Get your wife some chickens


#21

Heh, I was just talking to her about “Legerns”, that’s how she pronounces them too. She was saying that when she was about 20, that one rooster had cornered her in front of the smokehouse. This is after he had flogged her earlier in the day. He was pacing back and forth, back and forth, about 10 feet from the door, daring her to come out. She looked around, peeking out the door, plotting her escape, and while he backed off a bit, she made a mad dash to the house. So, while they’re good egg producers, we’ll pass on the Legrns.

I asked her which breeds they raised beside them, and she said Barred Rock, RIR, Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, Cochin, Ameracauna and her Dad liked the Polish breed, just because of its crazy plumage.

I looked at the folks you mentioned, and some others, and while the chick prices are reasonable, the shipping costs are very high. Like for 15 chicks, a minimum order, it cost over $200 to ship them?! So, we’ll just be stopping by our local farm stores for the birds.


#22

Cute ducklings. Is that milk in the bowl? What kind of flavor do duck eggs have? I’ve never tried any before.


#23

That’s just the base of a 5 gallon bucket with water. I have not had a duck egg before but they should be laying by summer.


#24

Cochin are the sweetest of the bunch but they don’t lay many eggs. They are very smart, gentle, good mothers etc. A leghorn is all the things your wife said with no exaggeration but I have had some that layed two eggs in a day. How did I know they laid two eggs you might ask and that was because out of those 8 hens I got 10 eggs and several were double yolks! The rooster I had jumped on cars before trying to get people so they truly are as mean as all the stories. English game chickens are no sweethearts either.


#25

My sis has 50-60 ducks in mid Wisc. Has to put a net over the top to keep the eagles off them.
Imagine the biggest chicken egg you’ve ever seen and add a half again to it and you got the size of a duck egg. Add a little rancid grease to a chicken egg and you know what a duck egg tastes like. She sells them to big time home bakers. When it’s real cold, she gets up at 2:00 am to pick up eggs so they won’t freeze. No thanks!


#26

I ate many a duck egg in my younger days. They are like very large chicken eggs, somewhat tougher when fried, not quite as tasty, but otherwise fine. .


#27

I think it is kind of like drinking freash milk as opposed to homogenized 2% , it all depends on what you are used to. Sometimes making a switch is difficult. If you didn’t eat for a day or two a duck would probably taste delicious. I used to have free range bantums and nobody in the household would eat the eggs. They preferred the pale yellow ones from the store.


#28

What a fun thread I’ve been missing…but I took the time to read every single post in it and agree with everything everyone has said. But of course my propensity toward “chattiness” requires me to chime in!
I currently have only about 7 chickens, but my flock drastically ebbs and flows over the year. I think I had 38 this past spring. By the end of summer I was down around 25, then in the last 2 months have lost around 20. All that is 98% predators and 2% cars. I free range my chickens year round, but they do have a nice little coop with solid walls and roof that they go in at night. But that is the only winter protection they ever get, and even at 0 they do great. Its me that hates the cold because I don’t have any electricity near their coop so I have to keep putting out unfrozen water. However, I’ve “trained” them (simply by putting food just outside my back door) to come up to the house everyday in the winter so its easy to feed and water them there rather than having to hike out to their coop which is pretty far from the house.

My chickens are just “mutts”- I’ve had lots of breeds over time and they’ve crossed all different ways. Fortunately they are pretty large for the most part. My eggs are always brown, but surprisingly a lot of people around here prefer that- I think its because it sort-of confirms that they are farm raised, country eggs (even though white egg layers could be raised the same way). People I give eggs to are always telling me the brown eggs are much “richer”. There is no question that farm raised eggs are 1000 times better than store bought caged eggs, but if a white layer and brown layer are both free ranged on my land, I can’t detect much difference in taste between brown and white- but many people strongly disagree so I may be wrong.

