Chicken catalog

Discussion in 'Hobby/Travel Forum' started by Sopranette, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Sopranette

    Sopranette
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    I just received our new catalog from Murray McMurray, and I was hoping there might be someone here who can tell me which breed would best suit us. I'm looking for a heavy bird, and one that will sit on eggs until hatched, if there are any anymore. Otherwise, we'll have to make or buy an incubator. We've secured our fence better, so dogs can't get in, but we still have hawks that stalk our birds, so we need a heavy, aggressive breed, maybe Bantams. Do the vaccines help at all? We mostly prefer organic, but we've had problems with weak immune systems. Also, I've considered getting a peacock this year, but have never owned one before. Thanks!

    love,

    Sopranette
     
  2. Beth

    Beth
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    Hi!

    I have poultry...have you ever owned poultry before?

    There is an awesome website which you might want to check out....http://www.homesteadingtoday.com

    They have a poultry forum which is really very helpful....I was on that forum often with my questions.

    If you are looking for a heavy breed, I would suggest black giants and black astrolorphs.

    I have both and they are just the sweetest birds! If you have hawks, you might want to find a dark colored chicken which will blend in. White chickens will attract attention.

    I have, at this point, a mixed bunch of chickens. We have some Easter eggers (yup, we get blue and green eggs), buff rocks (really beautiful birds, heavy breed as well), white orphingtons, black giants, black astrolorphs, barred rocks and silkies.

    You will actually want to avoid bantams. They are very small, and can easily be carried off by a hawk. Bantam roosters are quite obnoxious...they REALLY crow, and their crow is more like a squeaky door!

    You will want to provide a covered run for your chickens, if hawks frequent your yard. It might be that you won't be able to free range them.

    Your coop will have to be very secure. Chickens have any number of natural predators....weasels, foxes, bears, hawks/owls, neighborhood dogs and cats, coyotes, wolves, raccoons and skunks.

    We have a large coop and a covered run. This spring, I am hoping to put up a stockade fence as well, so the chickens have a larger area to roam. We invested in a livestock guardian dog, a Great Pyrenese. If we put up a stockade fencing I'll be putting the dog out there during the day to discourage hawk attacks.

    If you order chickens, you might want to order only pullets. A straight run order will give you roosters as well. It stresses the hens out too much to have too many roosters.

    I heard a funny story about peacocks, LOL...they have a tendency to take up with the wild turkeys!
     
  3. Sopranette

    Sopranette
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    Thank you, Beth!

    I used to frequent a couple of homesteading sites, that, unfortunately, have since pretty much died. I have not been to HT yet.

    We've been trying to raise chickens for a couple of years now. The first year we got a bunch of young but adult mixes, mostly Bantam mixes with a couple of RI in there. I did like the Bantams because they were easy to handle, but yeah, pretty small. They were attacked by various animals, and we replaced them, but I got frustrated and a little heartbroken, too, so I gave up. We tried again a few months later, again with very young mixes this time, but a snake ate a couple, and the rest died of disease. We were free ranging them in the back, on an acre of open land, and that's when the hawks got them. If we brought them closer to the house, the dogs would chase them around. This year, we will probably make their ranging area smaller, and more sheltered. Our coop is very secure, thankfully! Also maybe get larger, bolder birds, to fight off predators. That's a good idea, about the white hens. We also hope to get a couple of goats, too, to help keep out other animals. DH wants a turkey, me, not so much! I really love the look of Rocks, and our Cochin mixed hens did pretty well, too. We had a couple of game bird mixes in there, too, but they were wild and took off who knows where, maybe somewhere in the neighbor's woods! Our neighbor down the road has some lovely peacocks she lets loose. They seem to do well.

    love,

    Sopranette
     
  4. Beth

    Beth
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    I'm sorry you have had such trouble!

    You might want to look into chicken tractors! We constructed a few of them so the chickens can be protected while we rotate them around the yard.

    Let me tell you this story....two summers ago, late summer, I was starting supper. I looked outside to see my three kids jumping and waving their hands. This is the universal sign in our household that there are haws around!

    To make a long story short, this coopers hawk was swooping BETWEEN my children and myself trying to catch one of our panicked chickens. This hawk was SOOO BOLD! It was really quite unnerving!!! Since that time, we haven't been able to free range them.....no chicken can fight off a hawk. :tear:
     
  5. blackbird

    blackbird
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    What in the world is a Chicken Tractor???

