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mrsgreenthumbs
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Hens - What, how, and OMG here I go again!

So I have wanted my own hen's for a long long while now. I had given up on the idea because my yard is open to the ally and I have a communal garden. This morning I came across this

https://santamaria.craigslist.org/grd/1668652466.html

(yes I scan the local CL... I can't even begin to guess how much CL has saved me)

I can SO build that. And I have ONE space left in my garden that is (guessing) 16x8 (maybe) I thought... now if I can build something like this, with a little house inside for the hen's... would they be ok there? Could I let them out (with out supervision of course) in the afternoons and on the weekends? Would they tire of being stuck in there? And about how much would this cost? How much space per hen would I need to provide? (I'm thinking 2 hens.. it's only the DH and myself 5 day's a week and the kiddo on the weekends) What kind of hen should I get? I'm SUPER excited.
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

syntheticbutterfly
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Hey,
I have just started keeping chickens, and its brilliant. I get a little thrill every morning when I go and collect the eggs, and once you've eaten just laid eggs you'll never go back to store bought ones.
I had a look at that link, and the only problem I can see with that is they like to have a nesting box to lay the eggs in, but thats easily resolved, I have a couple of crates set up for my girls and they are just fine.
One concern I'd have of letting them out without supervision is about predators- cats, dogs and what have you will take advantage if they can.
As for what sort of chickens to buy- mine are just standard chickens, layers obviously, but there is a whole world of fancy chickens out there if you wanted to try something different.

cynthia_h
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Raccoons. Please be absolutely certain that the chickens will be safe from raccoon predation.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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mrsgreenthumbs
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that was a typo lol I meant to say "with our supervision". I'm thinking... what if I could figure out how to turn the top portion into a coop, and the lower section as a run. The top would have plenty of space for 2 hens to lay and lid's with hinges for easy access. I'll have to sketch something up.... ohhh my DH is gonna be so... well worried how much work this will be but excited to bust out his new power tools!
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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applestar
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Smart lady! :wink: I've seen designs like that with coop on the top and a drop down ramp for the chickens to toddle up and down on. I've also seen them with the A-frame coop attached on the end. Coop on the top design allows for shaded/sheltered area for the chickens to be, though full-length means less sun. On the other hand, A-frame design of the run provides for sunlight along the edges.

... can you tell I've been thinking about it for a while too? 8)

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mrsgreenthumbs
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My oh my... not only do I LOVE LOVE LOVE animals, and gardening but I am big on knowing what went into my food. (and I ADORE eggs... can't get enough of em) plus... my step son would get a HUGE kick out of collecting his egg's! Oh I want I want! I'm going to go see how much the lumbar and ect' will be.
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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Ozark Lady
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Do you use beds? If you do, you can build it to fit your beds, and then just rotate which bed it is over. That way you don't have to move poop. But, of course, you can't put it over a planted bed.

I had a chicken go poo on a seedling last year, killed it really fast!

But, you can move them around to enrich beds. And the hens will scratch and dig and eat the grubs, and all manners of problems.

Check out Chicken Tractors.

I echo the post about raccoons. This is a little gross, but raccoons like to eat the innards, and waste most of the part of the chicken that you or I would want to eat. If hungry enough the raccoon just might eat more, but not usually. Opossums only like the heads! So again, watch for those also.

Unless your chickens are really big pets, I would not let them out at all.
Have you ever tried to catch a chicken? Even if you clip their wings, think about, they will run, they will duck, they will go under stuff... You get the picture, you will have chicken for dinner in a day or two of chasing them.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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mrsgreenthumbs
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OZARKLADY I'm thinking they would stay in the pen... Iv seen a lot of options and what I have planned out seems to fit the bill. For 2 laying smaller breed hens we could build a 6x8 floor space tractor like structure and build 2 laying boxes into the top area with a ramp up to the boxes and a few roost's across the open area below. AND... if I get to a point where I think they need even more room, I can always create a tunnel like run for them to roam safely in my garden. The nest boxes would have hinges and lids for easy clean up and access to my breakfast! The bottom could possibly be transportable and I could hang the feed from the peak to deter rodents... My neighbors have chickens and honestly.. we NEVER hear or smell them. So I'm not worried about neighbors being bothered by them. All I have to do is make up my mind about being ready for the responsibility. ..... Yah I think im ready lol
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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Alan in Vermont
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mrsgreenthumbs wrote:... if I get to a point where I think they need even more room, I can always create a tunnel like run for them to roam safely in my garden.
At that point you decide if you want chickens or want a garden. If you run chickens into where your garden is it rapidly becomes where your garden WAS!

