Backyard Chickens - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-25-2010, 11:36 AM
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I'm just starting to research how best to set up and care for the chickens. I still have a bunch to learn before I will be comfortable getting them.



One of my concerns is what to do with the chickens later in their life, once they stop laying eggs or if they die.



Has anyone here made the decision to have chickens? I'm finding lots of information online but none of it really addresses a vegetarian point of view.
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#2 Old 05-25-2010, 11:56 AM
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I would love to adopt some chickens. Recently we had a chicken "visit" for a few nights. She just appeared in our garden and I tried to find out where she came from. For the few days she was here she pottered around the garden and I made a bed in our woodshed and shut her in at night ( we have a lot of foxes around here). She laid an egg every morning (which I have been told means she was comfortable?) but I couldn't bring myself to eat it - just seemed a bit odd. She ended up going home to her coop up the road after a few days.



Anyway, after that experience, I realised I would be happy to adopt rescue chickens and give them a comfortable home but I am not comfortable to eat their eggs and I also need to make sure I can afford vet costs and time to give the chickens a comfortable life, even well after they are egg bearing.
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#3 Old 05-25-2010, 12:05 PM
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we are ovo-lacto so we would really love to have our own eggs where we know the chickens are eating a great organic diet and are given a good life, not shocked and hurt to lay.
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#4 Old 05-25-2010, 12:19 PM
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I think the reason I felt odd about eating her eggs was that it's been so long since I've eaten them. She lay them and then wandered off. Perhaps if I was used to eating them I wouldn't have felt odd about it. If you treat the chickens right, preferably go through an animal rescue organisation to get them (to avoid them being sold by an egg farmer and then simply replaced) and look after them once they stop laying and being "useful" then I think that is lovely.
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#5 Old 05-25-2010, 12:22 PM
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We have chickens, they're very clever and naughty lol we do eat their eggs but thats not the reason we have them, they are a part of our little family, if they stopped laying it would make no difference to us. When they do eventually go :'( we will adopt some ex-battery hens.



Just make sure you can provide them with a safe enclosure (to stop predators) and enough room for a roam around, be prepared to lose your lawn though, ours is just dirt now pretty much but they enjoy it which is the main thing. They're pretty much self sufficient, you'll just need to give them a quick clean out each day (remove the poo from their coop - takes about 10 mins) a thorough clean once a week and make sure they have food, water and treatment/prevention for lice/mites. Thats about it, I think you'll love having them, they're so sweet and funny and very cunning lol



Enjoy!
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#6 Old 05-25-2010, 01:08 PM
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I would say that you should let them live out the remainder of their lives regardless of if they stop laying, my BF has had chickens and from what i understand they very much become pets!

If my hubby (omni) and i get property i will have a few to supply his egg needs and cause i think they are adorable, however if they go on strike or stop laying, no harm to foul!

I second all the notions above to make sure (which you are) you have good animal husbandry first and that is what you are thinking of (rather than putting the egg for your belly first ...) best of luck!

http://haylieskitchen.blogspot.com/ (married to an omni so cooking from both spectrums)
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#7 Old 05-25-2010, 01:10 PM
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I'm trying to search where to find rescue chickens here but so far I've had no luck. i'll keep looking, its going to be a while before we are ready for them.
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#8 Old 05-25-2010, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Veenus View Post

I'm trying to search where to find rescue chickens here but so far I've had no luck. i'll keep looking, its going to be a while before we are ready for them.



Whereabouts are you Veenus - UK, US? I know in the UK there are many charities which organise 'rescues' of chickens from battery farms, they usually happen every few months and you can put your name on a list, they usually ask for a small fee/donation. Otherwise I know of some people who go direct to the farmer, again you will have to pay a small amount although I know this would go to the profits of the farmer I suppose but its worth it to save a few of those babies from a certain death.



Here in the UK there's the British Hen Welfare Trust http://www.bhwt.org.uk/ I'm sure there must be similar organisations where you live. Good luck
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#9 Old 05-25-2010, 02:07 PM
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US, north Texas
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#10 Old 05-25-2010, 03:02 PM
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We have some chickens and being lacto-ovo, the eggs are great. We eat so few that we give away the surplus! Once they stop laying we're gonna keep them, they eat a lot of ticks and bugs and things like that. We have about 2 acres of land, so we move them around every month or so, otherwise, yes, they will reduce your lawn to bare dirt!!
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#11 Old 05-25-2010, 03:06 PM
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We have chickens. They can live about 15 years if well cared for, so be prepared to commit to them for that long.



