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Yeah for me personally it'd be a little weird to eat an animal that was raised as a pet. Obviously it's not the same as eating your dog, but it's just not for me. If I had two or three dozen chickens I might feel differently. Eggs are different and I have no problem eating those. Also de-feathering and butchering is sorta labor intensive and messy, especially if you are only butchering one or two birds. I've done it with wild turkeys and it wasn't enjoyable.

Chicken is fairly inexpensive meat and USDA organic free range chicken is readily available if I want to go that route.

When these birds stop laying or slow down, I'll list them in Craigslist for free and whoever takes them can keep them around or butcher them if they wish.

Now if they were lobsters, I think I'd have already eaten them!
LMBO! yeah me to if they were Lobsters but not my wife she hates seafood.

I was raised on a farm and have never thought of the animals we had as a "pet" so no I'm not eating my dog. LOL............. :tango_face_wink:

I personally have no problem with raising them, having them produce eggs and sending them to the butcher at the end of the year once replacements were hatched and grown to the point of producing eggs. That takes two pens/tractors pens though. But I'l be happy with a dozen or more full grass feed birds in the freezer.

BTW Doug have you thought about a "chicken tractor"?

https://www.google.com/search?q=Chicken+tractor&oq=Chicken+tractor&aqs=chrome..69i57.5662j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Chicken poop is good for the lawn. :tango_face_wink: the garden too. :tango_face_devil: the can mow it an fertilized at the same time. :tango_face_devil:
 

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Pluck a chicken. Have not done that one in a long time. Just take the head and legs off at the joint a couple of slits, a few tugs and all done. Totally illuminates dealing with feathers, all that hot scolding water and stink. Of course if you just have to have the skin its not an option. But if I am going to bread something its going to be something I am going to eat and I hate chicken skin.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Just a small update. I have added a handle to the pop door so that I can open and close it from outside of the run. It makes things a lot easier. I also had to buy a heated waterer because the temperature has dipped well below freezing at night. I have it plugged into a GFCI outlet with an outdoor extension cord and electrical taped the connection. It has a thermostat so that it only kicks on when the temp gets below 35°F or 38°F or something. I opened up the area underneath the coop itself to give the chickens a few more square feet of grazing room. They seem to like it.

Overall I'm really happy with the coop design. It keeps things very dry even in sustained heavy downpours and it's well ventilated. The soffit vents work great, if anyone is looking to build a coop, I highly recommend them. I changed the bedding out once but it wasn't wet at all or even very smelly, it probably could've gone longer. Thanks to the height and the large opening side door, I was able to put a tote bin underneath the door and rake all the chips into the bin, then empty the bin into a trash bag. Very easy and only took maybe 15 minutes by myself.

Yesterday I introduced scratch grains which the chickens seem to love. I just threw a few handfuls into the pen and they have been pecking around since. I also filled up the yellow treat ball with the scratch grains and they finally seemed to have figured it out. I previously had tried regular sunflower seed, mealworms and plain old feed but they wouldn't touch it. They won't leave it alone now that it's got scratch grains in it.

Still no eggs but I'm patient. As I previously said, the temps are getting cold but the chickens don't seem to mind it. Everything I can find says not to use any supplemental heat as long as they are fully feathered, so I'm refraining from heating the coop. The coldest it usually gets here is -10°F and that's rarely for any extended period of time. If it does get that cold i may put a small heating pad or something in the coop but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

So anyways that's the update, thanks for following along!

IMG_20191108_152703457-2137x1603_1573335164726.jpg IMG_20191108_152849542_HDR-2137x1603_1573335192960.jpg IMG_20191108_152731538_HDR-2137x1603_1573335215292.jpg IMG_20191108_152754706_HDR-2137x1603_1573335228922.jpg IMG_20191108_152811873-2137x1603_1573335237034.jpg IMG_20191108_152821913_HDR-2137x1603_1573335263127.jpg
 

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Just a small update. I have added a handle to the pop door so that I can open and close it from outside of the run. It makes things a lot easier. I also had to buy a heated waterer because the temperature has dipped well below freezing at night. I have it plugged into a GFCI outlet with an outdoor extension cord and electrical taped the connection. It has a thermostat so that it only kicks on when the temp gets below 35°F or 38°F or something. I opened up the area underneath the coop itself to give the chickens a few more square feet of grazing room. They seem to like it.

Overall I'm really happy with the coop design. It keeps things very dry even in sustained heavy downpours and it's well ventilated. The soffit vents work great, if anyone is looking to build a coop, I highly recommend them. I changed the bedding out once but it wasn't wet at all or even very smelly, it probably could've gone longer. Thanks to the height and the large opening side door, I was able to put a tote bin underneath the door and rake all the chips into the bin, then empty the bin into a trash bag. Very easy and only took maybe 15 minutes by myself.

