Author Topic: Raising Chickens and Poultry  (Read 90060 times)  

Offline Annalog

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Raising Chickens and Poultry
« on: January 05, 2010, 10:21:59 am »
Table of Contents (Thanks, Carol, for the idea!) Perpetually under construction. ;)

NOTE: March 2013 - It appears that Facebook has changed the URL of many of the older photos. I will fix the broken links in the future.

Table of Contents (In progress - page numbers assume oldest posts first and 25 posts/page)

Original post:
Maybe we should start a chicken thread so we won't upset the sticklers? ;) But my bump today is related.  I put away the last of my Christmas decorations today and restored my kitchen and dining room (too bad there's no quick restore button on them) anyhoo, that would be redecorating with the chicken collection.  I'd love to see pictures myself.  I'm going to be moving soon and maybe, just maybe I'll find the right place to raise a few or try my hand at it, at least.  I would love to have my own fresh eggs. :)
As requested -- A chicken thread.  ;D Some urban areas allow keeping a few (2-4) hens. (One chicken by itself does not do well.)

Annalog, We want pictures!  Are you anywhere near Bisbee?  I LOVE Bisbee!
Do you want pictures before the chickens arrive?  :D Right now photos would show area with grey and red 12" concrete pavers and empty planter made from 8"x8"x16" cement blocks near a garden with winter-killed ferns (asparagus) and, 60' away, a 8'x12' white shed with faded blue trim raised onto on 4" peeled logs for the move. These would probably be boring pictures. ::) Now if I have the camera when the roadrunner or quail are out, that would be a bit more interesting. ;D Actually, it will probably take until this weekend before I can take photos as it is dark during the week when I leave home and return.  ;)

After thinking about the chickens we had when I was young, I think I will probably buy a few bantam chicks as well as the other chicks (Barred Plymouth Rock and New Hamshire or Rhode Island Red).
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 09:46:10 pm by Annalog »

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    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #1 on: January 05, 2010, 10:46:30 am »
    This year it finally looks as if we are actually going to get chickens. About 12 years ago we moved to an acre in rural Arizona (just outside Benson). About 6 years ago DH finally agreed that it would be OK for us to have chickens. (He is not crazy about birds but knows I like them.) I have spent the time researching, planning, and preparing a safe area for keeping happy chickens.

    I will be ordering 25 chicks, probably in February or March. My current plan is 10 straight-run (as hatched) Barred Plymouth Rock, 10 straight-run New Hampshire or Rhode Island Reds, and 5 assorted bantam pullets. My primary goal is to keep chickens for eggs but also to be able to have a couple roosters (one Rock and one Red) so that we can let one or two of the hens raise some chicks each year.

    I am having a difficult time deciding between the New Hampshire and the Rhode Island Reds. My understanding is that the Rhode Island Red roosters are more aggressive than the New Hampshire roosters. If it turns out that all of the roosters that we raise are aggressive, I will only keep the least aggressive one. Based on what I have read, the odds are that will be a Barred Plymouth Rock.

    Reasons for keeping Barred Plymouth Rocks: Friendly, hardy, easy to keep chicken. Good dual-purpose chicken, good layer of brown eggs and good chicken for meat. Breeding Barred Plymouth Rock hen with red (New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red) rooster results in Black Sex-Link chicks (easy to identify roosters/pullets as chicks). I want to keep a rooster with the hens to maintain a flock of Barred Plymouth Rocks.

    Reason for keeping New Hampshires: Good dual-purpose chicken, good layer of brown eggs and better chicken for meat. Supposed to be less aggressive than Rhode Island Red.

    Reason for keeping Rhode Island Reds: Good dual-purpose chicken, better layer of brown eggs and good chicken for meat. Unfortunately supposed to be aggressive.

    Whether New Hampshires or Rhode Island Reds, I want to keep a rooster with the hens to maintain a flock of red chickens.

