Sarah --- I'm sorry you're having trouble! One thing to be aware of is that chickens are very sensitive to the difference between stale and fresh water. While stale water won't hurt them in any way, it doesn't taste quite as good. So if you put fresh water in their yard, they're going to go drink it quite happily and ignore your waterering system, which will be full of stale water. Since chickens are creatures of habit, it's really essential to take away all other sources of water, too, if you want your chickens to learn to drink from a new source.
Chances are that if you've seen one chicken drink from your system, they all know how to drink and are just happily taking advantage of the fresher water when it's offered. One option is to mark the side of your reservoir so you can tell how much water they're drinking from the nipples per day --- they should be getting 0.4 cups per hen per day. (It looks like chickens drink a lot more from traditional waterers, but most of that is spilled or fouled.)
Vicki --- Good question! We use buckwheat to fill in garden gaps only about a month long, which means the plants only just have time to bloom. We could let them go longer in some areas, but then we'd have to deal with buckwheat weeds from the seeds that would drop as we harvested. Of course, it might make sense to put in separate buckwheat plantings for chickens at some point....
I had chickens first and they were the smelliest things in the world! Couldn't stand it. Then I got Sebastopol geese, which I have loved. But now that they are no longer endangered I have been raising Silver Appleyard ducks. I'll take emptying water buckets and pools over stinky chicken poo any day of the year. I got four, hoping for at least one female and will raise, incubate and sell their babies. The other two will go in the freezer. They are currently 5 weeks old and I thikn they are foraging for bugs pretty darn well!
My chickens love buckwheat seeds, even going for the forming seeds and flowers. Is there a reason you don't collect the tops of your cover crop for your chickens?
I have had the EZMiser for several months, and my hens will not use it. I tried keeping just it in the outside run, but they all still just use the traditional waterer in the coop. I also tried putting it out when they were free ranging, and they won't touch it. Very frustrating as it was expensive to purchase.
What you posted is a pretty darn complex gimbal. You do not need any servos as the device is gravity operated. Even simpler is a chain. Guaranteed level or plumb each and every time. I have always found that the best remedy for technology is less technology. Enjoy.
My argument with your article is simple. The unsustainable aspect of the entire article is that the health care problems related with store bought chickens is the heart of the matter. Chickens that are allowed to free range through the day with a treat thrown at them when needed is in the end far more sustainable than the doctor bills that come with the crap we outlaw here regarding pesticides and poisons, use on mega farms outside the U.S. and then ship the food to the unknowing consumers. That process is not exclusive to chickens as you well know. You seem, maybe not, but seem to beat the drum of the big lobbyists that are trying to legislate consumers from growing their own food. My point that I want to make in closing is that our grandparents "prepared". They canned, dried, and now the art of putting away food, growing a small garden, should be part of every single persons livelihood. Couple that with an address to what consumers throw away at restaurants and you now have no food shortage.
We have 3 geese, 2 ducks, 20+chickens and had 8 guinea hens all in an empty horse stall. Doors closed and locked at night. Radio left on. Something beheaded 3 guinea hens one night, beheaded a chicken another night & stretched the head of another chicken. Last night a chicken and guinea hen were beheaded.. No sign of entry until this morning we found a 2" hole in the dirt floor.
We've had chickens that are fine with eating bananas, but then seem inclined to wipe off their wet/sticky beaks a lot afterwards. I've not seen a time when our bananas go uneaten. Isn't it funny how different flocks exhibit varying group preferences, like your flocks and comfrey in the past?
Well, after reading I Am Hutterite (thanks to your suggestion), I'm sure you could use duck feathers to make pillows... in your space time... even though you probably have pillows... with chicken feathers instead. Obviously just kidding. Mulch is a good idea. Is it worth chopping up the feathers with the mower to get them decomposing faster?
Years ago mice came into our coop of 12 hens and all seemed quite harmonious out there, despite me not liking the critters. The chickens didn't mind sharing their food, but more and more mice appeared (as an ample food source will do). I was cleaning the coop one day, scooting mice out into the pen. It only took one hen to try a mouse and the peace was broken. It was rather horrifying, but my pampered Wyandottes (well fed) ate every last mouse they could catch. It was not pretty. We never had another mouse.
I have been using the nipples for a couple of years for my chicks and love it, they love it too. I tried them with a pen of bunnies that I also raise and they love it more, I think. They ignore the traditional water bottles and empty the nipple rigged jugs 1st.
Love them, Thanks
I love my original waterers. They are so easy to keep clean. Just need to get the gear ready to make them for winter!
