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    Thread: Lets talk Chickens

    1. Member
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      04-02-2012 11:33 PM #1
      The wife has been bugging for a couple years to get some chickens and I think I might finally break down and pull the trigger this year. We have well over an acre fenced in that I can use for them to graze in with a semi-mobile coop/run. I'm sure I'm going to have a ton of questions once we get some people posting in here. We want to start with 3 chickens.

      I guess my first question is does anyone here own chickens? What can you tell me about the whole ownership experience?

      I plan on building my coop from scraps I snag from my garage, etc. I'm going to have some questions about that too.

      So, chicken people, feel free to start posting.


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      04-03-2012 09:44 AM #2
      I know a few people that have chickens.

      The rooster will probably not go over real big with any neighbors.

      Also, animals want to eat chickens. Your free grazing fenced in yard will become a killing field as birds of prey and predatory mammals swoop in to eat your chickens. Most people with smaller operations completely inclose an area with chicken wire to keep out the bad guys. Something like a racoon can rip through this and still leave you with nothing but a pile of feathers in the morning.

      One friend woke up to find 75 chickens gone in the night.

      I don't know if chickens would have survived evolution without assistance from humans.

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      04-03-2012 09:52 AM #3
      I am planning on making the entire enclosure predator proof but mobile, so that they can graze different areas of the yard periodically. No Rooster needed since I don't want to make more chickens, I just want to make eggs.

      There's a bunch of stuff to keep the badies out including electric fences and little red LEDs to replicate other predators eyes that I've seen.

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      04-03-2012 10:40 AM #4
      well, I just called my municipality and it was shot right out of the air.

      Said I need the following:

      -be in the dedicated agricultural zone
      -have 50+ acres
      -coop has to be 1000ft from any road or property line


      I was really surprised to hear this considering you can have chickens in downtown Portland, OR and a lot of other cities. Wonder where I can go from here to get the rules changed or get a variance.

    5. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 10:59 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      -have 50+ acres


      That's just silly.

      We have 25 chickens currently, on 2 acres.

      As long as you don't have a rooster they are very unnoticeable.

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      04-03-2012 11:05 AM #6
      my sleuth of a sister in law may have found the correct zoning law for me. I'll edit this post when I get it.

    7. 04-03-2012 11:17 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      my sleuth of a sister in law may have found the correct zoning law for me. I'll edit this post when I get it.
      Yeah make sure to double check. Many municipalities will allow a small number of hens for personal uses.

      For my town its under 10 I believe. And no roosters.

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      04-03-2012 11:19 AM #8
      let's interpret this:


      "§ 116-4. Keeping of Animals. [Amended 5-10-79 by Ord. No. 79-4]
      No person shall allow any ducks, geese, fowl, cattle, swine, goats or horses to run at large in the Borough of Clayton, and no person in a residential area shall keep or permit to be kept any fowl, ducks, geese, cattle, swine, goats or horses, except the keeping of fowl as hereinafter provided. Any person offending against any provision of this section shall forfeit and pay a penalty of fity dollars ($50).

      § 116-5. Keeping of fowl. [Amended 5-10-70 by Ord. No. 79-4]
      All houses, buildings or enclosures wherein chickens or fowl are confined within the limits of the Borough of Clayton must be kept clean and free from all foul odors, and all such houses or enclosures must not be situate within fifty (50) feet of a dwelling house, living quarters or residence of any neighbor or neighbors. Any person or persons offending against the provisions of this section shall forfeit and pay a penalty not exceeding fifty dollars ($50)"

    9. Member Minker17's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 11:45 AM #9
      Saw your tweet, then saw thread title about chickens. Assumed it was you and was not disappointed.
      Rick
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      04-03-2012 11:56 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Minker17 View Post
      Saw your tweet, then saw thread title about chickens. Assumed it was you and was not disappointed.
      haha, glad I could deliver.

      So it looks like I can have chickens. I called my lawyer and read the code to him.

      and no person in a residential area shall keep or permit to be kept any fowl, ducks, geese, cattle, swine, goats or horses, except the keeping of fowl as hereinafter provided

      hereinafter pertains to 116-5, basically saying you can have the foul as long as it meets the requirements of this ordinance.

      My lawyer also said "just get them, then worry about it if someone on complains later" haha.

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      04-03-2012 12:08 PM #11
      Please, for the love of god, do not keep chickens in a residential area. My neighbors have three; two roosters and a hen. Not only do the roosters wake the entire neighborhood at the crack of dawn, but the feed and droppings attract rats like you would not believe. Now I and my neighbors get to pay an exterminator monthly to keep the chicken owners's spillover vermin at bay.

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      04-03-2012 12:09 PM #12
      The way I read it; "You can have chickens as long as their house is 50' from any neighbor and they don't smell".

      Bon appetite!
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    13. Member
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      04-03-2012 12:13 PM #13
      Patrick, read at the top: no rooster wanted, so that's not an issue. As far as the vermin are concerned, I plan on using the waste as fertilizer so it won't be sitting around waiting for someone to come snack on it. They are going to be semi-free range using a "chicken tractor" so I won't have food laying around either.

