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Author Topic: Chickens  (Read 28337 times)

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #90 on: May 02, 2018, 08:48:42 PM »
Lovely eggs as part of a lovely story. 

Socrates

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good breeds (for survival purposes)
« Reply #91 on: December 12, 2018, 03:49:05 PM »
I need to look more into this topic. I think breeds are essential, for they are genetic INFORMATION that can be lost forever. As 'preppers' we can't go starting a zoo [i wish] so we must choose the best breeds for survival situations.

Anyway, i ran into the Sebright and thought it an interesting choice:
- not too big a bird but also not so small that it's very vulnerable
- it can fly a bit; maybe surviving predators better
- eggs are huge compared to it's size
- very hardy breed
- sweet to keep but aggressive toward invaders


Ideas for other great breeds?
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R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #92 on: December 12, 2018, 04:40:15 PM »
Loved that summertime film.  The little bantam Sebrights were so sweet, and I was surprised at the size of the eggs coming from them.

The lay-rate, he said, was only 80-100 eggs per year.  A typical heritage breed hen will provide maybe triple that number of eggs in her prime years.

But given that the banties probably eat less feed, it could be cost-effective to have more of the Sebrights than you might have kept of larger breeds, perhaps making up for the difference. 

The only negative that I've read about them is that they're difficult to raise from chicks due to their susceptibility to disease / high mortality rate.  Also less cold-hardy in the North, but maybe a good Southern choice?
https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/sebright-chicken/

Thanks so much for sharing about them!  :)

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #93 on: December 12, 2018, 05:14:06 PM »
That was my first time to see the Sebright and they are truly a beautiful bird, and as the narrator said, people have bred them for their appearance.

A friend ordered Icelandic chickens at the same time I did, but my source sent me a letter very early this spring informing me that mink got into their chickens, and killed many, including most of the Icelandic.

The friend who now has adult Icelandic is not too thrilled with them because they have been too slow to start laying.  But that would be OK with me, as we need tick control first, and eggs later.  Tick control is an absolute must, as this year they were worse than ever.  Even if we only get an occasional egg, it will be fine as long as tick numbers plummet.

The Icelandic is supposedly better at foraging than many other breeds, but if they are confined, one would not notice that ability.

So this next spring when our Icelandic chickens OR guineas of some variety arrive, an update will be posted here, especially about their tick-eating abilities.

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #94 on: December 12, 2018, 05:19:39 PM »
I'm so excited for you, that you're getting hens Ilinda!  They should get along fine with the goats if they share pasture.

I'm guessing you'll become very attached to them and vice versa! :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #95 on: December 12, 2018, 06:27:08 PM »
Soc, You had asked for breed ideas.

As far as heritage breeds, I like clean-legged, cold hardy breeds with high lay-rate, brown eggs and body weight under 7# so that smaller members of the flock are in less danger, as we keep a mix of breeds and ages.  Also there's a better feed conversion ratio with medium-sized layers that are very productive, unless you're breeding them for meat.

As far as my favorite goes, nothing outperforms a pure-bred Rhode Island Red.  You can tell a pure strain by the complete absence of white anywhere on the bird, and sometimes she'll have long black tail feathers like the roo.



After them, my second favorites are Australorps, New Hampshire Reds, Dominiques, Welsummers, Plymouths and Wyandottes.

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #96 on: December 13, 2018, 04:16:48 PM »
Do you notice any reduction in ticks due to the presence of chickens?

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #97 on: December 13, 2018, 04:25:20 PM »
All around the yard near the house, we never pick up ticks.  We only pick them up when going into the brush, such as when picking wild berries.

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #98 on: December 14, 2018, 02:06:19 PM »
That is the convincer I needed.  Guineas are known for their appetites for ticks, but whether chickens were/are tick eaters seems controversial.  You've just convinced me.

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #99 on: December 25, 2018, 06:26:39 AM »
That is the convincer I needed.  Guineas are known for their appetites for ticks, but whether chickens were/are tick eaters seems controversial.  You've just convinced me.
Another convincer came in an email last night.  I had asked GuineaFarm.com people about all their beautiful guineas for sale, eggs and keets, and whether guineas eat honeybees and bumblebees.  They replied that the rumor is that they do, but they do not see it.  They said that if absolutely no other insects were available, that they suppose it could happen, but it is definitely not a normal food for guineas.  They do eat ticks and many other bugs that would otherwise eat our gardens, or us.

So, I'm doubly convinced that guineas are coming to this homestead next spring.