Hello! I've got a mystery that perhaps your knowledge might shed some light on. I came home this afternoon to find one of my hens dead on the ground in the coop. It was very hot (105) but I've never lost a hen to heat yet. AND, she had a perfectly round wound centered between her chest and belly area. Also, it looked like some feathers were missing all around the area. No blood, and it didn't look messy and brutal. I don't get it. My first thought was that she'd been shot, but that seems next to impossible, and the wound was approx. 1/2" in diameter. Any thoughts appreciated. All the other hens were fine with no signs of anything troubling...
We just moved our 6wk old guinea keets out to the chicken coop/run last week. No problems except this morning one keet was missing and I found just its head outside of the coop. No damage to any other birds or to the coop/ground around it. I don't know how the predator got it out of the coop. We have 2x3 metal wire fencing so maybe a raccoon reached in and pulled it out through the wire? The guineas haven't figured out how to climb the ramp into the coop yet at night. They are so scared of me but I think I'm going to have to put them inside now. Any ideas? I don't want to lose more birds.
My sister and I have a big problem with something raiding our coop I don't think it is something small but something bigger we had in the upword 50s of chickens we are down to 38 and the only turkey that is left is our tom but he also sleeps on the chicken coop roof our hen was plucked off her nest she was sitting on her nest she made in a blackberry thicket I found her bones on the other side of the nest 2 days later she was picked clean the eggs were intact none had been eatin there were feathers everywhere we also had about 15-20 baby turkeys they were a few months old were probly about a 1 1/2 ft tall they are all gone now the carcasses were found in the yard picked clean along with the chickens but the turkeys were the first to go but we still have our 2 chicks a couple of our hens hatched out in the thicket somewhere and they are still very lil they don't have their primary feathers yet....
our ducks always wandered all day and wanted to go home when it got dark. the only times we lost ducks was when someone forgot to lock them up at night. do you think you could train your ducks to free wander the unsafe areas during day and come home to a pasture/coop at night? I would not try it on babies but maybe adults could learn, if you get a couple well trained guys they would probably lead the others. maybe only feed grain in the coop.
Rebecca --- Mark asked me the same question. We definitely have lots of wild wet areas on our farm, but the trouble is that our dog Lucy doesn't patrol down there, so our ducks would be...well...sitting ducks for predators. I suspect if we let the ducks enjoy our floodplain paradise, we wouldn't have ducks for long.
we had ducks for a little while these guys are only lazy on land i always feel as if they act like their feet hurt (except for the indian runners). get them in some water and they get fast, a single 3 week old duck could eat a dozen feeder fish in 3 min. Is there anyway you can incorporate your moat, i mean your stream, in the ducks' life?
To whoever thought or thinks that clipping a chicken wings is cruel. This is similiar to accusing people of cruelty when they cut someone's fingernails or hair. It doesn't hurt the chicken at all!!!
Our cats catch moles, mice and rats all year long. (Mostly moles in the yard in summer, and mice/rats in winter.. the latter is not a feature I enjoy about living in the country in a very old house..)
Anyway, when we find a "gift" on the front step, we toss it into the chicken yard (meat birds and layers in there at various times of year). Also the ones that we catch ourselves in snap traps. (Not poisoned, of course!!)
I started doing that after I read a bit somewhere from Joel Salatin who talked about folks doing that in "back in the day", especially in winter when there weren't any bugs for the birds to scratch up.
One night I came home from a baseball game and i kept my chickens out in the run because it was day and light out when I left. When I came home my four chickens were all killed. One was laying out in the run but the other 3 were laying on top of each other in the inside coop part. I am only 12 so i ran away right when I saw them but my dad had to take them out to put them away. The second I saw them they looked bloody and had no feathers but the chicken out in the run had all its feathers. The next day my dad told me that they had most of there feathers and mostly here necks were eaten. I think it is a weasel but my Mom thinks its a raccoon because she has never seen a weasel were we live. (Near cleveland OH) We always see raccoons here and they always get in our garbage but the coop is pretty close to the ground and doesn't look like a raccoon can get into it. So please tell me what killed my chickens. I really dint want to kill the wrong thing then have the other kill my next ones.
Well we got Rode Island Reds thinking they should be a decent foraging bird and decent cold hardines (living in Minnesota that is one of my primary selection traits).
That said I probably should get your ebook to have it around for the next time we purchase some birds (though hopefully that will be a while out).
Elaine --- That sounds frustrating! I haven't done this myself, but I've read that you can sometimes break a hen of being broody by putting her in a well-lit space with no nest-like spaces for a day or two. Good luck!
