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Poultry and Livestock: How many chickens?

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FrillyLily
springfield area, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 7, 2009
3:40 AM

Post #5975918

How many chickens would a family of 5 need to use about 12 eggs a week?
Also do chickens need a rooster? Or do they still lay eggs, but aren't fertile?
LOL I know some of you are laughing right about now.
I don't know anything about chickens! Do they need a wire ceiling? Won't other birds come in and hurt them without a top?
And what about heat in the winter?

Will the cost of taking care of the chickens pay for itself with the eggs?
I'm thinking these would end up being expensive eggs!
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 7, 2009
3:44 AM

Post #5975936

You do not need a roo to have eggs. If you want about a dozen a week than you could probably have 3 or 4 hens. I have 11 and get 4 eggs a day about. But 2 are roos and 5 are too little to lay. They need to be about 4 to 5 months old before they lay (depending on the breed)
I have a wire roof on my run. Not everyone does. Many free range them. I dont, and mine flew over my 6 foot tall fence! hehehe Good luck!!! I sure do love my chickens! I bet you will too.
Jeanmarie
FrillyLily
springfield area, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 7, 2009
3:55 AM

Post #5975961

Are they expensive to keep?
Do roosters really wake you up in the morning? well why feed and house a rooser if ya don't need him lol I can fix my own flat tire he he
I was concerned about hawks or owls ect? do they swoop in and harm the chickens?
ZZsBabiez
Lodi, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 7, 2009
4:03 AM

Post #5975981

Hi FrillyLily,

I love hearing my roo wake me up.. usually right on time... it's a very gentle wake up.. NOT bothersome at all.
If you feed and house a rooster, he will give you more chickens. :)

Yes, predators are a big concern.. if you have a top over the coop, they should be fine. I learned the hard way. Not with birds of prey.. but with the neighbor's dog! (go figure, there are coyotes all around.. raccoons, possum, etc..)
Another neighbor's cat ate 2 of my chicks! I never dreamed they were in danger..

It's only expensive if you have a lot.. Depends on your idea of expensive. I would pay a lot more if I had to.. I love my chickens so much! It's not only healthy.. it's therapy.

Well.. that's my 2cents! Glad to see ya posting here!
DrDoolotz
Oxford, NS
(Zone 5b)

January 7, 2009
4:04 AM

Post #5975985

My chickens free range all day and are in the coop at night. Never had a bird taken by an owl or hawk. I think they might go after chicks or really young birds, but not adults so often. Yes, roosters really can wake you up. We use a white noise machine for sleeping so we don't hear them. It is not expensive to keep just a few hens.
Haystack
Ferndale, WA

January 7, 2009
6:16 AM

Post #5976200

Hi Frillylilly: Welcome to the forum. Chickens like any other animal deserve to be well cared for. If it's just eggs you want then your better off to buy them. But ZZ'S said it so well, It's not just eggs but therapy, and believe me they will return anything you spend ten times over in oh so many ways. You can't know how the water is until you jump into it. Go for it and good luck Haystack.
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 7, 2009
11:40 AM

Post #5976350

The most expensive part is building a coop, unless you can use an exhisting structure. My husband had to build me a new one. (that made him really happy) ;) The feed is not that much especailly if you only have 4 or 5 hens. I have two roos. Ones name is pot pie (and that is what he'll be if he does not stop attacking me) and Duke. Duke is a gentlman. I keep him because he makes the girls feel safe and He is pretty! He does not wake me up because our coop is insulated and they are locked in until I am up and outside to open it. I live in NY. I have most of the same preditors as you do I believe. I have a fully enclosed run because I live surrounded by woods and corn fields. Its just MY piece of mind. I have barn cats across the street as well who eyeball my chickens too. And the niehbors dog would love to play with them. That would stress them out. What kinds would you like? I have mixes (mutts) but I love them all. Best of luck to you! jeanmarie
FrillyLily
springfield area, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 7, 2009
3:02 PM

Post #5976907

Well I really am after just the eggs. The yucky bland tasting ones at store is getting tiring.
But, I would not keep chickens unless I felt they were cared for properly. So that is why I was asking. I don't really want to feed and house birds and then find out my yummy eggs are averaging out at $10 a dozen, ya know?
I feel I would have to have a mesh ceiling at least, we have owls. When I raised toy poodles, one owl would come every evening just at dusk when I let the babies out for potties before bed. I would have to stay out with them because I am SURE he would have swooped down and picked them off one by one.
I would pass on the rooster because there is no such thing as a gentle waking up if you ask me. I would come to soon hate him lol
I am a light sleeper, hard to sleep without heat in the winter, but even the electric furnace when it kicks on will wake me up. Plus I live in a subdivision. That's another story.

