Chooks!

Discussion in 'Coffee Lounge' started by jackbak, 16th Dec, 2013.

  1. jackbak

    jackbak Member

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    I'm living in suburban Melbourne and have been thinking of buying a few chooks for quite a while. We eat a lot of eggs and we're into organic food so would love the idea of having fresh eggs at my backdoor every morning! And I also think they might be a good pet...

    Has anyone had experience with owing chooks in the suburbs and are they easy to look after? How much room do they need to roam around in, Im hoping to get an enclosure for them so I don't have to let them out everyday?

    Thanks
    jackbak
     
  2. The Fence

    The Fence Banned

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    A shame to lock them up all day. I wouldnt call that organic by any means.

    I dont even call our chooks eggs organic even though we let them out in to a 4 acre paddock each day and they use every square inch of it too ! They are let out about mid morning (after laying) and are locked up at sundown.

    Because we supplement their feed with grain based laying pellets the eggs are definately not organic.

    I dont think chooks should be kept in suburbia at all unless they get a run in the backyard each day.


    We have 5 chooks left and at the moment receiving 5 eggs a day but that fluctuates from 4 to 5 a bit as they dont lay eggs every day.
    Our chooks are Isa Brown breed which is apparently the best laying chook on the market giving an average of 300 eggs a year.

    After a couple years their egg production will drop off quite a bit and never recover.
    We replace them every 2 or 3 years.

    The eggs we get have rich golden yolks and taste fabulous, bought eggs are terrible in comparison.

    Our eggs cost us around $2/doz after initial cost, feed and care costs taken into account

    If you can let them have plenty of room in the backyard without any threat from cats or dogs etc then it could be possible but they do like to move around a fair bit. You also need to have plenty of fresh clean water available at all times as well as feed.

    Good luck, I hope you give them some room or I fear they will have a horrible life locked up.
     
  3. Propagate

    Propagate Member

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    We've thought about it a few times and been told the same thing about laying only for 18 months to 2 years then needing to be replaced.

    No one has ever elaborated on what you do with the "replaced" ones?

    I guess with 4 acres yours are left to retire and roam? Or do they end up in the oven?

    What do most back-yarders do when the egg laying tenure of their chooks is up?
     
  4. Kinnon Bell

    Kinnon Bell Member

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    I'm looking at keeping chickens too and didn't realise they had a limited time they made eggs in. When they've done producing eggs what do you do with them? Is there a chicken adoption process or do you have it for dinner? This is something I had not thought of!
     
  5. Kinnon Bell

    Kinnon Bell Member

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    Ha, great minds Propagate!
     
  6. mrsdawnrazor

    mrsdawnrazor Member

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    We have four in suburban Brisbane
    They have the run of the back yard - they are feathery terrorists tho - will dig up everything including lawns so don't get them if you are garden proud. The poo does go everywhere as well. We don't lock ours up at night - they decide to go to bed and then come out when they are ready. As for replacement - there is not much eating on them so you could make stock. That is what I will do otherwise I will have a load of non laying chickens as they can live for up to 8 years
     
  7. jackbak

    jackbak Member

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    Thanks The Fence, that's the kind of insight I'm after... My wife and I both work so as much as we would love to let them roam our backyard all day it would be impossible with the neighborhood cats floating around. Don't want to be cruel to them so chooks might not be for us, we have a decent backyard but doesn't sound like this would be big enough. Thanks for the info.
     
  8. vaughan

    vaughan Member

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    Feed them to your pet pig.
     
  9. chrispy

    chrispy Member

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    We have a problem with foxes in suburban Melbourne

    Even wire fencing doesn't stop them. I had a friend mind a load of chickens for a friend when they went on holiday. She locked them up at night but the fox came in broad daylight!!!!!

    This was in Greensborough, her garden did back onto the Plenty River but was fully fenced.

    Chris
     
  10. Hoffy

    Hoffy Member

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    Good point about the damage they do to your yard. We currently have 6 that have half an acre of lawn and bush. It is amazing the damage they will do with their digging and scratching. Rather that then have them cooped up all day though. Fortunately it was a small unused paddock that we don't have another use for.

    They will still lay after 2 years, but much less, and not worth the expense of feeding them. We turn them over always at the 2 year mark if they have survived the snakes, goannas, pecking each other if they find a weakness/blood, and the sexual assault of the scrub turkeys.
     
  11. ok180

    ok180 zip zip zip

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    What a gigantic waste of time. Just buy your eggs from a local farm if you must have them fresh. Chickens in suburbia stink and attract rats, mice and other pests too and has been stated already tear up your yard. If my neighbours started producing eggs i would be pissed.
     
  12. Jen_PFR

    Jen_PFR reno victim

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    Love chooks - the old gentleman who lived next to my childhood home had them. I remember my Mum sending us over with all the green waste from dinner, to give to the chooks.

    Only thing I can think of is that where there are chooks, there are also usually rats. :( Even if the chooks aren't grain fed at all, the rats go for the eggs.
     
