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Chickens

From eggs to roast chicken and everything in between, we try to do as much for ourselves as we can.  We raise Rhode Island Reds (mostly) and a few other random hens.  We've chosen these breeds because Rhode Island Red chickens are traditionally are average layers and nice size table birds.  We have found though that many of the traditional characteristics of these birds have been bred out in favour of "show qualities".  This means we have some beautiful birds that don't lay as much as they should, but we are working on it with a bit of a breeding program and we love to see them wandering around the yard.




We keep all our chickens in "chicken tractors", which I've written about in an eBook.  More information can be found on my chicken tractor ebook site. 

What's the eBook about?
Chickens in a confined coop can end up living in an unpleasant dust-bowl, but allowing chickens to free-range can result in chickens getting into gardens and expose them to predators.

 A movable cage or “chicken tractor” is the best of both options – the chickens are safe, have access to clean grass, fresh air and bugs. Feed costs are reduced, chickens are happier, and egg production increases. 

 But how do you build a chicken tractor? What aspects should be considered in designing and using a chicken tractor effectively? In this eBook I aim to explain how to make a chicken tractor work for you in your environment to meet your goals for keeping chickens. 

I also list what I have learnt over 10 years of keeping chickens in tractors of various designs and sizes, from hatching chicks, through to butchering roosters.

Reviews of the Design and Use a Chicken Tractor

Chris from Gully Grove



Also see these posts for more details:
And for a while we tried turkeys, but they are so crazy (too difficult to free range them) and HUGE, we take a week to eat one, we've decided to stick with our chickens instead, but it was fun to try them!

We also had guinea fowl for a while, but decided that we prefer the relatively sensible chickens!  Here's the keets (they are SO cute) Guinea fowl keets, and this is when we first tried them free-ranging Free range guinea fowl!. And then the final decision to sell them Guinea Fowl Realities.

You can find all my chicken posts are here....







Other references
Jackie French's Chook Book, it has everything from choosing breeds, raising chicks, curing illnesses, egg recipes and recipes for old roosters!  And another favourite is The Small-Scale Poultry Flock - An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers by Harvey Ussery is also excellent (my review here).


      





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Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

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Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.



How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…