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Thread: alaskan chickens

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    mat-su valley alaska
    Posts
    20

    Default alaskan chickens

    whose has what ? layers or meat? success or failures?
    i'm going to knock together a 8' x 8' (or it may need to be 8' x 6' to get it out the cabin door !!) coop floor base this R & R. i'm thinking 2" x 4" framing, outdoor plywood bottom, easy clean linolium inside and blue board insulation sandwiched between. if i get this all level, square and true it should be easy to drag out after snow is gone throw on some concrete support blocks and then just slap up walls and roof.

    i'd like to get 16 barred rock chicks from triple d ranch in palmer. i think the scam is you keep them in the heated garage under heat lamps for 3 or 4 weeks and then ease them in heated coop. i'll have a overhead fenced in run so the eagle who lives down my driveway will not get easy lunches. barred rock are called dual birds because they combine egg laying with meat birds and have no combs to get frost bite over winter.

    this is just what i've read as i've never done this before. wife and i raised 50 quail one season and 50 pheasants another spring but we just let them go and called them "animated landscape"

    the family (including the 3 yellow labs) are looking forward to fresh egg breakfasts.

    i thought i'd like to at FENCE EMPORIUM in palmer and see about hooking an electric fence around bee hives and chickens for bear protection. once again something i know nothiong about.

    any advice on chickens or electric fencing is welcome

    ps. i already know don't piss on the fence !!!!!

  2. #2

    Default

    Our flock is currently up to about 50 chickens, added 6 ducks last summer and just got four turkeys from a friend of mine.

    The eggs are DELICIOUS. Chickens are great to have for any survivalist, being one of the few animals you can keep easily, and provide food for years without having to slaughter them. Plus they will eat just about anything -- makes for alot less food trash.

    We started out with 11 Delawares and went up from there. Now have a mix of Delawares, Barred Rocks, RIR's, Buff Orps and mixes of those.

    The RIR's and BR's are very tastey meat birds too, we have processed several of them. Looking to add 15-20 Cornish X's this year as meat birds to process & freeze this spring.

    If you're going with a plywood floor for the coop you'll need to stay on top of keeping it clean and dry as possible with a good thick layer of bedding material. Poop will pile up quickly and rot the floor, and chickens love scratching around in everything. Plus if you keep their water in there that'll get on the floor too and speed up the rotting process. I suppose if you used treated plywood or painted it that would protect it from the moisture pretty well.

    Chickens love to roost up high at night so be sure to incorporate some horizontal 2x2's or round poles a few feet off the ground, they will naturally seek higher ground to sleep to keep away from predators. It's good for their health as well, chickens poop A LOT while they sleep, and if they're just sitting on the floor it tends to pile up underneath them so they're basically just sleeping in their own poop all night. Not something I would particularly enjoy.

    The last time I brooded baby chicks we kept them indoors under heat lamps until 6 weeks, then put them in a segregated portion of the pen for another couple weeks so they could see the other chickens but not necessarily have physical contact. This helps them get used to each other before they're actually allowed to interact, otherwise the little ones will really get bullied. If you're starting a new flock I think after 4-6 weeks is good to put them outside, especially if they have a decent coop where they can get out of the cold & wind.

    If you're buying "straight run" chicks plan on culling a few roosters at 16-20 weeks. You want to keep a ratio of about 1 rooster per 15 hens, otherwise they'll "overwork" the hens, and fight alot. If you're buying female chicks, still plan on getting at least one or two roosters out of the bunch, the sexing process isn't very accurate.

    Might be worthwhile looking into some of the "broody" breeds like Silkies or Buff Orpingtons to help replenish your flock. Trust me brooding baby chicks, especially a dozen or so, every year, is a PITA for 6 weeks. Get a couple broody hens and they'll hatch & take care of the babies for you. Let the hens do what they do best!

    Ever year at least a couple in my flock will go broody and hatch us out some new chicks. Any breed of hen *can* go broody but some are better at it than others. Last summer we had a Barred Rock that went broody several times, but she never did get it right. Out of 12 eggs only 6 hatched, 5 died in the shell, she wasn't "committed" enough to sit on the eggs all day. Out of the 6 that hatched 3 were dead within a few days because she stepped on them. For the most part the commercialized breeds like BR's, RIRs and such are not good brooders, but there are of course exceptions. Silkies are known for their broodiness, and even though they're small (bantam sized) they will still hatch out 8-10 chicks in a clutch. Buff Orps are the second-best and they make good meat birds too (full-sized bird)

    I can't give you much personal advice on predator protection, we've been pretty fortunate in that area with only a few minor incidences. There was an old cinderblock storage shed, 20x14 and solid as hell, on the property when we moved here so we just house the chickens in there at night, and let them free-range during the day. I would think electric fence would have to be turned up pretty high to deter a bear.

    Sorry for the long post, best of luck to you

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