Any other hubbers keep chickens? We got some chooks a month ago and it's been - well - interesting! I'd love to chat about what to feed them, flock politics, how they get on with the kids etc.
I now understand exactly what people mean by "pecking order". And it would be a gross insult to call a person a bird-brain! They're so cute but oh so dumb! And totally and utterly motivated by food. Eat like a pig? Pfft that's nothing to eating like a chicken!
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23-12-2014 08:19 #1
Backyard chickens anyone?
23-12-2014 08:28 #2
Subbing. I don't have any yet, but we're in the process of buying a house in the hills & we'd love to have some chooks once we move. 😊
23-12-2014 09:15 #3Senior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2012
We've had chooks for years. Love chickens...so fun to watch and fresh eggs...yum yum.
A couple of tips i can give you are
-Get a really high quality grain...preferably something with meat meal in it. Chickens are carnivores and need some kind of meat product. Their egg production and quality will increase greatly.
-buy whole watermelon from the markets, cut in into bits and freeze it. Throw it out when it is a really hot day. This will keep their body temps down so they can lay through the really hot months.
-set up a small retic system (just the cheapy mist ones from bunnings) under a tree in their run, turn it on at intervals on hot days. They will run away but then love the cool dirt to dig in.
-Chickens with dig up a vege patch/flower bed/garden in about 10 seconds, either keep them fenced in or fence your gardens.
-get your kids to hand feed them, through the fence if they are new. Get the kids to get the eggs, they love it and the chickens will get used to them.
-other than those, LOTS of fresh fruit/veg scrapes, silverbeet with make their yolks an amazing colour, lots of fresh water (they knock things over heaps) and go talk to them. I love going out and chatting with my girls and they seem to be happier when i do. Chickens get depressed and need love.
Ill add more when i think of them. Backyard hens are great!!!
23-12-2014 09:52 #4
We have had chickens for years. Once your flock is established they won't be so overt in the pecking order, it is quite awful when they are working out their roles!
Ours are let out of their coop only when we are in the backyard as they can't be trusted around the vege beds (even though they are 2 feet off the ground), but they get out usually for a couple of hours a day.
They get all our scraps except for citrus, raw onion and eggs (and chicken meat obviously).
We use a laying meal for them but I think a large portion of their diet is green pick and other bits they get from free ranging and scraps (they have meal freely available).
One thing I have learned is to watch for broodiness, at the first sign of it we lock the broody one in a separate section of the run so she can't access the nest box, usually for a couple of days, otherwise they will not get out of that box for weeks and will stop the others laying in there.
Chooks are great pets
23-12-2014 10:09 #5
@NoteToSelf hate to say it but chickens will eat chicken. They are absolutely cannibals. We've kept chickens on and off my whole life and we've always had to be careful to watch for any that might have died as the other chooks would eat them if we were to slow to remove the deceased bird!
But have to agree, chickens are great pets and certainly love being talked to and socializing. They are very entertaining.
I have clear memories as a child of hypnotizing them and lining them up. It doesn't hurt them and it is very amusing to the kids. (Very easy to do)
I don't currently have any chooks as our current house is not suitable but mum still had chooks until just weeks ago. She had forgotten to lock the pen one night unfortunately and the foxes got the lot of them. Very sad, even the rooster
So my advice is to make sure they are secure at night, they are very susceptible to predators. That includes snakes and rats.
23-12-2014 10:43 #6
I know they will eat it but I won't let them! Cows eating cow is how mad cow disease got started!
They are definitely carnivores, I've seen them get a mouse, a frog and lizards, they are pretty brutal. I saw a picture once saying they are closely related to or share a lot of DNA with T-Rex, I can see how!
23-12-2014 10:58 #7Senior Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2014
Following. Would love chooks one day..
23-12-2014 11:11 #8
We have chooks, I love watching them, they are hilarious! Definitely dumb though.
The downside is they die too easily. We have lost one to a mystery illness that progressed very quickly over a couple of hours and 4 to a fox attack, which was one of the worst nights of my life! Foxes still come to our backyard nearly every night, so if we ever let our guard down they will be eaten.
Another downside is they attract rats and mice, and I feel like we can't go away for more than a day or two, especially in hot weather.
The positive is funny girls and beautiful fresh eggs of all different colours, I have brown, cream, white and light blue eggs, they are beautiful
23-12-2014 11:20 #9Senior Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
I'm on a farm so we've always had chooks. We had 17 but a nasty fox got to them recently and we lost five.
We have a mix of Isa Browns, White Sussex, Australorps and one Rhode Island Red.
They are very friendly and social and love the kids - my 3 year is absolutely chook obsessed!
They eat anything and scrap buckets are a permanent fixture in my kitchen! Ours free range during the day and then are locked up securely at night.
Love chook is!
24-12-2014 15:06 #10Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
We have 3 new chooks. Very exciting. Commercial reds (hylines). I picked them up today from a commercial farm and they are very people-friendly and looking a picture if health. I'm going to chuckle when people ask me if they are "rescued".
We are planning on developing a chook mansion from recycled materials that DH has been collecting. Hoping to be able to free range them during the day as we have a biggish block and no precious flower beds. I'd love to see photos if your coops for inspiration I've looked on some poultry forums, but they are bit overwhelming when you just want some ideas!
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