Chickens, Eggs, Homestead

Fun Fact Friday – “Chicken Regulations”

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Our next reader question is… “Are there regulations in your area for how many you can own in proportion to the size of the property you own?”

Yes, there are regulations for those that live inside the city limits of Goldsboro, NC.  The restrictions are as follows:

“The chickens must be kept in a well-ventilated enclosure large enough to give 10 square feet of space for each chicken and at least 15 feet from all property lines and roosters are not permitted unless the property is a bona fide farm or at least 200 yards away from any dwelling, hospital, school, church or eating establishment.”

Source:  Goldsboro News Argus (http://www.newsargus.com/news/archives/2012/10/21/chickens_allowed_within_city_limits/ )

Residents that live outside the city limits (that’s us!) but inside Wayne County (the county we reside in), have no restrictions other than moral/neighborly ones!   We {thankfully} live in the county, we do not own our land, we rent the land our mobile home in on, but since we are not in the city limits, we have no restrictions.  We do, however, consider our neighbors and do not have any roosters – we like our neighbors and don’t want to infringe on their peace and quiet…and we don’t want chicks !!!

della2

Because our chickens are more like pets that feed us breakfast, we also follow the recommended guidelines for the amount of space that a chicken needs individually – at least 10 square feet per chicken.  Since we have 12 hens, we would need 120 square feet of space for them, and we provide them with 300 square feet of run space – along with daily “yard time” with us and our dog, Mike.

mike and chickens2

So there you have it…the “chicken rules” for our neck of the woods ! Very simple regulations, but they were very difficult to find!  I called our animal control department, searched the web and the only thing I came up with was the news article!

Next week we will be covering selling chicks and/or eggs !!! Stay tuned !

Just for giggles….here are  a few fun facts for this Friday –

  • A female chicken is a “pullet” until she is old enough to lay eggs, when she becomes a “hen”
  • Male chickens are called “roosters”
  • Most eggs are laid between 9 and 11 am
  • You can tell if an egg is fresh or stale by dropping it in water…fresh ones will sink
  • Chickens have full-color vision
  • Chickens establish a “pecking order” in social situations
  • Chickens can run at a speed of 9 mph {I’ve seen ours run…and this is TRUE!}
Chickens, Homestead

Fun Fact Friday – How many chickens do you need?

The first reader question we got was “How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?”

That’s a GREAT question !  One that is very important to decide from the start!

In our research, of both the internet and local “chicken parent” friends, we determined that 6 hens would be a good number for us to start out our backyard flock.  Based on averages for our area, a good laying breed, such as the White Leghorn, will lay 5-6 eggs per week – if they are overachievers you may even get an egg every day from them !  Rhode Island Reds are also good layers we hear.

Since our family consists of my awesome hubby and me, we decided on 6 hens to start off so we’d hopefully get a couple dozen eggs each week.  We both love eggs and eat them daily!  We did get 3 hens before we really researched well, and luckily those 3 (a Delaware – named Della – and 2 Welsummers – Brownie and Broody) are great layers too and we wanted some brown eggs along with the white ones from the Leghorns (all named “Holly Hen” since we got them from our friend Holly)!!!  No, we are not very original with our chicken names, don’t judge! 🙂

So, from our 6 ladies we usually get 4-6 eggs a day…those leghorns really ARE great layers – which gives us an average of about 3 dozen per week.

We have recently added 6 Ameraucana pullets, but they are only 2 months old now and have not yet been incorporated into our little flock yet.  They will lay blue/green eggs when they do start producing, one of the reasons that we got them – and they were hand raised by our good friends, Hannah and her son Jacob, at Humble Hollow Farm.

mike and chickens

We decided on the extra hens for several reasons – the first one being that we are addicted to our chickens and wanted more!!!  Seriously, we LOVE have chickens in our backyard – even our little dog Mike likes the hens!  When we let them out of the run to free range a little during the day, he loves to lay and watch them too !  Another reason is that we have family and friends that love fresh eggs, so we wanted to be able to give some to family and sell some too (which is another question we will be answering in our series on Fun Fact Fridays – “do you ever sell chicks or eggs and are there any regulations”.

mike and chickens2
That’s our dog Mike with the chickens…he thinks he is a black and white rooster!                          He loves the hens!

So, the short answer to the question of  “How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?” is that we wanted about 3 dozen eggs a week so we chose 6 hens to make sure we got the amount we wanted.

The answer to the second part of that question is this:  we purchased our coop/run after we decided on 6 hens and bought/built according to the size appropriate for 6 hens.  Our first coop (we bought a second one for the 6 new pullets) will hold 6-8 hens at night and has 4 nesting boxes (you really only need about 2 for 6 hens as they share nesting boxes very well!). We also expanded our “run” to accommodate 12 hens to 300 square feet.

Chickens need approximately 4 square feet of coop space (nighttime roosting and egg laying) and 10 square feet of run space per chicken.  Of course the more room you can give them, the happier they will be and happy hens = good laying hens!

I hope that answered the question well….hubby and I really enjoy learning more about our chickens, so these questions have been alot of fun !!!!  Keep asking and we will be back next Friday for another Fun Fact Friday!

hubby and Blanche

Chickens, Homestead

Fun Fact Friday is coming!