Solani

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #100 on: December 25, 2018, 08:55:41 AM »
I would really love to have chickens. We have the space for them (and more) Yes, I know it's a pain in the rear to have to go out and deal with them in not so nice (freezing) weather. However, I feel it's been so many years since I've actually had chickens that I need to get up to speed before things go sideways... I'd also like to have rabbits, even though I know I'd definitely have issues when it comes to "harvesting" them. I would have to distance myself from those that I know we'd "eat"...  :'( Back in Sweden when I was younger and we'd have a pig and a steer every summer, we'd always exchange them with our closest neighbors, since all of our kids refused to "eat their buddies" but had no problem with eating the neighbors pigs and steers...  :o Would also love to get a few horses again. Been quite a few years since I had my horses. Same with Dan, he put his last old Belgian Horse down about 7 years ago when she was 34 yrs. old. Not sure I'd want a horse quite as big as a Belgian, even though they mostly are very sweet-natured gentle giants. If I'm going to be riding a horse, I'd rather it wasn't quite that far down to the ground...  :o Getting old and breaking easier you know...  ::) LOL My all time favorite and preferred breed of horse has been the Norwegian Fjord Horse. Stubborn to a fault, yes but, very sturdy, sure-footed, weight-bearing, highly intelligent, "designed" for cold/freezing weather temps and an all round horse. Both for riding as well as harnessed and pulling. Also a breed of horse that I've previously owned and know what makes them tick. Dan knows the Belgians but considering that I'd most likely be the one that would have to step up and take care of/train the horses,  8) I think I'd do better, sticking to the ones that I have previous experience with. Question is, where can I find one or 2 of these Norwegian Fjord horses on this side of the pond?? Have found a few that claim that they are Norwegian Fjord horses but, they look nothing like what I call "the real deal"... No way I could afford importing from Scandinavia but will have to widen my search area... Will be needing at least 2 cows/heifers and a few milk goats. Dan has most of the necessary buildings/barns out here, they just haven't been used for quite a few years...
Anywho... this and more will have to wait, as I do need to get my underground buildings/rooms and root cellar completed first... Priorities, priorities, priorities... I hate priorities! I'm an Aries, I want things NOW... LOL

//Solani
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R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #101 on: December 25, 2018, 09:18:13 AM »
Solani, I have a feeling that you'd really bond with your hens if you got at least a few.  They can be so sweet, except for the queens who are sometimes downright mean.  If introducing younger generations to an older flock, I've found that as long as they are placed together before the youngsters' combs are mature, somehow the queens are able to "read" that as being non-threatening.

I'm also unable to eat rabbit.  A childhood friend of mine, years ago, went to a great deal of trouble to hunt and cook a rabbit for me, and I was unable even to taste it!  I felt so bad for all the effort that he had put into it.

Would love to see photos of both the Norwegians and Belgians.  I did ride the neighbors' horses, but have mostly ridden a mule here recently, exercising it for a friend who now has Parkinson's Disease and can no longer ride.  However, mule is around 20 years of age and the vet says he can no longer bear weight safely.  I did learn to canter on him though in his better days, as he has such a smooth gait and I wasn't afraid with him.  Have only ever galloped unintentionally!  8)

As far as the difference between riding horses and mules, I found the riding helmet to be absolutely essential with the mule, as he would find incredibly creative ways to try and unseat me (unsuccessfully!).
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 11:04:35 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #102 on: December 25, 2018, 11:24:18 AM »
Quote
So, I'm doubly convinced that guineas are coming to this homestead next spring.

Ilinda, you might want to consider just one thing prior to selecting them:

Some - but not all - who have purchased them in the past say that as soon as they're allowed out to graze, they fly up into the trees and may or may not come back home, not having the strong homing instinct of more domesticated breeds that have been broken in (not allowed outside a totally enclosed henyard for at least the first few weeks).

I've never heard of clipping the wings of guineas, the way it's so often done for other poultry, but maybe that might be one option.  However, the rationale against clipping the wings of guineas is that flight is their protection from predators.  If you choose that option, it's so easy to do: just set one at a time in your lap, spread a wing, and nip off the long flight feathers beyond the actual wing bone, using a sturdy pair of shears.  The most difficult part is catching them first and convincing them that they're not about to be murdered  :)

Another option to consider is simply giving them an ample fenced yard, contiguous with the coop, with over-head covering, or move them about in a tractor pen.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 02:05:23 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #103 on: December 26, 2018, 07:31:04 AM »
Last night I did order the guineas.  One reason is that years ago, a former neighbor, now deceased, had guineas. She was near 90 years old when she still had them.  They would come over to our place and stand at the windows and "look in" at us, but some say they were just staring at their own reflection.  They did seem pretty close to the glass, and did appear to be staring at us!  (Just like our cat, Amy, would go next door and hop up on a bench and look in her window and stare at her watching TV!)  LOL

Anyway, I remember neighbor Elsie, said that you train your guineas when young to go into their little shed, and you lock them up each night to prevent that tree-roosting.  We had chickens do that years ago, and once they start that, it's nearly impossible to stop.  Anyway, her guineas were entertaining, pretty, good bug eaters, and could be loud at times, as they are said to be excellent "watch dogs".  I want tick control mainly.

Another friend had guineas and she said they all eventually roosted in trees, which makes them fair game for raccoons, which is what happened to the only chicken flock I ever had.  So, before the little guinea keets arrive in May, I'd better get busy building a little guinea shed for them at night.

And, re another post about horses/mules, here's what a neighbor with mules told me more than once.  He has had mules for years, and he said, pointing to the creek and the culvert over it, "I can walk a horse over to the edge and get him to go right over, but I could never do that with a mule, because they are way more intelligent than a horse."

I don't know one way or another about what he said, but thought it was interesting.  Maybe it's sort of like the difference between intelligence of wolves vs. dogs.  Wolves beat dogs in intelligence tests because it has never been bred out of them.  They HAVE to survive in the real world, without bowls of food laid before them daily, and a nice fluffy, warm bed by a fire in the winter, etc., whereas dogs are bred for looks more than anything, although some do try to breed for intelligence.  Still wolves are smarter than dogs.  I just don't know about the mule vs. horse comparison, but thought it's worth passing along.

R.R. Book

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Re: Chickens
« Reply #104 on: December 26, 2018, 07:48:19 AM »
That's hilarious Ilinda, that the guineas would press their faces against the glass and peek in at you like that!  It sounds as if you are meant to have them.

Sounds like you have the right plan, to keep them closed in at least for the night. 

« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 07:58:35 AM by R.R. Book »

 

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