  13. INVSTOR

    INVSTOR O+

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    2-3 Silky bantams aren't too bad. They aren't the best layers but are smaller and don't ruin your garden nearly as much as the Isa Browns we had before them.
     
  14. depreciator

    depreciator Member

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    There are rats all over (and under) every city anyway. I've had chooks in my last two PPORs. My Greek neighbours love the fact that I have them. There are two currently - one did a runner a couple of years ago. They're about 4 years old and production has dropped off a lot, so they will be 'replaced' soon. I'm going to do a reno on the chook house, too.
    They're in a chook run about 2 metres by 5 metres with shade and sun and sheltered places to roost and lay. They eat all (and I mean all) our garden and kitchen scraps and I supplement that with chook food, but they don't need much of that.
    They seem fat, healthy and happy. And I like the eggs. When we have people come to stay in our on site Airbnb pad we give them eggs if we have them spare. It amazes many people from overseas that we have chooks, but in the inner west it's not unusual at all.
     
  15. The Fence

    The Fence Banned

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    Yes, they do still lay after 2 years but at a reduced rate that keeps reducing.

    Chooks need protein, just like us and they do in fact eat meat. Yes. Meat !

    So we often supplement their feed with some cheap mince and they nearly knock us over when bringing it to them!

    A sign of not getting enough protein is in fact this pecking of each other. Once one becomes the pecked on, then it's all go for the others to join in sadly. So, remember...Protein!

    We either sell the chooks when their time with us is up or give them away as pets. Isa Browns are not your dining table chook really.

    They do make good pets too, especially the Isa's, they are quite friendly.
    They can be 150m away and I can call them and they come running flat out, wings flapping, funny too!

    Our chook pen is 12 metres x 5m fully enclosed with chicken wire and attached to a shed at one end. Have not had any breaches by foxes (and there are plenty around here) yet apart from when we left the gate open one night. Fox cleaned up 4 out of 6. It was terrible.:eek:
    We NEVER leave the gate open at night again !

    Further good info here on Isa Browns.
     
  16. BayView

    BayView Member

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    Our neighbor has 3 chookens.

    She has had them since we've known her (13 years - not the same chooks of course).

    He husband (now deceased) built a really you-beaut fox proof pen for them, and each day she lets them out into the yard, but has a series of little fences she sets up to limit their range of movement in the yard.

    Basically; they weed the garden for her in one spot, then she moves them on to the next spot, then the next etc.

    We chuck scraps, snails, you name it into their run for her as well, and they eat pretty much the lot.

    We occasionally get a few eggs from her and they are great.

    Haven't seen any rats in all the time we've lived next door (two years) and previous when we lived across the road from her (before we built where we now live next door), but we live away from shops and your regular suburbia type setting.

    Seen the odd mouse in my cat's clutches though, and the odd fox zip away from the car lights at night.
     
  17. depreciator

    depreciator Member

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    It's part of the theory behind permaculture. Rotating garden beds. People who are really organised have their vege gardens arranged as circular beds around a central axis. Different plants are planted successively in the beds and one bed always has chooks on it. They weed the bed and fertilise it and then get moved to the next bed.
    And The Fence is right, they love meat. I quizzed a bloke once about what he fed his chickens and he said, 'I've never seen a chook vomit.' If they don't like something, it becomes compost. I think one important thing, though, is to not over feed them and end up with food sitting in their run overnight. I suspect that would contribute to a rat problem. I feed mine in the morning only.
     
  18. wylie

    wylie Member

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    ... But the science community would be interested :D:)
     
  19. Hoffy

    Hoffy Member

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    Yeah ours get plenty of protein. Meat via grubs, worms etc is their primary diet and they get regular mince as well as protein enriched grain.

    However, Pecking each other is a completely natural order of things with chooks regardless of diet. Major problems really only arise if they should happen to draw blood, then it is pretty much game over unless you separate until injuries are healed.
     
  20. Tigger

    Tigger Member

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    I.S.A. Browns are a commercial crossbred, they lay very well for 18-24 months, then often die in unpleasant ways eg one of my friends describes a common end as 'blowing their bum out' (prolapse). They are high-producing layers but the trade-off is lack of long term health. Very good with people though I hear. Some will live for several years but with reduced output.

    If you are worried about what to do with your hens once they have stopped laying, you should consider some of the heritage breeds. Egg layers, not meat or dual purpose breeds, pick what breed suits. Heritage breeds don't lay so many eggs at the start but they usually keep laying reduced nos. of eggs for years and are less prone to dying horribly. I have had hens that were 12 or 13 years old before they finally dropped off or had to be lopped for their own sake. Heritage breeds need more support, so you would also be helping keep a rarer breed alive, the breeders need all the encouragement they can get.

    You could look for Hamburghs, Leghorns, Australorps, Rhode Island Reds (or RI Whites if you can find them) or the even rarer Barnevelders, Welsummers, Minorcas etc. Not all suit backyards though so do your research first.