BW --- I'd be curious to hear which breed(s) of chickens you have. In my experience, some chicken breeds are just much less prone to forage than others. We ditched our cochin hen for this reason --- she just didn't want to scratch in the dirt. You can read more about the breeds we've had good and bad luck with in my 99 cent ebook.
Anonymous --- I'm so sorry you feel that way. I'm not sure you understand what wing clipping entails, though. You don't actually clip the flesh of the birds, just the feathers, which is analogous to clipping a dog's toenails or cutting your hair. Yes, it can be an annoyance to the bird, but there's no pain involved at all.
I am having a similar issue but with some 18 week old chickens. They seem to spend their whole day in the coop barly looking for any food.
We purchased them at 1 month old and then kept them inside for another 3 weeks because of the freezing temperatures. Now they basically only eat the feed I put out for them. That said I am not sure I the black flies are driving them crazy since they are not really even finishing the food I put out for them. Other days they eat it all up and want more food.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get them to range for their food?
I have read that drying duckweed in the shade (not in direct sunlight) significiantly increases the protein level. Also adding urea fertilizer to the duckweed pond also helps to elevate protein levels.
What is wrong with you??? Would you like to have your arms or legs "clipped"??? This is animal cruelty!!!
ARRRGGGHHHH!! I have to leg horn/australorps that will hatch chicks then after a few weeks they are done and want to sit again!!! it drives me nuts! as these girls will sit on eggs till they drop dead ( or close to it) (I dont have a rooster so i buy eggs or chicks for them. how can i stop these birds as i dont want any more choickens my yard isnt big enough!
jen --- We don't actually give our chickens free-choice minerals, mostly due to laziness (not wanting to set up the infrastructure). I wouldn't worry about animals eating too much of minerals fed this way, though. Since the minerals won't be mixed with anything tasty, you'd think animals would stop eating once their cravings go away.
I do think that both animals and people can tell what kind of vitamins and minerals they're short on. Pregnant women definitely crave foods at certain times, so I don't think it's a stretch to believe that humans can tell if we're low on specific minerals. We're probably all so well-nourished at the moment that we seldom have that kind of deficiency.
Crystal --- Thanks for the offer! That does sound like a good tree you've got. We've filled up all of our persimmon spots now, though.
I live in southwest La ( not in a swamp area ) & have alot of wild persimmon trees in my backyard if you are interested. Its late June right now & I have a tree that is producing fruit. We have never fertilized the trees or given them any special treatment since they are the wild persimmons & they have always given us nice fruit. I only use them to feed the deer around the house & my chickens but always have alot that go to waste. If you would like any seeds plz let me know.
I have read here and there that certain minerals should be available "free choice" in individual containers (calcium, phosphorus, and something else I think), so that each chicken can consume whatever amount of each mineral he/she thinks is appropriate. I admit I simply buy the local store's "complete" organic blend and have few problems with thin shells or whatever else is supposed to happen to hens that don't get extra minerals. I tried pulverized eggs shells once, as well as phosphorus and kelp meal, but not one chicken cared. So I quit it. I broadcasted the pulverized shells on the ground once, to see their reaction, and they ate it like they'd been starving. But they do that for almost anything!
Two rhetorical questions: do the people who recommend free choice minerals really think chickens know when to say when; and are humans so out of touch with our own instincts that we are the only species that doesn't innately know which minerals to eat on a daily basis?
Well I just started out with chickens this year so take my experiences in light of that.
I have just started soaking/fermenting my feed for chickens and goats. I found that both animals devour the soaked feed. It is also easier to contain in one area. the down side is that you have to provide more feed every day instead of with grain you can make a feeder that will hold enough for a few days.
I do think that the soaked grain does last longer (animals eat less of it - though one goat eats it quicker and wants more - meaning it likes it more then dry grain).
So I would say try it. Just start soaking a bit of grain and see how the chickens like it and then go from there.
Emily --- I guess the question is whether chickens raised in confinement at home are really any better quality than those raised in confinement in a factory. On the other hand, your mention of the manure does tip the balance toward making raising them at home worth it even if you don't add value by pasturing your birds.
Cornish aren't generally kept long enough to raise eggs because the breed has been engineered to grow so fast that many perish when full size. Also, the feed:meat ratio tends to decline if you wait longer than six to eight weeks to kill your broilers, so cost per pound actually starts to go up further.
