Chicken Questionsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread
My family is about to embark on a new path - raising a flock of chickens for home consumption of eggs and meat, and bartering perhaps. After reading the book Chicken Tractor, we are very excited about this. Our barn is almost finished, the only thing we are missing is chicken food and - chickens!
Q1: with food disruptions possible next year, how much chicken feed should we be buying for a flock of 25 chickens, or maybe 50?
Q2: if its *really* bad next year, and we are unable to purchase young chicks, what do we need to purchase [now] so we can raise our own? besides a couple of roosters of course.
Q3: are there any good forums we can visit to learn more?
We live in the Northeast and winters are quite harsh up here.
-- lou (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 09, 1999
A few sites I used to go to every day were the Poultry Information Exchange and FeatherSite - sorry I don't have links but do a search. Both sites were great for me - got me started. Store as much food as possible, You can supplement with your food leftovers, soured milk, etc. but it is best to rely on a commercial layer crumble (plus green grass, bugs, etc!). Sorry I don't have exact numbers, but I go thru about (real rough estimate) 50# every 10 days or so for about 20 - 30 layers. When meat birds are growing, double that figure at least. Do a general search and check out university sites - they have that kind of info. Personally I just stored a couple hundred pounds of layer crumbles plus several hundred extra pounds of recleaned wheat and corn and 50 pounds of oyster shell pieces. Flexibility. Good luck.
-- Kristi (email@example.com), November 09, 1999.
We have 26 chicken that are about 5 months old. We got them as chicks, just a few days old. We kept them in the house in a kids wading pool until they got big enough to escape and crap all over the floor. We kept the room up around 80 degrees. Once they starting escaping, they moved outside to their coop, it was one in which we had other chickens, so we cleaned and sanitized it good before the new ones moved in. We fed them some kind of starter food for chicks that we got at the local farm supply place. We were expecting to loose a few, but they all made it and are doing really well. Now they get scratch feed. This batch hasn't started laying yet, but are growing like crazy. They are eating 50lbs about every week and a half (about $6/bag). If you let them 'free range' or in our case, 'free yard' watch out for hawks until they get almost full grown. We have had several hawks try to get some of ours, but our beagle came to their rescue. You will need an adequate number of nests, especially if you want them to hatch. They will share nests for laying, but if one wants to sit, that nest will be occupied for awhile. For our 26 hens, we have about 16-18 nests, really about 1/2 the number of hens would be OK. We got real lucky, we ordered 25 chicks (unsexed) and got 26 (one had a bum foot, so they threw in an extra). Out of the 26, we got 25 hens and 1 rooster (better than the other way around). At this late date, pay the extra money and get sexed chicks (to make sure you get hens for eggs). Can't really recommend a hen to rooster ratio, just remember roosters can be mean and they will fight each other. You will need more than one in case some don't make it out of chickhood. Our first batch, our rooster was huge and very sexually deprived. He attacked me every chance he got (I think it was a dominant male thing). Watch out for kids around mean roosters. Pick your breed as to what you want, some are layers and others are eaters. We have domineckers(not even going to try to spell it right), good medium sized brown eggs, and a decent size bird. Guess I'm rambling now, so I'll quit. We found places on the Internet, talked to neighbors that raise chickens and the folks at the local farm supply place.
-- BH (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 09, 1999.
I'm storing about 200# for our 16 laying chickens (half scratch and half laying mash). I plan to supplement that feed with up to 30-50% coconut. We do have the capability of growing corn on the island. If I had no locked in source of additional feed, I'd consider storing more.
Ideally, a brooder would be useful for you for raising the chicks next year (or the year after). Most brooders use a light bulb for a heat source...so you might have to consider some alternatives (putting their box close to the wood stove?). I'm not planning on raising any chicks next year, but will do so if required the year after...
-- Mad Monk (email@example.com), November 09, 1999.