    Reason for keeping hybrid (Black Sex-Link) chickens: Hybrid chickens are often supposed to be better at production (eggs or meat) than either parent breed.

    While I want to focus on eggs, not meat, I also do not want to have to worry about DH getting attacked by a rooster (or hen). If any of our chickens are to be butchered, I will be doing that to ensure that the chicken is treated well and handled properly.

    Any advice on how to decide?
    « Last Edit: January 05, 2010, 11:10:38 am by Annalog »

    Offline Rasputina

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #2 on: January 05, 2010, 12:25:23 pm »
    When we had the property, we have since moved, we had a variety of poultry. Chickens, mostly aracanas and bantums with a couple RI reds and orpingtons, geese, a mix of Africans and white Chinese and some turkeys. A couple of mallard ducks also and some guinea fowl. We ate the turkeys but the rest we kept for eggs and just because I enjoyed them. I miss having them, the geese were great watch dogs, but boy their droppings are high in ammonia.

    We choose breeds based on a combo of me liking their looks to how good of layers they were. If your flock will be small then I'd focus on the breeds laying season and possibly egg size. Although I didn't mind the smaller eggs the arcanas tend to lay because their eggs are so variable in color and pretty plus we always had more eggs than we could eat and I often ended up giving the extras to the pigs.
    « Last Edit: January 05, 2010, 12:30:02 pm by Rasputina »

    Offline Brendan Carroll

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #3 on: January 05, 2010, 01:16:20 pm »
    Hey, great! I'll be getting back to this thread again for more information and yes, I want to see pictures as you build your area and get ready so I can have step-by-steps... just in case. ::)

    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010, 01:40:51 pm »
    ... We choose breeds based on a combo of me liking their looks to how good of layers they were. If your flock will be small then I'd focus on the breeds laying season and possibly egg size. Although I didn't mind the smaller eggs the arcanas tend to lay because their eggs are so variable in color and pretty plus we always had more eggs than we could eat and I often ended up giving the extras to the pigs.
    I am hoping to maintain a flock size between 12 and 18 hens. Even with small eggs from the few bantams, the Barred Rocks and either NH or RI reds should lay more than enough large brown eggs for DH and me, our local extended families, and our nearest neighbors (in hopes they won't change their minds about wanting to live near chickens  :D). If we have too many eggs, there are some people at work who have expressed an interest in occasional eggs.

    In terms of the looks of the chickens, I grew up with a flock where no two chickens looked the same. I am torn between variety and maintaining breeds. I want to experiment with common traditional breeds before attempting the rarer ones.

    Hey, great! I'll be getting back to this thread again for more information and yes, I want to see pictures as you build your area and get ready so I can have step-by-steps... just in case. ::)
    I will take and post photos. I also plan to post links to Web sites and books I have found helpful. For example, Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock

    is a book I used to get many of the ideas that I hope to implement in my chicken coop. I liked the nesting box from one, the chicken run from another, etc. I think I saw the book at Border's a year or two ago. I bought it immediately.  ;D The coops shown range in size from ones for a couple hens to large farm flocks.

    Offline kevindorsey

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #5 on: January 05, 2010, 02:30:55 pm »
    I've raised little chicklets as a child in an urban environment, and unfortunately it didn't end up with a happy ending  :'(  One of a chicks fell down from my balcony.

    Offline Carol Hanrahan

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #6 on: January 05, 2010, 05:38:24 pm »
    Awww, Annalog.  I just got back from Tucson.  Spent New Year's there!  I must have driven through Benson on the way to Bisbee from Tucson?  (That was last year's trip)
    Back on topic:  Great thread!  'Cept it makes me want chickens again..... :-\

    When we were in Tucson, we went to a mini ranch where the owner raised the sheep, llamas, goats and alpacas to get the fleeces to spin her own yarn to sell.  She gave us a tour, and the first group we encountered were the geese - she said they were fantastic guards for the property.  Have you considered geese at all?


