Yes we did ! We raised chickens this past summer .I know I've been talking & wishing so much to begin .Well we did meat chickens this yr. Because we only stay out at my mums place 6 months and then return to the city .so I could not do layers . Below are pics and the story of our experience
First off dh & ds 17yo began the building of the chicken house .
I was so proud of both of them and how they worked together to decide the construction
This is the door our neighbour placed in the back lane for trash ! It is a great heavy solid wooden door .
They decided to make flaps and have screen so there would be good ventilation .However the flaps had to be shut at night .I forgot one night & thank goodness for two big dogs .They woke me with loud barking and yes there was a raccoon stuck on the screen trying to get in !
Before the chicks arrived I used the shed as a drying room !
I also gathered hay
which led to many fun hrs of play
he was jumping for joy the chicks were coming !
my mum loaned me her old pitchfork she showed me how to turn the hay for drying .
it was great for scooping out the dirty hay later on too .
ds12yo & I drove about an hr away to pick up our 12 chicks !
He was so thrilled he sat with them in the back seat all the way back home !
We boarded off 1/4 of the shed so they would have a cosy space to stay warm .
We started them on beginner feed .
We also just got the Cornish cross because the other breeds had sold out .We were not able to get our chicks til beginning of July so by then this was the only breed left.
They do grow fast as they are bred for meat . I feel happy though because they were able to be outdoors all day and eat what they liked .
this is one thing they went nuts over ! Fish Flies ! Yep they loved them .I would leave a light on the night and next morning there would be breakfast for the chickens .
They also picked off all the red berries from that honeysuckle tree .
dh fenced off a nice piece of the forest for them and I used an old muffin tin to put their feed in .a garbage can lid made a great water trough .
We also had to put deer netting over the top because of eagles , owls , hawks and more . we had a huge owl for 11 days .the crows followed him round cawing non stop !
They got bigger , very big .
Yes we lost 1 chick . it had gone lame after a few weeks
Yes we had to kill our own chickens !
we watched youtube videos on healthy ways to do this .We used Story's chicken book too.
we set a table up in the yard .had a strong fire going with water boiling .dh decided on the cone method to kill them .after two chickens he could not do it .So ds17 came and did the actual killing . then I did the plucking , and dh did the gutting . ds12 did the feet . if you don't know , chicken feet have to be peeled .they have like an extra shell over their nails too .
so as a family we got it done .we had loads of clean water handy and bags & a freezer as well.
Okay the one thing I have decided is .I can't do this again unless we will have some live chickens left to care for .
It was torture to go back to where they had been and silence . nothing .Then having to empty the chicken house .The food tin etc.
It was extremely difficult & no we had not named our chickens but we loved them and cared for them .
So unless I can maybe do layers next season I am very leery on whether we will have chickens again .
What I and we all know is we want this farm thing to happen ! so we keep on pluggin along hoping this will be the yr we can build on our land and move .
dh said a shipping container is our next purchase