Fun Fact FridayWe are doing a series on “chicken questions” – things that some readers wanted to know! Although we are in no way chicken experts, quite the contrary, we are learning as we go! These questions are helping us also.

Here is a list of the questions we have been asked so far…we will be answering the first one on “Fun Fact Friday”!  Each Friday during our series we will learn some fun facts – the first series will be facts about chickens with these questions from our readers !

  • How did you decide how many chickens you need? I mean how many would fit?
  • Are there regulations in your area for how many you can own in proportion to the size of the property you own?
  • Do you ever sell chicks or eggs? Is that regulated at all?
  • Are there any common chicken practices that you believe to be harmful or just less-than-ideal? Certain coop setups, feed, nesting materials, etc.
  • What would be your number one tip for new chicken owners?

So stay tuned for this Friday when we tackle the first question…how we determined the number of chickens we thought was appropriate for our little urban homestead!

See you Friday!

Chickens, Homestead

Questions !!!

who what when where why chicken blog

We have had a lot of people ask us “chicken questions” so I thought this might be a great blog topic !!  We are still learning the ins and outs of being chicken parents ourselves, so this should prove to be a fun assignment !

All I need for my readers and Facebook followers to do is – Ask Questions !  Ask anything you are wanting to know about chickens, coops, feed – anything, and I’ll do a little research if I don’t know the answer and then we will have a Q&A session on the blog !

I look forward to hearing your questions and researching the answers !

Chickens, DIY, Essential Oil - Recipes, Essential Oils

DIY Bath Salts

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Are you worn out from lugging around kids, strollers, diaper bags? Did you have a hard day at the office and need a little  tension relief? Spend too much time out in the garden?  Believe me, I know exactly how you feel!

When we first started using essential oils (EO) I quickly collected a lot of “empty” bottles. An oily friend of mine gave me the best tip ever!    My friend,  who had been using essential oils much longer than I had,  explained to me that even though the bottle looks empty, it’s really not. It still has a drop or two of precious oil left in it. All you need is a mason jar, and some epsom salt she told me.

I had no idea what she was going to tell me to do with these bottles! It’s  really so simple, and makes such good sense! All you do is put some epsom salt in the mason jar, I usually fill it up about halfway, drop in any empty EO bottles that you have – yes, you can mix and match them – shake the bottle a little bit to get the salt inside the “empties”, then fill it almost to the top leaving a little room so you can shake the bottle again after the lid is on.

The salt will pull out any oil that is left in the bottle leaving you with oil infused bath salts! Since I like mine “use specific”, I put all of my supporting oil bottles together – Lavender, Cedarwood, and Roman Chamomile for a restful night; Peace & Calming, Stress Away, and Ylang Ylang for a calming, relaxing bath; PanAway, Wintergreen, and Cypress for those joints, muscles, and bones that are “screaming”!  You get the idea.

So, when you start your collection of “empties”, save them! You’ll thank me later 😉

 

Chickens, Essential Oils, Homestead

A few basic FAQs about raising chickens

chicken faqs

We had so many questions when we decided to become “chicken people”!!!  We had a lot of great advice from friends that have been raising chickens, and also researched our questions on the internet – that’s where I ran across this article that originally was posted by The Washington Post years ago.  It’s very informative for the beginners who are considering or have just started raising chickens.

By Adrian Higgins
Washington Post

1. Do hens need a rooster to lay eggs?

No

2. How often do chickens lay?

A well-fed hen usually lays one egg per day.

3. Do chickens lay year-round?

Typically, no. Egg production falls off as winter approaches and resumes in the spring.

4. Are chickens noisy?

Only when alarmed or laying an egg.

5. How long do chickens live?

About seven years.

6. Do chickens lay eggs their whole life?

They are most productive when they are 2 and 3 years old, and then laying declines markedly.

7. Where do you get chickens, and how much do they cost?

They are available from Amish and other rural farmers markets as well as from breeders advertising on the Web. Laying breeds such as Rhode Island Reds or Sex-links, as opposed to fancy breeds, typically cost between $5 and $15 each. Buy chicks that are old enough that their sex is apparent so that you don’t unwittingly purchase a rooster.  

**My note:  We now only get our pullets (young hens) from people that we know personally that have hand raised them.  That way we KNOW they have been taken care of and are disease free when we purchase them. We do not have any roosters as we don’t want fertilized eggs – and we do have an “urban” farm so we want a nice, quiet “farm”!  We are getting 6 more “babies” soon from Humble Hollow Farm!

8. Are chickens good for the garden?

Yes and no. They will scratch garden beds, dislodge plants and eat seedlings. But they will devour bugs and slugs, and their manure and bedding make great ingredients for the compost pile.

9. How do you protect chickens from predators?

Both the hen house and run should be fenced with chicken wire and covered with netting or wire to prevent hawk attacks. Raccoons and foxes will dig to get into coops, so you will need to bury the fence at least 12 inches.

10. Do chickens smell?

If the coop and run are left uncleaned, yes. Occasional removal of droppings and placement of fresh bedding (pine shavings work well) will keep the hen house odor-free.   **My note:  We use this  essential oil spray to clean our coop twice a week.

Source: Mercury News