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Old 06-17-2017, 07:16 AM   #41
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I have compared keeping chickens to having an aquarium hobby, where $400 worth of stuff is required to maintain $8 worth of fish.

I have a daughter who lives with us who has enough interest in the project to feed and water the birds while we go camping. She's on a vegan diet. Says she won't eat the eggs and was a bit negative towards the project for a while. But the real reason for her downer attitude slipped out the other day. She knows chickens have a "useful life" of "X" amount of time and then must be "retired" She is afraid she'll become attached to them.

I have a high school buddy down the street as well. I'm sure his thrifty wife would walk up here to check the feed and water just to get free organic eggs.

Sweet Wife worries about wild creatures, everything from snakes to owls, getting into the pen. I told her we'd do everything we could to keep them out, and then be sure to write that tithe check.
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Old 06-23-2017, 08:13 PM   #42
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Default Chickeneering and Eggonomics

The Chickeneering phase of the project has come to and end. The Eggonomic phase should begin about August 1st

Finally done with major construction, a photo report of the girls coming out to see the run enclosure.

Pic 1.

The run enclosure and the coop. The tarp gives shelter from the sun and rain. The open frame on the ground will become a greens garden for the birds. The cinder blocks and boards keep critters from digging in (hopefully) and the frame is completely wrapped in 2x4 welded wire fence.

Pic 2

Abigail, Beatrice and Charolette all confer about the outside world and how to navigate the ramp.

Pic 3

All the Barred Rocks are out of the coop and having a look around the enclosure. They are bolder and more curious than the New Hampshire Reds. The B. Rocks would always look out the coop "windows" and watch us as we finished work on the enclosure.

Pic 4

Finally, curiosity gets the best of the N.H. Reds, Daphnie, Edna and Frank all come out to see the outside world. Frank has gender issues, We don't have a rooster. (There's always one.)

After construction of the coop, the door and frame were the biggest carpentry project. I found out (or remembered) that preservative treated wood is bascily water-logged and darned heavy. I assembled the door/frame on the driveway and had to get B-I-L to come help us move it back to the enclosure - it hadn't dried out and was still really heavy. Thanks, Steve!

Pic 5

And my day is done. Almost all the chickeneering is done. Just one or two minor things to go. The eggonomics should start about August 1st. Fresh organic eggs. Big brown eggs. With any luck.
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Old 06-25-2017, 10:33 AM   #43
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All I can say is pretty fancy digs for 6 cluckers. Is there a limit on the number of chickens you can have? Looks like there will be room for more. Can you tell which hen is which and do they come when you call their name. My cousin had a pet chicken that would do that. He called it Penny and if there were a couple dozen hens out in the farmyard and he called it's name it would come running to him.
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Old 06-25-2017, 06:58 PM   #44
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The county says we can have up to 6 hens and no roosters on our 1 acre lot. Fortunately we are not within city limits. I think based on the space we have we might try 8 next time.

Just don't tell anybody

We keep a lot of straw in the coop. Even with 6 birds there is very little stink and they make no noise. They are still, however, determining the pecking order.

We named the Barred Rocks Abigail, Beatrice and Charlotte.
The NH Reds are Daphne, Edna and Frank. (we don't have a rooster. Frank has gender issues.)

I can't tell them apart visually but if you watch them awhile you can sort them out. There are marked personality differences. The Rocks are more curious and friendly. The Reds are more reserved and have greater common sense. Frank figured out yo can have your choice of best spot on the inside roosts if you come back in early (beat the crowd) in the evening.

Charlotte is the most curious and outgoing, but the Rocks have to be encouraged to go back in the coop at night or during a thunderstorm. They also don't object to being handled the way the Reds do.

But none of them will respond to a name.
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:05 PM   #45
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CABBAGE BALL SCORES: Reds vs Rocks 0 - 0.
And after a short season both teams are 0 - 12.

Post season my be cancelled due to lack of interest.

