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The Dark Side of Backyard Chickens

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

http://www.chow.com/food-news/104627/the-dark-side-of-backyard-chickens/

If you're thinking of getting a chicken coop and filling it with your own chickens so you'll have fresh eggs, perhaps you should read this first.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Solve the problem by finding someone like me. I raise free range hens to produce free range eggs.
I have a CSA group, Community Supported Agriculture, that buy my eggs.
They have subscribed for a certain number of eggs per month. I meet them at a local cafe on Saturday mornings & they pick up their eggs. I take care of all the expense & problems & they get to have farm fresh eggs.
Bernie

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Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Goodness, you have quite an operation going there! Good for you. But so many people don't have a clue and get into something over their heads.

Wow, those look like super jumbo sized eggs! Beautiful.

Bridgewater, ME

WOW thats quite the operation

Richmond, TX

Backyard chickens still have a great life compared to the factory-farmed ones. Don't give up the idea!

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Get a sexlink breed chick to avoid roos. And what's wrong with harvesting an old laying hen for the stew pot?

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

I get very aggravated at people who use blatant exaggeration to make a point. All this article does is make the author seem strident, uneducated in the subject, and over-the-top. Back yard chickens are subject to the same problems as every other kind of companion animals. They can be well kept, or badly managed. Most are probably somewhere in between. Fortunately, population control need not present a problem, just a benefit. Pick up the eggs:)

I just went to try to figure out what "free range" actually means. Apparently, not much. "I" always had visions of happy hens running about in grass and scratching under trees. How naive :(.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requires that chickens raised for their meat have access to the outside in order to receive the free-range certification. There is no requirement for access to pasture, and there may be access to only dirt or gravel . Free-range chicken eggs, however, have no legal definition in the United States. Likewise, free-range egg producers have no common standard on what the term means."

from the article;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_range

Oh well.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

"Free Range", a very loose term. Ours are housed in a building where they can run around. We have an outside are for them in nice weather. (This winter that has been nearly every day.)
Our flock is about 225 hens. We had 300 to start last spring. If we were to have them on grass, I don't know how many acres we would need.Chickens will tear up an area in short order. They will eat the grass then scratch in it for bugs or whatever until it is black. They do better than a garden tiller.

Our breed is Gold Star layers. When they hatch, pullets are brown, roosters are white.

As far as killing newly hatched roosters, some of the egg farms have millions of hens. What would you do with millions of roosters that would never make a meal if you did save them. (White eggs come from a form of leghorn. Leghorn roosters are very small when mature.)

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I have a backyard chicken coop and run. I have always wanted chickens, ever since my very first 4-H show. My parents would not let me have them as they said chickens stink. I had horses. I cleaned stalls daily for many years and loved every minute of it. I would say that my 5 hens, rooster, and 4 peacocks are very spoiled creatures. They get the best feed I can find and afford, fresh water daily, all areas cleaned at least once a week if not more. They get treats like fresh blueberries and collard greens frequently and are kept safe from predators. They even get blocks of ice and a fan in the hot summer. They reward me with lovely fresh eggs and a very calming crooning whenever I am near. My DH sits out by the chicken run on summer evenings w/a glass of wine and watches them. They are very funny and he swears they help his high blood pressure.

So if you want a few hens for your back yard I would say to do the research. Decide what breed/s and how many. Then, if you don't wan't roosters, order from someone who will only ship the amount you want and gender you want. Ask us here on the forum. I'm only a beginner, but we are all here to help/enable and can forward links to reputable sources for most breeds.

No sence forming an opinion from just that one article.

Here is a link to a past thread featuring another hard working fellow raising chickens with as much freedom as possible. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1150631/
I think that link works. I've not ever linked another thread before.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

I'm glad my post started a conversation since I know absolutely nothing about raising chickens. I've learned a lot here. Thanks to everyone who's posted.

Richmond, TX

Oh, you must get some. They are a joy!

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

But be vewwy, vewwy caweful...they are worse than potato chips, and MUCH cuter:)

Richmond, TX

- But unlike potato chips, they don't make you fat!

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

EXCELLENT point!!

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Chickens, and most animals, are better than TV and you never lose the signal. :) I love having chickens. Mine do not have access to a yard anymore. They do live in a nice enclosed house with a big window for fresh air and sunlight. I keep it bedded in sawdust so it's clean and they can scratch around in it. It is always dry. They are fed well and I give them things like cabbage heads, beets and other root crops to give them something to peck at. I think they are happy birds.
I have 6 EEs, 6 RSLs that I hope to replace, 1 game hen and 1 GC. I also have a pair of bantams that are kept seperate and one lone GC roo I have tried to give away. Fideaux was DHs pet and he refuses to eat him. The roo is so big I don't relish the thought of butchering him so he is still here. *sigh*

Tamworth, NH(Zone 4b)

One of those stupid articles written only for the drama.

Eatonton, GA(Zone 8b)

Heres the thing that I call the Downside of raising Chickens! You just have to be careful about these hungry critters, as well as others!

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Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

Terry I am the same as you. They get the best care and food that I am able. I also sit and watch them and my ducks. I have several chairs all over the yard lol

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

=D

Redwood City, CA

BivBiv, Thanks for posting the informative article and starting a discussion.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

You're quite welcome. As I said, I've learned a lot here because I really know nothing about raising chickens. I actually don't want to have chickens (for health reasons, I eat an egg probably once or twice a year even though I LOVE eggs), and I posted the article for those who might be interested in the pros and cons of raising chickens.

Los Gatos, CA

I love my chickens too. They all have names, and I too sit and watch them. Very entertaining!

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

If I had chickens, I'm sure I'd name them, too. Heck, I've named my car, my husband's truck, a couple of our fish who stand out among the crowd, some of our plants, and my fridge! :)))))

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

There's a downside to everything. Heck, there's a downside to getting out of bed in the morning, but you can't let that stop you. You can find all the negative you want if you search hard enough. That article sounds like some city slicker that is afraid to get dirty. LOL

All the negative in the entire article doesn't hold a candle to a yard full of big fat girls that race to meet you every day! Not to mention the delicious and nutritious meals they give me.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Well, I guess that would be the downside for me. If those big fat girls raced to meet me every day, I'm not sure I could be happy greeting them on my dinner plate. :(

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

You're not a farmer are you.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Heck, we picked Brahmas because they are "light" layers. In other words they don't lay as many eggs. I still give quite a few eggs to a friend here at work.

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Gee, CountryGardens, how did you guess that? LOL

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Farmers don't name their food.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Ah, but they do name their tractors! =D

Richmond, TX

Absolutely!

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I've heard them called some not so nice names, but don't think they are regular names.
Especially when they won't start our other problem times.

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