Predator proofing is harder than you might think. To keep out weasels, the entire chicken house needs to be clad in 1/2 inch hardware cloth. (A weasel can get through pretty much any opening a large mouse or small rat can get through. We learned this the hard way when we lost one of our ducks (the other duck was severely injured) to a weasel who somehow wedged itself under the door of our duck house, which has double, insulated, walls and windows protected by plexiglass and wire.) If you have hawks or other birds of prey in the area, a good fence isn't enough - they need to be protected from above also.



Be prepared to organize your life around having to get the chickens securely into their house by dusk. (Apart from weasels, raccoons and foxes can climb most fences, and raccoons will reach through chicken wire and pull off heads.) If you live in a area with free roaming dogs, those may be the biggest threat to your chickens, other than humans. (Six of our chickens were stolen one night - we now have a padlock.)



Our chickens (and ducks) are delightful.
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#12 Old 05-25-2010, 03:07 PM
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We don't have a HUGE yard but it's ok sized, I think. We are trying to decide if we want a big perm. house for them or a smaller movable one. We don't care about our grass at all so that won't be a worry.
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#13 Old 05-25-2010, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mlp View Post

We have chickens. They can live about 15 years if well cared for, so be prepared to commit to them for that long.



Predator proofing is harder than you might think. To keep out weasels, the entire chicken house needs to be clad in 1/2 inch hardware cloth. (A weasel can get through pretty much any opening a large mouse or small rat can get through. We learned this the hard way when we lost one of our ducks (the other duck was severely injured) to a weasel who somehow wedged itself under the door of our duck house, which has double, insulated, walls and windows protected by plexiglass and wire.) If you have hawks or other birds of prey in the area, a good fence isn't enough - they need to be protected from above also.



Be prepared to organize your life around having to get the chickens securely into their house by dusk. (Apart from weasels, raccoons and foxes can climb most fences, and raccoons will reach through chicken wire and pull off heads.) If you live in a area with free roaming dogs, those may be the biggest threat to your chickens, other than humans. (Six of our chickens were stolen one night - we now have a padlock.)



Our chickens (and ducks) are delightful.







Great post, lots of stuff to think about. We live in the burbs (yes I've checked we can have up to 12 chickens, no roosters). The backyard is fully fenced and we will definitely make sure their home is as secure as possible.
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#14 Old 05-25-2010, 03:57 PM
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I don't know if this is an option for you, but you might want to contact a chicken battery farm and ask if they will give you a few chicks that would otherwise be culled (read: thrown in a grinder) because they don't meet industry standards for one reason or another.



My aunt's boyfriend runs a Tyson chicken farm, and he has offered me chick hens on several occasions that are just destroyed otherwise. Since the farmer kills the chicks anyway, I'm sure most of them would have no problem giving you a few.
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#15 Old 05-25-2010, 04:24 PM
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The other thing to watch out for is how high your fence is. Our chicken yard fence is 5 feet high, and one of the girls still manages to get over it every day or so.
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#16 Old 05-25-2010, 04:28 PM
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They will always have to stay in a covered/contained area for their safety. We have dogs and inside cats that sneak out. I want to make sure they have a lot of space to wander around in even though they can't be truly free.
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#17 Old 05-25-2010, 06:46 PM
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My chicken fence is only 3 feet high, yet it's pretty rare one of the girls organizes a jailbreak. And if one of them does, I swear I have never seen animals so dedicated to their tummies as my ladies are!! Just go out with a little cracked corn or some cornmeal, and they will follow me to the moon!
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#18 Old 05-25-2010, 07:47 PM
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We used to have 4 hens. They were kept in a really big chain link dog kennel that we tarped on the top and one side. Once a week or so we would move this to another area on the back lawn so they never tore it completely down, instead they fertilized the different areas and our grass was as green as could be. lol When we moved into a condo complex we had to give them away. I sure do miss having fresh eggs and knowing they came from well cared for hens. I will be moving soon and will be checking to see if we can have hens in the area.
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#19 Old 05-25-2010, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kellye View Post

I don't know if this is an option for you, but you might want to contact a chicken battery farm and ask if they will give you a few chicks that would otherwise be culled (read: thrown in a grinder) because they don't meet industry standards for one reason or another.



My aunt's boyfriend runs a Tyson chicken farm, and he has offered me chick hens on several occasions that are just destroyed otherwise. Since the farmer kills the chicks anyway, I'm sure most of them would have no problem giving you a few.



I know they throw all the male layers in the grinder (or worse) but I didn't know some females ended up in there and I certainly didn't know they'd give them away for free to someone willing to care for them. Do you think this is the case just because you have an "in" at Tyson or could anyone do this?

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