Wherever chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens.Submitted by Obi-Wan Kenobi on Sat, 02/02/2013 - 21:09
Wherever chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens...
I figured I'd start a thread to talk about experiences with backyard chickens. Chickens are not outlawed in my area, but I've always thought that quote was clever.
I live on less than a quarter-acre, but I am able to produce way more food than you'd think.
One of the ways I produce food and compost material is raising chickens. Chickens are easy to take care of and need just food, water, and a clean coop. I have 4 laying hens in a fenced-off area of the back yard. The coop is about 3'x5'. In their first year of laying, they produced more eggs than my wife and I could eat. We gave away plenty of eggs to the neighbors. Their laying dropped off considerably this past winter and we occasionally had to buy eggs from the store.
With the local dairyman, I've exchanged home-made jam for bales of straw. He'd probably oblige for nothing but I don't like to take without giving. Straw makes a great bedding for the coop and when you clean the coop, it decomposes well with the manure into a nitrogen rich compost.
Collecting eggs is fun, reward for your labors, and fresh eggs are uber-delicious. It's also nice to throw them your table scraps, knowing it is cutting down on your feed bill and it's not throwing perfectly good food into the trash!
Hens make a little bit of noise, but it's not intrusive to us or the neighbors.
I buy layer pellets for feed, but I supplement that with wheat, barley, and corn I've collected from local farmers during harvest. Farmers are quite willing to let people collect grains they've spilled out of the combines or near the augers. It's always nice to get some free chicken feed!
I just thought I'd throw this out there. I have a feeling there might be a few chicken raising folks out here on the DP. This might be a good opportunity to compare notes so that we might have healthier backyard flocks.