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New free range chickens

 
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Hello all! I'm hoping to be more self reliant in today's world. I just purchased a property in southern california where it does not snow that has about .5-.7 acre of macadamia trees and fruit trees. I am planning on putting an 8 foot deer fence around it and eventually growing climbing fruit on the fence. I've been reading about ground cover in the grove to lower water consumption, provide nutrients for the trees and encourage bugs. Ground cover I'm considering so far are clover year round and buckwheat as well as some type of legume or similar which would also provide feed for the chickens along with some fruits that drop. I am planning on having a worm farm, maybe mealworms to feed the chickens as well. I did read about chickens being 100% fed on a larger composing pile. I have never composted before. If I grow lots of buckwheat I should be able.to get green for it but am concerned about not having browm. I'm not sure if this plan will work so I'm hoping for some suggestions on this as well as a breed of chicken. I was planning on getting around 10 buff orpington for eggs but I'd like to be able to provide year round meat as well for a family of 6. Other breeds I've read that interest me are black australorp and rangers. However I'm concerned with the time to harvest vs amount of room that I have and if too many chickens pooping it would end up hurting the trees with too much fertilizer. I would like them to be able to run around the .6ish acre all year foraging. From what I'm reading online, it seems I'd need about 70 chickens at all times to keep a daily food supply so ability to breed is ideal. I'm hoping anyone can give some advice, point out where I'm mistaken and also make suggestions on breed, types of crops or ground cover I can plant along the trees and such so shade tolerant like buckwheat and lastly any issues there are with a year long free range chicken. Also anything I'm not thinking of or missing. Thank you very much! Side note, I do know about the cornish breed that matures quickly but read they don't really breed or forage well and aren't weather tolerant so this does not sound like a good fit.
 
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You dont share your experience raising chickens.  You seem to be planning on having many more chickens on your land than I would be comfortable with. I would start with a smaller flock.
 
Robert Drey
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I grew up raising them until around 9 years old and did many ag classes. I plan on starting small but want to plan for the future so I can start preparations now, like having available food already. It's coming up on planing season so I can get a good compost pile going at least as well as whatever else to feed a larger flock. Some questions I have is if I can control predators is it fine to let them roam the entire gated half acre? Is it still important to make sure they go to the pen at night if safe? Then like asked earlier, is a half acre for a larger flock fine? Online says 10sqft per bird so I have way more than enough but I'm asking opinions and advice here. Tha ms again!
 
Robert Drey
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John F Dean wrote:You dont share your experience raising chickens.  You seem to be planning on having many more chickens on your land than I would be comfortable with. I would start with a smaller flock.



I also grew up with horses, goats, ducks, birds, different smaller rodent types, dogs cats. I haven't had any except many dogs for a while now. I do understand taking care of them but as a child I didn't plan everything I just did as told. Back then we bought feed. I'm hoping to provide everything from my land.
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