I find it strange the warning about not handling newly hatched chicks. To get mum hen to start laying sooner( after 2 wks), I've always carried the new chicks to a brooder without ill effects.
Woke up this morning to find the top of my chicken coop was moved 3 feet so something could get in my coop is 4 feet tall and none of the sides were disturbed just the top there was no feather or anything just the top moved and birds gone. I live in the woods pretty deep and have heard a few big things go bump in the night but im just amazed that some could get in and out of the coop that high off the ground. any ideas??
Heard noise this morning around 6 thinking chickens were fighting each other, but found their fence loose and hens about and missing a few without a trace. We're in the city with 40 acres of wetland in the back of our house. Have seen foxes and racoon. More recent on the fox and not the racoon. Have seen hawks and neighbors cat but no dog. Still a mystery.
I wouldn't consider the 20 cents or so too much of a price to pay for what you know is quality. Also, since the birds are going to contribute to fertilizer (poop), and possibly compost (feathers, heads, etc), I'm sure your coming out at least even, possibly ahead.
I'm guessing that since you butchered the Cornish as young as you did that this particular batch didn't get to contribute to the price of eggs?
I came outside this morning to find all seven of my chickens dead. None are missing. Most appear to have bite marks on their backs. One was ripped in half and the head torn or bitten off, but not eaten. There is a hole dug under the fence. Does this sound like dogs to you? Thanks in advance.
My chicken is bleeding from the head but I managed to save it. Mother hen and all chicks are in the bath tub in the house now. What can I do to help the chick survive? The wounds don't look deep.
We have found several dead chickens in our pen. They are about 2 months old. We will find 2-3 dead at a time. One might be whole with some eaten out of it, the other partially eaten and the third will be completely gone with only the wings and feet left. This has happened 3 times. We checked them one day around 430pm and there were 3 dead, we removed the 3. When we returned home around 11pm and checked again, there were 2 more dead. We left the 2 in the pen just to see what would happen. The next morning, the 2 dead chickens were eaten almost entirely, with the feet remaining and some of the wings. But no other chickens were killed. We have set a live trap and are hoping for some luck, but we have no idea what to expect. Has anyone else seen this killing pattern?
I live like 5 years in the netherlands and my grandpa and other family is living in armenia.
Yesterday they called via skype to say that all their chickens and one rooster (10 out of 10)
My grandpa saw a chicken still wandering around ... same bitemarks and the chicken had a lotta pain so my grandpa decided to finish him off.
When skinning the animal it didnt drop a drip of blood
So i would like to know what it was .. If you know you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org thanks for the help
I've raised these broilers for 26 years. I always get them in batches of 25 about once a year. Start them out with the sugar water for an hour before I put the starter feed in with them. Keep a heat lamp on them, take the feed out at night after they are a week old. All those things they told me to do. I usually never lose more than 1 or 2 and they always send a couple extra along in the order. Some years I don't even loose those. I love that they are ready to butcher in 8 weeks. Mine stay in the brooder house their whole life though. And I raise them in the fall. Usually get them right after labor day and butcher in Nov.
Hi, I lost my best laying hen on Mon. She was partially eaten in my coop which is covered and sided by chain link ( cyclone fence). I was shocked but shrugged it off, 2 nights later I lost my favorite hen. Beeps was disemboweled, most of her was eaten & feathers every where. The Rooster never raised any alarm though, I blocked every entrance I could, nothing lost in 2 nights now but I'm down to 2 hens and 1 worthless Bard rooster! I'm thinkin' possum but I'm in rural west Wa. so I suspect coons too. Any help would be great.
