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Organic eggs and chicken care...


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So, I've had an offer to take over the chicken coop on the farm we've moved to. Have any of you had any experience with raising chickens, caring for them etc?

I've not collected the eggs as of yet, but I have cleaned the eggs and got them ready for market. I am thinking to market them to restaurants locally as organic, free range eggs as this is what they are. I have had two sisters request honey as well which is also something on the farm.

My grandad was a farmer and I have always wanted to do something like this but never really had the opportunity.

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Are they free range or are they enclosed...?

We used to have a battery of nesting boxes that hens would lay their eggs in.. Getting the egg out of a nesting hen takes some skill..

Make the peace symbol with your index and middle finger..the hens will peck at your hand .. But will miss . Because they will aim between your fingers and miss .. Otherwise they nail you hard in the back of your hand.. And then you will not be happy.... Once your hand hits the breast they calm down.. And extract the egg with your thumb and three fingers .. Still with the peace symbol ...

You will have to wash the eggs because of salmonella..you can't sell cracked eggs.. Because of salmonella

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They have access to be free range, but all are inside right now. I went down there and looked inside the coop. They are all on rungs, and the boxes where they lay their eggs is in the background. I felt so sorry for them, their coop needs cleaning desperately and they were all lowly clucking when I peeked in. He said the coop gets cleaned 4 times per year, but that seems very little.

My husband says it is not a good idea, and I somewhat agree, but in other ways do not.

I had planned to wear heavy leather gloves to collect the eggs, but thank you for the tips! I know about salmonella and intend to wash with a mild soap/capful of bleach (possibly)

I wonder what kind of time commitment we are talking about. I was thinking, it has an automatic feeder and watering system, and eggs should be collected daily....but truly I know zero things about this.

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Young hens take awhile to settle down .. They will lay extra large and double yokes.. And miss etc..Laying is all about light .. Age of the hen and breed... So you need various ages of hens.. For production ..

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So, I've had an offer to take over the chicken coop on the farm we've moved to. Have any of you had any experience with raising chickens, caring for them etc?

I've not collected the eggs as of yet, but I have cleaned the eggs and got them ready for market. I am thinking to market them to restaurants locally as organic, free range eggs as this is what they are. I have had two sisters request honey as well which is also something on the farm.

My grandad was a farmer and I have always wanted to do something like this but never really had the opportunity.

 

Oh, man...You're on a farm?!  Had no idea.  So jealous.  I want chickens, too!  Not to eat, though, you understand.  ;-)

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They have access to be free range, but all are inside right now. I went down there and looked inside the coop. They are all on rungs, and the boxes where they lay their eggs is in the background. I felt so sorry for them, their coop needs cleaning desperately and they were all lowly clucking when I peeked in. He said the coop gets cleaned 4 times per year, but that seems very little.

 

 

Four times a year?  That sounds really awful.  :(

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As far as them "lowly clucking", this is normal. Chickens make quite a bit of noise ... for many reasons - or, for no reason at all. At times, they will squawk like they are being attacked but you will not see any reason for this .... other times they get overly quiet when danger is near .... or not ..... Something you just have to get used to.

 

As far as cleaning their living place, you can try but they are birds/foul and they mess/dirty up their space rather quickly. Keep in mind, they eat from the ground and out of manure if it is available. What we think of as dirty they may see as desirable. They eat all sorts of bugs, grain, vegetation and some rather disgusting things - they LOVE roaches.

 

Fortunately, there is no regulation or inspection required in Canada or US to call eggs "free-range" - as long as the chickens spend some time outside each day, the eggs can be called free-range.

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Sharon

Seriously your husband is right ... It is seven days a week .. Twice a day depending how many hens you have...,

It is collecting them .. Washing the eggs in a egg washer .. Letting them dry.. Candling them .. Putting them in cartons .. Into refrigeration..

Cleaning all the automatic watering bowls .. Sterilizing them .. Spreading sawdust .. Making sure rats and mice don't get into the coop..

Keeping timers on the lights .. Making sure the ammonia from the manure dosn't go too high..cleaning out the laying boxes .. Watching for mites.. Killing egg eating chickens .. Feeding them .. Ventilation .. Heating if it gets too cold.. Cooling them if it gets too hot..

I am sorry there is nothing romantic about layers .. Just work..

Either you get serious about it .. Which in canada means you have to go through the egg marketing board .. And they will probably not allow you to get serious about it.. With out lots of money

If you want some chickens running around the yard ... And you collect the occasional eggs ok .. No problem...

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You need to candle the eggs for cracks and blood spots..if you sell to restaurants they want a consistent supply.... You need chicken feed and a calcium supply like pulverized oyster shells.. Have fun..

Candling the eggs means exactly what? Headed to google...

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There are very strict guidelines regarding what is classified , free range , free run, organic . If you check out Canadian egg marketing

Which is Govt. Regulated the end result of meeting these standards can get very costly. Ugh!

Lots of work .......my question to myself would be will this simplify my life or complicate it ?

Just my two cents.

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Okay, checked out the candling information. I have no roosters, but do need to check for cracks that are invisible to the human eye.

Supposedly there are 75 chickens. Once the coop is clean, and I've checked it out to ensure that no predators can enter (snakes would be possible here too) I'm not into romance, I understand this is 7 days a week and hard work.

My husband thinks I am considering this because I want to be nice, when in truth I actually think that I could get certification and be successful at this. I had been kind of thinking about projects for the farm that would get me more engaged.

