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Does anyone raise chickens??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have been advised and also read that chicken will help out my insect/slug problem in my yard and garden.

By the later part of August my hostas are looking pretty holey and I don't want to use insecticides.

I was first told Guinea hens would work but just found out that they won't eat enough insects. So I was advised to get Banty's instead. I won't have a problem getting them and I think the cats won't bother them either.

But any advice would be great!!
post #2 of 15
Yep! I do.

We had 5 bantams a few years ago (until the fox got them) and now have three hens.

Our girls are great - these bigger hens are far more effective at clearing the garden of bugs than the bantys were. Of course once the girls range around the garden there is no chance of using chemicals in the garden, but we don't do that anyway and it sounds as if you don't either.

The eggs are fabulous too - totally organic, free-range happy eggs.

The girls live in a locked coop when we're not home and sleep there at night.

That's the good news - they are lean, mean, egg-making, bug-eating very cute machines (according to hubby)

Now the bad news.......every "soft" plant in the garden becomes their victim. What do I mean? Perhaps a photo would help

Plants like azaleas are safe - primroses are not. That border needed working on anyway

But....digging the garden is tiring work and they do need to take a break sometimes

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info!!

I have to talk Neil into this of course. And we have no chicken coop but I know one can order its called something like "Eggloo" a little igloo that I think hold one chicken.
I'm just wondering if they will wander off into neighbor's yard (one owns a large dog who would enjoy chasing them!) or the other who would probably have one for dinner!.

Most people around here keep them penned up but I want them to be insect eating machines!!

All my gardens have bark mulch so there hopefully won't be much removal of plants!!

BTW the stone path look lovely!!
post #4 of 15
We thought about getting an Eglu (or whatever it is) too. In the end we bought a Super Rooster coop - it's fabulous and cost less than the eglu plus chicken. This is it (still being put together)

The girls love it! It has the advantage of the henhouse being off the ground so that mice don't get into it, nor does it get wet/flooded in heavy rain (it's England, we get plenty).

This is it in situ (we hadn't tidied up the area around it yet)

We also fox-proofed the underneath of the run to stop the fox getting in and stealing the chickens. That's how we lost the bantys. If you decide to go ahead and I can help at all, feel free to PM me.

Our garden is surrounded by 6ft fences so the girls can't get out. We had their flight feathers clipped so they didn't get used to flying off. The only escape incident we had was when one crawled through the wrought-iron gate - that has since been meshed over.

The cats and chickens co-exist very peacefully. Addie follows them around all day and they keep each other company.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Now Neil would want to build something like that (if I begged!!) That would be a good size.
When my dad had chickens (penned up) and a BIL as penned chickens the coops are hugh compared to yours!!

Thanks for the info-I'll show him the pictures.
post #6 of 15
great pictures! I was thinking about what a mess chickens make and how they will tear up your flowers! Our horses are on my grannys farm and after seeing how well chickens take care of everything, I decided that once I have a place to keep a horse or two I'll have chickens around. They are awesome about eating bugs and digging through the horse poo and spreading it around, you don't have to pick it up that way!!!

Good luck with the chickens. I couldn't tell you which would be the best at eating bugs, but I think they would all do great. There are a lot of fancy breed chickens too, if you wanted some nice looking chickens in your garden. Also keep in mind that roosters can be agressive.....DO NOT get Red Island roosters!!! They are extremely aggressive, I was attacked by one and got stitches on my face!
post #7 of 15
Aww, your hens are so pretty!
post #8 of 15
Beautiful birds! Your pictures make me wish I could have chickens! (Can't here, though.) I'm jealous!
post #9 of 15
I can ask my friend. She raises chickens and shows them at the fair.
My dad had 2 chickens before also.
post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by GailC View Post
Thanks for the info!!

BTW the stone path look lovely!!
Thank you I missed your lovely comment before, each and every stone was lovingly grouted by me! It took ages As you're the gardening queen, I'm ok at laying out the "big design" but not very good when it comes to deciding which plants to put in. If you can think of anything that would look good in the chicken destruction border that would be a great help! The only immovable is the big bush - it has purple berries in the autumn. We have some cyclamen in there that came back with us from our honeymoon too, we would like to plant around those.

We completely stripped out and landscaped our garden a few years ago. It was a labour or love but oh, so worth it!!

