Chook advice for novice

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by bearess, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. bearess

    bearess Guest

    We have 5 acres of land, mainly cleared but only a few spots of flat land and would like to get some chooks to supply us with eggs on a regular basis. I have done some reading and thought the Isa Brown's sound good (they are also the only ones I have heard of from buying biodynamic eggs). My questions are: which is a good breed for a novice to keep that lays a regular supply of eggs? any suggestions or plans on building a house for them? we tend to have foxes in the area, what must I consider with regards to those? One article said that I should buy chooks of different ages to ensure that they lay all year round, any suggestions where I can buy them (organic/biodynamic preferred)? Any other advice or sugggestions would be greatly appreciated. Sonja
     
  2. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    I am prejudiced in favor of Buff Orpingtons, myself. They're gentle (not fly-in-your-face like some of the heavy layers like Leghorns) and they're pretty good at laying all year as long as they've got enough light. (Which is probably more of a problem here in the northern US than it is there.)

    I'd never heard that suggestion of buying chooks of different ages. It would only work for the first six months or so, wouldn't it? They stop laying when they moult, and if they're stressed. And you would probably have a pecking order problem (more so than usual) with different ages mixed. And if one group had a problem (sickness, mites, etc), it could be passed to all.

    Foxes can be a real problem, so you'd better built your coop and run and predator-proof it before you get the chooks. Keep in mind that poultry wire is to keep chooks IN -- it's not substantial enough to keep predators OUT.

    There are others who know more, but you might do a search on CHOOKS and see what you find here at this site.

    Sue
     
  3. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Hello Bearess,

    Welcome to the site.

    For a family set-up nearly any breed of chook is fine. Go for a breed you like the look of. If you buy commercial type chooks and commercial type feed, you can expect commercial type results - ie 300 eggs a year.

    Most of us pick a breed we like and probably have a few too many chooks. For example, with 6 hens I would expect about 3-4 eggs a day given the type of food supplied which is what I find around the place. Prunings, weeds, seeded grass, table scraps and supplement them with a bit of local grain. If you buy layers pellets etc you will find your egg production will go up. It's all about the protein levels.

    Make sure their roost/laying area is roofed and predator proof with good door access. Good access makes for easy egg collection, feeding, cleaning & handling, it is often overlooked. I have seen some nice chook set-ups with poor doors that drag and are hard to open. Good nest boxes also help keep eggs clean and centralised.

    Chooks are fun and very easy to have round.

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  4. baringapark

    baringapark Junior Member

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    Hi

    I agree, choose a breed you like the look of. I like my pure breeds, but if you are after high egg production and a shorter lifespan, go the commercial types I guess.

    To ensure you have eggs while your older hens are moulting, set eggs in spring to hatch chooks which will lay through the following Autumn while your hens are off the lay. Do this every year and you will have eggs year 'round. Aternatively, purchase new point of lay pullets every summer/autumn and sell off your older birds once the new ones are laying.

    Elizabeth
     
  5. ollie

    ollie Junior Member

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    if your looking for organic/bio dynamic egg layers, its probably no use going in for a cross bred commercial chook (for one, it supports an industry that most of us are trying to avoid). i say this, yet didnt realise this until after we had purchased our 6 cross bred chooks. ( they are fantastic layers, and will get to live out their days in a chicken retirement village!...sorry getting off the point.)
    go for a breed of chook you like, be prepared for losses to foxes and dogs no matter what type of enclosure you provide for them.
    also look at growing small crops for the chooks to peck through

    good luck with the chooks
     
  6. Mozzie

    Mozzie Junior Member

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    I, too, have my breed preference. I love the Rhode Island Reds.
    Love 'em [​IMG]

    But in answer to your other questions, Bearess, I would source a good book to give you step by step instructions first up. I have used "Backyard Poultry Naturally" by Alanna Moore which I have used religiously. "The Permaculture Home Garden" by Linda Woodrow is another fine publication. You can also check out a breed chart here chart https://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/ ... hooks.html

     

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