Adult Content Warning

This community may contain adult content that is not suitable for minors. By closing this dialog box or continuing to navigate this site, you certify that you are 18 years of age and consent to view adult content.

The Homesteading Thread

Discussion in 'Permanent Threads' started by Popped Cherries, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. Popped Cherries

    Popped Cherries
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    78
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    NY
    Not sure if this should go in the gardening thread or this one, but it is somewhat related so...

    In an attempt to start living off the grid a bit more, I'll be getting my first flock of chickens arriving Wednesday. The play all along at our house was to set up a coop in the backyard and use the eggs for our B&B. With all this going on and the run on grocery stores, etc. we decided to up the time frame and start the flock this year.
    We've done a bunch of research into the whole process, but I figured I'd ask here if anyone has any tips they wished they would have known about raising chickens before they started.
     
  2. walt

    walt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    883
    Since there's enough people here interested in homesteading type things like raising chickens, gardening, etc., Nett greenlighted a new thread for conversation about that here.

    Have questions about how to raise your own critters? Maybe thinking about alternative heating? Anything else along those lines? Have at it.
     
  3. wexton

    wexton
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    234
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,335
    Location:
    North Coast BC
    Actually with the interest rate down to the lowest it will ever get, i actually have been thinking about buying some acreage 3-4 hours away. I can get 80-160 acres for 200-300k, with or without power to the property, with or without a major river on it.
     
  4. walt

    walt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    883
    The one thing I tell every single person just starting with poultry is this: Build your pen like Fort Knox.

    Plain old chicken wire is great for some uses, but anywhere a predator can dig underneath your building and get in you will want to secure it with hardware cloth.

    Any building or enclosed flight pen I dig down around 4" at least and bury part of the hardware cloth. From there up, it depends on what I'm building. If it's a coop, I focus on the hardware cloth being more in the ground and then let the wall of the structure secure them from there.

    I have one pen which is part enclosed, part open wall. There, I have the hardware cloth still in the ground, but then up about 2' to a cross beam, a 2x4 is fine. From there up it's chicken wire. Kinda like this:

    Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 1.09.51 PM.png

    Not only is nothing going to dig its way in, but nothing like a raccoon is going to reach in and grab young birds.

    Sometimes people think it's overkill and a few months later I'll see them post online how something got in and killed all their birds. I had to learn the hard way too, and lost some nice birds to mink or coons.
     
  5. toytoy88

    toytoy88
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    1,069
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,214
    Location:
    The fucking desert. I hate the fucking desert.
    Another concern with chickens is owls. I've ended up criss-crossing the over head of a pen with string after an owl decided he (She?) needed my chickens more then me.

    I came out one morning and the owl was all tangled up in the string.
     
  6. walt

    walt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    883
    All my animals, including the goats, get locked in at night. I know some people criss-cross wire over their outdoor run, but the one my chickens are in is way too big for that. But there is a lot of heavy brush and many's the time they've run for cover there and avoided hawks. Some people will put old pick up truck bed caps out in their fields for free range birds, same concept.
     
  7. Revengeofthenerds

    Revengeofthenerds
    Expand Collapse
    ER Frequent Flyer Platinum Member

    Reputation:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    8,011
    Responded to nett in the corona thread before I saw this here:

    To echo what @walt said, I learned this lesson the hard way, and I did everything correctly, built my pen like fort knox. Over 3 years I lost my flock of 12 ducks and the 2 geese I bought to protect them to a combination of hawks and owls who got to them when I let them out and was in the yard watching. Predators get hungry, and they don't give a shit about you when they need a meal. My guns did a number on the coons, coyotes and the like, and I believe I made a statistically significant dent in their population over the years. However, when it comes to protected species like certain birds of prey, not only are there laws against it, it's just morally out of the question for me. You need to plan on replenishing your flock due to predator loss. You can protect against it, but you will lose a percentage, and nature always wins. I got to the point where I didn't want to continue with my ducks anyway, so when the last one was turned into a meal I took down the pen and moved on.
     
  8. GTE

    GTE
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    201
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,068
    Dumb city slicker question, but what do you do with carcass? Can't imagine just throwing it in the waste bin.
     
  9. Revengeofthenerds

    Revengeofthenerds
    Expand Collapse
    ER Frequent Flyer Platinum Member

    Reputation:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    8,011
    Not a dumb question at all.

    If they take it away, as they did with some of the smaller ducks, then obviously you can't do anything. If they leave it, which most of them did because they ducks and especially geese were too heavy, then I put it out for the trash men. The vultures. Normally those black birds just swarm them as soon as you toss them out in the field, but if they survive to overnight I'd try to hunt over them with a spotlight if time allowed. Got a few more coyotes that way.

    Same applies to hogs by the way. The smaller ones are good to eat, but the larger ones are nasty. They've largely moved away from our area, but when they were messing with our yard and ranch, I'd shoot them and leave them where they expired. Vultures would have them down to bone in a day or two. Again, great to hunt over the carcass at night if you can.
     
  10. bewildered

    bewildered
    Expand Collapse
    Deeply satisfied pooper

    Reputation:
    647
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    7,828
    I keep ducks, not chickens, and find them to be superior for a few reasons: They are winter hardy, requiring no supplemental heat or light, and (while a little less compared to summer) will keep producing eggs during the shorter days; their compost is not hot and can be used directly on the garden; they are more regular egg layers and their eggs are bigger, healthier, and better for baking, plus fetch a high resale value if you end up with too many (I get $.50/egg, some places pay more). However, you have to be prepared for the care they require. They have high water needs compared to chickens and can be messy, so you need to design a system that keeps the situation controlled.
     
