I think I found out what happened to my missing hen.
My cousin got off work a little earlier than normal today, September 23, 2013. After he got home my cousin took his dog for a walk, rounded the corner of a tree line, and just happened to see a chicken hawk on top of one of my Rhode Island Reds.
The dog took off after the chicken hawk, which let the chicken go and flew to safety.
My cousin said the chicken jumped up and limped off. Hopefully it was not injured to bad. I looked at my 4 Rhode Island Reds and did not see any blood on them.
When the hen was attacked it was out free ranging and in the chicken yard.
After this incident I am considering covering the chicken yard with monofilament fishing line in series of grids. But, I want my chickens to be able to free range.
Another option is to stick with large breeds of chickens and to get a couple of roosters. My wife wants some Buff Orpingtons, and I want some Dominiques, aka Dominicker. When we get the new chickens we will probably get at least one rooster of each breed, then another rooster for the original dozen chickens. This will give us 3 dozen hens and 3 roosters.
The chicken who came up missing was a rather small Speckled Sussex. This was a very tame chicken, which might have contributed to its undoing. Rather that running from danger, maybe the Rhode Island Red and Speckled Sussex just stood there looking at the hawk.
One of my best hens is missing, and I think some feral cats are to blame. I have not seen the missing hen in about 4 or 5 days. She might be broody and sitting on some eggs. But I suspect she has been killed and eaten.
After my wife and I got moved to the farm we made it about a month before one of our chickens came up missing. The hen I am referring to is a Speckled Sussex.
She had a friendly nature and liked to explore new areas. If I had to pick one hen out of my entire flock to model after, it would have been her.
Here is a picture of nugget, my prized Speckled Sussex.
What do you do when you have chickens and plan on bugging out? You build the chicken house where it will fit on a trailer, or in the bed of a truck.
When my wife and I built the chicken coop we knew that one day we would be moving. So the chicken coop was built so that it would fit on a dual axle trailer. The inside of the trailer measured 7 feet, so the coop was built 6 foot 3 inches wide.
Today (July 20, 2013) my plans were put to the test. Here is the story of moving the chicken house.
What a day. Started off with breakfast, pulled my boat to the camp, picked up my son, back home, then moved the chicken coop into position to be loaded on a trailer.
Loaded the chicken coop on a trailer, dad pulled the coop and trailer to the camp while I had the run on a trailer attached to my truck.
Got to the camp, unloaded the chicken coop, attached it to the new chicken yard then let the chickens out.
The chickens went from a 6X10 enclosure, to a 73X33 yard.
For those of you who are planning on raising chickens after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI, have you put any thought into building the chicken yard? People who have lived in a rural area may have been exposed to the hard work of building a chicken yard. But people who live in the city or urban areas, the vast majority have no idea how much hard work building a chicken yard takes.
As some of yall may know my wife and I are planning on moving to a rural area of southeast Texas. We have moved past the planning phase are are moving to the implementation phase.
When my wife make the move to the homestead, the chicken coop will be loaded on a trailer, taken to the farm, unloaded and bumped up to the new chicken yard. Before all of that can happen the new chicken yard has to be built.
After spending a lot of time on the dimensions, how many square feet each chicken needs, how many chickens I wanted, and room for growth,,, I came up with a chicken yard that is 75 feet long and 30 feet wide.
Over the past couple of years I have looked at several chicken breeds to develop a self-sustaining chicken flock. Some of the breeds I have looked at are the Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Dominique and Australorp (only to name a few). This article will focus on the Barred Rock, which is part of the Plymouth Rock family of chickens.
Why should we care about the Barred Rock? It is a good dual purpose chicken which has been raised for well over 100 years.
I do not consider the Barred Rock a high egg producer chicken, as it only lays around 200 eggs a year. There are breeds out there that lay well over the 200 egg mark. The Barred Rock makes up for its average egg production with its size, hardiness, and its meat quality.
While looking for information on various chicken breeds I came across this youtube posted by FarmRaised which talks about breeding the Barred Rock.
This video brings up some good topics for discussion:
Separate the chickens into groups based on desired traits.
Breed for size and traits.
Weigh the roosters and hens so your flock maintains a steady size.
Over the past year and a half I have read and watched a lot of videos about chickens. This the best video I have seen about chicken behavior.
From a survivalist point, the video talks about a lot of important points. It is estimated mankind domesticated the chicken about 8,000 years ago. There has to be something that has allowed mankind and chickens to thrive together.
During World War II eggs were rationed. “If” we ever go to war with a major world power, do you want to be on the rationing end, or do you want to have fresh meat and eggs?
In England, it was not until the 1950s that chicken became a staple food. People are more rabbit then chicken.
Selective breeding has improved certain traits.
Chickens can learn rather quickly.
If you have a spare hour to watch the video, please take the time to do so.
Can yall believe it’s been a whole year since my wife and I got our first chicks? For the first few months I posted several videos about building the coop and how the chicks were doing. After the chickens start laying, there is not that much to post about. They are chickens, they do their thing, they lay eggs and that is about it.
Now that the hens are a full year old I thought it would be good to post some kind of up date to let people know how things are going.
Between the last weekend of February and the second week of March 2012 my wife and I bought 15 chicks. Two of the chicks died a few days after we got them. After those first two died, we have not lost another chicken.
As some of yall may know chickens are part of my long term SHTF survival plans. In the next few months my wife and I are looking at moving to the homestead. After we get moved we are going to build a 30 foot X 75 foot chicken yard, along with a 20 X 16 chicken coop, then expand the flock to around 50 hens and maybe 5 roosters.
My experiences from the past year will help me build the next chicken coop and chicken yard.
Lets talk about a good breed of meat chicken for the homestead that does well on free range.
For the sake of discussion lets say that some kind of SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation has happened. Whether its some kind of new SARS virus, wide spread civil unrest, nuclear war with China, hurricane, blizzard,,, something has happened to disrupt food shipments.
You go out to the chicken coop, survey the flock for dinner, what kind of chickens would you see? Did you focus on egg production, meat production, or both? Did you buy hens that go broody, or did you go with breeds that do not go broody? If you butcher a hen, will it be replaced?
What are some of the traits we are looking for? Lets start with heritage breeds that have a proven track record of over 100 years. The older the breed the better.
Lets look for chickens that weigh at least 6 – 7 pounds before processing, because do we really want to butcher 2 or 3 small hens for a single meal? We want a hen that can go broody, is a good mother, raise her chicks for the next generation, is a good forager and will feed a family of 4.
Dominique – There are lot of other breeds out there that are larger and lay more eggs, but, how can we argue against a chicken that has fed America since the colonial days?
The Dominique is a result of chickens that were brought to the new world by early settlers. It is considered Americas first true chicken breed.