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Chickens

posted by RetroVortex on - last edited - Viewed by 502 users

Okay so I get up and I'm browsing the net, and I'm hearing my mother talk on the phone to my dad.

Starts of normal, but then I hear her talking about chickens and coops.

So I wait until she stops talking and then I inquire as to what she is talking about.

Apparently my dad wants to clear out some of the mess and build a chicken coop in the backgarden and raise chickens.

I thought thats was very odd and asked what my mother thought about it.

She thought it was a good idea.

I thought they were crazy, but when I thought about it, and did some research it actually sounds like a good idea.

Chickens are apparently pretty easy to look after, (and my dad has raised budgerigars and cockatiels and other birds in an aviary before), and they don't need loads of space, just some room to walk about and a decent shelter to lay eggs and rest in.

Chickens are actually pretty cheap to buy as well. You can get a hen ready for laying from a breeder for about £17, and in the first year at least hens lay about 250-300 eggs, (and less each year, until around 3 years-ish they no longer become cost effective).
You can gets fertilised eggs and ex-battery hens for even cheaper of a farmers market.
(Which I think might be a better idea to start with, as if we get it wrong with battery hens, at least we wouldn't lose out on much)

Their food is pretty cheap, and they don't mind tap water, (my cat hates tap water and will actively go out and search for rain water if he needs any extra fluids. He also drinks mineral water. Its the smell for them. Indistinguishable to us, but cats have very sensitive sense of smell and they don't like the cleaning chemicals that are in tap water (We got a drinking water filter in the house too just in case we need it)).

We do have a few cats in our street, but not many of them ever come over here, Merlin tends to keep them away, and when they do come to our garden, Merlin just chases them off.

Merlin has been quite the hunter lately though. He's caught at least three small birds in the last week, though its obviously for sport (I don't think a chicken would be a interesting target for him (I mean he loves to eat chicken, but he gets plenty of cat food and biscuits), though obviously we would have to keep him away from them which shouldn't be so hard since we had birds before when he was younger and he tolerated them. Never terrorised them)

Its the eggs mainly why we would want them.

Eggs from the supermarket are pretty expensive these days, and the eggs we get are usually pretty small, and off a low quality.

My dad, an electrician, did some work lately at a farm, and the farmer gave him some free eggs they had spare.

And boy, were they gorgeous!!

So its obviously got my old man thinking, about whether or not it would be better to get and raise chickens for our own supply off eggs.

Only need to get bacon in the morning then!

(Plus they would be handy for general baking purposes too. Which we normally like to do but we usually run out of eggs)

We get 3 or 4 hens, thats 3-4 eggs a day on average, thats about 21-28 eggs a week.
(We could give some to our Nan then)

Obviously we need to do more research into it, but it seems plausable.

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    @RetroVortex said:
    [nice story about chickens]

    It's posts like this that make me sad this thread is in Forum Games now.

    @RetroVortex said:
    You can gets fertilised eggs and ex-battery hens for even cheaper of a farmers market.
    (Which I think might be a better idea to start with, as if we get it wrong with battery hens, at least we wouldn't lose out on much)

    Are the ex-battery hens ones that have been ditched after falling below a certain level of productivity? If that's the case, it might be something to consider when thinking about your return on investment.

    I'd rather like to keep a chicken or two for the fun of it, if I didn't live in a city apartment with no yard. Also, being a vegetarian, I have no idea what I'd do with them when they stopped laying. Maybe you'll need to buy an axe if you don't have one already. Feather pillows and chicken soup all round!

  • @puzzlebox said: It's posts like this that make me sad this thread is in Forum Games now.

    Are the ex-battery hens ones that have been ditched after falling below a certain level of productivity? If that's the case, it might be something to consider when thinking about your return on investment.

    I'd rather like to keep a chicken or two for the fun of it, if I didn't live in a city apartment with no yard. Also, being a vegetarian, I have no idea what I'd do with them when they stopped laying. Maybe you'll need to buy an axe if you don't have one already. Feather pillows and chicken soup all round!

    Well ex-battery chickens are normally sold after 1 year.
    As the first year is when they are most productive.
    But chickens live on average of 8 years.
    They only start to lose their cost-effectiveness at the end of the 2 year, approaching three year mark.
    So we could try it out for a year or so, and if we want to, we could invest in some nicer chickens.

    (Apparently Battery chickens can turn out pretty healthy with some decent TLC. Its the stress that makes them unhealthy)

    EDIT: Its about the cost of food vs the value of the eggs.
    (As a well built shelter won't need all that much maintenance)

    As hens get older, they produce less eggs, to the point at which they are costing more to feed then they are to produce.

