Friday, March 20, 2009

Food Sources - Raising Poultry

Need a great source of information that will help you get started raising poultry? Tons of information can be found in “Raising Poultry the Modern Way” by Leonard S. Mercia! It has plenty of illustrations, plans for making poultry houses or even the proper way to clean and dress a chicken and is an excellent resource on raising poultry. If you're considering buying some land and raising some poultry this book will help you get started. It also includes information on turkey and geese.

Here is a link for places you can get a copy:

Here is a link to a gallery of pictures of "Chicken Tractors" to give you a few ideas:
Thanks JH!

Having a source for fresh protein in the form of either eggs or poultry will help you be better prepared by having an alternate and renewable food source.

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

And egg's can be easily dehydrated,stored in a vacuum'd canning jar!

Anonymous said...

I did a little reading up on this today...unemployment is boring.. And read up on raising quail. Yes,tiny lil egg's,but take up less room, maybe sell them to a game refuge,save a few for yourself, or release them to your chosen bug out location for later!
Dean in Az

Grumpyunk said...

Chickens may be the easiest stock to raise. They will eat almost anything except Citrus. Mine won't eat onion scraps, but that's probably better for the taste of the eggs anyway. But they will eat just about any leftovers you have. If they can range during the day in good weather they will cost a lot less to feed. This may come in handy if they pass the NAIS Bullstuff.

You have to make sure they have a secure place to roost at night. Local dogs, Coons and Coyotes will tear through a flock in one night. I don't know if A Great Pyrenees dog would protect chickens but I suspect they would. I hope to find out soon.
I had to kill a half dozen local dogs before I got them to stop snagging my hens.
There are lots of movable pens that are nice and easy to make on the cheap. Google up Chicken Tractor and you'll come up with a bunch of plans. These are great in nice weather and probably good all year if you live in a warm climate

Permanent housing is easy, just make sure you have a decent amount of floor space for them. Crowding leads to lots of problems. I use straw for bedding and just keep adding it to the coop. I only clean it all out every other year or so. Great compost. The fresh stuff can be a bit hot to add directly to your garden, but add it in the Fall and your good to go. The old stuff on the bottom will be good to add straight to the garden. I plant Melons right in the hot stack by putting a bucket of soil on the stack and transplanting melons there. It seems to work even if the poop is fresh and hot.

Get a good dual purpose breed that you can get some meat from. A lot of the big egg layers don't have much body to them.

Anonymous said...

How noisy are layer's? I live in a neighborhood with a decent sized yard,but nosy whiny neihbor's! Could these be raised discretly? I was thinking along the quail line,being a game bird, might be a bit more acceptable.
Dean in Az

Grumpyunk said...

Quail would definitely be quieter. Hens will make noise. I had one that crowed like a Rooster. Weird. Depends on how close the neighbors are I guess.

One thing to remember, Chickens will stink a place up bad if they are kept in a small area. That's why movable pens are good and keeping bedding fresh is essential to good health.

I've never had to worry about neighbors, but if you spread a few dozen eggs around as needed for bribes it would probably help. Tell the neighbors you'll trade for their leftovers or grass clippings for compost or something. Cuts down on feed and gets them in the loop. Remember, egg production goes down to almost nil in the winter unless you keep a light on in the coop.

I don't do this anymore as it seems to wear the hens out in a hurry.

People seem to like brown eggs better than white too. I don't think there's really a difference, but it's the freshness and the diet variety that makes them better. Most people never had a fresh egg. Store bought eggs are several weeks old at least when you get them.

I'm curious to hear how that dehydrating thing works.

erniesjourney said...

First time having chickens - they are still in the house and I can tell you that they are noisy, but cuter than shit! Good info Grump!!

Anonymous said...

Dehydrated egg's sound's easy,but I've never tried it myself. First,you need a dehydrator with what they call a roll up cover. It's used to make fruit roll up type stuff,just a shallow plastic pan really. Crack the egg's into a blender,or whip by hand, like scrambled egg's with nothing in them. Pour it in the tray,turn it on and let dry.Once dried out,toss them in the blender to powder.1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon water is 1 egg! If I recall,I read this on backwwod's site. And by the way,what's winter?? I'm in Phoenix!
Dean in Az

Anonymous said...

I found it on Backwood's,claim it can also be done on a cookie sheet covered with foil in the oven,set on 120 for 24 hour's..sound's long to me,but hey! And it is 1 to 1 powder/water.
Dean in az

Grumpyunk said...

Thanks Dean.

Seems like in my case I'll just keep feeding the ones I have and eat 'em fresh.

Phoenix weather is a bit different then Indiana.

Chickens are my favorite animals. I personally like to hatch a bunch in the incubator every Spring, but I think I'm gonna have to get some fresh blood into the flock this year and buy a few new ones.

Don't forget Ducks. Khaki Campbells are egg laying machines and the eggs are huge. You don't have to have a pond, but it helps. I don't and they do fine. Ducks are cute as can be and much more personable than chickens too. They need a secure place too. Roving dogs will play heck with ducks.
As you can guess, I need more fence. I feed a lot of wildlife and dogs.

If you have Ticks, get Guinea Hens. They are the hot set up for Ticks. Don't get them if you have neighbors. They are the noisiest things out there. Stupid and will figure out a way to get killed if you give them half a chance. Plan on losing most of them each year.

Anonymous said...

You raise these from egg's in an incubator? COOL! I saw that on the quail site,mentioned all kind's of feed for them and such..sounded like a pain.I've had to raise abandoned puppie's by hand,that was bad enough! And they won't eat citrus? I got 6 fruit tree's going to rot! I figured I'd get grown one's to skip all that.Maybe RW would be kind enough to have you do a guest post on this subject,I'd love to read it! BTW,I made an incubator for a science project in grade school long ago,just a box and a small light bulb...never tried it,but I got a B on it!
Dean in az

Grumpyunk said...

Dean, Incubating eggs is pretty easy. I have a cheap Styrofoam incubator that a friend gave me 8-9 years ago that I've been using. I think they're about $35 dollars new. I added a fan and an egg turner over the years but I never saw an increase in hatch percentage with them.

I just like to watch the 21 days that chickens take and the feeling of accomplishment of seeing them hatch.

Ducks and Guineas take 28 days. It's a heck of a lot of fun. I think I need a new heating unit on mine as it won't stay close to a consistent temp. Swings in temp makes for low hatch rates and you get some retard chicks too. Nothing harder than having to cull baby chicks because they are all messed up physically.

As far as writing a guest article, I'm really not an expert of any kind. There is a boatload of good info out there. The good news is that you don't have to be an expert on Chickens to raise them well. They are just pretty easy overall and unless you do something really dumb, they will do alright on their own.

If RW were to ask I'd probably try as long as it was stated up front that I've just been doing it for awhile and don't claim any expert status.

Go for it. It's easy and you'll have a good time.

riverwalker said...

To: Grumpyunk

Be happy to have you do a guest post on raising chickens, ducks, etc. My wife's father no longer is capable of taking care of his chickens and quit raising ducks a while back. my mother uses guineas like watchdogs. They make a heck of a ruckus when "anything" comes around and yes they are really dumb! Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Chickens are rather easy to raise, but do make a bit of a mess of your yard when using a chicken tractor. Move it often enough (day or two) to avoid them digging holes to cool themselves down during summer. We give them refrigerated water during the heat of the day - they seem to appreciate it, egg production doesn't stop, except when moulting.

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