Monday, June 29, 2015

Popular posts about chickens

Over the years I've been writing Eight Acres - the blog, chickens have been a regular topic and there are a few themes that have been particularly popular.

chicken tractor ebook: popular chicken posts on eight acres

Chicken tractors
Of course the inspiration for my Chicken Tractor eBook was the popularity of my posts about chicken tractors.  People are obviously very interested in building and using chicken tractors with chickens and other poultry.  Here's those posts again in case you missed them:

If you want to know about the pros and cons of using a chicken tractor vs a fixed chicken coop, try Mobile chicken tractors vs fixed pen.  Now that you're convinced that you need a chicken tractor, here's some thoughts on How to build a chicken tractor (with more photos in Another chicken tractor), and a couple of posts about How to use a chicken tractor (more in Chicken tractor guest post).

I'm still working on the eBook, nearly ready!

Gender of chicks
This question pops up all the time (and I had to word this carefully so I didn't get blocked by spam filters!), it seems like everyone who buys or hatches chicks eventually needs to know whether they got the hens they ordered, or a few roosters that might need to find another home.  After nearly 10 years of hatching chicks, we are getting pretty good at picking the gender at around 6 weeks old.  I put some photos in this post to help: Determining the gender of young chickens

chicken tractor ebook: popular chicken posts on eight acres
pullets that we hatched

Guinea fowl
The guinea fowl were a brief experiment (we had them for about a year).  We bought 10 keets and raised them.  They lived in a chicken tractor, but never really fitted in to our farm.  We hatched more keets and then sold the lot of them for more than the original keets cost me, so I guess at least I made a profit!

Here's the keets (they are SO cute) Guinea fowl keets, and this is when we first tried them free-ranging Free range guinea fowl!.  And then the final decision to sell them Guinea Fowl Realities.

chicken tractor ebook: popular chicken posts on eight acres
crazy guinea fowl!

Feeding chickens
We have been through many iterations with feeding the chickens.  At first we thought a cheap laying pellet was the best option, then we were worried about animal byproducts, so we bought a mixed grain ration.  That got expensive, so we tried just feeding corn and sunflower seeds (Chicken feed).  And now we just give the chickens the same milled grain that we buy for the cattle. And I started raising Meal worms for the chickens.  Ultimately I'd like to grow enough in our (planned) food forest to let the chickens eat mainly greens and insects, with minimal grain, but that is a LONG term plan!

chicken tractor ebook: popular chicken posts on eight acres
hens enjoying meal worms

Butchering and cooking chickens
If you do end up with unwanted roosters, or you really want to become self-sufficient, butchering chickens is easier that might think and a great option for people living on small properties to grow their own meat.

I've written about Raising chickens for meat and Butchering Homegrown Chickens, more importantly is how to cook old chooks and roasting young roosters, because butchering is the easy part, and you won't enjoy the process if you don't know what to do with the chicken meat when you're finished!

chicken tractor ebook: popular chicken posts on eight acres
chicken stock in the slow cooker

I hope you find this summary useful for address common chicken questions.  What else do you need to know about chickens?  What have I missed?

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