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Author Topic: Hello all
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Hello all    (Posted Wed, Nov 2 '11 at 09:22 UTC)

New here and new to chickens. My wife and I enjoy having chickens at the house and they are great for our daughters. We are down to four hens and a rooster after losing a hen to a hawk yesterday. Any suggestions on what to do about predators? We like letting the birds free range but hate to lose any. Also, where can we find more hens? We bought these from a local breeder but would like to find different breeds.
What breeds would be good around children, and lay good eggs?

Re: Hello all    (Posted Wed, Nov 2 '11 at 10:10 UTC)

You can build a movable pen on wheels but that is enclosed in wire with half of the roof solid . This will protect from all predators and give them a place to lay and roost as well as hang feeder and waterer. I hatch my own chicks and raise them from our Delaware chickens. They are good for meat as well as are gentle, disease resistant and lay the largest brown eggs. I would sell a hen 6 months old ready to lay for around $30.00. My birds are raised on soy free organic feed ration and pastured . This is what you should expect tpo pay for a well raised bird . :)Sharon

Sharon Carson
Re: Hello all    (Posted Fri, Nov 4 '11 at 08:38 UTC)

Hi Jeff!
Welcome to the Poultry World!!! Birds are such fun, but can be quite a responsibility also...especially keeping them safe.
When "free-ranging", you will have losses...from wild, or domestic predators. Making sure that you give them a secure place to which they can retire in the evening is a good start. Locked up safe and secure. Chicken tractors are good, and you can find instructions on how to build them everywhere.
Finding birds, is another story. I suggest that you google "NPIP" and your state. It will bring up a list of breeders in your state, who are participants in the National Poultry Improvement Plan program. Then, just start contacting people. You'll probably not have much luck this time of year, as most of us have already culled our flocks for the winter. Spring will be different.
As far as layers order of productivity, the list goes as follows:
1. Leghorns & Leghorn hybrids - the most prolific layers...genetically engineered for enhanced performance. Over 300 white eggs per year
2. Production Australorps - Same...but not quite as prolific as Leghorns. Still over 300 light brown eggs per year.
3. Black or Red Sex Links - Roughly 280 HUGE brown eggs per year. Still highly recommended, as they are hardy birds.
4. All other breeds run abou the same...240-260 eggs per year.

It's all in what you like. I've bred Ameraucanas for years...because they lay wonderful blue/green eggs....but they also purr occasionally, which makes me happy. You'll change your mind a dozen times before your settle in with a breed. But you'll enjoy doing it!

Good luck!!

Angela G Stanley Rockgate Farm
Chickens    (Posted Sun, Nov 13 '11 at 08:15 UTC)

We have had some problems in the past with predators eating our flock as well. Fighting fire with fire has been our best method, having your own trusty predator has really worked. Our dog Olive a sweet boxer mix and two chihuahuas. Have seemed to stopped the chicken napping. Oh and we love Rhode Island Reds & Black Sex-links for eggs. We have some of the white heavy birds but if they are not well managed they get to big and there legs give out plus they really don't tolerate southern heat very well.

Anderson farm currently produces eggs and goats, some produce. We have 40 acres planted in long leaf pine for straw harvest in several years. God first, Family Second, everything else third.
Re: Hello all    (Posted Thu, Nov 17 '11 at 10:17 UTC)

It is true about needing some type of containment to keep your chickens safe from critters. There is a trade off between the true 'free range' birds you would like to have and the safe environment you really need. Our laying flock is under constant attack from possums, coons, skunks and foxes. What is working right now - for over two years in fact is a tight welded wire fence - the opening is about 1 inch by 3 or 4 inches with a tight strand or barbed wire on the bottom and a single strand of hot wire at the top. The barb wire keeps things from digging under and the hot wire keeps them from climbing over. The wire fence is tied to the ground so the critter gets a good conection between the hot and the ground when they climb the fence. I bait a live catch trap when it looks like there are overnight visitors. I ran a few strands of white cotton cord over the top of the pen- it is 100x100 feet. I thought it might keep hawks away. After a few months it broke and fell down. I see hawks flying overhead but have never lost any layers. My buddy who is into falconry said it was because my layers are pretty big. He said a hawk does not hunt for sport. It is life or death to them. If there is a chance the prey could injury the hawk in any way the hawk will pass it up and keep looking for something easy to kill. The hawk doesn;t want to risk injury that might keep it from hunting the next time. I don't keep roosters but I think if I ever had hawk trouble I would recruit the biggest cock I could find in hopes it would deter the hawk.
Good luck!

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