No one has mentioned much about eating their chickens. I do harvest a few for meat each year but not many. I’m sure many of you will recoil in horror, but I often eat birds that have been killed by a predator! ha. Wait…let me explain. Often a hawk will swoop in and kill a chicken very quickly. If I’m in the house I will hear all the other chickens squawking and going nuts. I grab my rife and often get a shot at the hawk (rarely hit it though!) as he is just starting to eat his prize. They almost always start at the head and neck. When all this happens and I know the chicken has just been killed and is still warm and hasn’t had its body torn into, then yes, I’ll pick it up, clean, pluck, gut, and freeze or eat it!!! But that’s not the same (to me) as just eating road-kill! haha.

@subdood_ky_z6b I encourage you strongly to raise a few chickens and see how it goes. As many here have said, they are incredibly easy to raise, require very little intervention, are somewhat self-propagating (I do hatch about 25 in an incubator once or twice a year, but even that is very, very enjoyable to me and you have children they will enjoy hatching chicks more than you know-and its a great way for them to learn about life.) As others have said, they really have an impact on bugs- especially grass hoppers. They produce amazing amounts of fertilize and its soooo good for the garden. In fact, its a little “too good” meaning you have to either compost it or apply it very stingy or its easy to burn a plant up. But again, that’s almost a good thing to me as it speaks to the concentration of nutrients that it contains. They will occasionally peck a hole in some ripe tomatoes, and eat tender, newly sprouted garden plants, But they have full access to my garden and they don’t do enough damage to be a big problem. The one problem they do give me is that any tree fruit, ESPECIALLY PEACHES, that is within about 3 feet of the ground, they will ruin. They won’t flying into the tree, but they will stand on the ground and jump up, taking a bite out of the fruit when they are at the apex of their jump! It’s actually very entertaining to watch…until you realize they are doing this to every low-hanging fruit you have. My solution has been to put up very simple little construction-netting fences around the few trees with low hanging fruit. Its not nearly as hard as it sounds if I explained my “fencing”- just know that they are pretty easily blocked out.

My predator loss is almost entirely from Hawks. I loose as many as 2 a week on average, which is why I have to occasionally boost the population with my incubator as well as allow the chickens to hatch a few batches each spring. The larger my chickens, the longer they resist hawk attacks. My biggest chickens always live longest. for this reason, I’m going to try a very large breed chicken this spring and see how it goes.

So, ANY chicken owner (that includes you, @Chikn , was has made it through this long post, I’d love to hear your opion/experience with a breed called “Jersey Giants”. From all I’ve seen and read, they seem to be the largest, FAIRLY common breed of chicken. There are a few other really expensive, rare chickens that are a little bigger, but I want something more affordable/common and Jersey Giants appear to be that. Have any of you owned or known anyone who raised them? Are they a decent breed? I understand they aren’t the best layers, but are somewhat average or just slightly below avg. - is that true ?

Anyway, you’ve already got lots of great advice here but if I can ever be of any assistance, and since we’re in pretty much the same geographical area (though it does get colder where you are) I’ll help any way that I can. Good luck! Hope you give it a try. They are a lot of fun and almost no work- depending on how you approach it.
kevin


#29

I did make it through the entire post :wink:. I have never raised jersey giants but I have raised large meat bread crosses and on a couple of occasions saved ten hens and a rooster to make me a small flock. In my experience these large meat birds seemed to have problems with their feet and legs as they matured. I suspect their main function was just to live 6 weeks in a commercial chicken house. That being said an older breed like jersey giant may have had these issues weeded out over the years.


#30

What a “novel” answer, heh. Thanks for the tips. That’s a lot of loss to hawks, good thing you’re able to regenerate your losses if necessary. I see hawks around here occasionally, but not sure they’d be the chicken-eatin kind. As far as predators go, we do have coyotes in the area, we hear them at night occasionally, but I’ve only seen one in the yard in almost 3 years here.

I know about the manure, like I mentioned up thread, my aunt and uncle grew them commercially, and would provide my Mom with lots of it. She’d put them on her flowers, but told me she had to be careful as to not burn them with the fresher stuff.

