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So I got some chickens...and egg thieves.

Eddo Rogue

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Not sure if I posted in the right place, but I got me a flock of Rhode Island reds and they seem happy. Never had chickens before and would appreciate advice....

How much do I feed them? Do they stop eating on their own?
How do I keep my eggs from getting stolen by smaller predators? Do I need to completely seal up the coop?

I figure its a matter of time until the bigger predators discover the coop as well, and would like to actually succeed against nature for once.

Any other tips, tricks, advice, warnings or threats? Cheers -Eddo
 


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All I know about chickens is that if prepared properly they taste awesome haha. Sorry no help.
 

Eddo Rogue

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Feeding depends on how they are kept. The larger the area they have to roam the less you need to feed them, they are quite capable of finding themselves plenty of food if left to wander. Just suppliment with about a cup of feed per chicken per day. If they are kept in a small pen then you need to feed them more. They eat constantly and store extra food in their throat craw thingy so you really can't over feed a chicken. If you want more eggs you have to suppliment with food with extra calcium.

If you're eating the eggs you should do an egg check every night and just never let them stay in the coup, they should go right from the butt to the fridge. If you're hatching them then the same thing only they should go straight to the incubator. Domesticated chickens are terrible mothers so you can't leave the eggs with the hens and expect them to actually take care of them.

The chickens will naturally go into the coup at night so just make the coup secure and put a door with a latch on it and once they go to bed shut and latch the door. If you have predators during the day get 2-3 guinea hens. Guinea hens will chase away basically everything except stuff like coyotes and hawks. Well until you shoot them for driving you insane...
 
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Your chickenhouse needs to be as bombproof as you can get it.

When things go bump in the night it is a free for all if something gets in the chickenhouse. We have been wiped out twice by mink. Chickens, ducks and guineas... didn't matter, they get in and it is a free for all as they can see in the dark and birds can't.

Laying boxes may help with eggs too if you don't have them.
 

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Never raised chickens but saw a pretty neat idea for collecting eggs. Put small individual access doors on the outside wall directly to the nest.
I've seen two different people do slightly different things for storing eggs.
One puts the eggs into fridge unwashed until just before selling.
The other stores eggs in the basement. Not sure if washed first or not but it is basically a cold room down there. I've gotten eggs from her that were stored at least 6 months and no problems.
Apparently the mucous covering the egg when first hatched is anti-bacterial (or something like) and that is why to not wash the eggs until use.
Definitely store eggs in the fridge after washing, IMO.
 
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85_Ranger4x4

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Never raised chickens but saw a pretty neat idea for collecting eggs. Put small individual access doors on the outside wall directly to the nest.
I've seen two different people do slightly different things for storing eggs.
One puts the eggs into fridge unwashed until just before selling.
The other stores eggs in the basement. Not sure if washed first or not but it is basically a cold room down there. I've gotten eggs from her that were stored at least 6 months and no problems.
Apparently the mucous covering the egg when first hatched is anti-bacterial (or something like) and that is why to not wash the eggs until use.
Definitely store eggs in the fridge after washing, IMO.
In Europe the eggs you buy at the store are not washed for that reason.

In the US everything must be clean so they are washed... and don't store as long.
 

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I don't wash them until I'm ready to cook them but I always keep them in the fridge. I just can't get use to letting eggs sit on the counter. My sister never refrigerates her eggs though, just personal preference.
 

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And unless you live in the city or keep your chickens in a prison you're gonna loose one every once in a while. Hawks love chickens and there's not a heck of alot you can do to stop a hawk. Every year I loose 2 or 3 to hawks. The upside is hawks won't massacre the entire flock like stoats, minks, or coyotes and the latter are somewhat easy to protect against with a good secure coup. If you have snakes they love baby chicks but if you're raising chicks you should keep them in a brooder and then a move them to a smaller secured coup until they are eating regular food and ready to join the rest of the group.
 

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A dog and a cat will help keep the predators away. If you have the space for a donkey, even better. A donkey will ruin quite a few predator's day.
 

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So will goats. Coyotes are terrified of goats for some reason. :dunno:

But then again goats, horses, and donkeys all love to eat chicken eggs... :rolleyes:
 

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They will peck at anything that looking slightly interesting, so if one of them gets a dirty spot or bleeds a little or anything that looks out of the ordinary, all the others will peck at it until they bleed the one to death. So, if you see one that has been pecked at, you will need to remove it until it heals completely or the others will just peck it to death.
 

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They will peck at anything that looking slightly interesting, so if one of them gets a dirty spot or bleeds a little or anything that looks out of the ordinary, all the others will peck at it until they bleed the one to death. So, if you see one that has been pecked at, you will need to remove it until it heals completely or the others will just peck it to death.

I hear blinders also help. I have some friends that raise Pheasant, which is basically a chinese chicken, and apparently they are much more aggressive that way. Apparently they are like coked up cannibals, actually eating each other.
 

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