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SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I think I want a few laying hens for fresh eggs but I've never taken care of chickens. Absolutely don't want a rooster because of the crowing.
Questions:
I have friendly dogs and cats. Will the hens need to stay in a coup all the time? Or can they co-exist?

How big should the coup be? (I think I have the perfect spot for one.)
How far off the ground?
Shady spot or sunny?
Do you put hay in for them to nest in?

What, and how much do you feed them? Scratch? Corn? Table scraps?

How do you know a good hen for eggs vs a bad hen?
Where do you get a few good hens?

How many eggs do they usually lay per day/week?
How long does a hen live? 5 yrs? 10 yrs??????

I'm hoping some of you "Chicken Farmers" out there can help me out. Maybe I just think I want chickens??:-o

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Topic starter Posted : October 16, 2009 5:03 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

Sky,

I have 4 chickens. We got them from agrifest.
We just let ours roam now that they are grown. They stay in the yard. When they were little we kept them in a 700series dog crate then we moved them to a large dog kennel about 12ft by 8ft.

We feed them laying mash that I get from a feed store. I give them about 2 cups twice a day for 4 chickens. I have no clue if that is too much or not enough. They seem happy with it.

The only one of our animals that bothers the chickens is our teacup poodle. lol They are 5 times her size.

The chickens lay 1 eggs a day. I think they lay for about 5 years. Might be wrong on that.

Four eggs are more than enough for our family of three as we don't eat eggs but 1 or 2 times a week.

The only thing I don't like about the chickens is the chicken poop. If you pen them up you have got to clean out the coop. If you let them roam they poop in places you don't want them to.

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Posted : October 16, 2009 5:35 pm
DixieChick
(@DixieChick)
Trusted Member

we have 7 hens and have had them for 2 years. they are great. if you let them free range i think you get better eggs and they eat the bugs. baby chicks need to be penned until they are big enough mongoose can't get them.

we get 6 eggs per day (one is nesting) or we would get 7

they do need a pen to back to at night or for laying eggs. our chickens have decided to lay eggs on top of my dryer in garage. found an egg in the washer (left the lid up) they are so funny and such pets.

our chickens were shipped in from florida. we have an easter egg chick, a bantem, a furry legged chicken. so not bad hen in the bunch.

how about you tami do you have any bad hens.

yes they will poop around but we have trained ours using a super soaker as to where they can go. they see the super soaker and run...

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Posted : October 16, 2009 5:44 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Super soaker LOL We have always use a squirt gun to deter bad behavior on our cats and it works.

How far off the ground should the coup be? I would most likely let them roam once full grown but want them to have a safe place they can go at night.

Is there a particular kind of chicken that's better than another? I have no clue.
Would agriculture normally have chicks for sale?? Or would I have to wait for the ag fair?

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Topic starter Posted : October 16, 2009 5:53 pm
aquaponics
(@aquaponics)
Advanced Member

Sky, if you are here in STX you call call your friendly Cooperative Extention Agent, Mrs. Sue Lakos, at 692-4179. She can answer every question you posted and may be able to get you some birds!

I had chickens for a long time here. The free range birds do poop everywhere! They will also destroy a veggie garden in no time. Thye LOVE greens like collards/mustard/etc....so you may have to fence in your garden. Another great benefit is they LOVE centipedes!! Great pest control around the house.

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Posted : October 16, 2009 6:23 pm
TropicRose
(@TropicRose)
Advanced Member

What an informative thread!

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Posted : October 16, 2009 6:33 pm
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

They'll also go after your fruit. They are hell on bananas and guava but not plums. Pearly-eyed thrashers and iguanas love plums.

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Posted : October 16, 2009 6:42 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

How do you know if they are healthy? Do they go to the vet? Don't laugh at me....I don't know a thing about chickens, even though I grew up in the country. Is it OK to eat eggs from the wild chickens running all over the island? What about getting along with cats. I know cats will kill the chicks, but if you're grabbing the eggs, there won't be any chicks. LAST question...don't you need a rooster?*-)

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Posted : October 16, 2009 6:51 pm
DixieChick
(@DixieChick)
Trusted Member

ohhhhhhhhh juanita...someone needs to explain the chickens and the bees to you. you need a rooster for the eggs to be fertilized..

we just had two chickens sitting nests with eggs,,.they won't hatch.

