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I think I want to have some chickens. My plan is to keep them in my Garage.   Questions....where do I get them? what do I feed them?  What is the best breed for eggs?? Thanks all .


No One will come here,,At Night ,,In the Dark

 

 

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47 minutes ago, junk said:

I think I want to have some chickens. My plan is to keep them in my Garage.   Questions....where do I get them? what do I feed them?  What is the best breed for eggs?? Thanks all .

Just a few questions:

Do you want only girls? How many eggs a week do you want? Do you want the most eggs possible no matter what color, or would you like pretty eggs that can be dark brown, blue, or green? Are they going to live confined in the garage, or will they have access to forage?

You can buy day old chicks anywhere from $2 each at Tractor Supply (maybe Rural King up there) to $10 each or more from a breeder. If you just want eggs and don't care about birds that are selectively bred I always recommend getting pullets (girls) from a feed store or hatchery. When you answer the other questions I can suggest some breeds, and I'm sure Petee will, too

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59 minutes ago, junk said:

I think I want to have some chickens. My plan is to keep them in my Garage.   Questions....where do I get them? what do I feed them?  What is the best breed for eggs?? Thanks all .

Btw, if you have access to an incubator I'll send you fertile eggs for the cost of shipping, $25 for up to 2 dozen eggs. That's my DooBwa only special :lol:

The only problem there is you have to have a plan for unwanted roosters

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Rats, I have recent pictures of your grandchildren but have to download them.  All roosters but the head honcho have gone to the great coyote den in the sky, but the hens lay on!

What condition is the garage in?  If it's not solid, then you will definitely have varmints harvesting your birds and eggs.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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21 minutes ago, Petee said:

Rats, I have recent pictures of your grandchildren but have to download them.  All roosters but the head honcho have gone to the great coyote den in the sky, but the hens lay on!

What condition is the garage in?  If it's not solid, then you will definitely have varmints harvesting your birds and eggs.

Lord, I've got 150 of your great-grand nieces and nephews in the barn right now :lol:

When you get ready for more, let me know, we're hatching 95% fertility in the blue pen now

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Junk, if you want hardy, productive chickens that are relatively cheap and easy to find just for one or two dozen eggs a week, then your standard hybrids are hard to beat. Barred rocks and Buff Orpingtons are hardy, heavy bodied birds that lay a good supply of light brown eggs, and have great dispositions. White leghorns and Rhode Island reds are the most prolific layers, but if you buy Rhode Island reds from a hatchery they won't be the same as breeder stock. Chances are they will lay more eggs, though, especially the hybrids like Golden Comets and Production reds. All of these are readily available from hatcheries, or local feed stores. Hatcheries that ship through the mail usually have a minimum order of 10 chicks in the summer, but you can also specify all girls. That's something most breeders, including myself, can't do. I sell mine straight-run (not sexed). Sexing chicks with 90% accuracy is an art form, and hatcheries pay big money for people that can do it.

If you want breeder quality stock, they will be a little more expensive, but in the long run the cheapest part of keeping chickens is the chickens themselves. Housing and feed cost much more. Breeder quality chicks are bred for physical traits, temperament, and in my case egg color. Breeder birds are usually more disease resistant and have better dispositions, too. I breed black, blue, and splash copper marans. I could send you the eggs cheap, but chicks are expensive and there is a two month waiting list.

As far as feed, I imagine Petee and I will give you two different options. I assume she will suggest organic, or a local mill, but I swear by Purina brand feeds. Chick starter for the first 20 weeks, Layena Crumbles for adults. Layena has added calcium which is excellent for laying birds, but can harm the reproductive organs of birds under 4 months old. Our local mills have too much dust in the feed. Pound for pound Purina feed is worth the price difference.

4 adult hens should give you +\- 2 dozen eggs/week except during the winter. I highly recommend keeping them as pets. They are easy to maintain, and once you get used to homegrown eggs store bought will seem thin and watery.

See, I told you I wouldn't shut up :arghh:

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5 minutes ago, jt85 said:

Tractor supply’s chick days are over. Thank goodness. 