I wouldn't care what kind they were, probably buy cheapest I could find. The eggs are the same right? I would have to heat the house in the winter though? I would feel sorry for them being cold. I hate to see animals be cold or hungry.
What do you put on the floor of the outdoor run? Don't they wear the grass out and just have mud? I would like to put down straw, how often do you change that out? I have three kids, would they risk parasites or anything to use the 'used' straw in my flower beds as mulch? If I fenced off a large enough area, maybe the grass would be ok with only about 7 or 8 birds?
ok lots of questions sorry!
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 7, 2009
3:30 PM

Post #5977009

Thats okay! Questions are fun.
I have mulch in my run. My DH dug it down and filled it with mulch. (It is not treated with anything) They can dig down to the dirt, we just go in and rake it back again and add more when needed. It does not get very muddy but when it does I throw down hay. They love to play in that as well. They pick the seeds out for hours. I just rake up the hay when it gets yucky (technical term for old) ;) My house is NOT heated. Its insulated with good stuff and it has wood siding. I put a 250 watt heat lamp inside though and it keeps it warm and prevents the water from freezing.
You really dont need a roo. I just could not get rid of Duke. We hatched our own eggs in the incubator and Duke was my fluffy baby. He slept on my chest and watched TV with me.
It really does not matter what kind of chickens you get. There are some that lay white eggs, pinkish eggs, brown, blue, and green. Its preferance. I have mixed hens and they lay great eggs. Some are brown, some are white/pinkish. They all taste good! There is a site about making an owl with lights on the inside to keep other owls away and other preditors. I will look for the link. But I still have a wire top on my run. Paranoid i guess.
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 7, 2009
3:31 PM

Post #5977016

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/939600/
Here is one of them. The lights in the eyes will keep others away.
Its neat!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 7, 2009
4:57 PM

Post #5977353

Most hens give between 3-6 eggs a week. Plan on 4 from youngish hens that are not super-layer chickens. That means 3-4 hens should do you. It costs me about $15/week for 30 chickens. A bag of layer mash should average around $9 depending on location etc. I think it should be cost effective for you. There is a page on the reference thread that will give you an av # weekly egg production by bird type should be on the first posting, but I'm out the door 5 min ago...good luck!
Patchouli78
Foley, MO

January 7, 2009
9:16 PM

Post #5978331

Also, if your wanting eggs in the winter, it might be a good idea to run a light out in their pen as the majority, if not all, will stop laying as the daylight hours diminish. I have no heater in my henhouse (seems like that might be a fire hazard), some run heat lamps out to their houses. I did last year and had eggs all winter. Didn't do it this year and I'm now only getting eggs from the ducks. They are not bugged by being out their without heat as there are enough hens and roos to keep each other warm. Make sure your henhouse is draft free, but not airtight as they do need ventilation also. Missouri summers are hot and humid!
Haystack
Ferndale, WA

January 8, 2009
4:19 AM

Post #5980046

wow grownut: I pay 15 bucks a bag for layer crumbles and go through five bags a month for thirty grown chickens. That does not include the pine shavings for the coop nor any of the waterers or feeders or the electricity bill. then I have brooding pens and mating pens and little odds-n-ends constantly. Then comes the high price of building a coop and run unless you free range them. I figure it costs me easily a hundred bucks a month or more. None the less I love it. I sell approx thirty doz eggs a month which recovers 3/4 of the cost. Haystack. I think if its just eggs she should try and find a local chicken lover and buy eggs from them.
FrillyLily
springfield area, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 8, 2009
4:21 AM

Post #5980052

I think I will just put an ad in the paper for wanting farm eggs.
I wouldn't mind having a few chickens, they are pretty neat.
And I wouldn't mind the work. Have the space. But I don't want to put that kind of money into it. I know that taking care of animals properly is costly and usually doesn't pay off. It's more of a hobby thing. You can hardly make money off of animals if you are treating them right.
Haystack
Ferndale, WA

January 8, 2009
4:40 AM

Post #5980115

Honestly Frilly I think your making a wise decision. I know it's only my opinion, but we never adressed the the fact thats it's a seven day a week chore also. Good luck to you. Haystack
luvs2garden2000
(Tia) Norman, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 8, 2009
11:48 AM

Post #5980605

Yes Haystack very true. It is a 7 day a week job. Cant go anywhere per an extended time or you have to get someone you trust to take care of the animals.
Harmonyplace