    14. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 12:42 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Schmidt View Post
      Please, for the love of god, do not keep chickens in a residential area.
      Many do it and do it with no issues created with neighbors.

      My neighbors have three; two roosters and a hen. Not only do the roosters wake the entire neighborhood at the crack of dawn
      Your neighbors are idiots. Why the F would they have 2 roosters and 1 hen. That's just dumb.

      but the feed and droppings attract rats like you would not believe. Now I and my neighbors get to pay an exterminator monthly to keep the chicken owners's spillover vermin at bay.
      My son raises chickens, we've yet to see the 2nd coming of the plague and the rats.

      Confining and controlling access to food/waste corrects this issue. This is not an issue with raising chickens, but raising them poorly.

    15. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 12:43 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      They are going to be semi-free range using a "chicken tractor" so I won't have food laying around either.
      For small flocks, these work really well.

      I will warn you though, chickens kill grass exceptionally well. So moving the coop timely will be important.

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      04-03-2012 12:51 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by FlashRedGLS1.8T View Post
      For small flocks, these work really well.

      I will warn you though, chickens kill grass exceptionally well. So moving the coop timely will be important.
      that's good to know, my backyard is over an acre fenced in and 99.9999% weeds right now, well at least the area that I'd graze them in. I do have nice grass up near the house where the patio and fire pit is, but they won't be in that area.

    17. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 12:54 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      that's good to know, my backyard is over an acre fenced in and 99.9999% weeds right now, well at least the area that I'd graze them in. I do have nice grass up near the house where the patio and fire pit is, but they won't be in that area.


      At first I freaking hated chickens. I've gotten past that. They follow us around like cats now. Hilarious.

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      04-03-2012 12:56 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by FlashRedGLS1.8T View Post


      At first I freaking hated chickens. I've gotten past that. They follow us around like cats now. Hilarious.
      my other small is concern is that we have three little yipper dogs. I love them to death and treat them like our children. However I have a hunch that every single time I let them out they are going to run straight to the coop and start barking.

    19. Senior Member spockcat's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 01:00 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by FlashRedGLS1.8T View Post
      Why the F would they have 2 roosters and 1 hen. That's just dumb.
      c0ck fighting?

    20. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 01:06 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      my other small is concern is that we have three little yipper dogs. I love them to death and treat them like our children. However I have a hunch that every single time I let them out they are going to run straight to the coop and start barking.
      I bet they will too. Before she died our St. Bernard killed 2 chickens. It was really difficult training her not to kill them.
      Our Mastiff on the other hand has no interest in killing them but she does get a kick out of running by them really fast, making them go nuts for a few minutes.

      Quote Originally Posted by spockcat View Post
      c0ck fighting?
      Possibly.

    21. 04-03-2012 02:43 PM #21
      I'm thinking about getting a few in a couple of years. I'd have a discussion with the neighbors first. They are all pretty cool. One way to help the neighbor situation is to routinely deliver fresh eggs. I work with a number of people who own chickens and they employ this strategy.

      It has become quite common for people to own chickens in Seattle. When I rented, I had a neighbor with two black sheep in Seattle proper. My current neighbor has a few on his double-lot. I rarely hear them at all.



      What does the city of Seattle allow? Are other cities similar?


      Up to eight domestic fowl may be kept on any lot in addition to the small animals allowed. On lots greater than 10,000 sf. ft. that include either a community garden or an urban farm, one additional fowl is permitted for every 1,000 sf. ft. of lot area over 10,000 sf. ft. in community garden or urban farm use. Roosters are not permitted. Structures housing domestic fowl must be locatedat least 10 feet away from any residential structure on an adjacent lot. Many other cities are similar. Some allow less, some allow more, and some prohibit chickens. A homeowner should contact the appropriate zoning and land use department before attempting this venture so that all rules and regulations are understood.

    22. 04-03-2012 04:04 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      My lawyer also said "just get them, then worry about it if someone on complains later" haha.
      This. Even if it was not a code violation, provided you don't have any roosters, you are not going to have an issue. I had ducks for a while in town and that was a honking nightmare. There are chickens all over my neighborhood and no one gives a crap. There is also a pig, a monkey of some sort, a couple of goats and some geese all within a 2 block radius of me and not one **** has been given.

    23. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 04:34 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      my other small is concern is that we have three little yipper dogs. I love them to death and treat them like our children. However I have a hunch that every single time I let them out they are going to run straight to the coop and start barking.
      Then your neighbors will really hate you.

      I wouldn't mind if my downwind neighbor kept chickens. However, our dog would probably go nuts.
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      04-03-2012 05:14 PM #24
      we have dogs that border every side of my property, so everyone barks at everyone: 2 boxers in one yard, a beagle/lab mix, then a bichon, then a mutt across the street. there's always some sort of dog racquet going on.