 I bet that is a nightmare for you. They are cashing in on the impulse buy, and you are probably having to sell to people that are absolutely clueless about chickens :lol:

 I used to get mad during tractor supply chick days, but now it doesn't bother me so much. Totally different market.  People that buy tractor supply chicks for two dollars won't pay 10 for mine, but people that buy mine wouldn't buy from tractor supply. Tractor supply chicks definitely fill a good place in the market.  Will your store do it again in the fall? The ones down here also do it during October  

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9 minutes ago, jt85 said:

Tractor supply’s chick days are over. Thank goodness. 

 I do have one major beef with TSC, though. Those are NOT Ameraucanas,  those are Easter Eggers :arghh:

 Ameraucanas breed true, the chicks grow up to look like the adults, and they only lay blue eggs. Those are Easter Eggers, they are a mix between a blue egg layer and another bird, you never know what color the chicks will be as adults, and the eggs can be various shades of blue or green . They are fine birds, they lay pretty eggs, and are an excellent choice for someone just wanting to add color to the flock or egg basket, but they are NOT Ameraucanas :arghh:

 

See? Told you I wouldn't shut up :lol:

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55 minutes ago, LFG said:

 I do have one major beef with TSC, though. Those are NOT Ameraucanas,  those are Easter Eggers :arghh:

 Ameraucanas breed true, the chicks grow up to look like the adults, and they only lay blue eggs. Those are Easter Eggers, they are a mix between a blue egg layer and another bird, you never know what color the chicks will be as adults, and the eggs can be various shades of blue or green . They are fine birds, they lay pretty eggs, and are an excellent choice for someone just wanting to add color to the flock or egg basket, but they are NOT Ameraucanas :arghh:

 

See? Told you I wouldn't shut up :lol:

I wish I had a little more time. I enjoy learning from  LFG University of Chicken Breeding. Im starting to be an organic person would like to do it  with just a couple but dont have the time to give it properly. :( 

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1 hour ago, LFG said:

 I bet that is a nightmare for you. They are cashing in on the impulse buy, and you are probably having to sell to people that are absolutely clueless about chickens :lol:

 I used to get mad during tractor supply chick days, but now it doesn't bother me so much. Totally different market.  People that buy tractor supply chicks for two dollars won't pay 10 for mine, but people that buy mine wouldn't buy from tractor supply. Tractor supply chicks definitely fill a good place in the market.  Will your store do it again in the fall? The ones down here also do it during October  

Yea I love the people that want one chicken for a pet in there house. Then they get made when u tell them there is a four bird limit on the chickens. But if I were to ever get chickens they wouldn’t be from there. Just to many pushed threw for my liking. But it is what it is and now it’s over. And for what birds are what I have not a clue people pointed and I’d give them those birds. Learned there dirty birds but the ducks are the worst. 

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I'd love to have a couple of Pekins, but maybe if Haag's Feed Store gets in another order of birds. 6-8 Turkeys too.   I bought three Araucanas (maybe) there about a month ago, and while they are beautiful, they are the most unfriendly chickens I have ever had.  My original chicks would hop up on my lap or even on my back just to nib at what I was doing, but these three Araucanas act like I'm coming for them with a knife and a fork.  Takes a lot of the fun out of having them.  I swear two of them are Easter Eggers.  Time will tell.

LFG, the town where my daughter lives is taking up a petition to have Captain hung by the spurs till dead.  No one wants to make deliveries there any more, and I swear he fed the other roosters to the coyotes.  He did make beautiful chicks though, till the snake ate them.  

My opinion is that you feed the chickens the type of food that you want to eat.  If commercial is fine, then feed it to them.  If you want to go organic, then feed them organic food.  While I wanted to keep mine organic, it turned out that the availability and price of organic feed makes it very difficult.  The freshness of the egg is the real make it or break it deal.  No egg is as good as one straight from the hen house, still warm from the nest.

Now the hen house.  If you intend to "keep" hens, then put some time, money and thought into the hen house.  Otherwise, call them coyote bait.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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Wow, oh boy......maybe I bit off more than I could chew.  My Thoughts where to take half my garage,,,maybe 10ft by 20Ft ??? Its dirt floor . I  thought I could toss in a couple bales of hay for nesting and like a kids pool full of water. I dont really want to cozy up to them just want eggs. I like brown eggs. Do I need a Rooster??? How many should I start with?? Do they eat scraps from the kitchen, like lettuce, tomatos , oranges,, potato skins??. Do I need to buy special food for them? I dont plan on leaving them outdoors, to many predators here. This week I am going to get some fencing to divide my garage up. Oh My.


