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Chickens

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by unklekippy, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    My chicken coop will be constructed about a week from today. I live at 4,600 feet in southern Oregon, 40 miles NE of K. Falls. What kind of chickens do I want and why? My goal as of right now is to produce eggs for myself, wife and 10 year old son. We are not yet looking to produce meat chickens, so a rooster is not needed at the moment. We will probably add a rooster down the road to produce meat or more egg laying chickens for barter or sale at a market. The coop will be plenty large enough and will have a spate area to expand chickens or add rabbits or some other long term regenerating protein source.

    Are certain chickens better for my area? Do certain chickens produce more/better eggs? I am new to the chicken world and appreciate all opinions. I have my coop setup figured out and am making quite a nice one. Doing it right one time beats the hell out of constant repairs. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Blaylocke

    Blaylocke Lewis County Active Member

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    I'd like to give you a well researched opinion, I don't have one. The only thing I can say is when we lived in Wenatchee, Washington when I was about 11 or 12, we went to a chicken farm and bought a ton of chickens for like 25 cents each :laugh: California White chickens that produced a ton of eggs.
     
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  3. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    I was really surprised that Portland allows three chickens w/o a permit. I am sure that will change as they attempt to make those and victory gardens illegal.

    Can't advise you on what chickens to get, I am absolutely clueless on the subject. Sure sounds like a smart move though, good luck.
     
  4. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    Well, I grew up on NE Prescott in the Cully District in the '80's and '90's and I can't believe how many of the Mexican residents had chickens all over their yards. Does anyone from the area remember the house on Killingsworth, just west of 60th on the south side of the street? That house had chickens spilling out into the street at times. Maybe they had a permit(ha!)?

    I am one rung above "clueless". I will soon reach the hallowed ground of "inept". Somewhere along the way the boy may get an omelette out of the deal, so it's not a total loss. I am sure it is a smart move and I appreciate the pat on the back. Maybe I'll name them after my favorite NWFA members?

    I can picture it now. "Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 blue ribbon winner for Best Chicken at the Klamath Count Fair, Blitzkrieg!". Oh, this is gonna be fun(I'm naming one after you too, Burt.).
     
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  5. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    Tons for 25 cents each sounds like a winner to me! They are all over my area and seem to be as cheep(get it?) as 99 cents apiece, so cost isn't much of an issue. Producing a "ton of eggs" is exactly what I'm looking for. I want to be sure that the hot summers and cold winters aren't issues for certain birds and such. Does it hinder egg production?

    I had a lot of exposure to country living all throughout my life, so the move to the mountains hasn't been to shocking. The fact of the matter is that I lived the first 34 yeas of my life in NE and SE Portland. I am definitely a city boy, like it or not and I have things to learn accordingly.

    My cousin married a nice girl from Wenatchee. Her family owns an apple farm(who'da thunk it?) up there. I went to the wedding in '08. I could think of far worse places to live. Like the part of Longview that looks like Haiti. Or any part of Tacoma.
     
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  6. madmax

    madmax woodburn Active Member

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    I got mine at coastal
     
  7. mrblond

    mrblond Salem OR Well-Known Member

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    I think raising chickens is getting more mainstream. Last time I was at Costco, I saw they had these little chicken coops for sale.
     
  8. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Talk to the closest chick supplier to your location. We had Road Island Reds when I was a kid they are a brown egg laying chicken. We had about 12-13 of them had one rooster. If I remember correctly they were pretty hearty birds for our Willamette valley climate. Not sure how they would do that high up. Especially in the cold winters.

    I can tell you they all make a HUGE pile of crap, which stinks to high heaven and they require daily care. I would not have chicken and Rabbits in the same building I doubt it would be good for the bunnies. If you are a LONG ways away from your closest neighbors you might not end up dealing with RATS. But chicken feed draws vermon like crazy.

    If I remember we got about 9-10 eggs a day from a dozen chickens.
     
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  9. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My wife has chickens in kind of a three woman co-op, here in PDX. Chicken poo is an excellent fertilalizer, if a little hot. It has to be aged so as not to burn your plants. To those who have never tasted a fresh home grown egg you just would not believe the flavor and texture! We had to learn to cut down on the number of yolks in things like custards and curds. Just to powerful! Sorry, no help on breeds etc. Ditto on pest control problems but there is nothing I would rather shoot than a rat! Good luck with your venture!
     
  10. Blaylocke

    Blaylocke Lewis County Active Member

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    As far as the cold whether, we always had them in a fairly large coup with a heat lamp. They produced all through the winter. Again though, none of this was done to "best promote egg growth" or anything. I imagine that someone very in the know would have told us we were doing it wrong. But it all ran pretty smooth.

    But yes, chicken crap is a darn mess, and quite gross. You can use it for fertilizer like someone said, however. Most people prefer it to other manures.
     
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  11. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    I buy home grown birds-walking-around-the yard-eating-bugs-and-spiders chicken and duck eggs from a person at work. Visually and by taste there is no comparison to pale runny store eggs.

    Check out: Keeping Chickens by Hobson and Lewis.

    Keith
     
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  12. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    I have around 20 chickens roaming around my yard now. I haven't done a head count and a hen just hatched 5 chicks (now 4 - thanks to a hawk that is hanging around) so my number is "close".

    Here's a good starting list:

    Chicken Breeds

    You probably want a "cold-hardy" breed based on your elevation.

    I really like our Brahma's - they have a good disposition, and are cold hardy. They don't lay a ton of eggs though. My coop isn't heated or lit so they need to be able to handle the bad weather on their own. They have done fine for the last two years.

    One rooster is usually good to have around, they keep the hens in line and the whole flock is happier. I've been through a few roosters. The current Rhode Island Red is good, he sleeps in and doesn't crow too much. He's also scared to death of me so I don't have to deal with any sneak attacks.

