Chicken advice

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8 years 4 months ago #37013 by landson633
Chicken advice was created by landson633
Well we are totally new to lifestyle farming. We have our ten acres, have built the house and now we are looking to get things set up. We have built a decent size chook shed, and would like to get around 6 chooks. I have just had a look on trade me and I have NO idea where to start…how old do I get them? What breed? I want them to free range around the paddock, but will I need chicken wire to contain them or will normal sheep fencing be enough? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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8 years 4 months ago #481051 by Flossie
Replied by Flossie on topic Chicken advice
Hi, we have had chooks for about four years. We have brown shavers which seem to be the best layers, we tried white ones and rhode islands. Point of lay pullets will be ones that are nearly ready to start laying, mind you the ones we bought then took a good month to actually lay but that was ok. They are very friendly.
They will hop through sheep fencing. We can't free range because of the dogs so have built a big run, about 5m x 5m for just two chooks, with a couple of perchs.
Don't get too many chooks unless you are able to sell the eggs otherwise you end up feeding them and giving loads of eggs away.
Chooks are great, love watching them mooching around.

~Flossie~

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8 years 4 months ago #481055 by seatil
Replied by seatil on topic Chicken advice
I like the large heritage and pretty large cross breeds. They make for a really nice looking flock, produce eggs in a variety of colours (including blue or green if you can find an easter egger). Being large birds they tend to lay good sized eggs, don't bother hopping fences and are unlikely to roost in trees. All good qualities if you've ever spent half the day chasing them out of the neighbour's paddock, poking them out of trees at sun down and trying to work out how many midget eggs equals four American large eggs. :D

Chickens will just stroll through sheep fencing. Well the smart ones will. The dumb ones will give you about 10 minutes of entertainment before they work it out. We ended up attaching 2" chicken wire to the sheep fencing. Then after the ducks worked out that they could get UNDER the fence and have a swim in the stream on the neighbouring property, we weed mat stapled it to the ground. It contains the chooks and ducks perfectly now.

If you like the look of some of the heritage breeds you could try contacting breeders directly. Some are listed on the rare breeds website ( http://www.rarebreeds.co.nz/ )

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8 years 4 months ago #481106 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Chicken advice
If you just want chooks for eggs and have use for lots, then yuou will be hard pressed to beat any of the commercial type birds like shavers, but there is a downside. They lay extremely well for just a few short years and then they either die from exhaustion, or, they simply stop laying and become liabilities instead. My preference is for heritage breeds, I particularly like wyandottes, as they are a nice shaped chook, come in silver or gold lacing and a few other colours, and are moderate layers. However they will continue to lay for quite a few years. Oldest of mine are now 8 years old, still lay well, look lovely and go broody at least once a year so are ideal to raise replacements. I also like barnevelders for their lovely dark brown eggs. If you decide to raise a few chicks, these heavier heritage breeds grow a decent sized cockerel which will grow into a good table bird, if you decide to keep some for eating.

Welcome to the LSB

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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8 years 4 months ago #481372 by landson633
Replied by landson633 on topic Chicken advice
Thanks for all your helpful replies. We are off to buy 6 brown shaver pullets on Wednesday, they are 15 weeks old. How long should we keep them in their cage for before they are allowed to free range?

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8 years 4 months ago #481375 by eelcat
Replied by eelcat on topic Chicken advice
We tend to err on the cautious side and keep them in for 3 weeks - if you do, make sure they have access to lots of fresh green veg - silverbeet etc while they can't get on to grass as well as proper henfood.

1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees...

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