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Ozark Lady
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There is a reason that all my beds are equipped with chicken wire, ha ha.

I love my chickens, not in my beds. I love to watch the squirrels run and play too, not in my beds.

As long as, they are always in a tunnel or something where you have control of them, then, if they get into trouble, you did it, not them!

Chickens are "helpful". I was outside, filling inserts with soil, and putting them into trays, I had roughly a dozen chickens all wanting to help me.

They knocked my stuff over just once, and I decided it was feeding time for them, and break time for me! Or chicken dinner! They are so nosy!

They ate and went to roost, remember my chickens are free range, so they run, everywhere, except into the house.

My son, has a hen that pecks on his window, he opens it, she runs in, lays an egg, and then runs back to the window to go back outside. They even let her set her eggs in their living room. She runs to the window to go to the bathroom... A house broke chicken. She is a one of a kind, never saw anything like her before.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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mrsgreenthumbs
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Oh that is too cool! I can't do free roaming in my garden because it's open to the ally and it's a communal yard, plus we have an opposum and cat's and dog's in the area so I was thinking more like.. well have you seen those cat tunnels? for indoor cat's that are allowed to roam outside? I was thinking I could create a tunnel system (yes I realize I'm eccentric... I like it that way lol ) with chicken wire and stakes to let them out into. This would go from the movable tractor/hen house around the back of my 3 sister's planting box and where ever else I wanted it to go. Then if they need new stuff to go check out or more grass to nibble on I could always re arrange the tunnel. They would have no access to any of my plant's that I would not allow them to have access to. I would not let them into the tunnel unless I could watch over them and it would be easy to give them more places to go and things to do rather than keeping them cooped up (pun always intended). :lol:
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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mrsgreenthumbs
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So I checked with my city code enforcement office and he is sending me out a packet with the info on exempt buildings. I wouldn't even call this a building... lol I guess it has to be at least half the leingth for the width, check and at least 5 feet from any other building, check and no more than 6 or 8 feet high... I plan on this to be about chest high MAYBE shoulder so... check and... I think that was it. Now if it's portable.. would that even qualify as a "building"?
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

DoubleDogFarm
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Iv seen a lot of options and what I have planned out seems to fit the bill.
That's it you said bill, here are several :lol:


[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/DSC02042.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/DSC02046.jpg[/img]

When ever I stick the shovel in the ground, it's like ringing the dinner bell. It's hard to work the soil with 27 ducks at your feet. That's 54 little feet that could easly get severed by the shovel. They think their job is to eat ever worm they see. Each bird probably has 50 worms in their stomach. Make me shiver, it's like have 50 little snake in your stomach

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Ozark Lady
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That is cute double dog. I have seen chickens do that, never before muscovy ducks.
Our big muscovy is still being insistent about sitting on our shoulders... was cute when he was tiny, not now, now it about knocks you flat when he wants a ride!

