Sweet Shoppe Designs

  #1  
Old 01-18-2021, 02:13 PM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default Do you have chickens?

Anyone here keep hens and have any advice for a TOTAL novice? I am not a farmer by any means lol, but we've decided that chickens might be in our future.

Long story short: due to allergies, we can't have "normal" pets, but the kids want something to look after. While the chickens would live outside in their coop (so they aren't a "pet" per se), the kids are happy with the idea. I'm okay with it, too, so we're thinking that this would be a great way to teach responsibility. Plus: we'll have fresh chicken eggs! DS and DD will join 4-H, something I'm wholly unfamiliar with, and raise pullets; if I'm understanding it correctly, we'll then give back some of the raised hens and keep some for ourselves.

Anyone have experience with 4-H and/or with having a chicken coop on their property, esp. if you're in the exurbs? (We aren't in the city or even the suburbs but we aren't technically "rural.") Any and all tips are welcome!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-18-2021, 03:27 PM
amy_hart's Avatar
amy_hart amy_hart is offline
Sugar Rush
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: North Eastern Washington
Posts: 572
Default

I have a chicken coop....5 hens and 2 roosters.

Not all hens are super friendly, I would research which kind work best for you. My favorite is Ameraucana and Bantam hens. As far as taking care of chickens...SUPER easy! Food, water and shelter. They are really fun animals, I adore mine!
__________________

Proudly creating for Traci Reed Happy Creator for Studio Basic Designs
Creative Guest for Kristin Cronin-Barrow Feb-Mar

GALLERY | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-18-2021, 04:16 PM
bienejen's Avatar
bienejen bienejen is offline
Sugar Rush
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 770
Default

I grew up in 4-H and showed chickens. My mom was later the poultry superintendent for our fair, I'm now the sewing superintendent and my brother just wrapped up several years as the fair board president so feel free to ask any 4-h/fair questions. Joining a 4-h club is a great way to learn! Is your fair a 4-H only fair? I only ask because ours has transitioned to a youth fair - meaning you aren't required to be in 4-h. Some clubs in our area are affiliated with 4-h and some are just 'activity' clubs. Both offer great experiences!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-18-2021, 04:32 PM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by amy_hart View Post
I have a chicken coop....5 hens and 2 roosters.

Not all hens are super friendly, I would research which kind work best for you. My favorite is Ameraucana and Bantam hens. As far as taking care of chickens...SUPER easy! Food, water and shelter. They are really fun animals, I adore mine!
I'll look into those breeds, thanks! We're debating what size coop we want, but we know we only want hens. Do you think having only hens could make a difference in which breed(s) to get?


Quote:
Originally Posted by bienejen View Post
I grew up in 4-H and showed chickens. My mom was later the poultry superintendent for our fair, I'm now the sewing superintendent and my brother just wrapped up several years as the fair board president so feel free to ask any 4-h/fair questions. Joining a 4-h club is a great way to learn! Is your fair a 4-H only fair? I only ask because ours has transitioned to a youth fair - meaning you aren't required to be in 4-h. Some clubs in our area are affiliated with 4-h and some are just 'activity' clubs. Both offer great experiences!
First off, how awesome that your family has been/is involved with the fair like that! Our state fair is open to everyone (I think?) and I can't find info about 4-H events. (The website is confusing, tbh, and I'm waiting on an email from our local chapter. I gave my email address on Saturday but haven't heard back yet.) I do know there is a 4-H poultry club nearby...perhaps I should send an email directly to the leader?
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-18-2021, 04:32 PM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default

and thank you both for your info!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-18-2021, 05:47 PM
jak's Avatar
jak jak is offline
SugarBabe
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 5,843
Default

We've had backyard chooks (chickens) for several years now and I love them! They're friendly and curious and follow me around and I love the contented clucking noises they make when they're just poking about and scratching in the dirt. We have five at the moment - four layers and one old girl (the last that's left from our first lot of chooks) who is now retired. We converted the area under our cubbyhouse into a coop - probably 4x1.5 square metres, with one end closed in where their perch and nest are. The floor is dirt but I cover it with redwood mulch and sugar cane mulch (any straw or hay would work). We're in suburbia in a big city so our backyard isn't huge but I let them out to 'free range' sometimes during the day.

Once you're set up they're fairly low maintenance - food (a layer crumble/pellet thing), water each day. They're great composters too - I give them most of our table scraps (incl. meat but obviously not chicken!, pasta, rice, veggies, fruit, bread, etc) and there's not much they don't eat (avoid onions or your eggs can start tasting like onions apparently, green potatoes/potato skins, nothing that's mouldy or going rotten). I also have a seed and grain mix that I give them as a treat (ahem, bribe) to get them back in their cage after I've let them out.

I give their coop a thorough clean on the change of each season and dust them with a pest control powder called Pestene (not sure if it's sold in other countries) to prevent mites and bird lice. May not be a problem depending on where you live. They do poop ALOT so best to clean that out of their coop other times too. Best part about the poop (mixed in with all the broken down mulch) is it makes great compost for the veggie patch.