(Zone 7b)

January 8, 2009
5:10 PM

Post #5981650

I agree it's much better if you are just wanting fresh eggs to find them in your area.
Owning chickens is a job that all of us chicken heads don't mind doing. But if you have reservations about the cost and the care of chickens they may not be for you.
It takes loveing chickens to have them :-)
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 8, 2009
5:43 PM

Post #5981787

If you like them and want to try you could always start with a few girls.
You never know if its something you would like or love until you try. :)
saanansandy
Sue, RI
(Zone 6a)

January 8, 2009
6:44 PM

Post #5981985

I wonder if it would be better to buy 5 or 6 month old pullets from a local feed store instead of incorporating the price of raising chicks. Our local Agway sells them in July for $10 a bird. They are just starting to lay at that time.
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 8, 2009
7:10 PM

Post #5982089

That would be a good investment in my opinion.
Good thinking Sandy!
saanansandy
Sue, RI
(Zone 6a)

January 8, 2009
7:36 PM

Post #5982184

I know you can get them on Craigslist sometimes but you can never be sure if they are young birds especially if you're not familiar w/ them.
Haystack
Ferndale, WA

January 8, 2009
11:26 PM

Post #5982900

SaanSandy: If a person can buy pullets locally for ten bucks thats a real bargain. It sounds high to some but all things considered that is a great price. The problem with craigs list is that you have no way of knowing what your getting, how they have been treated, or even how old they really are unless you really know your chickens. Sewin Your are so right, you can't know if you don't give it a try. I just listened to Frilly and definitely felt she wanted eggs not chickens. We are a bit crazy lets face it. Chickens are best cared for by the insane. LOL Hey Hatch day is comming!!!! Can't wait for your report. My best to you a chicks4ever. haystack
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 8, 2009
11:30 PM

Post #5982927

Yes, I am a bit nuts! I have a bunch of eggs in the bator. DH just shakes his head and sighs. 8 more came in the mail today! hehehe
Patchouli78
Foley, MO

January 9, 2009
6:03 AM

Post #5984187

Crazy? I beg to differ madame! I'm simply MAD about my chickens, lol : )
Haystack
Ferndale, WA

January 9, 2009
6:10 AM

Post #5984189

SC you are a rip, I read your comments and just reel. I can just see your hubby shaking his head, I've lost my wife to chickens!! CHICKEN'S!! Are you kidding me. And just when hes regaining his composure here comes "chicks4ever" Daddy uh uh you know those baby ducks I was talking about!!! Poor man I really feel for him. NOT ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Hay
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 9, 2009
11:24 AM

Post #5984351

Ya, thats exactly what its like. One thing after another. We try not to overwhelm him though. He is a delicate flower...hehehe. Just kidding. We are just afraid he will crack at some point. DD is learning to slow down and introduce things slowwwwlyyy. Poor man, he just does not know!
He may feel like he lost me to chickens, until the duck egg show up! :0
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 9, 2009
3:11 PM

Post #5984855

Hay, mine free range and the cost is less per bag -I give 'em a mix of layer crumbles and scratch (they hardly eat the crumbles -just walk off and scratch in the barn). Go through 2 50# bags of scratch and 1 50# bag of 20% layer per 2 weeks, total cost $30. If I had to keep them penned up I'm sure my costs would go up...

JM -think he'd notice an ostrich egg through the mail?!...shhhh...
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 9, 2009
5:46 PM

Post #5985453

Ohhhh Goodie! I just ran and got a new bator. hehehe
He may notice that though. They are pretty big. Perhaps I can temp him with a super sized omelet idea! hmmmmm!
MissJestr
Kingman, AZ
(Zone 7a)

January 9, 2009
10:17 PM

Post #5986299

Oh Harmonyplace am I truly a chickenhead? I dont care how much it cost I really miss my chickens and it is really suppose to be nice here this weekend so I figure me and Billy will finish up the other pen and get more chickens... I dont want to raise them from babies so I dont want to wait to the spring, I miss my morning wake up by the roo... I miss the girls chatting with me, and most of all I miss the time me and Billy spent talking to eachother while we were in the hen house...
sewincircle
Elbridge, NY
(Zone 5a)

January 9, 2009
10:33 PM

Post #5986365

AWWWW! You need chickens NOW!
That is so sweet. Its the best reason I have ever heard for, why to get chickens!!!
Simply sweet!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 9, 2009
11:16 PM

Post #5986490

Mojave...

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