Now for the chickens...
I have 31 chickens(5 roosters and 26 hens)
When we left that farm we managed for while my chickens were a mess..
Scaly leg mites, Lice that I couldn't get rid of, and just general bad health..
I was trying to do things her way and it was just plain not working..
I had never had many problems before...
Mites one time before moving there and I had had chickens for several years...
This book helped me tremendously!
I treated for the Scaly Leg mites and Lice using both natural and chemical.
I also had a internal parasite problem..
I used Ivomec gave about 1cc per bird..
Helped with the external parasites..
For the scaly leg mites I mixed up Vaseline, Tea tree oil, and Oregano oil.
Smothered their legs in it a couple days in a row.
It helped and was Sooo Much fun to apply.haha
I let them free range off and on otherwise
I start finding eggs in the hay racks, bushes and under the wheel barrow!
They are usually locked up for 2 days and out for 2 days.
They clean up after the goats!
And have even been in our church Easter drama. He is on a leash!I struggled with my chickens for almost a year after moving. I didn't want to overload them with chemical meds but a lot of the natural wasn't working either. I lost a few that were older or got to bad health wise.. So I relaxed a little, gave them sufficient dust bathing areas with the ashes from the wood stove and they like the dust under my front porch.
Then I found all the options for a recipe to natural deworming mixture.. I grate 2 lbs of carrots and 1 large bulb of garlic together then add 2 tablespoon of Cayenne pepper and a cup of Flax seeds. Take away all the feed and give this in their feeders first thing in the morning after taking feed away. Don't feed anything till this is gone. Mine usually eat it all in one day.
Then for their regular feed I mix 50lbs each of Black Oil Sunflower seeds, whole oats, chopped corn and poultry grains. I fill a 5 gallon feeder every 3 days right now because of the cold it drop way down in the spring and summer. They also get kitchen scraps and when I have milk they get extra milk. I also give egg shells back to them. I have yet to have them peck and eat a fresh egg. But now if I break one I crush it and they run for it. Whey is also good if you make cheese you can soak some of their food in it and feed it to them. Soured milk and yogurt are good also. Raw milk is preferred for the health benefits.
Alot of people make a mistake thinking chickens are Herbivores and they are not. They are scavengers/omnivores and need protein. I have fed them left over meat and dear meat that was really wild tasting no matter how I cooked. But nothing goes to waste. If the chickens wont eat it the dogs and cats will.
I want to get comfrey growing here as its full of B-vitamins and would be good for Rabbits, Chickens and Goats!
I also keep a light(about a 40w) going but I never put a heat lamp in with them. Even when its as cold as it is tonight which is in the teens. I just use a deep bedding and facing south so the wind doesn't blow in. I have never had one die from the cold. It does get pretty cold even below zero sometimes with severe wind chills.
As for breeds.. Well I could never decide which ones I currently have Light Brahmas, Rhode Island reds,Ameraucanas,Polish, several different banties,Delaware, and other various.. Some of them I just have one hen of the breed. I have found that my Ameraucanas tend to lay all winter slowing down when its really hot out and then moulting and pick back up in their laying in November and December. I definitely get more eggs in the spring and early summer. Right now I am getting about 7-10 a day.
My oldest rooster is a Light Brahma. He is almost 4 yrs old and has Never shown the least bit of aggressiveness towards me or anyone else here.. He gets along with one of the banty roos and they share all the laying hens. One rooster is running loose and 2 are in with the banties. When a hawk or something threatening shows up he makes his noise all the hens disappear and he moves real slow watching the sky till its gone. He protects his flock and is a great rooster!
I do have to say that watch out if you are planting a garden and the chickens can get to it!! They will destroy it in a very short amount of time! I usually either put short fencing around my garden beds or build the chickens a temporary pen till the plants mature enough that they wont hurt them. They make great pest control if you can protect your plants. I didn't have cut worms on my tomatoes till the chickens got locked up in their remodeled house this year. .
I think everyone should have at least 2-3 hens! They are fun to watch and can be very personable as a pet. they also give you that egg each day to help out. I have some hens that are 3 almost 4 years old and they lay once a day or every other day. They are relatively inexpensive to keep if allowed to free range or if you have extra things like milk and garden produce to help feed them. They also get some of the bedding hay out of the goat pen to sift through in the winter. In the summer they scratch up as we are cleaning it out. They do eat hay. I also have to say we have Very few ticks despite tall grass and wading through it.
At the most they May cost about $40 a month when they are eating more feed but that stretches to $20 a month when it warms up. . So for $320 a year I get more eggs than I know what to do with, my personal garbage disposing pest eater and soil fluffers! They are also very entertaining to watch!!
My chickens have never looked better! All the parasites inside and out are under control or gone. They are happy and healthy chickens keeping us well stocked in eggs.. That's all that is needed!