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#79630 - 07/28/07 03:37 PM Another Newbie with Basic Questions
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi everyone. This is my first time posting on the board. I'm David 45yr. from Denham Springs, La which is near Baton Rouge. I have 2 acres with a pond near a subdivision in a surburban area.
I have a few questions about layers, broilers and wanted to run my ideas by the pros on this board to see how they sound.
1. I want to get 10 layers in the fall for eggs for my family and my "maw and law and them". If I build a chicken tractor that is 8 feet by 12 feet, will that be enough room for 10 Rhode Island Reds? The coop area would be 8'x4' and the run, 8'x8'. They would free range a little but not everyday or all day long. I would plan to have 6 nest boxes in the coop.
2. I live in a surburban area with racoons around, so would you think that having about 1 foot wide of wire fabric under the coop perimeter would be enough to prevent the racoons from digging under the run? I also have access to a Haveaheart trap that is very good at trapping racoons if they hang around. I have a friend that put wire under the whole coop, but I thought that would get in the way of the chickens scratching.
3. Would would happen if I let them free range in my vegetable garden. Would they destroy the crops or just make a small impact on the things I would be growing?
4. I like the idea of growing 25 Cornish X in the spring to raise for broilers. If I bought straight run chics, would the males be crowing by the time I butchered them at 8 to 10 weeks old? On one border of my property, there is 5 backyards from a subdivision so I could not have a lot of noise going on out of respect for the neighbors. I like the idea of raising my own meat birds, but on the other hand I can go to Wal-Mart and buy a whole dressed bird for about $3.10 that came from Pilgrims Pride.
I like the idea of growing my own vegetables and meat, using the manure for the compost pile and scraps for the animals etc. Seems like that is the way things should be, like a complete circle of resources instead of just buying the chicken at the food store and manure at the landscape store etc. Many people might find that weird, but it seems more responsible to use and re-use things instead of just buying them at the store, so that is what I am working toward now and hopefully will move further out in the country once I am finished working a job. laugh :p smile
Anyway, I'm so happy to have found this place, i have a feeling as I get into the learning curve with poultry, I will have a great place to get advice. smile

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#79631 - 07/28/07 05:09 PM Re: Another Newbie with Basic Questions
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
Welcome to the board Chic Lover.I run 8 chickens in my suburban back yard which is about 800 Msq. I think the idea of a chicken tractor is that it can be mobile. If you have racoons as a problem and are planning to dig in protection fencing, it sounds as if you are planning something stationary. If this is the case I don't think your run area will be anywhere big enough, even if your chooks freerange sometimes. I think it is recommended that your run allows 1 metre square per hen, but others will correct me if I'm wrong. House sounds a good size. If each bird has enough space on the roosts, you are less likely to have feather picking or territorial problems often caused by stress.

You will need to fence off your vegetable garden and your flower garden too. Chooks will happily scratch everything out of the ground and eat your beets, brocoli and your flowers too. They also adore getting into potted plants and scratching out all the soil.
You can certainly use the manure in the vegetable patch, either by trenching or by composting first. I use both methods and the vegetable love it. I do let the hens into the vegetable patch at the autumn clean-up, and they have a great time working over the soil, before I replant with winter veges.
Be aware that chooks are addictive and good intentions to start out with ten hens may well end up as 15...20... :p

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#79632 - 07/29/07 11:08 AM Re: Another Newbie with Basic Questions
Calistoga Chick Offline
Chick

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 19
Loc: California
Hi Foehn,

I compost the chicken manure. I have never heard of trenching. Can you please explain?

Thanks!

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#79633 - 07/29/07 10:55 PM Re: Another Newbie with Basic Questions
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
Trenching is a method similar to "double digging", except that you are adding compostible material. You dig a trench along your garden in a part that you may have just finished harvesting from. Into that you pile weeds, chooky manure, household scraps, a bit of lawn clippings; whatever you have really. You tramp them down and then cover with the loose soil. Worms will move in within a few days, and if you use the Bokashi (Effective Micro organisms)method you can plant directly into your soil soon after. Bokashi
This is a good way to build up the organic matter in the soil, and you don't have to handle the compost twice, as you do with the traditional method

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#79634 - 07/30/07 07:47 AM Re: Another Newbie with Basic Questions
Calistoga Chick Offline
Chick

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 19
Loc: California
Thanks, Foehn. I've never heard of this. I have two beds that I just pulled and it's too late to plant more summer stuff and too early for fall, so I'll give it a try. I use an organic fertilizer with micro organisms, but will see if Bokashi is available. If I plant in 4-6 weeks, will it have broken down enough so it won't burn the plants? The compost heap is down the hill from the chook house and the veggie garden is uphill from all, so it would save me from wheelbarrowing to and fro.

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#79635 - 07/30/07 08:22 PM Re: Another Newbie with Basic Questions
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Chic lover,

Foehn is right, chickens are destructive and addictive! That ''circle of resources" thing that you mentioned is so much fun to observe - chicken manure and vegetable refuse feed the soil that feed your crops that feed you and your chickens, who you feed and they feed you.... You will have so much fun. I have no idea what health/size/type pond you have but we trap small baitfish which abound in our ponds and feed them fresh and wriggling to the chickens maybe once a week spring through fall. There are so many ways to recycle your resources! Good luck and by the way - I doubt 8 week old straight run broilers would pose much of a crowing risk?? -Amy

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#79636 - 08/09/07 02:17 AM Re: Another Newbie with Basic Questions
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
CalistogaChick , I sent you a PM with a little more info on trenching.

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