No One will come here,,At Night ,,In the Dark

 

 

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12 minutes ago, junk said:

Wow, oh boy......maybe I bit off more than I could chew.  My Thoughts where to take half my garage,,,maybe 10ft by 20Ft ??? Its dirt floor . I  thought I could toss in a couple bales of hay for nesting and like a kids pool full of water. I dont really want to cozy up to them just want eggs. I like brown eggs. Do I need a Rooster??? How many should I start with?? Do they eat scraps from the kitchen, like lettuce, tomatos , oranges,, potato skins??. Do I need to buy special food for them? I dont plan on leaving them outdoors, to many predators here. This week I am going to get some fencing to divide my garage up. Oh My.

 Don't let it intimidate you, chickens are very easy to keep.  I love answering questions like this, and as soon as I can sit down and type for a minute I will answer all of yours 

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1 hour ago, junk said:

Wow, oh boy......maybe I bit off more than I could chew.  My Thoughts where to take half my garage,,,maybe 10ft by 20Ft ??? Its dirt floor . I  thought I could toss in a couple bales of hay for nesting and like a kids pool full of water. I dont really want to cozy up to them just want eggs. I like brown eggs. Do I need a Rooster??? How many should I start with?? Do they eat scraps from the kitchen, like lettuce, tomatos , oranges,, potato skins??. Do I need to buy special food for them? I dont plan on leaving them outdoors, to many predators here. This week I am going to get some fencing to divide my garage up. Oh My.

Chickens do well in confinement as long as they have enough space, figure 15 square feet/bird, and have access to some outdoor area. My pens are all 12x20 with 8-10 birds in each one. They need sunlight, the sun really affects their laying cycles, so I would suggest attaching some kind of run to the garage. If you don't mind spending a little money, a 10x10 dog kennel is the fastest, easiest way to go. It needs a roof, though, to keep birds of prey out. If you are handy at all with a saw and hammer, all of my coops and pens are built from reclaimed shipping crates. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, the chickens don't care. Just keep them safe and dry. Don't use straw on the floor, it mats and retains too much moisture. Do you cut a lot of grass, or have access to leaves? I put a bagger on my mower just for this purpose, all clippings and leaves go directly into the pen. I use the "deep bed" method, start off 4 inches thick, then add more as the chickens break it down. The combination of green grass, brown leaves, and chicken poop makes the most beautiful compost you have ever seen. The chickens constantly till it while scratching for treats. I only clean my pens twice a year. You would be amazed how the grass clippings and leaves kill odor.

You do not need a rooster, hens will lay eggs regardless. You only need a rooster if you want fertile eggs.

I don't recommend a kiddie pool, chickens aren't very bright and they could get in it and drown. I have had chicks drown in puddles after a heavy rain. You need a store bought waterer that only fills the rim around the container.

You don't need many chickens, I would say 3 or 5 to start. Don't ask me why, but they seem to do better in odd numbers...

They will eat almost anything you throw in there, but you need to read online what is good and bad for them before you feed it to them. Lettuce is good, but has almost no nutritional value. Kale is excellent, a section of my garden is dedicated to growing kale for the chickens. Potato skins also have very little nutritional value for them. Citrus is not good for them, and certain fruits can be toxic.

You need nest boxes or the chickens wil probably just lay their eggs in a dark corner, they want to feel protected when they are laying. You can buy or build wooden ones, but a very simple nest box is a five gallon bucket with a lid. Cut the lid in half, then lay the bucket on its side with the remaining half on the bottom. Put pine shavings, not cedar, in the bucket and you are ready to go. You only need one nest box for every 3 or 4 chickens.

You also need a roost. Easiest method is a sawhorse with 1.5x1.5 posts screwed into it. I will see if I can post some pictures in a bit.

Fencing is a good idea, and chicken wire is cheap, but it is also flimsy and doesn't last long. I use hog fencing for large areas and 2 feet tall hardware cloth on the bottom. Hardware cloth is expensive, but it keeps chicks in, raccoons can't reach through it, and snakes can't fit through it.

It sounds worse than it is, chickens are so easy to keep. Keep them dry, feed and water them, and that's about it.