    I agree about the RI red roosters being aggressive.  Ted, the rooster in my story Baling, was a RI red, although now come to think of it, I never stated it in the book!

    Carol Hanrahan

    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #7 on: January 05, 2010, 08:02:16 pm »
    Off topic: Carol, on your trip from Tucson to Bisbee, you probably drove through either Benson (small town at junction of  I-10 to SR-80) or Sierra Vista (large town on SR 90 quite a distance after leaving I-10).

    On topic: I have not considered geese for a couple reasons. First, I never could get DH to agree to geese. (Chickens were hard enough!) Second, our property does not have either a fence or wall around it. Instead the fence at the front is only a boundary indicator so that people riding horses can see the edge of the drainage area and the only other fence (temporary) is around the vegetable garden attempt to keep the javalina out. (I suspect that it is the tumbleweeds that I let grow against the temporary fence that really keep the javalina out. ;D )

    The vegetable garden will eventually be surrounded by gates and cement block planters topped with a welded wire fence. Around that will be a chicken moat (fenced chicken run surrounding the garden). The inital outdoor area for the chickens will be a chain-link dog run/kennel (8'x13')

    Thanks for the confirmation about RI red roosters. I was leaning toward the NH instead. Also, the lighter color of the NH should blend in better. That might make them a bit less noticable to flying predators. (A concern even if all planned areas for the chickens will be roofed.)

    I've raised little chicklets as a child in an urban environment, and unfortunately it didn't end up with a happy ending  :'(  One of a chicks fell down from my balcony.
    Kevin, too bad about the sad ending -- a chick gone before its time. :'( How high was that balcony?
    « Last Edit: January 05, 2010, 08:05:00 pm by Annalog »

    Offline LCEvans

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 07:21:37 am »
    I love chickens! I had lots of them when we lived in Florida. One thing about straight run--every time I ordered straight run, I ended up with about 90% roosters.

    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #9 on: January 06, 2010, 08:51:23 am »
    I love chickens! I had lots of them when we lived in Florida. One thing about straight run--every time I ordered straight run, I ended up with about 90% roosters.
    Your comment got me to calculate the difference in cost between ordering 70% pullets/30% male chicks versus straight run. $1.50 to $1.70 difference per 10 chicks for the breeds I am considering. (EDIT: Plus $1 extra fee each order type. That is still only about $5 extra to get the ratios I want.  :D) Thanks, I will probably order specifically pullets/males for each breed. Now I need to determine how many males I should buy in order to get one rooster that is friendly for each breed. My initial feeling is 3 Barred Rock and 4 New Hampshires. I order an extra bantam pullet instead.  ;D

    Revised plan:
     6 Barred Rock pullets
     3 Barred Rock males
     6 NH red pullets
     4 NH red males
     6 assorted bantam pullets
    ---
    25 chicks for goal of a dozen hens laying medium/large eggs, variety of bantam hens laying small eggs, at least one friendly rooster (hopefully two), at least one good broody mother hen, and only a few extra roosters. I will be able to convince DH that all extra roosters will end up at my mom's house (especially as most will).  ;)

    I am hoping that 18 hens and 2 roosters will get along OK. If not, I can set up a smaller coop for some of the hens and a rooster.
    « Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 08:54:32 am by Annalog »

    Offline Carol Hanrahan

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #10 on: January 06, 2010, 09:22:26 am »
    7 males?  Is that alot?  Or is that to get whittled down to just one or two?  Do you really need a rooster if you just want eggs?  Or will you want your flock to grow?

    Carol Hanrahan

    Offline LCEvans

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #11 on: January 06, 2010, 09:48:17 am »
    Roosters are fun and beautiful and you get used to the crowing. Send pictures when you get your flock. I remember how excited I was when my new hatchlings arrived. However, I raised quite a few eyebrows at work when I announced that I had to leave early to go by the post office and pick up some chicks.

