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CHICKENS
#158857 February 15th, 2007 at 06:26 PM
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Hi There,
I am planning on ordering from McMurray 25 chicks for April. Barred rocks, Partidge rocks and Delaware. Main purpose is eggs, and pleasure. The plan is to get 1 rooster, and 24 hens. From what I have read (Poultry magazine, internet, storey's) sometimes the roosters can be challenging... but very fun to watch, and also somewhat protective of the rest of the chickens. Any suggestions on vaccinating for Marek's and Coccidosis??? We would like to raise them organically as possible...although I am not sure if we will buy the organic feed or just a regular feed... any and all suggestions are welcome. wink

Re: CHICKENS
#158858 February 15th, 2007 at 08:01 PM
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I have a very small flock of chickens...I only have 8 hens left and I have 2 roosters in the pen with the 8 hens...there were 15 hens to begin with, but some were old and just died. I have never vaccinated any chickens I have owned. I have used antibiotics in their water a few times if I had one or two that looked sick, of course you do not want to use the eggs during that time period..which they are probable alright, but I prefer not to. My chickens stay in an enclosed pen, so any food they receive I put in there for them, therefore regulating what they eat and what might go into the eggs. I do use regular feed, but they also get tons of organic stuff, especially during gardening season. Will your chickens be free range or penned up?

Re: CHICKENS
#158859 February 15th, 2007 at 08:48 PM
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Hi Gator

I am pming you a few sites.

Re: CHICKENS
#158860 February 15th, 2007 at 08:58 PM
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Christine, I always loved Murray McMurray's chickens when I was raising heavy northern breeds in Montana. (I highly recommend ordering from them... they're great folks to do business with.) I presume that you're buying the sexed chickens (not the straight runs), but you know, don't you, that there's still a chance you'll mistakenly get a rooster in with the shipment of females? If I remember correctly, McMurray guarantees the orders they ship, so you might not need to bother ordering a male, although they're more than half the price of the females....(you could name any extra roosters "drumstick" so you don't get attached to them as they grow, & have a couple chicken dinners!) grinnnn

I assume that by "challenging", you mean "aggressive".... I never had a problem with the Rock breeds being aggressive (although they, more than any other breed, love shiny things... so don't let your kids crouch down in front of them to talk to them... they go for the eyes!) sca The most aggressive rooster I ever had was an Araucana, & he was one mean bugger! My husband was the only one brave enough to go into his pen to feed & water him!

The only Rooster I had that ever acted like a "mother hen" was a Banty... & let me tell you, he may as well have been a moody Araucana if anything messed with his brood! I think ALL chickens are entertaining, & when you get to know them, they DO have individual personalities! (May DIL has chickens, & the Rhode Island Red rooster is in love with her. He follows her everywhere, & is totally "normal" until someone hugs her in front of him... then it's ATTACK TIME!) laugh

I never fed my chickens anything that was beefed up with hormones to enhance egg production, & never played the lighting game with them, to trick them into laying more. (All that does is burn them out... & besides, I take my own hormone pills... don't want that kind of stuff in my food!) I'd buy the cracked corn & cracked oats/barley/wheat with molasses in it (it was called "3 way" back then), & mixed them together myself. Since the grains were organic, so were my chickens & their eggs.

About the vaccinations for Coccidiosis & Marek's Disease... they didn't even have those developed back when I had chickens, so you're lucky! Once Coccidiosis gets into your hen house, it's almost impossible to get rid of, cuz it stays in the ground! Ask McMurray if they vaccinate before shipping Day Olds. I'd strongly recommend having them vaccinated, cuz it could save you lots of heartache, money AND chickens! (I think there is also feed that has a Coccidiosis preventing medication in it now, but whatever goes into their feed, comes through in their eggs. The vaccinations are the best thing to do if you're going organic.)
Maybe Sarah (BarleyChown) will see this topic & offer her 2 cents on feed & vaccinating. She's up on all that stuff, & has some beautiful chickens of her own!

Have fun with your new chicks! [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
I used to love going down to the post office to pick them up... the postal workers were always glad to see me show up, cuz they said the peeping sounds were cute for a while, but the novelty wore off ("big time") after a few hours! laugh

Re: CHICKENS
#158861 February 16th, 2007 at 04:01 AM
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Hi there!

I also have a flock, as others have mentioned. My girls are such a joy to me. Just the sounds of them talking to one another while I'm out working in the gardens is enough to make me smile.

As for the vaccinations, I buy chicks that were vaccinated at the hatchery. And as for medicated feed, I choose not to. Instead, I feed a 20% protein all purpose starter/grower. When they are chicks...that is all that is offered, as they get bigger, I start to mix in a "scratch" of cracked corn and wheat. Once you start feeding sratch, you also need to add some grit.

You will need to read up on when to switch to a layer feed...and I would reccomend a pellet over the crumble, because crumble causes more waste. When you switch to a layer pellet you should have the option to choose a pellet with only vegetable protiens, or a pellet with some meat protiens along with vegetable. At this point, you will also want to add free choice oyster shell to provide the hens with calcuim for egg shells.

Do keep in mind that chickens are not vegetarians, whatever we may wish. There is nothing better to them than bugs. My girls have a run, but are let out to free-range most of the day. They spend most of their days hunting for bugs and my favorite plants. :rolleyes: I have even seen them fight over a mouse!!!

I, like Patty, do not do the light game...I figure they will lay eggs when it's heathly for them to, and I do not want to force it. As it is, I had more than enough eggs all winter, with at least 2eggs a day. Not too bad for 5 hens!

As for breeds...well, to each their own! People have their breeds that they love, and nothing you say will change that. Right now I have a silver polish who I love just for her ability to make me smile, but they are not known for being great egg-layers. That being said, she's been giving eggs right along with the rest. I have a silver laced wyandotte...I'm not real impressed with her. Great egg layer, but rather rotten attitude...she's now called snotty. On the other hand, many love this breed and say they are rather personable.

I have two americanas...and have also had several others in the past. This is by far my favorite breed...easy going, kind, friendly.

And last but not least is Miss...as in Misfit. She was a cross-beak shipped to the feed store by mistake. When no one else would take her, I did. I'm pretty she she is a black sex-link. Best little garden buddy ever!

Any other questions we can help you with? grinnnn

Re: CHICKENS
#158862 February 16th, 2007 at 01:26 PM
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Thank you all for your input... I am getting so excited to move forward w/ the chicks!! We've been talking about getting some for a couple of years. My husband has told me to get plans for a chicken coop so he can build one, the websites definitely help. I'm hoping the chickens will help with the many bugs (squash, tomato worm, etc) that our garden aquires.. Since we do not use pesticides and our town does not spray... we have an abundance of insects. My sister, (Melcon) is getting me into redworm bin, so the chickens will have some fresh insects over the winter months too. wink
Thanks again.... I'll keep you all posted!!!


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