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Thread: Let's talk about free-range eggs

  1. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyaUK View Post
    I love the idea of having your own chickens! What do you need to do to set up for chickens? How many eggs does a chicken produce a week? How do you choose a chicken?
    We have a coop and a yard. The coop I bought off ebay for a fraction of the price you would get in a shop. Chicken feed is super cheap. We got two chicks and raised them (no eggs until they're about 20 weeks), but we've bought two more at 20 wks so they start laying straight away. We lost one of our first girls to a mystery illness. They also get all of our leftovers and I buy straw for the nesting box (again, not expensive).

    We have little Isa Browns. $20 each at 20 wks. They lay one egg a day each, with perhaps one day off a week. If they are laying less, it's usually because you need to include more protein in their diet (or so I'm told). They live for about 8 years, I'm not sure when they stop laying.

    We let them out in the morning, put them back in their coop if we have to go out, and they put themselves to bed in their coop every evening. They eat all the nasty spiders we get here too (redbacks, funnel webs, etc). And weeds - DP only has to mow the lawn about twice a year where they are!



    PS Ours are very friendly, one especially likes a pat and a seat on your knee. If we sit outside in the evening they try and roost on us instead of in their coop. They don't have a smell at all.

  2. #20

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    Can a dog and chooks roam free together?
    Do you need a permit for chooks?
    I really want some chooks. How do you start?

  3. #21

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    Depends on the dog. One of ours, definitely not. So the dogs have the back yard and the chickens the front.

    We don't need a permit, I've never yet heard of a council that does. Roosters are another matter, you aren't allowed to have them in most suburban areas.

  4. #22

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    My staffy was PETRIFIED of the chickens....the dork.

  5. #23

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    I personally wouldn't trust a dog alone with chooks - but as said, depends on the dog and the breed. You can get great chicken tractors for back yard set ups.
    I would go for easy breeds - some nice cross breed layers.
    You are best to buy point of lay hens which are almost fully grown, and take less looking after than chicks.
    You will need secure housing - google chicken tractors and you will see some great ideas for small set ups.
    Chickens need dry, draught free accomodation.
    I would recommend 3 or 4 as hens like company, if you only get 2 and one dies (God forbid) one will be very lonely.
    You will need good quality chicken feed - you can buy 20kg bags from pet supply stores for around $20 this will last for close to a month for 3 - 4 chookies so pretty cheap really.
    I have 7 hens and get between 4-7 eggs most days. I don't actually sell mine but give them away to family and friends.
    I love my chookies and have hatched babies as well so if you need any advice please ask and I will do my best to help! I also know a fantastic forum dedicated to backyard chook growing they have heaps of areas on setting up and raising hens if anyone would like the address pm me.
    Last edited by Floweryfields; September 25th, 2010 at 02:32 PM.

  6. #24

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    We have 3 chooks and a tiny back yard which they live in. They have a coop for overnight as we have foxes in our area. Our girls are gorgeous (thank Onyx!!!) and are very personable. We get around 2-3 eggs per day from Spring-Autumn. During Winter we get around 8-10 eggs per week.

    Our dogs are great with the chickens except the massive chicken poo consumption on the labradors part which ends up with some vomits from time to time. Our dogs and chooks free range together for hours upon hours without me watching them constantly, but if I were to go out, I put the chooks away.

  7. #25

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    Oh yes, the dogs eat chicken poo. I put the dirty straw in my compost and one of my dogs thinks it's a buffet.

    We did have two hens and one died, which meant a mad rush to get a new friend for her that day. We have three in total now, so that won't happen again. New hens seem to have to sort out the pecking order for a couple of days.

    We didn't get any less eggs over winter, Christy. Maybe we're just lucky? Or is it a breed thing?

  8. #26

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    I dunno why we had less? We have Isla Browns... we did have a brooder over 3 weeks or so....