    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #12 on: January 06, 2010, 09:56:18 am »
    7 males?  Is that alot?  Or is that to get whittled down to just one or two?  Do you really need a rooster if you just want eggs?  Or will you want your flock to grow?
    That is to get whittled down to just one or two. I want to maintain a breeding flock for a few reasons.
    • First, I might want to raise heritage chickens and want to practice/learn on a couple more common breeds.
    • Second, I want to limit the chickens I add to the flock from outside. I am hoping to keep healthy chickens without medications.
    • Third, my mom will only eat organic chicken and has not been happy with what is available. While I only want eggs, I am hoping I can provide an occasional chicken for her. I think that 5 extra roosters should be about right to determine if I can continue with this plan. I also know that if I am going to breed chickens, I will need to cull them as well.
    • Fourth, I am curious about selecting for characteristics in breeding. I am also curious about hybrid chickens. That is why the Barred Rock/Red combination which results in Black Sex Link chicks. If I am able to provide chicken for my mom, I would prefer to identify the roosters early and not get too attached to them.
    • Fifth, I remember how much fun we had watching mother hens with chicks when I was young.

    I also remember quite a variation in rooster temperament with the chickens we had when I was a kid. Some were mild tempered, some were mean, and some were in between (aggressive but not mean). My mom butchered the mean ones. Little Twerp was one of the roosters that was very protective of the hens, aggressive but not mean. He would attack if he thought we were a threat. On the other hand, he did not continue attacks after he made his point.
    « Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 10:05:44 am by Annalog »

    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #13 on: January 06, 2010, 09:57:43 am »
    Roosters are fun and beautiful and you get used to the crowing. Send pictures when you get your flock. I remember how excited I was when my new hatchlings arrived. However, I raised quite a few eyebrows at work when I announced that I had to leave early to go by the post office and pick up some chicks.
    Fortunately I am able to work from home sometimes. I plan to do that on the days the chicks are expected since I work an hour from home (and the post office where the chicks would be delivered).

    I haven't even ordered the chicks and I am getting excited!
    « Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 10:07:12 am by Annalog »

    Offline Carol Hanrahan

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #14 on: January 06, 2010, 10:17:19 am »
    I think watching a mother hen with her chicks would be so much fun!  For now, I'll just have to enjoy virtually, so when you can, post pictures!  Hopefully SOON!

    Carol Hanrahan

    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #15 on: January 06, 2010, 10:35:11 am »
    Considering we still need to move the shed, disinfect it, add insulation, chicken door, etc., as well as order the chicks, it will be a while before I can post fun pictures. I did take photos this morning (shortly before sunrise) of the shed and the area where it will go. Very unexciting pictures so far. ;D


    Future location of chicken coop (east of large shed and west of garden). The main part of chicken coop and part of chicken pen will be shaded by large shed during the hottest part of summer days. The large shed will also provide shelter from coldest winter winds. Mesquite trees will provide partial windbreak from winds from the northeast. Door will lead from chicken pen into future chicken moat (under tree and around garden to the right). (Garden to the right is planned to be surrounded by four 36 foot planters topped with fencing on the outside edge. Chicken moat to be fenced area surrounding outside planters.)


    Current location of 8x12 shed that will be moved 60 feet and converted to chicken coop. Closest row of pavers is part of ramp we need to finish to get shed up to final location. Next row is where shed door will be. An interior hardware cloth wall will be added to separate small storage area from chickens. The interior wall will have a people door into chicken area.


    Planter end showing 1/2 inch hardware cloth gopher barrier.

    1/2 inch hardware cloth will also be used as rodent barrier on bottom of chicken coop and chicken pen. Gophers, rats, and mice are making our local lumber yard very happy each time I buy another 100 foot roll of 4 foot wide 1/2 hardware cloth! I have become good at folding hardware cloth boxes. (Origami knowledge is very useful!)
    « Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 02:22:35 pm by Annalog »

    Offline Carol Hanrahan

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #16 on: January 06, 2010, 02:12:44 pm »
    Looks good Analog.  What will be in the planters?  Flowers, vegetables, cacti?