you could order chicks from the states but the min. order is 25. then you can choose.

go to mcmurray hatchery i florida...you can look at pics of different chickens and read about them., even if you dont order from them.

i want a silkie. look at those pics....they are good eggers and nice pets. i saw some at the fair in states last month and they are sooooooo pretty. you will be the envy of all your friends.

yes the cage needs to be mongoose proof for sure. my chicks got along with my dogs and cats. had to scold the dogs once when the chicks were little but now they are fine.

good song by zac brown band.....called....sic em on a chicken. hehe:D

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Posted : October 16, 2009 7:18 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Thanks all! Great info.
If you put them in a coup with a wire bottom won't they poop straight through? Or does the floor need to be solid?

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Topic starter Posted : October 16, 2009 7:58 pm
Cory
 Cory
(@Cory)
Advanced Member

Awesome post, makes we want chickens!

....now to get to work on a solar powered chicken poop removal system!

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Posted : October 16, 2009 9:24 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

Absolutely don't want a rooster because of the crowing.

If you don't have a rooster a dominant hen will likely take on the crowing responsibilities.

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Posted : October 16, 2009 10:39 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Absolutely don't want a rooster because of the crowing.

If you don't have a rooster a dominant hen will likely take on the crowing responsibilities.

REALLY!?!? 😮 I'm glad you told me! That could be a deal killer.:S Do you think if I had only 2 hens one would crow?

Cocka dootle doo!!!! Hmmmm

Anything else I should know? I'm sure we'll name them and get attached even tho they're just chickens. I want to make sure this is a good idea. I don't mind a bit of cluckin but roosters have no idea what time of day or night it is.

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Topic starter Posted : October 16, 2009 11:08 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
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BTW An egg a day simply amazes me!

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Topic starter Posted : October 16, 2009 11:10 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

Dixie, all my hens are good.

Sky, I have a dominant hen and she makes more noise than the others but she doesn't crow.

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Posted : October 16, 2009 11:27 pm
Justin
(@Justin)
Advanced Member

What keeps your chickens from running off and never been seen again? Also, I've noticed chickens running loose in Christiansted. How do you keep them from upsetting the neighbors?

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Posted : October 16, 2009 11:29 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

Chickens get stressed if they aren't in a flock, so I don't know if just two would be a good idea. Also, regardless of what gender of chicks you order, it is virtually impossible to tell the gender of a chick, so you are as likely to get male chicks as female chicks, and if you are adamantly against roosters, you will need to think about what you will do with the chicks you acquire that turn out to be male.

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Posted : October 16, 2009 11:31 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

What the flock?
Male? His name will be French Fried Freddie!

If not 2 how many? Minimum? Small flock?

I saw Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs sexing chicks. May have to watch that episode again*-) LOL

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Topic starter Posted : October 16, 2009 11:46 pm
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

No "Cocka dootle doo" in the Virgin Islands. The roosters here annoy with just 4 syllables.

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Posted : October 17, 2009 1:22 am
Lizard
(@Lizard)
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The roosters song or sound are part of Island living, I kinda like it. I'M up before they start.

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Posted : October 17, 2009 1:20 pm
chefnoah
(@chefnoah)
Trusted Member

The pleats in a Chef's toque blanc (white hat) represent the 101 ways to cook an egg

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Posted : October 17, 2009 1:23 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

Send the roosters over to the east end of STT. East Ender just loooooves them. 😀

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Posted : October 17, 2009 1:54 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

The pleats in a Chef's toque blanc (white hat) represent the 101 ways to cook an egg

That's some pretty cool trivia, Noah.

When we lived on STT, we were in Red Hook, kind of "citified", so no chickens. When we got to STX, I thought, holy cow, am I going to have to listen to THAT the rest of my life? Now, I don't even hear them. I know they're still here because I see them, but I sleep right through it.

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Posted : October 17, 2009 2:30 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I really don't want to hear roosters nor do I want to subject my neighbors to the crowing.
I've heard them crow at all hrs. 1am, 3am
So it's not a matter of getting up before them.

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Topic starter Posted : October 17, 2009 3:04 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Trade: I am taking you out behind the barn! :-X Bad Trade!!

BTW, when they hired the Vietnamese people to clean up, things were much better. Free range chickens anyone?

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Posted : October 17, 2009 11:55 pm
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