Yesterday I introduced scratch grains which the chickens seem to love. I just threw a few handfuls into the pen and they have been pecking around since. I also filled up the yellow treat ball with the scratch grains and they finally seemed to have figured it out. I previously had tried regular sunflower seed, mealworms and plain old feed but they wouldn't touch it. They won't leave it alone now that it's got scratch grains in it.

Still no eggs but I'm patient. As I previously said, the temps are getting cold but the chickens don't seem to mind it. Everything I can find says not to use any supplemental heat as long as they are fully feathered, so I'm refraining from heating the coop. The coldest it usually gets here is -10°F and that's rarely for any extended period of time. If it does get that cold i may put a small heating pad or something in the coop but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

So anyways that's the update, thanks for following along!

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where are you at in PA that it gets to -10*? :tango_face_surprise

where I'm at (central PA) it's not going to get lower that 0* and that is very rare. That being said my neighbor had hens with no heat but an insulated house for them. When they were all in there, the house was 50+* even when it was 10* outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #65
Just a small update. I have added a handle to the pop door so that I can open and close it from outside of the run. It makes things a lot easier. I also had to buy a heated waterer because the temperature has dipped well below freezing at night. I have it plugged into a GFCI outlet with an outdoor extension cord and electrical taped the connection. It has a thermostat so that it only kicks on when the temp gets below 35°F or 38°F or something. I opened up the area underneath the coop itself to give the chickens a few more square feet of grazing room. They seem to like it.

Overall I'm really happy with the coop design. It keeps things very dry even in sustained heavy downpours and it's well ventilated. The soffit vents work great, if anyone is looking to build a coop, I highly recommend them. I changed the bedding out once but it wasn't wet at all or even very smelly, it probably could've gone longer. Thanks to the height and the large opening side door, I was able to put a tote bin underneath the door and rake all the chips into the bin, then empty the bin into a trash bag. Very easy and only took maybe 15 minutes by myself.

Yesterday I introduced scratch grains which the chickens seem to love. I just threw a few handfuls into the pen and they have been pecking around since. I also filled up the yellow treat ball with the scratch grains and they finally seemed to have figured it out. I previously had tried regular sunflower seed, mealworms and plain old feed but they wouldn't touch it. They won't leave it alone now that it's got scratch grains in it.

Still no eggs but I'm patient. As I previously said, the temps are getting cold but the chickens don't seem to mind it. Everything I can find says not to use any supplemental heat as long as they are fully feathered, so I'm refraining from heating the coop. The coldest it usually gets here is -10°F and that's rarely for any extended period of time. If it does get that cold i may put a small heating pad or something in the coop but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

So anyways that's the update, thanks for following along!

View attachment 2405367 View attachment 2405369 View attachment 2405371 View attachment 2405373 View attachment 2405375 View attachment 2405377
where are you at in PA that it gets to -10*?


where I'm at (central PA) it's not going to get lower that 0* and that is very rare. That being said my neighbor had hens with no heat but an insulated house for them. When they were all in there, the house was 50+* even when it was 10* outside.
Western PA, near Pittsburgh. Last year we had a few days in a row that didn't break zero. I think the lows at night during that time were around -5°F to -10°F. Its usually do a short period of time but it happens.
 

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Man what a waste putting coop waste in a trash bag. If you haven't started a compost pile yet now would be the time to do so. Add some leaves or grass clipping and enjoy the free fertilizer.
 

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Discussion Starter #67
Man what a waste putting coop waste in a trash bag. If you haven't started a compost pile yet now would be the time to do so. Add some leaves or grass clipping and enjoy the free fertilizer.
Ehh, I don't compost. I don't like having a big smelly pile of poop and rotting grass at the edge of my yard. I'm not losing any sleep over throwing away chicken poop lol.
 

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Man what a waste putting coop waste in a trash bag. If you haven't started a compost pile yet now would be the time to do so. Add some leaves or grass clipping and enjoy the free fertilizer.
I hear that. Chicken poop is awesome for the soil. I use to get it from the farm down the road and put it on my garden.

Ehh, I don't compost. I don't like having a big smelly pile of poop and rotting grass at the edge of my yard. I'm not losing any sleep over throwing away chicken poop lol.
Ha Ha We have a 10'x10' area where all our food scraps go. Animals eat most of it but what's left gets tilled into the ground 2 times a years. Let me tell ya that is some good soil there. 14 years of doing that and we use that dirt for pre-planting stuff for the garden and flowers for around the house.
 

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I hear that. Chicken poop is awesome for the soil. I use to get it from the farm down the road and put it on my garden.