    Carol Hanrahan

    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #17 on: January 06, 2010, 02:39:31 pm »
    Looks good Analog.  What will be in the planters?  Flowers, vegetables, cacti?
    Perennial fruit -- Current plan is strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, kiwifruit.  Planters inside the garden are for vegetables. East of the garden I hope to eventually have an orchard (currently two apple trees). On most of our acre, not visible in photos, we left the native plants. All the trees on our property were there when we bought it except for three we planted that are also native to the area (Arizona Ash and two Desert Willows).

    Offline Meredith Sinclair

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #18 on: January 06, 2010, 03:44:13 pm »
    Considering we still need to move the shed, disinfect it, add insulation, chicken door, etc., as well as order the chicks, it will be a while before I can post fun pictures. I did take photos this morning (shortly before sunrise) of the shed and the area where it will go. Very unexciting pictures so far. ;D

    Future location of chicken coop (east of large shed and west of garden). The main part of chicken coop and part of chicken pen will be shaded by large shed during the hottest part of summer days. The large shed will also provide shelter from coldest winter winds. Mesquite trees will provide partial windbreak from winds from the northeast. Door will lead from chicken pen into future chicken moat (under tree and around garden to the right). (Garden to the right is planned to be surrounded by four 36 foot planters topped with fencing on the outside edge. Chicken moat to be fenced area surrounding outside planters.)

    Current location of 8x12 shed that will be moved 60 feet and converted to chicken coop. Closest row of pavers is part of ramp we need to finish to get shed up to final location. Next row is where shed door will be. An interior hardware cloth wall will be added to separate small storage area from chickens. The interior wall will have a people door into chicken area.

    Planter end showing 1/2 inch hardware cloth gopher barrier.

    1/2 inch hardware cloth will also be used as rodent barrier on bottom of chicken coop and chicken pen. Gophers, rats, and mice are making our local lumber yard very happy each time I buy another 100 foot roll of 4 foot wide 1/2 hardware cloth! I have become good at folding hardware cloth boxes. (Origami knowledge is very useful!)

    Nice work Annalog! Just a weird question.. Is there a pattern with the pavers? I followed your progress on the BUMP thread and wonder now what the deal is with the two different color pavers... ??? ::) I just  HAVE to figure this out!  ;D
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    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #19 on: January 06, 2010, 04:10:04 pm »
    Nice work Annalog! Just a weird question.. Is there a pattern with the pavers? I followed your progress on the BUMP thread and wonder now what the deal is with the two different color pavers... ??? ::) I just  HAVE to figure this out!  ;D
    There is method to our madness.  ;D

    Grey pavers generally indicate where chickens will be and red pavers indicate where we will be. However, the two rows of red pavers in the middle of the grey pavers include two broken pavers and six pavers that are slightly different in size and surface than the rest of the pavers. These will be hidden under the coop. The next row that has six red pavers is because we ran out of grey pavers and did not want to buy more. The grey pavers beside the planter and the two in the front right corner represent where there may eventually be a second chicken door for that day, far in the future, when the chicken moat makes it all the way around the garden. The rest of the red pavers in the front represent the storage/people access area of the shed. The three rows of red pavers at the left, next to the large shed, is the people path between the chicken coop and the large shed. The open bag of sand marks the end of the coop and beginning of the pen.

    I picked grey for the chicken areas as I suspect that the chicken poop will be a bit less noticeable on those than on the red ones.    :o ::)

    I still have some pavers to move and lay before we can put the chicken pen (dog kennel) in. The red pavers between the grey pavers close to the tree will be removed and six of the grey pavers will move to that end once it is filled and level.

