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Joey

Giving Chickens a go

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Hi

I have decided to add chickens to my backyard food production and over the past few weeks have been busy building a portable chicken coop. Tomorrow I will be travelling to coldstream and buying a few point of lay isa brown pullets to get the ball rolling, hopefully we will be eating home grown eggs soon. My next door neighbour has two clucky hens and has kindly offered them as foster mothers in his pen. So tomorrow I will also be buying some day old chickens to put under his hens.

Cheers

Joey

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Hi helomech

It must be great to have the space for 70 chickens. Australorp is a well known breed that originated in Australia. Turkeys and ducks are also good to offer a change in meat and eggs.

Hi Caca

This chicken coop is a variation of some pens advertised on the internet. The design was based on the following constraints.

. Must be able to be moved to all parts of my backyard.

. Use left over materials from previous projects

. Minimum purchase of new materials.

Chicken Coop Hen House Poultry Hutch Cage 2.08mLONG 007 | eBay

The chooks arrived today and they have laid 2 eggs already. They were happy to be let loose on some green grass. The baby chicks will be placed under their foster mums toninght so I hope it all goes well. My dog also found the chickens interesting however I don't think he is a threat.

Cheers

Joey

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We spent months researching the right breed of chickens for us and the Australorp fit the best. We have been very happy with them. Oh and don't trust the dog to them. Also one last tidbit, the chicken wire is very weak as long as there are no predators around they will be fine, but a dog can chew threw that wire in no time at all.

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Hi

This morning one of my chickens laid an egg without a hard shell. Yesterday there was a huge commotion, when I went to look there was a blue tongue lizard under the hedge with a lot of frightened chickens looking at it. Can this cause soft eggs.

Cheers

Joey

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Hi,

Bluetongues make the whole egg disappear rather than just the shells. Eggs without shells are a common occurrence.....and the lizard is just a coincidence. Make sure that your chickens have plenty of access to shell grit or some other calcium source.

Gary

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Hi

My small day olds have outgrown their temporary coop. At nearly two months old I have moved them into their new coop, here is how they look now. They are about half grown, does anyone know when they are old enough to integrate them with the older hens.

Cheers

Joey.

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Edited by Joey (see edit history)

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They are about half grown, does anyone know when they are old enough to integrate them with the older hens

I didn't know the age difference was a isue ?

I'w had trouble with muscovi ducklings, killing and eating their chicken/turkey "siblings" but never had older hens

bothering younger of same species ?

I don't have much experience with chickens, only kept small badges(10-15) to provide our need of eggs.

Have kept larger badges of duck/gees for the meat, and might pickup on that again after seeing Gary's chikenplukker and exploring those further

On the soft egg issues I think Gary is right

Found this Soft-shell or Misshapen Eggs: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options informative read IMO

cheers

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I have all kinds of birds mixed together with all different ages and have no issues. All my geese, turkey, chickens, ducks, and guinea live in the same coup and never had one kill one of the others except maybe stepping on a baby.

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Hi,

Chickens (and most other domesticated gamebirds and fowl) will fight to sort out who's running the show (the pecking order). They don't usually kill each other except where the jousting draws blood......and it degenerates into cannibalism.....then it can get nasty.

There is the odd occasion when muscovy drakes will kill ducklings or other chicks. Sometimes it's just trampling on them (their sheer weight is an issue) but, on other occasions, they just get plain nasty and engage in a little infanticide.

I usually pen small birds, and their mothers, away from the main game.

Once they get big enough to run properly, the young ones can be introduced to the main flock and become part of the pecking order.

When you're free-ranging birds throughout the day, you can get away with a lot of things that would otherwise be a problem. You wouldn't, for example, normally house different breeds like geese, ducks, turkey, chickens and guinea fowl together - largely for disease prevention reasons - if you had them inside all of the time.

Gary

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Hi

A lot has happened since I first started. I found that the 7 chickens in the chicken tractor completely trashed the ground underneath within 24 hours, I no longer fancied moving them around and trashing my entire backyard. I built a new run and have sold the chicken tractor.

The new chicken house has a concrete floor and an attached run. There is also an option for them to free range around a fenced off area in the backyard. When I attempted to integrate the young chickens at about 12 weeks of age all 7 isa browns were ganging up on one small chicken at a time. I put up a wire divider in the chicken house and a temporary run for the small chickens, although they share the same house sleeping they cannot get to one another.