    Egg factories obviously get rid of chickens early to minimise the cost, and maximise the profit per chicken.

    Chickens don't make bad pets apparently. Unless they are broody, they generally don't mind being petted, (which is why they tend to be in petting zoos), and some breeds do look rather nice, like the Amber star)
    Amber%20Star%20Chicken.jpg

    EDIT 2: Plus Chicken Hypnosis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKLv9sWVaYI&feature=related

  • Well, that was a fun phone call.

    @Retro: So, pretty much what your father wants to do is save on eggs?

  • Chickens are barely human.

  • When I was a kid, I always really wanted chickens. Probably for much the same reason, though. But my area is not zoned for them for some reason, so I had to endure a chickenless childhood. I hope your dad gets his chickens, Retro. Keep us updated on how that works out so I know how much I should beg City Council to rethink their decision for my city.

  • I think I remember having a chick many many years ago, in fact, I think the school was giving them out.

  • @RetroVortex said: -the chicken idea-

    Chickens are quite low maintenance compared to other animals, the only thing you'd have to be wary about is the skitter doing a runner*. That said it's fun to chase chickens, even if you do get a wee scratch here and there :)

    *and chicken pewp, scrub those eggs and keep the shavings clean :)

  • @JedExodus said: Chickens are quite low maintenance compared to other animals, the only thing you'd have to be wary about is the skitter doing a runner*. That said it's fun to chase chickens, even if you do get a wee scratch here and there :)

    *and chicken pewp, scrub those eggs and keep the shavings clean :)

    Yeah I've been reading up on it a lot.

    The only issues that could be a problem are the actual chicken house itself (if its too big and permanent could make the council mad, as that sort of thing would likely need planning permission).
    May put wheels on it so it can be moved (may help with cleaning...)

    Other issue is the general legality.
    From my searching it looks like there is no specific law for it, but there could be a local council law preventing it, (though finding that is fairly difficult (especially without asking them! XD).
    Also could be a property contract issue (have to check this with my parents, but I think this may not be an issue)

    The fact there is a chicken breeder in our town, selling chickens seems like it might be alright.

    In the end, I think the main issue is complaints.
    I don't see chickens making too much noise. I mean there are a lot of dogs and cats in the area, and they do bark and meow at night sometimes, and I've never heard of any complaints there.

    May need to clip the wings. Chickens molt so I hear you have to do it Post-molt and you have to do it to the flight feathers on one wing. But you have to take care not to take too much off as there are blood vessels further in. One site said no more than 6cm. It puts them off flying (as they can fly over a 6ft fence!!) by disorientating them a bit. Though they probably won't take off, as they would likley stay in their coop mostly, with an occasional run around on the patio, so as long as we are careful, I don't think they'll be running off anywhere.

    We don't have foxes around here either. Never seen a raided bin (we have those tall green bins and a weekly pick-up and I've never seen one turned over or open), and we generally keep our environment very clean so we never had an issue with vermin. Any mice we have ever seen were little and caught by the cat (he probably goes out and get them).

    Plus its not like we are filling our house with the things.
    We are only looking at like 3 or 4, (possibly 5), and I remember going into some houses where people had loads of cats (one couple who used to live here had rats as pets!).

    We at one point had 3 cats and a aviary (several budgies and cockatiels. My dad even had finches (most of those died. Finches don't live very long and are very stupid. They do not make very good pets at all!) and a pair of love birds) at one point.
    One time, (very short term (a few days! XD), since my dad got my mum it, and she didn't really want one) we had a rabbit too!

    (I did become a bit off a chore having so many pets, so my dad sold the birds, and we gave two of our cats away (one which raised several litters of perfectly healthy kittens! and the other (a male) was a outside cat and though very friendly just hated being indoors))

    EDIT: I'd like to point out that those finches were in a good enviroment, well fed, and all the other birds my dad looked after bred well, and were very healthy, (very few died, and those that did were generally quite frail), in fact, most of the chicks were hand trained, (one even liked my old man so much, he used to walk around with it on his shoulder and it never flew away, even when he went across the road to a neighbours house), and some grew up and had healthy chicks too! :D

    I remember he used to handle them regularily and check their health, (though unfortunately, once or twice, a bird escaped, and we would never see it again... :'().

    Those finches just seemed to wake up dead... :/

  • I love how there is an insightful conversation about chickens going on. I have nothing to add to it, But I love that it exists.

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