dual purpose bird.

    Basically you want a chicken with a small or short comb for cold weather.

    As far as heating, Shop The Coop.Com: Chicken Coop Heaters - works well for a small space, no danger of setting the coop on fire ...

    And you could put a little pen with chicken wire on the front, for the summer and they can scratch up in the front.
    That's a pretty chicken! And that heater looks nice. I am wondering how hard it is to make an adequate pen. I've seen some framed from pvc pipe that could maybe work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    My friend had a chicken and it ended up getting eaten by the neighbors dog. She wants to get her yard fenced in if she tries it again because of that. Her brother in law made this awesome, awesome coop, I can prob rips some pics of facebook.
    I've been reading that dogs can be a big problem. Sometimes I have trouble keeping my own contained and it's not unusual to see strays. I'm going to have to have something sturdy. I'd love to see the pics if they aren't too much of a pain to come by.


    I'm also reading that it's not something you can really expect to break even on. I'm wondering just how much expense I can justify.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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