At a friends suggestion:

What you do is drill a hole through a cabbage (Interesting experience) run a cord through the hole and hang it so it swings free just above the ground. The chickens then attack/play with the cabbage with joyus abandon while consuming their rations of green fiber. Friend said it was great fun to watch a poultry version of tether ball or volleyball.



Nada, Nothing.

I guess they've never seen a cabbage before and aren't sure what to do with it. Maybe they'll figure it out. Charlotte was, of course, curious about it. But lost interest.

Oh well, all I have invested in it is a cabbage and some string.
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:19 PM   #46
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Yeh, what's the chances of all 8 hens being outside at the same time, just don't mix in another breed. The Reds are a heavier chicken and probably not as flighty as the Rocks. We had Rhode Island Reds and if you ran after one of them with your arm out they would just sit down and you could then pick it up. Do they have tell tale marking that you know which is which for names? or do they have name badges?

Like I mentioned before, get a watermelon and of course eat the good stuff yourself and give the hens the rind, they will go nuts over it, nothing left but a paper thin shell.

I assume you will compost the straw you take out of the coop. Put it on the strawberry bed in the fall after the berry harvest and the next spring you will have a great crop of berries.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:22 PM   #47
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We're so proud... we have our first egg! Big and brownish and has poo all over it, just like on the farm. Sweet Wife was extra proud that it was in a nest box and not out in the run someplace.

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Old 08-11-2017, 08:35 PM   #48
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To answer some of Marv's questions...

Sweet Wife can tell the B Rocks apart. One of the NH Reds has some pretty gold feathers on her front, that's Edna. But the other two NH Reds are so much alike they're identical.

We have been giving them watermelon and cantaloupe rinds, which they will pick clean.

The "compost" is getting mixed with wood chips from the chipper shredder, and that will be the beginnings of some raised beds in our revamped garden area.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:28 PM   #49
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Congratulations on the new arrival. The reds came through. Yeah, the chicks love the watermelon, like you said, all that is left is the paper thin rind.

Give the chipper a workout.

I just got an email from a ham club member. His sister has a cabin on Lake Hartwell and he said he will be out on a pontoon boat. I told him to come by and pick us up during the eclipse. He gave me the freq for the Hartwell repeater. 146.895- 100pl. and told me to give him a call. His name is Doug Foos, KT4XF (a real life hobo!)
Do you have an HT? Program that into it and bring it along. I don't have a working one, just my mobil.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:10 PM   #50
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I don't know if you read the Atlanta Urinal but last sundays edition had an ad flyer from Tractor Supply and they had a enclosed chicken coop similar to what you built but bolt together with a screened in yard, coop, nesting boxes all for $450.00. Looked pretty good.
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...to-15-chickens
or for $150.00 more
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...p?cm_vc=IOPDP1
or for a first class operation.
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...r-chicken-coop
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Old 09-16-2017, 09:28 AM   #51
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You could just put an old junked 2-door car out back and raise chickens in it. You would call it a chicken coupe.
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Old 09-29-2017, 07:06 PM   #52
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How may poultry embryos are you getting now. You should be getting at least 5 a day/no less than 4.
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:14 PM   #53
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Sometimes as low as two. As many as five. Average 4. Today we got 3.

I had to re-engineer the latch on the door to the run area. That's been the most I have been involved in the project in the last few weeks. Sweet Wife runs it all by herself now, as was the plan from the beginning.
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:48 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio View Post
Sweet Wife runs it all by herself now, as was the plan from the beginning.
Sounds like a plan, step out of the way and let Kathy take command.
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:11 PM   #55
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I took some eggs to work today and sold them. Got $13. That will buy organic feed from Tractor Supply for a month. I'll never re-coup ( ) the initial outlay but at least they are now self sustaining.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:55 PM   #56
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You of course now have a business license don't you. Could be a good tax write off. Would be pretty hard to make a profit with all the overhead you have. Lights, food, maintenance, bed straw, water, 24hour site protection, fuel to market your product and of course salaries, insurance, etc. But you have to be careful that your production coop is not in a restricted area. If you are in a residential area you can't have customers coming to your business.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:24 PM   #57
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What's the latest on egg production? Frig full yet? What is there for meals, fried eggs in the morning, egg sandwich for lunch, scrambled eggs for supper, deviled eggs for evening snack, boiled eggs in the lunch box for between meals?
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:25 PM   #58
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A funny thing happen at work...

