6 Jun 2011

Chickens: The Primer

Submitted by Mike

Okay, I need to bring everyone up to speed on our Chicken Project.Mike and Tammy putting up a wall of the chicken coop.

The Coop:
The goal of the chicken project is to have 4 or 5 laying hens continually and 10 - 25 broilers on an as needed basis. We will start out buying chicks and raising them; both for laying and broilers but I want to transition to breeding our own which will mean getting a rooster but he will come onto the scene later on. These first two issues mean that we will need a large chicken coop. This "large" is large for a personal type chicken coop, not "industrial large". The coop should also need division so that we can divide them between layers and broilers or hens and rooster should either situation be needed.

The Breed(s):A Buff Orphington hen.
Since we want to start out with laying hens and transition to breeding our own broilers, we will need a breed of chicken that is good for both eggs and meat. We also need a friendly bird. These chickens will be part or a larger unit (our family) so they will need to have the temperament to get along with other animals. The chickens should also be a fairly common breed. we will need to occasionally inject some new blood into our flock and I don't want to have to search to find a rare bread of chicken only to find a very limited gene pool.

After all of my research, I came up with ...the Buff Orphington.

During my research, I discovered something that set off alarm bells in my head; guinea fowl love ticks and mosquitos. I've noticed over the years that mosquitos and ticks are out of control and we never had problems like this when I was a kid. Maybe it was the DDT sprayers on the roads at night but I think it was the guineas. I think I'll add a hand full of guineas to the mix as well. Guineas not only love to eat the pest that like to eat me but they also are very weary animals that will alarm on intruders (people, raccoons, hawks, etc.) and that will help warn us and our docile Orphingtons.