Ha Ha We have a 10'x10' area where all our food scraps go. Animals eat most of it but what's left gets tilled into the ground 2 times a years. Let me tell ya that is some good soil there. 14 years of doing that and we use that dirt for pre-planting stuff for the garden and flowers for around the house.
I do that too, the raccoons, groundhogs and rabbits love me for it.

I find if you mix chicken poop or whatever in with the other stuff, add some leaves and dirt, it doesn't really smell that bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #70
Ugh, what a day. Woke up this morning to discover one of my chickens was limping pretty badly. It was my Welsummer hen. So not knowing what to do I went over to the Backyard Chicken Forum and asked for help. They seemed to think it is more likely a fractured or bruised leg bone than an infection like bumblefoot. I'll admit I was completely unprepared to handle such a situation and way out of my comfort zone but I was eventually able to hold her while my mom wrapped a splint made from some gauze, wood skewers, and cohesive bandage around it. I'm hopeful that it will work. For now she is residing in a dog crate inside of the coop so that she doesn't try to fly up or down on the roosting ladder and injure it any further.

IMG_20191115_173840567-2137x1603_1573863838672.jpg
IMG_20191115_174230685-2137x1603_1573863850357.jpg

I also changed out the bedding in the coop and the straw in the run today. And since I got flamed last time for not composting the chicken waste, I dumped everything in a pile behind the shed. There, compost.
 

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Discussion Starter #71
Wow am I overdue for an update!

Picking up where I left off, my Welsummer hen is doing much better. She seemed to have healed up very quickly, within a week or so. She is back to walking normally and is fully mobile. Every once in a while it looks like she may have a slight limp, but from what I've read, it can take a long time for a limp to fully go away. If she does still have a limp, it's very slight.

IMG_20191121_110941131.jpg


Also it has gotten significantly colder since my last update, so I have done a couple things to hopefully help with that. For one, I added some weatherstripping to the main door on the coop. It should really help lessen the drafts inside. Secondly I used some 4 mil plastic to wrap the outside of the run to form a wind block. It's not the most attractive looking thing, but it keeps the chickens from staying in the coop all day. It is down to 9°F this morning and the chickens are outside in the run.

IMG_20191201_151140969.jpg


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I also made some drip edge for the back of the run on a box break out of some leftover aluminum fascia. It just helps keep water from dripping directly inside the run. It's not as great as a true gutter and downspout but it's better than nothing.

IMG_20191201_151123589.jpg


The heated waterer I bought turned out to be a pile of junk. It didn't seal tightly to the base, it was difficult to refill and usually resulted in me spilling water all over myself. I was really irritated with it. So I bought a different one from Premier 1 and it is great. It is easy to fill, the power cord can be disconnected for summer use, the lid locks tight, and it has nipples so the water stays clean. It wasn't cheap but it was well worth the money. I was worried my chickens would be too dumb to figure out the nipples, but the minute I set it down they were pecking at them and had it learned.

11820.jpg


My rooster has also started to crow! A lot, lol. He usually starts about 5 am and continues throughout the day. I find it hilarious.


Still no eggs but I imagine the short days and the fact that this is their first winter has something to do with that. Anyways that's pretty much the update. Thanks for following along!
 

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Looks, and sounds like everyone is happy. Soon enough you will have more eggs than you know what to do with.
 

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I doubt you'll get much in the way of eggs till the days get longer in Spring. You can fool them by closing them in and putting light on a timer, but I always just accepted less production in the Winter.

Your flock is well cared for and looks very healthy.
 

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Your chicken coop looks better than some of the "houses" in my neighborhood! Example, one of my neighbors has 2 house trailers jammed together in a "T" formation with skid wood used to make the connection, and of course all of it is roofed with blue tarps.
 

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They have definitely grown. Roosters are strange looking dudes. 😄
I found some info as to why chickens don't produce eggs. Interesting article.
 

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Those really are some fine looking birds! Well built, clear eyes, full feathers with a nice sheen. Lucky birds, indeed.
 

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Discussion Starter #79
They have definitely grown. Roosters are strange looking dudes. 😄
I found some info as to why chickens don't produce eggs. Interesting article.
The roosters are funny looking, but I love his coloring. I'm hoping that as the days start to get longer through February they will begin to lay.

Those really are some fine looking birds! Well built, clear eyes, full feathers with a nice sheen. Lucky birds, indeed.
Thanks! The rooster cracks me up. He starts crowing around 5:30am and continues throughout the day. My brown Welsummer hen definitely has a different personality than the other birds, she is much more introverted and skittish, but she seems healthy. She did have that leg issue but appears to have made a fairly strong recovery.
 
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