  11. bewildered

    bewildered
    Expand Collapse
    Deeply satisfied pooper

    Reputation:
    647
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    7,828
    Yep, Fort Knox is the idea. Use hardware cloth, not chicken wire. You want a hardware cloth apron, like he depicts in the picture, to prevent digging. Once a predator finds your birds, it's over. They keep coming over and over til the poultry is gone. Each time they hit, you will suffer losses and stressed birds who will not produce well. It takes money and/or time to get your birds to the point that they are producing and losses will set you back significantly.

    In my current situation, the main daytime concern is hawks. Their run is a PVC hoop house with bird netting draped over the top. A hawk will see the netting and not risk injury to himself to get the ducks underneath. Their nighttime coop is fort knox. They are let out manually in the AM and put away at dark. Ducks in particular aren't great about going inside at dark and have to be herded inside, so an auto coop door that's good for chickens is not for ducks.

    The coop is a repurposed kid's playhouse with windows, set up off the ground on RR ties. All the windows are covered in HWC and I dug a 12-16" trench all around to submerge a HWC apron underground. I am in a small town and have seen coyotes. There are raccoons, weasels, and owls around. Raccoons will grab a bird through a hole and kill it even if they can't actually get inside. Weasles will kill everything just for fun and can move through tiny openings. Just set up your pen correctly from the get go and avoid a lot of heartache.
     
  12. walt

    walt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    883
    I keep both, just because I like poultry. My Call Ducks aren’t prolific layers like Bewildereds, but they are good for turning loose in the garden, something I intend to do more of this Summer in an attempt not to use even Sevin Dust if I can help it.

    Usually there’s not a lot left, if anything, to use. But in the event there is a carcass left if I don’t use it as bait to catch the predator, I just throw it in the woods. Further from the barn the better.
     
  13. bewildered

    bewildered
    Expand Collapse
    Deeply satisfied pooper

    Reputation:
    647
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    7,828
    Ducks are great foragers. When I weed I throw the dandelions and other tender greens in their pen and they gobble it up. They are allowed to roam the entire garden currently because I am not growing plants quite yet and their presence just adds to fertilizer for the area while they constantly look for bugs. They have to be kept out of the garden, though, once plants are growing. They sure as shit love the way zucchini leaves taste. I am making some changes to the garden design this year to allow the ducks more room to roam while also protecting the plants. I'm picking up new ducklings in a couple weeks (welsh harlequins, excellent layers and calm in personality) and like to err on the side of more space for them. Their pen will get poopy and muddy super fast. Duck poo is really liquidy.
     
  14. walt

    walt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    883
    All set for the chicks to arrive in the next day or two:

    241A64AF-9B22-45CA-908E-084C7B918B35.jpeg
     
  15. Rush-O-Matic

    Rush-O-Matic
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    967
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    9,327
    I think somebody (maybe 'nerds) posted it once before, but where do y'all order your laying ducks from?
     
  16. walt

    walt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    883
    I’ve only ever ordered chickens by mail but highly recommend Meyer Hatchery. My ducks I’ve bought locally.
     
  17. bewildered

    bewildered
    Expand Collapse
    Deeply satisfied pooper

    Reputation:
    647
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    7,828
    If you have a good idea of breed characteristics, you can select specific breeds from mixed bins at your local farmer supply. Pretty frequently the workers are no help. Another avenue is to ask your local farmer supply who they get their poultry from and then order directly from the farm. My local farm supply gets their ducks from someplace in ID.

    I ordered my first ducks from Ideal Hatchery out of TX. They were super inexpensive and only charged me $9 to ship them to me in OR. The shipping (especially for small orders) is often cost prohibitive. I was also able to get them sexed (I just wanted females)for just a few cents more per bird. I think they are not doing that this year however. Not sure if that will change back in the future. You get what you pay for, however. My ducks are great layers but they are not the breed I ordered. They are not keeping their lines clean.

    This year I am picking up from Holderread's which is a waterfowl preservation farm. They breed some of the best waterfowl in the world and are experts in this realm. The owner literally wrote the book on raising ducks: Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. They have had their farm for decades but due to age have scaled down the variety of waterfowl bred.

    RotN got his from Metzer, which is out of CA. They have a great reputation and have a pretty good sized operation but I found them to be prohibitively expensive for small orders. They have an excellent staff and spend a lot of time with the scientific/genetic side of things. If you have questions (even as a non customer) about crossing birds for certain desired colors they can help you. Indian Runners come in a lot of colors and there is a lot of complex info that goes into predicting what colors will be created from a coupling.
     
  18. walt

    walt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    127
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    883
    I look forward to seeing your new birds from them. I looked to see if they had show quality Rouens ( nice deep keeled birds ) but they don’t have them anymore.
     
  19. Revengeofthenerds

    Revengeofthenerds
    Expand Collapse
    ER Frequent Flyer Platinum Member

    Reputation:
    733
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    8,011
    Anyone watch the show Homestead Rescue?

    I’ll reserve my opinion on it until others chime in so I can make sure I’m on the right side of the argument.
     
  20. toytoy88

    toytoy88
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    1,069
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,214
    Location:
    The fucking desert. I hate the fucking desert.
    I've watched it occasionally. I've noticed quite a bit of invented drama on it, but if they're helping folks out for free....good for them. Although I imagine 90% of it's bullshit.

    Same with "Building off the Grid." They did an episode up here in my hometown area and I was flabbergasted with their exaggerations and made up difficulties that I knew for a fact were complete bullshit.

    One of my friends nominated one of his employees for Extreme Makeover who got accepted and had a huge house built for their family up here. Several of my friends worked on the build. The guy lost the house within a year because all that work was income and his property taxes went through the roof. The episode made for a "Feel Good" hour of network tv. The fallout you didn't see was the family lost what little they did have and ended up even worse off.