Thanks Don L
I was contemplating buying a hydroponic system for Fodder production (green forage) for my horses. With the rising, and unrelenting price of fuel to make the hay, hay has become very expensive ($5.50-7/bale)with NO end in sight. I wanted to be sure that my horses would eat this type of forage readily. I started to grow it in my DARK- no light available- cellar. Fodder can be grown without any light source, but it will be white and not green. I did, however, use a grow light for 2hrs/day. This made the fodder very green. It took a little bit of trial and error to get the water amount needed just right, but it worked. The animal consumes everything in the tray at the end of the week, seed casing, roots and all. There is no dirt, and the animals do LOVE it. Since fodder can be fed to ALL livestock, I fed to my ducks, chickens, and horses throughout the winter. basically as a treat, as I was only using seed starter trays, and my cellar isn't that big to have the number of trays I would need on a single layer all over my floor. You need to soak untreated seed- Barley works the BEST! And, 85% of it is digestible, so they get a lot of good nutrition from the fodder, unlike hay which is 15% digestible. Protein levels of barley fodder equal that of corn, so you can save on feed! Steps- 1) soak seeds 15 minutes in 5 gallon bucket with 5% solution of bleach or peroxide:water ratio. You just need to make sure all the seed is covered. (you can use this solution to clean your trays after your seeds are soaked, so after the 1st day, don't throw it away. Literally, it takes only 10-15 minutes/day to maintain this feed source! 2) Rinse and fill up with only water- seeds need to soak 24hrs additional. 3) then drain again, after the 24hrs. 4) Place soaked seed inside your trays. 7lbs of DRY seed/day will fill a 12' long channel, and feed 4-6 horses and 100 chickens for the day. SO measure, and adjust the amount of seed you need, to account for how long your trays are and how many animals you need to feed. whether this is going to be your feed source, or if you are just giving them a treat. 50 for the 2nd day, I usually just use a spray bottle to water the seeds- enough to thoroughly soak them, but not enough for a lot of standing water. Then, spray every other day, put in 2cups water/tray every other day, starting on day 3. 5) Each day do a tray- with just enough for each days use. This gives you fresh fodder daily. Each tray takes 7 days to reach the right height. 6) Turn grow light on, if green fodder is wanted, for maximum of 2hrs/day. Materials needed: 5 gallon bucket; (2) 5 gallon buckets with lid are ideal! Spray bottle Water bleach or peroxide scrub brush to clean out trays before 1st use, and after every use to kill and inhibit fungi and mold growth 7 seed starter trays liquid cup measure SEED from seed distributor (online) and place to dry store seed. Garbage can with lid works great! Grow light bulb and brooder lamp works great! Spot where water run off/spillage won't damage property. I placed trays near our sump pump.
You can make your own feed, know what your chickens, ducks, and other animals are getting as a seed (you can be sure that there are no GMO's in your feed, and thus end up in your belly) And, they get fresh feed which they gobble up!
this was a good idea
Mamahandy --- You'd probably get a mixture of chickens that resemble the parent breeds, White Rocks and New Hampshires. I'll be curious to hear about your results if you give it a try!
what.will be.my end.results if my 2 comments breed,,,mean what will the.chucks look like?
My hens were attacked the other night when I forgot to shut the main door, I found 7 of the 10 bodies. The bodies I found were all just missing their heads/necks. The part that baffles me is how far apart I found the bodies. I found one accross the road in the neighbors front yard, 3 on one side of the field and 3 more on the other side of the field. It was about 1/2 mile from the 2 furthest chickens apart. I cant see a raccoon dragging that many chickens that far and in so many directions. I dont know if an owl would kill so many chickens? Or maybe it was a pair of owls? What do you think?
Anonymous --- Interesting! I haven't seen sun tea jars, but I can imagine them from your description. Your best bet might be to start with an Avian Aqua Miser Original kit but to use the EZ Miser idea to make your own smaller waterer. I'd love to see a photo if you do make the waterer you imagined!
Erin --- We don't include a nut or gasket with our kits because you won't need them as long as you follow the directions in the kit. We do include gaskets with our EZ Miser kits, though, since those are mandatory. Be sure to visit http://www.avianaquamiser.com/abroad/ for international orders.
Keith --- Good idea! I was figuring we might eventually protect it with black spray paint since exposure to sun will also break down the plastic. But wrapping it is a good alternative.
What about staring with a sun tea jar? It already has a hole in the glass, plus a breathing hole in the lid. Perhaps the newer EZ Mizer that mounts on the side of a bucket could be offered in a smaller size to fit this opening? You could unscrew the plastic spigot that comes with the tea jar and stick in the EZ Mizer.
I have 4 bamtam hens and would like to order the 1 DIY kit. Does this kit come with the gasket ring as well as the nipple? My husband has the tools he needs and we have a bucket ready to go. Will this kits be suitable for us?
I also have a clear one like that, I have completely wrapped mine with black heavy duty landscape fabric. It is the only way to prevent algae growing inside and turning the IBC and water green
Genye --- That sounds awful! I've actually never seen a chicken throw up, so I'm surprised to hear you mention it. A quick search of the internet suggests that your chicken may have just drunk too much too quickly, overfilling her crop. Extra liquid will then ooze back up her throat and she'll spit it up, but that's not a sign of her being sick and isn't really vomiting. I hope that helps!