    I like the chicken experience but it is work and they can be a bit of a pain sometimes. Tip: three pumps from a Crosman 760 is a great training tool for teaching them to stay out of places you don't want and it's fun target practice too. Just don't hit the young pullets with more than one or two pumps. ;)
     
  13. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    Good info. Thank you. At this point I am leaning toward the Reds. I like the brown eggs. I need to confirm their ability to take the winter. I am building a VERY nice coop that will be plenty warm, but I still want to be sure.

    I am not into the rabbit idea. I do like the space to have more chickens or anything else that may work out. In a pinch, if we really did see an actual crisis of any kind rabbits breed easily and quickly. I have no intentions of becoming a rabbit farmer. I am prepared for the chicken poop.
     
  14. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    20 is a lot. I will look into the Brahmas and thanks for the link. My coop will be heated and lit, so from what I have seen it looks like I should be able to have my pick. I think the Rhode Islands are gonna be the ones. The more I look into it, the more it seems that with my coop setup, the elements won't be an issue at all. I think I will start with 6 hens and a rooster. In the end, we only need enough eggs or us to eat.

    I will start on the low end with my air rifle and see what keeps them in line. Next we are going to add a cow or two. That will be interesting.

    I appreciate the help, fellas. I really thought the elevation would be more of an issue, but it seems like it's all in the coop and the insulation will pay off. I am actually shocked at the price tag of the materials I need to buy for this, but it is more than worth it to have a long term setup.
     
  15. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have had excellent results with Bard Rocks. They are quite friendly, lay brown eggs, nice to look at and are generous producers.
    Normally you buy chicks in the spring, but most feed stores sell full grown hens that need a new home.
    When picking out chicks, go for the smallest sized ones, they will more likely be hens and not roosters.
    Fresh clean water is a must for healthy chickens. If you wouldn't drink it, it's not clean enough.
    I have found that the 2 gallon small pet watering bottle trough's work the best.
    Wood closet rods 1-1/2" works the best for their roosts, and I used a small sliding glass window with a push/pull rod for their entrance into their run.
    Makes it easier to close up on cold nights and to keep predators out.
    Keep up on the vermin control, because the loose food will make their population explode if not kept in check.
     
  16. chemist

    chemist Beaverton OR Well-Known Member

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    Rhode Island Reds do great in cold conditions, but they aren't the friendliest animals. If you want to keep birds as pets that will get along with new coop-mates, it's hard to beat the Barred Plymouth Rock. Barred Rocks are your basic standard backyard hen.

    The California Grey is a mix of Barred Rock and Leghorn, which is an incredible egg-producer and less nervous than the purebred Leghorn. But I don't know about their cold tolerance.

    As far as cocks go, the Reds and Barred Rocks are just the opposite of the hens' personalities - Barred Rock cocks are extremely aggressive, while the Rhodie cocks can be real sweethearts - amazingly so.

    All I have now is hens - Barred Rocks and Black Australorps at the moment. I don't want or need "combination birds" that can be used for meat and eggs, so next batch I'll skip the Ozzies and go with Barred Rocks and CA Greys. I keep them so long that their meat is like leather anyway, so why should I bother feeding a fatso like the Ozzies when the Greys give more and bigger eggs.

    NEVER wash the eggs, by the way.
     
  17. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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  18. MikeE

    MikeE Portland Well-Known Member

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    We used to use this hatchery, good info:
    Murray McMurray Hatchery

    Ditto on the rats. My feeder had plenty of 22lr holes by the time we moved to town.
    Is there a way to grow your own feed and rely on forage? That's a question I've often thought about.
     
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  19. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I need to feed my hens. On five acres they would do fine without any supplemental food. I still give them some scratch grains everyday - just to be nice. They do a great job on keeping the bugs down. My fruit trees crank out the best looking fruit since the chickens started hanging around.

    I'm not so sure about the clean water thing either. Mine get water but keeping it clean is pretty hard. The damn birds turn everything into a dust bowl and then if they can they will poop in everything too. I don't bother with much extra cleaning. I just "manage" it and move it around. I cover the garden with all the crap in the fall and let it fertilize the soil over the winter and till it in in the spring.

    I had rats last summer but some strategically places bait stations took care of that problem.

    It's nice to have a variety of birds. They do have different personalities. Just get a couple of each and have some fun with them.
     
  20. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have the water trough elevated on some bricks. High enough so they can't deposit their waste into it.

    I also hang the feeder from a wire under the elevated coop. What they spill from it, they peck around and clean up each day, because I don't fill it more then two birds can eat in a day.

    They are nuts for grass cuttings. Every morning they get a handful from my lawn.

    The most fun you can with chickens is to rig up a couple of worm electrodes in your yard.

    All you need is a couple 12" lengths of stiff wire (coat hangers work well) bent into an "L" shape.

    Strip the hot "Black" wire from an old extension cord, leaving the male plug end intact.

    Strip off the insulation from the "black" wire, and wrap around the smaller leg of the bent rod, and cover with electrical tape. Then strip the same black wire 24" down from the 1st bent rod and tape that to the 2nd bent wire as well.
    White (neutral) wire is not needed.

    This gives you two electrodes wired in series to plunge into moist ground 24" apart from each other. For a larger area, use three rods and form a triangle.

    When plugged into a live outlet, electricity will go to ground and in a few minutes, you will see a whole bunch of worms of every size come wiggling out of the ground trying to get as far away as they can from the electrical currant.

    Unplug the extension cord and let the chickens out of their pen.

    Total mayhem ensues.

    If you have a slightly sadistic side, watch what happens when you plug it back in while the hens are busy eating the worms.

    Most are so greedy, they will run across the hot area doing an Irish jig just to grab a beak full.