That mob right there, is why my garden is in cages, once the soil is disturbed, to plant or whatever, here comes the helpers.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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applestar
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I've switched to digging with a fork (garden, long or short handled... not table :>) for the most part. There are worms everywhere! :shock: I guess it doesn't matter as much when the ducks are eating them anyway, but I'm trying not to chop them up. :roll:

But really, whether I move a leaf or a rock, poke a little hole to pop in a transplant or dig out a path -- worms, worms, EVERYWHERE!! :lol:

Love the photos, Double Dog! Not only the ducks but the "rich chocolate cake" in the foreground! :D

DoubleDogFarm
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ozark,


Another person with Muscovies, great :!: In the first photo, you will see the female, dark- white face. I had to clip her primary flight feathers today. One wing only. She has flown down to our half acre pond twice in the last month. Doesn't seem to know how to get home or doesn't want to. :? Have you had any experience with this. :?:

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Ozark Lady
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Yes, we live within sight of a large man-made lake. Not the muscovy's that I have now, but their grandparents, used to fly away from home. They would fly off and stay gone a few days and return. I always assumed they went to the big lake. We haven't had that problem since 2 things happened, the drakes got too heavy to fly much, and we built them their very own swimming pond.

They still fly alot, but mostly it is up on rooftops, then over to the pond (ours) and come waddling part way back, then the females fly the rest of the way.

The females we currently have are last years babies, I have no idea what happened to their mama, she just went missing, so I assume a fox or hawk. The males rarely go far, it is very common to trip over one of them, when you run out to the car for some reason.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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mrsgreenthumbs
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UGH... I went home and measured out the dimensions For the hen house (he he That always makes me giggle) and I began building it in my head, I thought so... it will need a frame, 2x2's should do the trick, and a floor for the laying box's and sleeping quarter's, chicken wire, those chinga-deras for the corner's to stabilize it, a roof, latches, hinges, screws, a feeder, a water thingy, hay, shingles for the roof, ect. and I began to envision all this... I thought... ok well were not architects and were not exactly the best builder's ever but what I have planned out will be HUGE. I have my neighbors permission and have checked with the city. The only other person to notify would be the land lord but seeing as how he has given me free reign in my garden.... pffft. were cool yo. Then I began having a realistic view of all this... It will take us all summer just to build this thing... then we will have chickens that are pretty stationary. Stuck in this big triangular HEAVY box. That's no kinda life for a chicken... the floor space would be 50 square feet, and I'm expecting to only have about 2-3 hen's. but this plan will be stationary. There will be little chance I will be capable of moving this thing on my own. I doubt I'll mind having to clean the coop regularly in the spring and summer but in fall and winter I tend to retreat indoors for holiday's ect. I also have to think about how having hen's will affect my day to day life... I'm sure it won't be hard to incorporate feeding and watering in the morning and not a problem at all to feed and water in the evening. Still for some reason every time I start down this road I get all excited and carried away and then ...cold feet. I dream of having my own eggs and pet chickens to share my garden with... but what happens when they can't lay any longer? I will NOT be able to kill them... I may not even be able to roast a store bought chicken any more.... And what if in a year or two we need to move into an apartment? Chickens and apartment's do not mix. For now.. and for the foreseeable future we are here, in our tiny home and tiny yard. But still. I did this before we got our dog Ricky Recardo too, I hmmm and hawed over the details the responsibility, the chance of injury or sickness, the cost of vet visit's neutering shot's food treats toys ect. and I'm beginning to think... maybe chicken's are a bit much of a responsibility.

I'm sure in comparison to some my chicken's would be living in the lap of luxury but to me.... I just don't know if that will be enough for them. Or if we will be able to pull of a decent building that's sturdy. ugh... It's just a huge project and a responsibility we need to be 100% dedicated to before we start sinking money into it. :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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applestar
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Alright, Mrs.G -- take a look at this: https://www.henspa.com/hencondo.htm
You'll still need your "Chicken Run" :wink:

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mrsgreenthumbs
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Ok... so... what about useing this

https://santamaria.craigslist.org/grd/1669463249.html

Rather than building this whole ..big..THING and just building my own coop? I'm sure I can figure out a coop. And this is only 2 feet longer and 1 foot wider than I planned in the first place. All I would need is a bit of chicken wire across the top AND I could use it for my dog if things don't go as planned or ...sell it. THIS is very doable for us.
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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mrsgreenthumbs
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Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:26 pm
Location: Santa Maria, California

Oh and look at this.. my morning news paper astrological ...thingy says..
PISCES - This might be one of those rare days when you seem to find yourself in the right spot at the right time to take advantage of something big that is going on. Don't pass up this heaven sent chance!