Robert --- Thanks for sharing! I've included the image Robert emailed me of his setup below:
Chicks were about 4 weeks old when the nipples arrived. I installed 6 of them on a PVC header connected to a 5 gallon bucket with a hose between them. I followed the instructions pulling water out the night before installing the watering system. The chickens learned how to use the nipples in less than 30 minutes. I am watering 22 pullets with 6 nipples and only need to fill the bucket every few days. I attached a valve on the bucket so I can disconnect and take it outside to clean without making a mess in the coop. I also attached the header to the wall with straps so I can adjust the height as the chickens grow. These nipples are great and your service with a minor problem was quick and professional. Thank you.
Please explain to me why a comet would throw up and what would cause it. These chickens have been kept in a large pen and fed nothing but laying pellets and some lettuce,etc. They are given fresh food and water every day yet I seem to have a sick(?) chicken. Can you help me? Thank you!!!
Wish I had the stuff to do this. So very cool.
You might also check out HenCam's Hen Blog. She's had a rabbit more or less with her hens for years. She recently lost one and has integrated a new rabbit with the flock.
I wish I could recall the name of the book or the author that gave me this suggestion, so as to give him his due.
When giving my hens scratch grains I take it out in a container and shake it. The hens know food is coming and high tail it like mad back into the coop, where I feed them the grain. Now when I want to call them back to the coop, or catch one, just a shaking of the grain container is all it takes. It works amazingly well!
Thanks for all you do to help us! - Ron
Brian --- I'd have to say no. I would have taken half the time to build a rectangular coop, and if I wanted to pretty it up, I would have added paint. I suspect Mark would do it again, but only if he didn't have to put up with my complaints....
Now that it's finished and with everything learned would you do it again?
The roof took too long (a few days) but I would not place the blame on the shingles. Rather as this was my first time building something this scale and my first time doing a roof it involved extra trips to the store (mainly due to underestimating the number of shingles... twice) and I was far from fast at it.
Darren --- Very smart! It does seem that right now it's awfully easy to find cockerels for the asking since so many people are getting into chickens who wouldn't consider butchering. I'll bet someone could live off free chickens if they kept their eyes open....
Rebecca and Darren -- Fascinating to hear both of your experiences! I plan to keep data on egg production of our ducks once they come, so hopefully in a year or so I'll be able to say whether they're seasonal layers and how their production compares to that of chickens.
Erica --- We definitely plan to try the water snails on the ducks once they come and grow up a bit. It's possible, though, that not all snails taste the same. Maybe only some snails are tasty for chickens and ducks?
Thanks so much for sharing! Your picture didn't quite go in right, so I've included it below:
We'll be posting another sumup of our roofing adventures soon, probably next week, so stay tuned. Mark was very impressed with your roof, as a side note, and was wondering how long it took you to shingle it?
I know these posts don't get a lot of comments but I do appreciate you posting updates. I have wanted to build one of these for ages but never did. Watching yours grow was the kick I needed and I am 90% done on mine (just need the door finished)
I do have to say I think you guys made the correct choice with doing the flat panel for the door. I kept to the pattern and have been struggling on what to do with the door due to the "odd" angles. Opening out doesn't work and I don't like it swinging in either
I've understood that ducks love snails and slugs, so in case you get ducks the snails won't go to waste even if the chickens don't like them!
we had an indian runner for a pet. she did not start laying till a year old then only laid a few eggs but she was very nice, and played well with the rabbits. our peking never did lay but they were very laid back. I always though based on when our duck laid that ducks were spring time layers only.
Until last weekend, we had Indian Runners, Pekins and Muscovies. Now we just have Pekins (and a freezer full of meat!).
If you're interested in meat production and grass-eating ability, Muscovies are fantastic. Their meat is more like veal than duck, much less fat, and very tasty. They make great mothers, and lay reasonably.
The Pekins have been our best breed for eggs and meat. We'll be concentrating on just them from now on.
The Indian Runners were OK layers (ours were from a show strain rather than a laying strain), but gorgeous to watch waddle around the yard. They're like animated bowling pins!
We kept the Runners and Muscovies (and one Pekin who didn't get along with the others) in with the chickens. There was never any issues with fighting or anything, but ducks are much messier than chickens. You need to give them containers of water to allow them to dunk their heads to clear the dirt from their nostrils - and they'll mess the water up within minutes of changing it! Your waterers will still allow chooks and ducks to get clean drinking water at all times, though.
Our ducks have always given fewer eggs than the chickens, eat more (except muscovies on pasture), and are more hassle to pluck. The eggs sell well, though, since you can't buy them in stores here.
I'm interested to see how your experiment goes!