As for breeds, my first lot were Isa Browns and my current layers are Australorps which are an Australian breed so you may not get them in other countries?? They're both good layers - from four chooks I'd average 2-3 eggs/day every day of the week for a couple of years before they start slowing down. They tend to stop laying altogether for about a month when they moult (around mid Autumn for us). The Australorps are a bit more feisty/flighty and wreak more havoc in the garden (I've had to fence off areas I don't want them going in (or pooping on - like the patio). Overall I'd say the Isa Browns are a bit more gentle in nature but it can vary from chook to chook, and they all have their own unique personalities!

They're definitely fun to keep. Good luck!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-18-2021, 07:50 PM
Sweeet's Avatar
Sweeet Sweeet is offline
Sweet Talker
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,493
Default

We have 26 hens, 1 roo and 3 guinea fowl and LOVE them. The most friendly and docile are the Buff Orpingtons (we have 7) and one that insists she is a lap hen **lol**. We also have a Cuckoo Maran, Barred rock, Easter Eggers and Leghorns (which, those are the most flightiest/scared). We clean out their coop at least twice a month because, well, they're alot of them and we, too, dust the coop/run to get rid of parasites/mites/etc., as well as, composting/killing the odor. They do have a open run w/ deer netting to avoid having predators such as hawks/falcons trying to have lunch and the last thing, we do add supplemental lighting for egg production. We raised all of them from a day old and handled them constantly because we didn't want flighty chickens. I take that back, hubby bought 10 that were about 2 weeks old and 4 were the leghorns....such scaredy cats too, blech **lol** Any more questions, you can PM me anytime or find me on FB.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-18-2021, 08:21 PM
bienejen's Avatar
bienejen bienejen is offline
Sugar Rush
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 770
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree City View Post
First off, how awesome that your family has been/is involved with the fair like that! Our state fair is open to everyone (I think?) and I can't find info about 4-H events. (The website is confusing, tbh, and I'm waiting on an email from our local chapter. I gave my email address on Saturday but haven't heard back yet.) I do know there is a 4-H poultry club nearby...perhaps I should send an email directly to the leader?
If you have the info for the leader, I would definitely go ahead and contact him/her. They can start helping you with questions. Some clubs are active year round and some are more spring/summer depending on what project areas their members are involved with. If that club is active now, it would be great to get to a few of their meetings before it's time to get chicks.
You might want to get your hands on a copy of the Standard of Perfection. Your library might have a copy or maybe the club leader would have a copy you can borrow. It's basically a guide to all the different breeds of chickens and what the physical traits are of each breed. If you're raising chickens for eggs or meat, these traits aren't as important (although you'd want to know which breeds are good layers or considered good meat birds). If your kids will be showing at the fair, the birds will likely be judged against these standards (think the Westminster dog show but not so high stakes).
Chickens are a great fair project for kids as they're a much easier animal to handle than a 1200lb beef steer (I speak from experience lol). It's a relatively inexpensive project to get into and they'll learn responsibility from taking care of them (also pretty easy).
If you don't hear back from your local 4-h office soon, try digging around on your state's ag college website ( or google your state name and 'extension office poultry'). Here's a link to some info on MSU's site:
https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/t...new_hen_owners
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-18-2021, 11:20 PM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default

Kim and Jenna, I loved reading what breeds you have! I'm also glad to read they're fairly low-maintenance as well as a "lap hen" LOL!

Jennifer, the kids have said they're interested in showing them at the fair, so you bring up a good point: do we focus on layers or on physical traits? As for being easier to show than a steer...EEK, but I know you're right! I'm off to read your MSU link. (As a native Michigander, it's always funny when I see Michigan stuff pop up, and an MSU link is great since it was founded as the nation's first ag college!)
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-19-2021, 11:32 AM
bienejen's Avatar
bienejen bienejen is offline
Sugar Rush
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 770
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree City View Post
Jennifer, the kids have said they're interested in showing them at the fair, so you bring up a good point: do we focus on layers or on physical traits?
They don't have to necessarily choose between layers OR show chickens. The poultry club leader should be able to give you some insight into the classes or you might be able to find a copy of last year's fair book on your county fair's website. You also should be able to find the poultry superintendent's info on the fair website now that I think about it, and they should be able to help answer questions, too.

At our fair, you can bring any kind 'fowl' - meat birds, laying hens, show birds, turkeys, quail, ducks, etc. Each bird is judged against it's breed standard so if you bring a Rhode Island Red laying hen, she'll be judged against the Rhode Island Red breed standard. If you have a bantam white Cochin, it's judged against that breed's standard. You could certainly have a mix of chickens in your coop, and that makes it even more fun (in my opinion). So your layers don't have to be 'fancy' but they could be. The only other requirement our fair has that may vary from some is that each child that brings a chicken or chickens (or any other animal) to the fair must sign up for showmanship. If you google poultry showmanship there are quite a few links and videos. It's basically doing a quick examination of your bird while explaining to the judge what you're doing/looking for and then posing your bird on the table at the end. This is where you want to have a few birds that are your friends and are used to be handled.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-19-2021, 12:18 PM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bienejen View Post
They don't have to necessarily choose between layers OR show chickens. The poultry club leader should be able to give you some insight into the classes or you might be able to find a copy of last year's fair book on your county fair's website.
...
It's basically doing a quick examination of your bird while explaining to the judge what you're doing/looking for and then posing your bird on the table at the end. This is where you want to have a few birds that are your friends and are used to be handled.
Our fair's website wouldn't load last night. (Sigh.) But that's true--I should ask the poultry club leader!