I emailed the lady that is selling the kennel ... she will sell it to us for 200 dollars. I'm going to check it out today after work!
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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Ozark Lady
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I would rather see someone sit down and figure all aspects before beginning to keep animals, than those who impulse buy, and then discover it is illogical for them.
I used to sell Great Pyrenees puppies, and one couple bought one, then after they had bought a male (males get 150 pounds!) they said, they live in an apartment, no pets allowed, and the dog would be hidden in their bathtub! Yikes, I had already sold it to them! All I could do was offer to let them return him, no refund when they got into trouble, or cancel the sale right then and there. They still wanted the dog. Did I mention the lady was expecting? About 2 months later, I got this huge pup back, complete with blanket, bed and toys. He was totally housebroken, and the young couple adored him, but were exhausted, and she was due to have the baby any day. It was interesting to turn the pup back into a working dog! And the pup didn't end up in a shelter or abandoned, since he was welcome to come back. It gave them an out, since they were so determined to have him.

Impulse buying an animal is not the same as impulse buying a new dress or another flower plant.
I am proud of folks who think it through before they proceed.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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mrsgreenthumbs
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Ozarklady - that makes me so mad, people need to take into consideration ALL aspect's of taking on the RESPONSIBILITY of an animals care. I have been doing rescue work with reptiles, dog, cat's, litter's of rat's, puppies, kittens you name it (even wild abandoned baby birds) ever since I was 18. it make me sick to think of the animals that were abused or abandoned by the people that either dump them or just abandon them. My chihuahua Ricky was a very long and hard decision. I debated my desire for his company and affection over the reality that some day I would owe him a painless humane ending to his (hopefully) long happy life. It was not until I knew I was ready to make that choice for him that I knew I was ready. Ricky was found at a flea market wandering around dehydrated at around... 5 or 6 weeks old. He has serious emotional issues from losing his mother so early but as far as health goes, he's a picture of health. He has his own secure dog run, a PILE of toys in the house and a 5 foot tall box filled with new one's waiting for the old to be ripped up. Always lot's of dog food, plenty of his fav puperoni treat's and table scraps (shhh don't tell daddy) he get's to go on walks ever day when we go to pick up daddy from work and in the morning when we go tinkle out side. (well he goes I just hold the leash) I don't get why people don't research and think the thing through. Would I like to have my own goat? SURE would I get one? NOPE not enough room and I can't dedicate the time to a goat. Would I like to have a big breed dog... GOD YES! will I? nope. It's called being selfless and thinking of the animal first.

And now that I got to get on my soap box a few sweet puppy face pics for your viewing pleasures!

His first day home was uneventful. I had to give him pedealyte and hope for the best. He slept mostly for the first 3 day's
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/rickyday1comfy.jpg[/img]
but gosh did he love that heated bed!
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/rickyday1.jpg[/img]

a week or so later
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky5.jpg[/img]

The neighborhood cat was used to visiting our house she was not happy about our over sized rat lol
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky3.jpg[/img]

I took him to work every day with me and we would sing together (still does) he sat in the circle of my arms while I sang and typed.
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky12.jpg[/img]

Nap time as he began to get older was always best on mommy
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky18.jpg[/img]

He began to sit like us on his bottom snuggled against our sides. We did not teach him this
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky21.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky23.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky28.jpg[/img]

mmm.. comfy
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky26.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky31.jpg[/img]

he got bigger of course and became more than a dog that entertained us and kept our sides warm... he is our son
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky25.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky30.jpg[/img]

I try to be sneaky now about the photos
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/S5030617.jpg[/img]

Becuase if he sees me
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/S5030618.jpg[/img]

He is not a happy camper!
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/S5030619.jpg[/img]

No matter how camera shy or wacky he get's he will always be my baby
[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky1.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky15.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c388/queenofdabbws/Ricky/ricky20.jpg[/img]

aaaand now I made myself cry lol
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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