  9. #27

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    Aww, now I want chooks! They sound adorable, Jennifer

    I'm thinking that our townhouse courtyard might be a bit small though

  10. #28

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    my grandfather lived down the road from a 'free range' egg producer. it was the local battery hen farm...apparently there is a loop hole that if they cant make the free-range quota (which is in itself not free-range...the egg corporation rates free range as 6 chickens to a standard cage as opposed to 12 ITMS) then they get the supply from the battery farms. unless they have the certified stamp (the one with the chook) then it can be really hard to know for sure where the eggs are coming from. and I would just assume that the free range eggs available at woolies are NOT free-range in the true sense of the meaning. choice magazine ran a great article on it all a couple of years ago. Even the RSPCA accreditation means very little. means that the egg producers only need to be complying with the egg corporation policy on 'free range'.
    DH gets so annoyed at me as i refuse to buy eggs unless they are truly free range LOL! he reckons i am over-zealous...but i just love chooks lol.

  11. #29

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    We have 9 chooks - 1 isa brown from the CCC (we got 3 chicks but 2 were roosters), 4 Barnvelders and 4 Lavendar Aracunas. The Aracunas & Barnvelders give us 3 eggs/day between the 4 of them, and we get 1 from the isa/day. The Aracunas lay blue eggs which are size "small". DH & DS collect on average 7 eggs/day.
    We got our chook shed from someone getting rid of their avery and we clad it with wood and put a decent roof on it. It's actually 2 stories and we put the cats in there over summer - they keep the mice population down and enjoy the freedom. They are bossed by the chooks!

    If you want to start up cheaply, next hard rubbish collection get a dog kennel - put it on some legs and there's your chook shed. You can put a perch in there easily. To get the chooks, go to a battery farm and you can pick up 16-mth old chooks for around $2-3. These will give you initially 2 eggs/day for about a week, then go off the lay for about a fortnight or so while they get used to freedom and their new diet, then you'll get 1 egg/day for about another 18 months or so. Very rewarding, watching them learn all about insects and scratching for yummy goodness. And their first dust bath!!!! (and learning how to walk, and watching their feathers grow back).

    If it's cold, the egg production may slow, but you can get around this by giving the chooks warm feed of a morning. Pellets with a bit of warm water will do nicely!

    Christy - our lab loves chook poo too, and we also get projectile poo as well as vomit from over-indulgence.

    Chook poo tea is brillo for the garden if you can't be bothered putting it into your compost heap to age. We don't eat a lot of eggs (something to do with having no hotplates) and found that 1 carton / eggs sold per week for around $3 made us back the cost of chook feed. Now our chooks pay for the dog, cat & ****atiel feed too

  12. #30

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    My Mum and Dad have 6 free range chooks and I have to say their eggs are the best tasting eggs with the most vibrant yellow yolk eggs I've ever seen.

    For those considering getting some chookie girls I say go for it. My kids could spend hours playing with them which is an added bonus.

  13. #31

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    Oh no! Here I was thinking I was buying 'good eggs' and now I don't know which to buy lol. Wish I could have my own chooks!

  14. #32

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    Am pretty sure milking cows stink more than chookies
    Dont forget that a cow needs to be UTD to make milk....
    Hope you have room for baby cows.
    Get some chookies, they are great pets for the kids.
    Give me 3 months and I will sell you some Barnevelder chooks, so pretty and super friendly.

  15. #33

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    This thread is bringing back memories of the three chickens I grew up with. We kept them in the old dog kennel just like Kazbah said. They laid regularly and one of them used to lay 80gm eggs!!!! They were so yummy! I lived on a normal suburbarn block growing up too.

    Now I live in a country town and there is a rooster living across the back laneway. Very noisy and goes on and off all day

    Can't wait til we move out of town to get our own chooks again!

  16. #34

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    Shelly - and they are just so friendly aren't they!!! The barnies that is

    FWIW, most city councils have *limits* on the # chooks, not on chooks themselves.

    Growing up, Granddad & I used to get the chook ready for sunday lunch every month.

  17. #35

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    Don't get me started on those stupid 'she's a steggler for quality' ads either. Biggest load I've ever heard!

  18. #36

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    DH has wanted chooks for ages! I keep saying no, but you girls are making it sound very attractive And I have always loved the idea of fresh eggs. One of my real concerns is how the dog would go....we have a staffy who is very friendly, but who knows how she's go with chooks in her yard???

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