Lots of people in my area want to put eggs under a broody hen, so their kids can experience seeing chicks hatch and grown up. Some of those people are sensible, and have already thought about what they'll do with the inevitable 50% roosters that will hatch. Others remain blissfully ignorant of the problem until it hits :-).
So I offer people fertile eggs for their broody hens, with a promise to take back any chickens they don't want to keep. By the time the young roosters start crowing, they're not far off butchering size - so someone else has paid for all the feed! People sometimes don't want all the pullets, either, so I get some of those back that I can keep or sell or trade to other people wanting layers. Occasionally I also get their old stewing hens, now that they have refreshed their flocks.
I've also cultivated a reputation as the guy to call if you want to get rid of any poultry. I have a few spare chicken tractors around the yard, and people sometimes drop ducks and chickens to me for "retirement".
If you don't already have chickens, you could approach a local homesteader with the above deal - offer to incubate a clutch of eggs for them and raise the hatchlings, in exchange for keeping some of the laying hens. They may even lend you their incubator. Someone like me would jump at that deal!
Christina --- Interesting question. I could probably answer you with more certainty if you emailed me a photo at email@example.com. In the meantime, my guess might be that the pipe you used is too small or the vertical pipe isn't high enough or you don't have enough feed in the vertical pipe. Any of those factors could make the feed tend to clog up, rather than making its way around the bend. I hope that helps!
We built this model a couple of weeks ago. Our chickens are eating from the trough like troopers; however, it doesn't seem like any of the feed is going down the vertical pipe. Any tips?
R --- Thanks for your interest. Our nipples are designed to work under gravity feed conditions, so they won't work properly if simply hooked into a pipe under city water pressure. There are workarounds, though. You can add a pressure reducer to the line (29 psi or less) or can install a toilet float into a container. I hope that helps!
The pictures I have seen are on buckets or other containers. Can I attach the nipples to a 2" PVC pipe, attach a garden hose to one end, and leave the pressure on or is that too much pressure for the gravity nipples?
Bumpkin --- Interesting idea! I haven't tried that myself, but would be curious to hear from anyone who does.
Kathryn --- Once they don't have a light on, chickens won't eat at night. So it's fine to only have food available during the day. (In fact, some people only feed their chickens as much as they'll eat in one sitting once a day.)
I am new to Chickens and have a small back yard coop. I wanted some sort of treadle feeder but do not have the space in the coop. So when I saw the PVC feeder I was very excited!!! If you make the lid to open and close what time do you open and close the lid. How long can the chickens go without eating? Right now the chicks are in my brooder and they eat all night long.
I read online that instead of cutting the oblong holes, to drill holes no larger than one half inch dia because the rodents will not feed on them if they cant get in there. Don't know if its true. Would LIKE to know. If a rodent cah chew through metal, and I know they can, why would they not simply chew through the PVC?
Chantel --- I'd love to see a picture of your setup if you stop back by! Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll share it with our other readers.
One of our favorite easy dinners is mock foo young. Slice up cabbage into fairly fine, long shreds. Crack a bunch if eggs, add a slosh or two of soy sauce or tamari and a generous dollop of sesame oil. Whisk it together and pour over cabbage. Toss to coat cabbage. Hear up a skillet with some oil (coconut is my fave). Spread an even, but fairly thin layer of cabbage in the skillet and fill any gaps with a drizzle of egg mixture. Too with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Cook quickly until slightly browned and egg has set. Flip and cook until egg is done. Eat! It's good with sweet chili sauce or siracha. Savory, filling, low carb, and 10 minutes from entering the kitchen to eating! The trick is to get the egg cooked, but still have the cabbage crisp-tender. Good luck!
I got a 40 gallon stock tank up on blocks and two of your EZ Misers. We covered the trough just with wood because we ran out of time. We put a floating tank de-icer and a heat lamp positioned over the EZ Misers. In Canada our temperatures got down below -38 degrees celcius. I find the EZ Misers do fine during the day when the chickens were frequenting the nipples but at night they freeze up. I make sure they're thawed in the morning. But repositioning the heat lamp to aim the heat up towards the metal part also works well. But I've found the heat lamp on the ground a couple times with singed bedding under it so I prefer to just thaw them in the morning. I'll improve the tank lid and insulate it with solid insulation. Still perfecting the process but I haven't had to fill the stock tank for 2 months so definitely liking the work it has saved me in lugging buckets across the sheer ice driveway. Can't wait for winter to end!