As for showmanship: I didn't know that! I mean, I knew that the kids would probably do *something* and have to say *something* but I didn't realize it was so involved. I LOVE IT because neither of my kids is on a team sport (we're just not an athletic family lol) so I think this would be a good way for them to engage in competition and also practice speaking in public. So yeah, definitely want to have some hens who like to be handled! And I was hoping we can have a mix of chickens, but I guess we'll have to see if our 4-H provides them or if we can purchase what we want. (I have heard some kids get a dozen pullets to raise, so they don't have a choice in what they get.)

Oh, the more I'm learning, the more excited I am for them!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-19-2021, 12:40 PM
bienejen's Avatar
bienejen bienejen is offline
Sugar Rush
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 770
Default

That's interesting if they provide the chicks to raise!

It will definitely be a way to start getting them some public speaking experience. The one thing I will say is the more they know about their chickens and chickens in general, the more confident they'll feel going in. And watch a lot of videos and practice practice practice. Hopefully there are some older kids who might be able to do some mentoring as well. You'll learn a lot the first year for sure! When you're able to get a copy of the fairbook, check out all the other project areas as well. Our still exhibits (non-animal) area has all kinds of areas like crafts, sewing, baking, photography, animal science, shooting sports, woodworking.. even scrapbooking so you might find some other projects your kids could also work on over the winter/spring/summer to stay busy.

Feel free to pm if you think of any other questions!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-19-2021, 04:00 PM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default

Jennifer, I'll take you up on that PM offer once we get some hens. I'm sure I'll have more questions once that happens!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-19-2021, 05:17 PM
craftytam's Avatar
craftytam craftytam is offline
SugarBabe
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Magnificent Meridian, ID
Posts: 5,462
Default

I would LOVE to have chickens!! But, it's not going to happen in the near future since we bought a house in an HOA subdivision. LOL!
Have fun with them! A while back, I saw a video about how chickens were used in senior facilities to help the residents. It was so interesting. It's on FB
https://www.facebook.com/attnlife/vi...49110005351339
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-19-2021, 06:08 PM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default

Tammy, we live in a HOA-restricted community, too...but when researching our area's laws, DH stumbled upon the fact that our city has an exception to HOA's "no farm animals" restriction for kids in 4-H. Granted, that means in, say, 10 years' time we'll have to give up our backyard hen, unless we're able to petition our HOA to change the bylaws. (Let's hope 10 years and a lot of eggs donated to our neighbors is enough to change some minds lol.)

As for that video: That is awesome! What a great idea! That gentleman who first says "I thought it was the most idiotic and stupid idea ever in the world" made me giggle when he then says how much he loves it.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 01-19-2021, 06:17 PM
craftytam's Avatar
craftytam craftytam is offline
SugarBabe
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Magnificent Meridian, ID
Posts: 5,462
Default

Sara, unfortunately, we don't have kids in the house anymore. I thought maybe we could get an exception for it being a therapy animal for my mom, but I'm not that invested yet. LOL!

Isn't that video great?! It made me smile
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01-20-2021, 03:21 PM
lovely1m's Avatar
lovely1m lovely1m is offline
Sweetsaholic
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10,467
Default

I have zero experience, but in the future, I plan to have chickens! I am excited for them and some goats.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01-21-2021, 04:31 PM
JennNtheBoys's Avatar
JennNtheBoys JennNtheBoys is offline
Sweet Talker
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 3,111
Default

Though I am in Canada, I was a 4H leader for 8 years if you wanted to reach if you had any questions. I know there are some differences per country, but the basic principles remain the same. All 3 of my kids were in 4H and took pretty much every project offered over the years as well.

We also have Chickens! They are a lot of fun, and pretty easy to take care of. Your kids will learn a lot of how to care for them if they join 4H. While raising them and daily care are pretty straight forward and easy, they will learn a LOT about how to care for them in other aspects such as First Aid which will come in handy.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 01-22-2021, 11:28 AM
Tree City's Avatar
Tree City Tree City is online now
Sweet Tooth
 
profile gallery send pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 475
Default

Thanks, Jenn, for the info. A leader for 8 years?! I'm definitely going to pick your brain once we get our chickens/officially join 4H.
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All Creative Content 2007 SweetShoppeDesigns

Making your memories sweeter

Copyright 2016 Sweet Shoppe Designs The Sweetest Digital Scrapbooking Site on the Web | Site by Lilac Creative