We don’t have kids, but our niece has a couple of boys under 5, so they’d probably get a kick out of them.

Regarding the largest breeds, my wife said they might have grown Jumbo Cornish Rocks, but most of their birds were the smaller types.

I’ll look into them more in the late winter/early spring. I actually went to a little class last year on raising chickens sponsored by a local Southern States store. I took some notes, but have forgot most of what I learned. SS usually has the better variety to pick from. A neighbor up the road sometimes sells some of her Orpington chickens, so well have to check her FB site.

I wanted to ask, do you ever get tired though, of all the eggs? I mean, I can prob eat a couple of them 3 times in a week, but I don’t think I could eat them them more than that. We could give some away, but most folks around here grow their own anyway, and give us their extra.

I would prob eat more a week, but I have a phobia about the high cholesterol in them. I’ve heard both sides of the argument that eating eggs every day doesn’t necessarily raise your cholesterol, while some say it will. My somewhat educated opinion is that most folks don’t absorb all external sources of cholesterol, it just eliminates the excess. Anyone have an opinion on this?


#31

I get chickens fairly cheap typically. The way I do it is tell the stores that sell chickens to call me if they wind up with some they cant get rid of. Last time I bought 70 4-6 week old chickens for $35. They were flying all over the store when I got there. They had their wing feathers so no wonder they were selling them cheap! Next time I get some it will be a small flock of white leghorns and maybe a few dark Cornish. I’ve raised most of the varieties at one time or another. I’ve kept chickens most of my life and am in my mid 40’s now.


#32

Makes me wonder - can you get white Leghorn hens and a rooster from a more peace-loving breed?


#33

That’s a pretty good tip, I can’t believe the store kept them that long, lol. I had some brown leghorns once. They were good layers of brown eggs. They are a bit better camouflaged also. A white chicken kind of stands out to predators.


#34

Ltilton,
The Dekalb hybrids (hens only) would out lay leghorns but they were hens only. They were very good mothers but once in a while the babies would be grey and die. I had a white leghorn rooster. They were as good as chickens can get. Got them through a feed store called shimers and they were several dollars each when I was 7 or 8 years old. Chickens back then were 50 cents at most. Have not seen any Dekalb hybrids for many years 25+ but if I did I would buy them regardless the cost! No doubt they were a white leghorn cross but what were they crossed with? Since you don’t need a rooster to get eggs a mean white leghorn is only necessary if you want to breed the chickens.


#35

I had a big white rooster when I was a kid that always wanted to fight. I thought it was funny so I made a toy out of an empty cat food bag and a small rope. You could make the bag dance around and that rooster would just go berserk and attack it. I thought it was so funny. As it turned out he got so damn mean I would have to carry a scoop shovel in front of me when I fed the chickens to protect my shins., lol.


#36

That sounds like a white leghorn. Carry a weapon of some type to approach them. If your gathering eggs he interprets that as stealing and you should watch your back. A snow shovel might be a good approach. If you walk out your door your encroaching on his territory and that would be a flogging. My rooster I would walk up to him and pet him so people thought he would put up with that from everyone but that was something he tolerated only from the hand that fed him. My sisters and mom carried a broom when outside. It was bad when the raccoon got him because without him the other chickens were picked off in broad daylight in short order by various predators he had kept at bay. I put a guinea with that flock to sound an alarm and he would attack the predator. It was a great plan and worked well for a long time.


#37

future freezer inhabitant.


#38

Did yer Legrn look like this, and talk with a southern accent??


#39

Yes, as it turns out he went into the pot.


#40

Having had many mean roosters over the years, one good trick to stop some of the aggression towards humans is to catch the bird and gently hold it down, roll it over several times, move the head around so it sees you. You have now become the dominant rooster and he will leave you alone. This tactic only works for about a month or two before the roosters small brain forgets. After playing this dominator trick on him it also helps to walk him down on a regular basis. They will then be wary of humans but not of anything else.