I live in surburban Canberra and have a TINY yard. I had 2 full sized chickens and they free ranged and made an awful mess. I had no garden left, they killed everything. Amazingly a fox got them - I wasn't locking them up and didn't realize that could happen.
I now have bantams - 4 of them. They are much lower impact. I have a house - like the wooden ones on eBay for around $150. They free range all day and I lock them up at night. They are not laying right now (grrrrrr) but Im expecting them to lay after winter. The eggs are half the size but just as yummy. I would really recommend them for small yards as they don't do much damage. Kids love them.
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21-06-2012 14:14 #11Senior Member
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21-06-2012 14:54 #12
Thanks for all the replies! I was tossing up between letting them free range through the garden and keeping them in a chook run and letting them out to play in the garden for only a few hours a day, so the replies have been very helpful.
21-06-2012 15:00 #13
We only have two and we no longer let them free-range, they crap everywhere!! And they scratch up our garden and try to steal from kids picnics. We have a big enclosed area coming off the henhouse now.
We have one bantam and one big chook, the big one lays most days (12-13 a fortnight) but the bantam was broody through most of summer. Also her eggs are really small so I'd just get another normal hen if we did it over.
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21-06-2012 15:38 #14
Reading this with interest as we're wanting to get some too
What breeds would you recommend? I know some lay for three years but live for ten, which is fine but chooks don't always welcome new additions and we're getting them to have fresh eggs so that's a lot of egg free time!
21-06-2012 15:47 #15
From the reading I've been doing it seems ISA Browns are great layers - almost daily eggs for 2 years, live til 7-8yrs (there are places you can send them for 'retirement' so you can buy replacement layers or you can keep them as pets).
Silkies only lay about 90 eggs a year but are fluffy and cuddly and very docile, so good with kids.
Those are the two breeds I've been looking at most.
21-06-2012 18:14 #16
We have 4 chickens on 2 acres.. They do scratch up the garden but I don't really care as it's 2 acres. Easy as to look after! Hardest part is going out in the cold at 7am to let them out and same at 5pm to lock them up lol. Fresh eggs from fairly treated chickens is worth it for me. I will never again buy eggs from shop.. Even "free range"
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21-06-2012 18:24 #17
We have 2, one Australorp and one Wyandotte. We got them when they were about 12 weeks old. They're now about 24 weeks old. The Wyandotte lays about 4-5 eggs a week and the Australorp hasn't started laying yet. I have a feeling she's a little bit younger though. When she starts she'll probably lay about the same. Also, because it's winter and there's less daylight hours, their time to start laying can be a bit delayed. I chose pure breeds because they're prettier :-/ They don't lay as much as Isa Browns which are bred purely for laying but when the Australorp starts laying, having 8-10 eggs a week will be plenty for us. I also see them as pets not just egg layers.
Ours get fed pellets (about 20kgs every 8 weeks or so) and scraps every couple of days. They sleep in a coop but are allowed to free range the backyard during the day. They make a bit of a mess - they crap everywhere which is a bit annoying. They have dug up the garden beds and flung the bark and pebbles everywhere but TBH, it's not that hard to tidy up. Our backyard is fairly unstructured so they can get away with digging up here and there. A more landscaped garden I think would be destroyed.
You need to de-lice chooks as well as worm them which is easy to do (de-lice powder sprinkled on their bedding / ground of their coop and liquid in their water). Other than that, they're pretty low maintenance. Ours used to be really timid but now come running up expecting to be fed whenever anyone goes outside. They'll never be "lap chooks" but that's ok. They crap too much anyway.
Our Australorp is a massive unit, the Wyandotte is a bit smaller. I haven't weighed them but you can get all the breed info off the Internet.
27-06-2012 00:02 #18
We are currently building our hen house and have 6 chickens to pick up next Tuesday We have a separated yard (3 sections, 6 ft colour bond, and gated) so the chickens will have their own run, its not wired over or anything so I am a bit worried about cats . The building is still in the planning stages, but should be commencing on Thursday, that it goes smoothly
Its something we always wanted to do, and we had the whole section sitting there doing nothing but growing oranges and getting a bit overgrown so we thought that is was the perfect time to get started.
The Following User Says Thank You to Amiedoll For This Useful Post:
27-06-2012 01:04 #19
Beancounter ~ to get them back on the lay, feed them a nice, hot porridge oats mash with some bran in every night till they get going again. Give it to them warm/hot. Works wonders!
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27-06-2012 07:37 #20
My little chicks are about 6 weeks old now and have got most of their feathers (i think). We are getting our coop on Thursday. I'm wondering if I should still bring them inside at night time because it's cold or will they be alright on their own? The coop has a little house in it and there are 4 of them to snuggle together. First time with chickens so I'm a little clueless. Everyone keeps telling me i'm mad to be keeping them in my spare room, but they're just little bubbas! Lol, i'm starting to get called the crazy chicken lady...
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