    Offline Meredith Sinclair

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #20 on: January 06, 2010, 04:39:52 pm »
    There is method to our madness.  ;D

    Grey pavers generally indicate where chickens will be and red pavers indicate where we will be. However, the two rows of red pavers in the middle of the grey pavers include two broken pavers and six pavers that are slightly different in size and surface than the rest of the pavers. These will be hidden under the coop. The next row that has six red pavers is because we ran out of grey pavers and did not want to buy more. The grey pavers beside the planter and the two in the front right corner represent where there may eventually be a second chicken door for that day, far in the future, when the chicken moat makes it all the way around the garden. The rest of the red pavers in the front represent the storage/people access area of the shed. The three rows of red pavers at the left, next to the large shed, is the people path between the chicken coop and the large shed. The open bag of sand marks the end of the coop and beginning of the pen.

    I picked grey for the chicken areas as I suspect that the chicken poop will be a bit less noticeable on those than on the red ones.    :o ::)

    I still have some pavers to move and lay before we can put the chicken pen (dog kennel) in. The red pavers between the grey pavers close to the tree will be removed and six of the grey pavers will move to that end once it is filled and level.
    See, as I worked it out in my head I kinda thought that the red was for you guys... glad I was on the  right thought path... (sorry, you had to go through that long explanation... I'm just a bit OCD. (OK, I'm almost as bad as MONK!) Can you imagine him going through there and doing that thing he does, tilting his head back and forth and holding out his hands in front of him? ::) :D

    Great work, can't wait to see the chickens. We had Rhode Island Reds, Domineckers, and Bantams when I was growing up... and DUCKS... I LOVED the ducks! The RIR's were really huge!
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    Offline Annalog

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #21 on: January 07, 2010, 08:34:03 am »
    See, as I worked it out in my head I kinda thought that the red was for you guys... glad I was on the  right thought path... (sorry, you had to go through that long explanation... I'm just a bit OCD. (OK, I'm almost as bad as MONK!) Can you imagine him going through there and doing that thing he does, tilting his head back and forth and holding out his hands in front of him? ::) :D

    Great work, can't wait to see the chickens. We had Rhode Island Reds, Domineckers, and Bantams when I was growing up... and DUCKS... I LOVED the ducks! The RIR's were really huge!
    I am also a bit compulsive and that is why I tend to write long explanations. I almost edited that reply to add that I tried to put the broken pavers where they would not be directly supporting the shed.  ;) (I had to look up the Monk reference as we haven't had broadcast, cable, or satellite channels at our house for 4 or 5 years. The description of him tilting his head made me think of chickens and other birds.  :D)

    Offline Brendan Carroll

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      • Brendan Carroll
    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #22 on: January 07, 2010, 12:01:17 pm »
    I am also a bit compulsive and that is why I tend to write long explanations. I almost edited that reply to add that I tried to put the broken pavers where they would not be directly supporting the shed.  ;) (I had to look up the Monk reference as we haven't had broadcast, cable, or satellite channels at our house for 4 or 5 years. The description of him tilting his head made me think of chickens and other birds.  :D)
    OK, Miss Annalog, thank you for the explanation you gave Miss Meredith who is liable to ask most anything about most everything... ;) but we love her anyway.  Now I have two questions.  One is on topic and the other is simply curiosity.  First of all, we never had a 'chicken moat' that I remember.  What is that?  Secondly, if you had no broadcast, cable or satellite channels at your house, then what do you watch on your television?  It always scares me to think that there are people out there without televisions.... :o :o :D :D

    Offline Anju No. 469

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #23 on: January 07, 2010, 12:08:23 pm »
    I'm fine with the chickens, just forget the roosters!  We always manage to have one across the street that wakes up east coast time!
    Dona
    on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico

    Offline Brendan Carroll

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    Re: Raising Chickens and Poultry
    « Reply #24 on: January 07, 2010, 12:15:17 pm »
    Oh, my how you tear out my heart, Miss Anju! :-[ How can say such a thing about us fine crowing roosters?  You know one of my favorite commercials is that one with the woman in bed who is unable to sleep and then she sits up and there's a rooster sitting right on her footboard. I know how she feels, but you have to admit that's a fine looking rooster.  8)

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