This guy, Mike, buys a dozen eggs and puts them in the break room fridge. He forgets about them for a few days. Then the shop decides to have a sausage and pancake breakfast. Mike remembers his eggs.

"Hey, fry me up a couple of these." and shared the rest with who ever wanted eggs.

Got rave reviews and about 10 people on a "customer list" including a guy that walked up out of the blue today and asked when I'd have more eggs. Well, I'll have two dozen tomorrow.

We make enough money to pay for our feed, scratch and oyster shell, so we break even,

I didn't think that would happen but the girls work pretty hard. And we found that eggs this fresh will keep 90 days if refrigerated. We also learned that very fresh eggs, when boiled, are difficult to peel. If you want deviled eggs you have to let them age for a little while.
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:04 PM   #59
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Eggs will keep a long time, some over 90 days. The only downside to eggs that have be kept in the Frig that long is they will evaporate through the shell and the air sac will be larger but still good enough to eat (I you want them). Anyone remember powdered eggs? I think there is a secret way to boil fresh eggs so the shell comes off easy, vinegar in the water comes to mind, don't hold me to that. Do a Google search on the subject.

Some years back in another life I was a Regional Sales Manager for a major manufacturer of truck bodies to haul feed and grain for livestock and poultry. One of my customers up in the far NE part of Pennsylvania had a egg production facility. He needed a semi-trailer to haul feed to his plant in a hurry, we had one that was built for a west coast customer who backed out on the deal. (Depending on local and state weight laws rear axle position and spread would allow to legal hauling). I sold him the west coast set up semi-trailer but told him he would not be able to fill the rearmost bin with feed or he will be overweight in PA. He said no problem (yeah right).

Anyway I was inside the building where the eggs came down a conveyor into a washing station, then a candleing statin, then mechanically packed in to 30 dozen egg crates and off to NYC. Quite an operation. There is also a egg production facility located in Ohio, north of Columbus, owned by a German manufacturer of poultry equipment and had 14 million birds in the facility, talk about refrigerator space.

Here in the south most of the poultry production is for the meat, as well as Delmarva area (Perdue), Indiana (Rose Acres) and Arkansas (Tyson). Actually poultry production is in just about every state in varying degrees. Another of my customers in NC was a big turkey raiser.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:12 AM   #60
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In America we refrigerate eggs. In Europe they typically don't. It's because in America eggs usually are washed before being marketed; in Europe, not. Washing removes a protective natural coating that, on unwashed eggs, prevents the entry of bacteria and retards evaporation.

So, if you wash'em, or if you buy'em at Publix, keep'em in the fridge.

To make eggs easy to peel after hard-boiling, place them in the water after bringing the water to a nice vigorous boil. Before I learned this, I used to put the eggs in cold water, then put the pan on the stove so the eggs and the water both heated up slowly. Nowadays I get the water boiling, then take the eggs out of the fridge and put'em in the water, then time exactly 15 minutes (I can't cook without a stopwatch) and take the pan off the stove and run cold water into it to cool the eggs off quickly, which keeps the edges of the yolks from turning green. You can then peel them immediately, or put them back in the fridge and peel them next week. Either way, they'll be very easy to peel. I was amazed at the difference it makes!

Also, as Marv mentioned, week-old (or older) eggs usually peel a little easier than very fresh ones do; but the difference isn't nearly as great as the difference between starting them in cold water and starting them in already-boiling water.

Try it -- it's astonishing.
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