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      04-03-2012 08:36 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by winstonsmith84 View Post
      This. Even if it was not a code violation, provided you don't have any roosters, you are not going to have an issue. I had ducks for a while in town and that was a honking nightmare. There are chickens all over my neighborhood and no one gives a crap. There is also a pig, a monkey of some sort, a couple of goats and some geese all within a 2 block radius of me and not one **** has been given.
      Of course it's company policy never to, imply ownership in the event of a dildo... always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo.

    26. 04-03-2012 10:09 PM #26
      my neighbor on the way out has about 20 of them. They wander the neighborhood and get in the street. I was leaving the neighborhood one day and one was next to the road. It must have not heard me cause I startled it when I drove by about 5 feet away. It took off running and went full speed into the wheel of the neighbor's truck. It made my day!

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      04-03-2012 10:30 PM #27
      well I hope the truck wasn't rolling down the street. That's bad form to let them wander the neighborhood, that's how you get hawks hanging out waiting for lunch.

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      04-04-2012 08:38 AM #28
      Not sure what the weather is like in south jersey compared to CT. You may want to make sure that the hens you get are cold hardy. As I'm assuming your chicken tractor will be non insulated and non heated. That can be an issue where I am.
      Also since you are doing this just for the fun of it. I would suggest Araucanas and Marans. The 1st lay blue, pink and green eggs and the latter lay chocolate brown eggs.

      I've got a coop w/ 10 hens and a rooster right now but will getting a few more hens before too long to add to to the color of the eggs. The wife wants some white eggs now.

      Oh yeah, on the note of freezing if it's an issue for you. You will need to figure out a way to provide water for them while it's freezing out.

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      04-04-2012 08:49 AM #29
      I had them growing up. I agree with the first post letting them free roam is going to be a bad idea. We lost quite a few to predatory birds. We had chicken wire as a roof over the pen. If you have a rooster watch him closely, we had one that tried to kill off 1/2 the hens.
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      04-04-2012 08:49 AM #30
      We read that you shouldn't overly insulate or heat the coop for the chickens since they will get used to the cold anyhow. If you make it too warm with a heater or lamp and then the power goes out, they'll literally freeze to death since they won't be used to freezing temperatures. The cold was one of my main concerns but I guess if they've survived this long, they can make it through a South Jersey winter.

    31. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 09:14 AM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by Flavo Cadillac View Post
      I would suggest Araucanas and Marans. The 1st lay blue, pink and green eggs and the latter lay chocolate brown eggs.
      Marans aren't always the most cold hardy bird, some are and some aren't.
      You most likely mean Americauna, as Araucanas are pretty damn hard to come by.

      I've got a coop w/ 10 hens and a rooster right now but will getting a few more hens before too long to add to to the color of the eggs. The wife wants some white eggs now.
      We have 2 varieties of Leghorns, great white egg layers but they aren't that cold hardy.
      We heat our coops, so it's not an issue.

      Oh yeah, on the note of freezing if it's an issue for you. You will need to figure out a way to provide water for them while it's freezing out.
      This. There are heated bases for waterers. You simply run an extension cord to the coop and plug it in.

    32. Senior Member FlashRedGLS1.8T's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 09:16 AM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      We read that you shouldn't overly insulate or heat the coop for the chickens since they will get used to the cold anyhow. If you make it too warm with a heater or lamp and then the power goes out, they'll literally freeze to death since they won't be used to freezing temperatures. The cold was one of my main concerns but I guess if they've survived this long, they can make it through a South Jersey winter.
      The side effect of too much heat and too much cold is that they chickens will slow their egg production.
      As a backyard chicken guy, you may not care.

      My son sells 7-14 dozen eggs per week, so it's in issue for him.

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      04-04-2012 09:33 AM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by FlashRedGLS1.8T View Post
      The side effect of too much heat and too much cold is that they chickens will slow their egg production.
      As a backyard chicken guy, you may not care.

      My son sells 7-14 dozen eggs per week, so it's in issue for him.
      wow, good for him! Yea, I'm not super worried about production, more worried about going out to a bunch of chickencicles one day.

    34. 04-04-2012 12:12 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by synthsis View Post
      well I hope the truck wasn't rolling down the street. That's bad form to let them wander the neighborhood, that's how you get hawks hanging out waiting for lunch.
      nope, it was parked. It was the guy with the chickens truck. He has a grass lot next door that is vacant and they wander there and 3-4 yards in either direction. Luckily I am 5 yards away.

      The guy with the chickens redid his frontyard last year and I never knew what chickens could do to a yard! They will dig holes just like a crazy dog. I did not believe it until I saw one doing it. We have a lot of feral cats in the hood. I am surprised they don't get snapped up for a kitty snack.

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      04-04-2012 12:43 PM #35
      Chicks have been ordered! They ship on April 30th. I'll have a month from then to get the coop finished since they need to be kept under a heat lamp for the first month anyhow.

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