I have a large family and we will use 2 doz eggs for a quiche. So I crack 2 doz into the blender, put it on manual once or twice - not much time at all, and then put it in a gallon ziplock bag and freeze it. In the winter I pull this out and make a quiche once a week in the off-egg season. You can do 6 eggs and freeze them in a 1 qt. bag as well. I put them on a flat tray in the freezer, so they freeze flat. Then once they are frozen, you can stand them up next to each other.
I had 9 very tame red sex link hens that free ranged from almost the beginning .I kept them penned up for a week and then let them out. My dogs wanted to eat them but learned to tolerate them as they realized The chickens were family.(that may have been partly responsible for there loss) My chickens would squat when approached by me or the dogs and I doubt they would differentiate between a dog and a fox ? All my chickens disappeared with no feathers no bodies and no clue as to where they went or what had eaten them (carried off and never seen again)? Now there is only one left and she only comes out of the hen house when I arrive and goes back in when I leave,She must have seen her sisters attacked or should I say snatched! A three legged fox has been seen close by and I think it will turn out to be the culprit?
Little giant cost me $100 in eggs alone. It is not reliable as the thermostat will not stay constant, its radical. Set on00 degrees was good for 13 days, but the 14 day it climbed to 120 degrees.
First time chicken owner with (6) 3-day old Red Star chicks, and they are so cute learning how to get water from the aqua miser! I set it on a couple small bricks and tapped it to get their attention and they eagerly lapped up the drips, and took turns trying to peck and drink, it was so cute! There is absolutely no spilled water in the brooding box, and the water is so fresh and easy to change, I am a very happy customer. Thanks for making such a great product available to backyard chicken enthusiasts like me!
I will definetly try this system out.
I just found a dead chicken from our flock. She had escaped the pen in the morning after i let her out. We have two dogs, but they dont tend to bother the chickens when i let them out to free range. We have lots of preditor species, but no opossum in the area. The chicken was killed and then something ate the side and seemed to be going after unformed eggs and guts. I dont think it was the dogs becuase she was not mauled very much. Will hawks or owls just go after the eggs in the bird amd leave the rest? Could not find additional evidence.
Mom of Two Girls and Three Cats --- I wish I could help you out with details, but we've never actually made a wheel lift and our guest poster isn't available for comment. I hope you'll drop me an email with some photos if you do figure it out and make your own, though!
Teresa --- It didn't seem to be painful at all, although no chicken likes to be restrained. The momentary trauma was soon forgotten, though.
Was removing the tape difficult or painful for the little one?
Nice pics! Our forest is a mature stand of mostly beech and cherry, with some swamp maples mixed in, and a patch of spruce too. More leaf litter and wild raspberry than the diversity of greens you have, but our girls love the bugs, worms, and bonus amphibians we get... We did realize though that we also get frequent visits of wild turkeys and are realizing we need to be vigilant with worming or the girls lose their perky healthy glow!
I have been building a coop - a HUGE, HEAVY coop and I am stuck at the end trying to figure out how to put wheels on it to move it. I love this idea, but I am so tired and cannot even think any more. My coop is 4x4 raised 15" off of the ground and has an attached run that is 6'. I don't know how long, how wide, what lumber to use. The sides of my coop are vertical. What do I use to space the lever from the coop? Can I use bolts rather than those hairpin thingies? The people at Lowe's know me by sight, but they will not cut this for me, I know. Help! :0/
Jennifer --- That's an excellent question. You're entirely right that the number of chickens we say the EZ Miser will water is based on its capacity, and chicks drink a lot less than mature hens. For their first month of life, 50 chicks will only drink a gallon per day or less between them, so the EZ Miser will suit them just fine.
On the other hand, we usually recommend no more than 17 chickens per nipple, which would reduce the number of birds we recommend per EZ Miser to 34. But chicks are much less likely to fight over drinking space than adult hens are, so you'd probably be okay there, especially if you keep your eyes open.
If you want to be safe (and also allow room for growth, since those chicks will start drinking more in their second month), you could buy an EZ Miser kit instead. With the four pack kit, you could install two spouts in a small container for the early days in the brooder and then two spouts in a five gallon bucket. Between them, the two waterers would give you plenty of water capacity and drinking space for all of your birds throughout their life.
I hope that helps!
My neighbor has these all around his garden and says he caught at least one rat a day for a month - and now only occasionally with no destruction to his garden. Just place Peanut Butter in the inaccessible bait bin and the rats can't help but go for it! Electric Rat Traps at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Electronic-Adapter-Battery-Powered-Detachable/dp/B00EP4AEYY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1392394510&sr=8-4&keywords=electric+rat+trap