My wife and I got our first new chicks of 2014, 6 Buff Orpingtons and 6 Australorps. Circle 3 Feed here in Jasper Texas got an early shipment of chicks. Usually the chicks do not start shipping until late February and early March, which is when Kristy (my wife) and I got our first set of chicks 2 years ago.
Circle 3 had Bantams, White Leghorns, Australorps and Buff Orpingtons. My wife and I were only interested in the Australorps and Buff Orpingtons.
My wife has been wanting Buffs for a long time. Now that we live in a rural area I told my wife to get as many Buff Orpingtons as she wanted. On Friday February 7th I picked Kristy up 6 Buff Orpingtons, and we are supposed to get another dozen on Monday February 10th.
We have two Australorp hens that are turning 2 years old in 2014. While Circle 3 had them in stock I picked up 6 more.
Thursday January 23rd we started to get snow here in southeast Texas, I am in the Jasper area to be exact. Between Thursday night and into Friday morning at sunrise we ended up with 2 inches of snow on the ground and 3 inches of snow on the top of the chicken house and other places off the ground.
When I let the hens out in the morning they usually run out of the house and start looking for food. With snow on the ground it was a nopeday. As in nope, they are not going outside. The hens would go down the ladder to under the chicken house. Look around for a few minutes, then go back up the ladder.
After about 6 hours I finally took a couple of hens and set them out in the snow. From there things were ok.
When my wife and I built this chicken house off the ground I was worried about how the chickens would do in cold weather. This is the second winter and so far none of the hens have shown any signs of frostbite.
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.
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.
Easter is next weekend, April 31, 2013. If you live in the burbs or in a rural area you may see people selling rabbits and chicks on the side of the road. Or you may be seeing ads in the local paper for chicks and Easter bunnies for sale.
Public Service Reminder, please think before you buy live animals for Easter.
Those bunnies and colored chicks are cute, but they will soon grow up.
The majority of live animals bought for Easter will either be abandoned, or will die before they turn a year old.
I have bought my kids bunnies for Easter before. But we also built the rabbit hutch and took care of the rabbits. It was a fun project for the whole family.
But then again, not everyone wants to invest the time, effort or money into building a rabbit hutch. Keep in mind some cities prohibit keeping rabbits and chickens. It would be a shame to buy a couple of chicks, then find out your family will not be able to keep them.
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.
Leg bands allow the flock owner to mark certain chickens for easy identification. The problem with metal bands, a tool is needed to put them on and take them off, and the bands may not be widely available.
Instead of using metal bands, why not use cable ties?
Cable ties can be found at just about any hardware store. To put the cable tie on all you need is a pair of wire cutters to cut the slack off.
Leave enough slack so the cable tie will not cut off the circulation.
If you want to keep track of the chickens age, then use different colors:
Black for 2013
White for 2014
Yellow for 2015
,,, and so on.
Use red to mark chickens that have bad habits that you may want to cull.
When I first started watching this video, I thought it was just another “here is my chicken coop” video. Then she walked around and showed what the coop is made out of. Its a metal desk that can be found just about anywhere.
Not only is she wearing that cute beany hat, not only does he have a nice figure and long hair, she has a pretty awesome chicken coop.
This is a good example of how someone in an urban setting could improvise a chicken coop post-collapse.
Some of the issues facing urban survivalist are food and water. A few good laying hens such as the Australorp will provide a small family with a good source of protein and fats.
What would we need for this project? Metal desk, wire, hinges, pop-rivets, tin and a couple of rocks (for sloped roof), angle iron or wood to build back door out of, legs to get desk off ground, some kind of bow for hens to lay eggs in, something for a roost.
In the next few months my wife and I are planning on moving to the homestead. Once we get moved, our chicken flock will be increased from 13 hens, to around 25 hens. There are a couple of problems we need to address before we get more chickens, such as – having enough room on the coop, access to feed and access to water.
The current coop size provides each chicken with 3.69 square feet. If the flock is doubled, that gives each chicken 1.84 square feet. 1.84 square feet is not enough room.
I do not want to rebuild the coop. My wife and I put too much time, effort and money into building it the first time, I do not want to build it a second time.
Instead of building a new coop, I am thinking about building in leanto around the existing coop. The chickens would use the existing coop for roosting, then they would have the leanto for when the weather gets bad, or they need some shade.
After my wife and I get moved to the homestead, we are looking at increasing our chicken flock from 13 hens, to somewhere around 25 hens, and then 30 hens the following year.
One of the issues I will need to deal with is how to make sure all of the chickens have access to fresh water in these Texas summers. During July and August daytime temps can reach the upper 90s and low 100s, with night lows staying above 90 degrees.
This video shows how to make a chicken waterer out of a 5 gallon bucket, and some nipples.
I could hang a couple of 5 gallon buckets in the coop, with 2 or 3 nipples on the bottom of each bucket.
In this article I hope to talk about how my chickens are doing in the winter time. All of the hens were bought as chicks within two weeks of each other. The first chickens were bought on the last weekend of February 2012, the next batch were bought the first week of March. The final batch were bought around March 7th or 8th, 2012.
4 – Rhode Island Reds
2 – Silver Laced Wyandotte
2 – Barred Rocks
2 – Australorps
2 – Black Jersey Giants
1 – Speckled Sussex
My observations are based off a rather small sample size, so we will have to take part this thread with a grain of salt. When my wife and I get moved to the homestead, we plan on adding 12 – 13 Dominickers.
As the flock size increases, the sample size increases. Hopefully next year I will be able to provide a article with a larger sample size.