I took out my e-calendar, slotted in 2.3 hours daily for service time (which will give me 840 hours per year), slotted in 0.5 hours daily for the coop work, with weekends being more flexible for service, and then of course the 7 hours of work at the research facility daily.

Scheduled in meetings, and personal study, frankly I am bored here.

I'm thinking about discussing a trial run, give it 3 months and if it's too much or my service suffers it's gone.

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I'm going to do one more thing, I am going to go to Jehovah in prayer first and ask him what he thinks before saying yes.

With the money aspect, the guy has said he will pick up feed, and handle repairs etc., it's the basic maintaining and care day to day that they require.

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Maybe I am misunderstanding how many eggs are coming out of these birds...I know this May sound strange, but I wouldn't be in this for the money. I'd be in it for the learning and the doing and the understanding.

With the way Jehovah teaches me, I suspect there is something in this experience that will teach me something if that makes sense.

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Sharon

Ok I get it .. A hobby .. An act of learning ..

As for washing .. There is a whole science around it .

Eggs naturally have a bloom of gelatinous lubricant that dries quickly and protects the egg from bacterial infection..

But chickens are notorious for salmonella in their gut.. Poop on egg there is a problem..

Washing the egg removes this protective barrier .. So the temperature of the water has to be above .. The ambient temperature of the egg .. Usually above 90 degrees F .. You can't keep the eggs in this solution to long or the pressure inside will equalize and when the temperature equalizes .. You will have migration of dirty water into the egg.. Not good

If you store washed eggs with unwashed . You infect the washed eggs.. Because it has no protective layer ...

For personal use I would not wash .. Or just wash the dirty ones and keep them separate and use them first..

Have fun

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Ugh, this is bad news then. The woman washing them was washing them in the sink with water....I didn't know, but now that I do, yikes.

I was worried about their storage, but this is worse.

I was reflecting on the scriptures about counting the cost, will this hobby leave me with no energy at the end of the day to honor Jehovah with at my meetings?

I am still considering, and so far I have seen lots of pros and cons. I have spent a large portion of my time in the past on the internet and while browsing may be a relaxing way to unwind, I am wondering if caring for this little flock might be as you say... fun.

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I have free range organic hens...every morning they are waiting to be let outside, hence I'm a early riser !! I clean them out every 2 or 3 weeks, this not only keeps the eggs clean but stops mites and parasite building up.

3 of mine I rescued from a battery hen farm where they were kept in.cages so small that they couldn't even turn around, food went along a conveyer in front of them and another system at the back collected the eggs...intensive farming :(

It sounds like you're hens would be a lot of work because there are so many of them.

I only have 8 hens.

I think you're being wise by really looking into it, no one gives anything away for free especially a business. ..maybe it has become to much for the previous owner ?

Sent from my GT-I8190 using Tapatalk

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Chickens are delightful creatures Sharon, we had some in our yard for a year or so and the fresh eggs were terrific - BUT, you need to keep the coops really clean to reduce the risk of infection and lets face it would you like to sleep or have your babies in a stinky hole filled with poo-covered straw?  If you have a vege garden, they get in there and stomp all over the greens as well as eat everything in sight.   If they are loose around the house, you will have to clip their wings to stop them flying around and also limit their access to your home, coz they sure are curious and if you're not careful, you will find them wandering all around the inside, down the hall, in your bedrooms, wherever they decide to wander.    And they poop everywhere.   Lance seems to know what he's talking about, although he hasnt mentioned that magic word bleach.   Whatever you do, DON'T use it on the eggshells.   They are porous and absorb water, so will obviously absorb bleach.    A damp sponge is best and if that doesnt remove all the dirt, keep those ones yourself.   If the brothers and sisters want to buy your eggs, sell to them instead of risking selling to a business.   Chooks are the originators of the 'pecking order' and the older ones will give the younger ones a really hard time, pecking their heads if the young ones get too close, and sometimes you just get a cranky old chook that will peck just for sheer spite.   But most chooks are friendly and like your company.   Research the best layers before rushing out and buying the first ones you see - our best layers were the large whites, but they all go 'off the lay' for several weeks at a time, so if you've got 75 chooks, dont expect 75 eggs each day.   Some might only lay every second day, they're all different.  They also need lots of grit to strengthen the eggshells,  They also eat kitchen vege scraps, but dont give them any meat products, They're lots of fun, but heaps of work, with that many chooks, it will be very much hands-on coz they dont all lay at the same time, and if you have them free-range, they will lay all over the place and you will have to locate them as otherwise the others will break them open and eat them and once they start doing that you have a big problem.   By the time you've bought the hens, feed, grit, drops to put in their drinking water, etc. etc. you'll find you probably wont make much money, but its a nice feel-good hobby.  But you will enjoy it all, so go for it.

 

Lance, you wrote - ....................And extract the egg with your thumb and three fingers .. Still with the peace symbol ...... - I only have four fingers and a thumb on each hand, have I gone through life without realising I'm I missing a finger?      If so, it would explain lots of things.  LOL

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I have 5 hens and 1 roo. I enjoy having them. They are just starting to lay. I do not wash the eggs I collect because of the protective "film" on them as someone spoke about earlier, I just brush them off... they are usually very clean as my roost is away from my nesting boxes. and I keep fresh hay / straw etc. in my nesting boxes.  There is lots of information out there on whether to wash or not wash, and also to refrigerate or not refrigerate. I don't sell mine so that makes a big difference. If you plan on selling find out what the regulations are in your area. It can be fun... or it can be a job. :)

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