    And Blackbird has somethng in his gun cabinet that can take care of any Hawk----a la Remington 12 gauge(its against the Law to kill a Hawk or Owl or any of those other Predator birds, ain't it????)

    This is my first visit to this Chicken site----I am in the process of building a house for my wife and I in the very BACK of a 40 acre piece of family property----and plan on constructing some sort of chicken coop--etc.----I'll be back here to see what I can learn
     
  6. Sopranette

    Sopranette
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    Blackbird, it is illegal to shoot a bird of prey. I sure wish it wasn't, but then, I'm not sure how much good that would do, anyway. There seems to be no shortage of hawks here. Better shelter for chickens is a more effective approach.

    We had a hawk kill a wild chicken...one of our neighbor's strays, right in front of our front door, with DH and myself standing right there! Just swoop down from nowhere and snatch that poor bird up. They are pretty fearless.

    A chicken tractor is a way of moving chickens around the yard without having them scatter all over the place. The ones I've see consist of a large frame with chicken wire on it attached to a tractor. You drag this frame on the ground with the chickens in it wherever you want to put them.

    love,

    Sopranette
     
    #6 Sopranette, Feb 14, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2008
  7. Beth

    Beth
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    chicken tractors

    Here is a good website with pics of chicken tractors. Ours are more on the lines of large rectangular boxes...frames of wood with chicken wire stapled to the sides and top. An opening in the top to take the chickens in and out.

    http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html

    Yup, can't shoot any hawks. They are still federally protected. Nasty things, VERY bold, as Sopranette said, they will swoop a chicken at your feet. "Chicken hawks" are really Cooper hawks. Very bold. We don't find the red tails to be quite as bold.

    In New Hampshire, we are in the migration path for Canada, Vermont and Maine. In October, we will see lots of birds of prey flying south. The only times hawks will flock together is for migration. Well, one afternoon, I am outside doing some late gardening...must have been around five in the afternoon, when at least thirty hawks circled and circled my backyard! They kept coming back and circling my coop...I wish I had my camera, it was an amazing sight!

    I would get on the Homesteading forum...in the chicken forum, there is a thread in which posters have put up their coops. You can see some amazing designs!

    Again, that forum is http://www.homesteadingtoday.com

    Here is one thread with tons of pics of coops, tractors, etc.

    http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=182113&highlight=chicken+coops

    I would consider getting a livestock guardian dog, if you are going to settle in the back of a forty acre property. LGDs can keep the other predators at bay!

    Your sis in Christ,
    Beth
     
    #7 Beth, Feb 14, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2008
  8. Hardsheller

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    A local wildlife guy gave some good advice to a person raising quail recently. He told him to string a grid of very fine high tensile wire above his quail pens. The hawks can't see it and when they dive to catch a bird they cut a wing off or sometimes even their heads.

    While you can't shoot a bird of prey legally - you can't be held responsible if they commit suicide over your bird yard. :thumbs:
     
    #8 Hardsheller, Feb 14, 2008
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  9. Beth

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    Lololol


    Yup, OR, say, perfectly hypothetical that you happen to be practicing your baseball SWING with your BAT in your pen while there might be a hawk munching away on, say, a CHICKEN!!! :saint:

    Seriously, I heard also saving your old cds and tying them also up so they swing above your enclosure...anything shiny like that throws off the hawk.
     
  10. Brother Bob

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    If you hatch your own chickens, they become so petted that they will climb all over you. They will sit on your head, climb your arms and you become so attached, you can never harm them.

    But, if one of them gets a bad place on their body, the others will kill it by pecking it to death.

    BBob,
     
  11. Beth

    Beth
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    oooh yes

    We have hatched a few dozen chickens, and you are so right! They can get extremely friendly.

    Once, when watching our neighbor's chickens, I discovered a chicken which was pecked nearly to death. She had gotten snagged on some wire....her flapping around attracted attention, with the end result being pecked terribly.

    We tried to save her, but, with the family's permission, put her down quickly when her wounds were causing her suffering.

    This is the same neighbor who practices with a baseball bat. :saint:
     
  12. sag38

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    I take it you had fried chicken that night.
     
  13. sag38

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    I had a church member who kept complaining about a rooster from the neighbor's land that would roost in a tree by her bedroom window and crow all night. She called the police but they wouldn't do anything. I told her that I know what I would do. I'd be having fried chicken. Sometimes it's not the hawk that is the problem. It's the chicken.
     

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