Saturday, March 12, 2011

Need some fellow list making/spreadsheet mamas and papas help

We are 99% sure we are going to get 13 chickens soon.  Our city is finally passing an ordinance that will allow us to have 1 hen per 2,000 sqft.  We have a shed out back that will work perfect, we just need to add some nesting boxes, put up fencing, etc.  We're not sure if we're going to get chicks or full-grown hens.  Chicks are hard work and we would have to keep a heat lamp on at all times until they get full grown (3mo).  However, buying full grown hens is hard too since we don't know if they will have a nice temperament or what they've been fed.

I need some help figuring out costs for feed, scratch, etc.  We're going to feed them organic (soy-free) feed and we plan to get that locally.  How much does 1 hen eat a day?  Can I feed them just once a day?  I've got 2 books on hold at the library and can't wait to read them :)


  1. I have no chicken advice but I can tell you that you are right about not knowing the chickens' personalities if you buy them full grown. My parents bought some chickens once upon a time so they could have fresh eggs. Those chickens were MEAN! I'm now really afraid of chickens.

  2. What is your temp there going to be in a few weeks? We only use the heat lamp for at most 8 weeks, generally when all their baby feathers are gone. They are really only hard the first two weeks and then they are good to go or so has been our experience. We are getting 66 more birds in two weeks and the average temp here is still in the twenty's but the extra heat lamp time will pay off because in the spring they will be able to free range as soon as the snow melts.

    We don't feed a commercial layer mix, we feed alfalfa, food scraps, and sprouted grains (wheat, oats, barley, field peas). Crushed up eggs shell, free choice oyster shells, and flax seed only when they start laying eggs. When they free range in the summer we don't feed them much besides food scraps.

    In the feed recipes below we leave out the corn and soy b/c I honestly believe that you can not get non-GMO contaminated grains anymore. We have access to the oats, barley, field peas, and wheat (organic) so that is what we use. We don't use any animal byproducts like bone meal either. We are going to start adding DE this spring as a natural way to control parasites.

    We only feed and water ours once a day. I will have to ask my husband how much a hen gets poundage wise, he's the math man in our house.

  3. First of all, good luck!! What a neat new project for you!

    Second, you can also feed your chickens table scraps. Obviously not chicken or egg products, but you can reasonably feed them other things. We are part of a CSA and regularly take our scraps out there for the chickens to eat. They'll eat practically anything!

  4. We feed about 300-350pounds of feed per month in the winter for 35 birds. So about 10pounds a month per bird. They eat way less in the summer because there is more to eat outside(Free range= Free food)Our feeding is drastically reduced in the summer. Baby chicks are really easy. Keep food and water around at all times and they do they rest. They really only need the light for a few weeks. Not three months.

    We have noticed that having feed out for the big hens at all times increases our egg production. Some times when the feeder runs out the chickens wont lay as much.

    Chickens in general are easy. Big or small. There is a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming. I would suggest picking one or two solid resources and using those as your sole provider of information. Some resources tend to conflict with each other especially in regards to vaccines and organic practices.

  5. Thanks for all the advice everyone :) Mike, I'm leaning towards getting our chicks from you, but probably in May.

  6. sounds like fun. I would love to have chickens as pets though lol