I think the perfect breed for you would be Buff Orpingtons. Very mild mannered, sweet birds that lay large brown eggs

 

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11 hours ago, Petee said:

I'd love to have a couple of Pekins, but maybe if Haag's Feed Store gets in another order of birds. 6-8 Turkeys too.   I bought three Araucanas (maybe) there about a month ago, and while they are beautiful, they are the most unfriendly chickens I have ever had.  My original chicks would hop up on my lap or even on my back just to nib at what I was doing, but these three Araucanas act like I'm coming for them with a knife and a fork.  Takes a lot of the fun out of having them.  I swear two of them are Easter Eggers.  Time will tell.

LFG, the town where my daughter lives is taking up a petition to have Captain hung by the spurs till dead.  No one wants to make deliveries there any more, and I swear he fed the other roosters to the coyotes.  He did make beautiful chicks though, till the snake ate them.  

My opinion is that you feed the chickens the type of food that you want to eat.  If commercial is fine, then feed it to them.  If you want to go organic, then feed them organic food.  While I wanted to keep mine organic, it turned out that the availability and price of organic feed makes it very difficult.  The freshness of the egg is the real make it or break it deal.  No egg is as good as one straight from the hen house, still warm from the nest.

Now the hen house.  If you intend to "keep" hens, then put some time, money and thought into the hen house.  Otherwise, call them coyote bait.

Is Captain just loud, or is he mean? That's a beautiful rooster.

You made an excellent statement about feed. Feed them what you want to eat. Very true. For some the cost and availability of organic is worth it. For me, it's not. I go through 200lbs/week of feed. If I went organic the chicks I sell for $10 would have to be sold for $30. I barely break even now, it's just a self-sustaining hobby

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Check craigslist farm and garden section using the keywords "hens" or "pullets"

Here's a link I found I think is near you. Steve, if this is inappropriate to post feel free to delete it

https://pennstate.craigslist.org/grd/d/hughesville-17-week-old-ready-to-lay/6875088875.html

Red sex links are a high production, very hardy hybrid. They are called sex links because they are a cross of a bird with a barred pattern and a solid colored bird. When you do that it makes males and females distinguishable at hatch, boys will have a dark patch on their heads. That's what makes them so popular, you can pick day old girls.

I don't know how prices are up there, and he didn't list his price, but I would assume $15-20 each for 4 month old girls. That really is the best way to go if you just want a few girls. With chicks you have to start with a heated brooder then start acclimating them to the outside after about 4 weeks. Like I said, the cheapest part of keeping chickens is the chickens. Make it easy on yourself and start with started pullets. Those birds will most likely be laying by late June/July

 

 

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18 minutes ago, LFG said:

Is Captain just loud, or is he mean? That's a beautiful rooster.

You made an excellent statement about feed. Feed them what you want to eat. Very true. For some the cost and availability of organic is worth it. For me, it's not. I go through 200lbs/week of feed. If I went organic the chicks I sell for $10 would have to be sold for $30. I barely break even now, it's just a self-sustaining hobby

So much good information.  We can all learn something from your experience. Thank you.


 

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1 minute ago, Jay said:

So much good information.  We can all learn something from your experience. Thank you.

I like talking about it. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way, I didn't have anyone to teach me, and most breeders can be very snobbish and don't want to help, or even talk about hatchery birds. Not everyone cares about show quality, or wants to pay $15/ chick by the time you add shipping costs. Chickens are simple to keep and fun to raise, and if you start off the right way it saves you a ton of headache for the first year or two :good:

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15 hours ago, jt85 said:

Yea I love the people that want one chicken for a pet in there house. Then they get made when u tell them there is a four bird limit on the chickens. But if I were to ever get chickens they wouldn’t be from there. Just to many pushed threw for my liking. But it is what it is and now it’s over. And for what birds are what I have not a clue people pointed and I’d give them those birds. Learned there dirty birds but the ducks are the worst. 

They are just dirty for the reason you said, they push so many through. TSC is a middle man, they order from the same hatcheries you can buy from online. Chicks are a huge impulse buy, they are just so cute and cheap. I refuse to sell to anyone who only want one or two birds, and it's not about the money. Chickens are social animals, keeping less than 3 is just mean

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