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50 Chickens and Counting

 
Jim Gagnepain
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We live on 11 acres. My wife has been bugging me to get some goats, donkeys, chickens, horses, llamas, etc. I kept telling her that when we finish our construction project (some of the house doesn't have finished walls), we can consider animals. A friend of hers, who had three full-grown hens, was moving, and chickens were not allowed in their new neighborhood. My wife beseeched me, and I agreed. She built a chicken coop, and we had 3 chickens.

I've been out of town for business for the last 8 months, coming home about every 2 weeks. Every time I'd come home, there would be more chickens. She has every breed imaginable. The coop has been expanded many times over, at considerable cost. She's built tunnels connecting the coops. Sun roofs, bathing areas with sand and diatamaceous earth, numerous roosts, etc. The reason is usually something like: "Gertrude doesn't get along with Baltimore, so I had to separate them", or something like that. When I call her on the phone, all she talks about is her chickens.

She won't eat chicken any more. Is this just a phase? Will it pass? I'm somewhat OK with it, because she doesn't bug me about the big animals any more.
 
Ann Torrence
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Sorry to say, but chickens are the gateway drug.
(currently feeding 75 turkeys, ducks, geese, chickens, goats, cat, dog)

So far, chickens seem the most expensive to keep, if that helps with the argument in favor of butchering. Otherwise, maybe she'll find a local farmers' market to sell eggs and recoup the feed bill.

We are heading away from chickens to ducks and turkeys, but it's taken a few years and one old hen has a permanent retirement program in place. The rest do not.
 
Jim Gagnepain
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Ann Torrence wrote:Sorry to say, but chickens are the gateway drug.
(currently feeding 75 turkeys, ducks, geese, chickens, goats, cat, dog)

So far, chickens seem the most expensive to keep, if that helps with the argument in favor of butchering. Otherwise, maybe she'll find a local farmers' market to sell eggs and recoup the feed bill.

We are heading away from chickens to ducks and turkeys, but it's taken a few years and one old hen has a permanent retirement program in place. The rest do not.


I would think a turkey would eat more than chickens. Not so?
 
Ann Torrence
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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bee books chicken duck goat trees
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Jim Gagnepain wrote:
I would think a turkey would eat more than chickens. Not so?

Will let you know this fall! It's our first time with turkeys. Much harder to get out of the brooder than anything else so far, but now they are on the ground and very entertaining and seemingly robust. We got them mostly for grasshopper control in the orchards, but I do prefer turkey to chicken .

Ducks for egg and occasional meat, turkeys for meat, maybe we keep a pair or two of geese for entertainment and guarding. That's the future, as I envision it today. Except Red the hen stays. She was our first hen, taught us how to take care of birds. She's probably 5 now, still laying eggs.
 
Lila Stevens
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Jim Gagnepain wrote:We live on 11 acres. My wife has been bugging me to get some goats, donkeys, chickens, horses, llamas, etc. I kept telling her that when we finish our construction project (some of the house doesn't have finished walls), we can consider animals. A friend of hers, who had three full-grown hens, was moving, and chickens were not allowed in their new neighborhood. My wife beseeched me, and I agreed. She built a chicken coop, and we had 3 chickens.

I've been out of town for business for the last 8 months, coming home about every 2 weeks. Every time I'd come home, there would be more chickens. She has every breed imaginable. The coop has been expanded many times over, at considerable cost. She's built tunnels connecting the coops. Sun roofs, bathing areas with sand and diatamaceous earth, numerous roosts, etc. The reason is usually something like: "Gertrude doesn't get along with Baltimore, so I had to separate them", or something like that. When I call her on the phone, all she talks about is her chickens.

She won't eat chicken any more. Is this just a phase? Will it pass? I'm somewhat OK with it, because she doesn't bug me about the big animals any more.


This made me laugh so much. My husband could write a very similar post about me and my goats. I was just planning to have two nice goats for milk. Three months later, I have collected 7 goats, and I still on entertain thoughts of more, even though I have as many as I, and my land, can handle, and I did promise that the last one would be the last.

I say if your wife is happy, and you don't mind, just ride it out. My goats, garden, and orchard give me so much satisfaction, and I'm glad my husband doesn't give me too much opposition.

With so many chickens though, I'll bet she could sell some eggs and recoup some costs. Our goat milk saves us money, and lets hubby eat as much yogurt and pudding as he could desire, so that helps him appreciate them.
 
john mcginnis
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Jim Gagnepain wrote:
Ann Torrence wrote:Sorry to say, but chickens are the gateway drug.
(currently feeding 75 turkeys, ducks, geese, chickens, goats, cat, dog)

So far, chickens seem the most expensive to keep, if that helps with the argument in favor of butchering. Otherwise, maybe she'll find a local farmers' market to sell eggs and recoup the feed bill.

We are heading away from chickens to ducks and turkeys, but it's taken a few years and one old hen has a permanent retirement program in place. The rest do not.


I would think a turkey would eat more than chickens. Not so?


Given the proper range turkeys are excellent foragers. Folks that have a lot of woodland in their land, turkeys are a better fit than chickens. The downside is the egg laying is highly seasonal, but if you can get them they are very tasty.
 
Jim Gagnepain
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An update = we've got over 100 chickens now. In addition, we have Tibetan quail and guinea fowl (which are now huge). I've grown quite fond of the birds. They are very entertaining. All the larger birds free range on our land. The garden, which was infested with pests last year, have none this year, so that's a big upside. I was told that the guinea fowl would leave eventually, but they continue to return to the coops every evening.

She also has 3 incubators, and is hatching chickens. It's a learning experience. A few have died. But most have survived.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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