I'm sorry if this is hijacking your thread - any ideas you have would be great. It would be helpful for your garden too when the chickies arrive

Originally Posted by EnzoLeya View Post
Also keep in mind that roosters can be agressive.....DO NOT get Red Island roosters!!! They are extremely aggressive, I was attacked by one and got stitches on my face!
I'm with you on that - you don't need a rooster. As well as being aggressive, they can be extremely noisy and neighbours can take offence. When we had the bantams, we had a rooster to begin with. He was extremely pretty and very vain but he was aggressive too - this was Jacques

Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Aww, your hens are so pretty!
Originally Posted by NinaCaliente View Post
Beautiful birds! Your pictures make me wish I could have chickens! (Can't here, though.) I'm jealous!
Awww thank you! They are so lovely to have around.

I would warn you though Gail, you are likely to become the mad-chicken woman like me. Now, if they don't get their cuddle before bed, they stop laying eggs. You think I joke? - I'm afraid not

When they go back to their coop after their run around the garden, they also stand stock still, crouch down and spread their wings out. What are they doing? They are telling me that they are just too tired to walk back to the coop and want me to carry them. If I don't pick them up, Bluebelle stamps her feet. I'm afraid I am the living proof that a person can be hen-pecked!!!!!
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
You need to give me some info like the dimensions of the area and sun or shade or a bit of both but if cyclamens are growing there it must be have some shade. Cyclamens are only house plants here I'm afraid. Annuals/perennials???

I'll have to peruse some of my collection of BBC's Garden World!!
But I know hellabores work well-still a bit iffy by me however.
Any spring bulbs planted??
post #12 of 15
I have chickens. Mine are called "silkies", they have poofy feathers, they kind of remind me of poodles for some reason. Mine do a good job of keeping the insects under control. Chickens love to scratch around on the ground looking for bugs. I too have a fox problem though, so I can only let mine out to free roam when I'm there to watch and make sure the fox doesn't kill them.
post #13 of 15
Only raised roosters for meat. Fafeena, bless her old heart, just about got mauled by one of those buggers. Nasty creatures, although I can't say I blame them - it's their nature.
post #14 of 15
May I recommend silkies as a breed? I had some as a kid and they are awesome. They're really gentle (was bad because they would get caught easily) but they're just so gosh darn cute and fluffy to the touch! They're mostly down feathers. Any chickens we had though would tear up our flower beds around the house no matter the breed. My mom kinda just gave up and put in shrubs so they couldn't dig them up. We had rhode island reds, bantams, what we called game hens (they laid green eggs), and plymouth rocks among others.

Ohhhh I had a rooster at one point a few years ago I think he was one of the game roosters I had gotten from my parents because my huge and I mean like 10lb or so rooster had died he was really friendly too but anyway..I had some silver wyandots and for some reason its like this new rooster was racist against the black colored hens, and I'm being serious. He was fine with the two new hampshire reds (i also recommend these two breeds, they were very gentle and happy. The hens would sing a lot.) but he actually killed one of my wyndots and I gave him back to my parents so he wouldn't kill my other 3 that I had. I've never seen anything like that in my life. So strange. Anyway, the new hampshire reds will lay red eggs for you if color really matters to you..but the color of the egg doesn't matter that you eat, and an egg is an egg all the same no matter what the color. I don't understand why some people think that red is better than white ( my bachelor's degree is in poultry science so we talked about it in classes yes I am chicken crazy! but I didn't actually go work in the industry)

But yeah, I think all chickens are cute but silkies are definetely one of my favorites and they come in a variety of colors. They lay smaller eggs though and they're white. BTW, even if you don't have a rooster you will still get eggs from your birds, they just won't be fertile. Roosters also crow a lot, I think some cities might not allow roosters in neighborhoods because of it, but my neighbor actually liked having mine around when I had him up until his murderous rage on my black chickens. He said he liked waking up to my rooster crowing and was sad when I didn't have him anymore.

what my wyandottes looked like (i spelled it wrong and i'm lazy to change it up above)

The new hampshire red chicken

and my parents have some of these brahma hens that are gorgeous I think.
post #15 of 15
We had a couple chicks we raised, and then gave them to a stable down the street since we have dogs. I could'nt have chickens until we have a lot of acreage to separate the chickens from the dogs (Because my dogs WOULD kill a chicken). But someday I hope to have some chickens!

Your chickens are very cute!! Whose the little chick?
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