I will wait until they are equal in size before I remove the divider. I hope by this time they will be used to one another and avoid any serious pecking.

I have added a few photos of their current environment, including the divider in their house. The ISA brown chickens have been laying well and there has been no more incidents of soft eggs.

Cheers

Joey

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Edited by Joey (see edit history)

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Great looking shed and run. You will find one assive advantage is you can easily collect the manure compared to your previour chook tractor.

To keep the fighting to a minimum we alwy have between 1 to 2 roosters who make great umpires.

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Hi Wacker & helomech

Keeping roosters seems to be a good way of keeping the peace, however in Melbourne we are not allowed to keep roosters. My next door neighbour adds to his flock by placing day old chicks under a clucky hen. When they reach 6 weeks of age they are integrated but they have the protection of the mother hen. I was the mother hen who raised these chicks.

Cheers

Joey

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I have hatched many eggs in my incubator and just put the chicks in the coupe with no issues. If you can't have roosters then why not go with ducks. They lay more eggs than my black australorps, they get bigger faster therefore more meat than chickens and they don't make noise. I have some mutts, they have some peking, kacki campel, and lord knows what else mixed in them.

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Hi

The baby chickens have grown quite considerably since starting this thread in 8 weeks or so they will also be producing eggs. At this stage I still have them separated from the larger chickens, and will try to integrate them once they are equal in size. Here are some photos of how they are at the moment along with the larger chickens enjoying some restaurant scraps.

Cheers

Rudy

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Hi

The baby chickens are now just under 19 weeks old. I have been worrying that one of them may be a rooster because it has been developing faster than it's siblings, however today my fears were put aside when I was presented with a tiny white egg.

Cheers

Joey

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Hi

One of my older chickens recently suffered a prolapse. I found her bleeding and walking around while the others were pecking at it. I am not good at killing my chickens so I separated her from the others to see if she could improve. I also tried pushing the prolapse back but it simply popped back out. On her own she has recovered to the point she is dry and her feathers have fluffed back up, she is back with the other chooks and not getting attacked. The prolapse is still there but no longer looks angry.

I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Cheers

Joey

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Hi Joey,

Thanks for that post, being new to chooks myself it is not something that would have jumped into my mind straight up to do.

Good to hear she has made a reasonable recovery thus far & fingers crossed for continued recovery to full health.

Cheers

Joe

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Culling a bird is not a pleasant experience, but it is sometimes necessary. I had a bird that got picked on and lost the features in her rear, at first it seemed like molting b/c it coincided the whole flock molting. By the time that I noticed the true cause she was raw in her rear and had torn skin. I separated her, put on different creams including antibiotics but it got worse. I finally put her down to avoid the suffering she was about to go through.

The saddest part was that my hens are very tame and will come to me when called. I called her, grabbed her and she was happy expecting a treat prior to her sudden demise - maybe not such a bad way to go, but it was unpleasant for me.

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Hi,

For a better understanding of the causes and prevention of prolapse.....see here.

The important thing is to remove the affected hen to a clean and dry box where they can recover (assuming that's possible) without being pecked by the other chickens.

Prolapse occurs most frequently in young birds on a very good diet. They produce very large or double yolk eggs before they are large enough themselves to sustain the effort.....and turn themselves inside out in the process.

Gary

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Culling birds is harder on me than processing them for me. I do it, but I don't like it. I had to put down two goats last year who were sick and suffering. Oh my gosh it was hard. On a related note, the more I farm, the more emotionally exhausting killing becomes. I've hunted and fished all my life, but there is something about raising an animal from birth (or egg) to maturity and developing a rapport with it that does give one pause at processing time. Except for fowl, which I slice their necks, I shoot animals to process them. I have learned to spend a little more on really high quality bullets to ensure a quick dispatch. Butchering doesn't bother me. Once the animal is dead, I have no issues, but killing gets harder each year. I am not, however, prepared to become a vegetarian, so I work to make the death as quick and humane as possible.

Sorry if this took us too far OT. It' just that I'm in the middle of lots of processing right now; chickens, pigs, goats and it's draining.

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