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They're supposed to be delicious so we're excited about that aspect. Also, they're great for keeping your chicken's yard clean. Great way to keep the mice away.
Ooh, interesting! Let us know how it tastes :)
 

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Pigs are one of the best to have around they eat almost anything, They breed quickly , They can be butchered at any weight . They dress out well .You can eat darn near every part but the squeal. They are a lean meat if you remove the fat.
The Lard has many uses . When you render the lard the craklin can be used to make cookies or potato sausage.
 
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We got the same issue here although some of the more affluent neighborhoods have recanted their position with a lot of pressure from the point of being "greener" and "healthier" than store bought. Unfortunately my city hasnt been one of them. As such I went to raising rabbits and I am now considering 4-6 Khaki Campbell ducks as the current laws wouldnt prohibit them. They are quieter anyways than chickens for the most part. I can have a drake to allow my hens to procreate which is something I couldnt do with chickens since just about all cities forbid a Rooster and I dont blame them being a shift worker. A drake wont get too big for his britches and try to flog you like a Rooster sometimes will either. Thats not to say they cant get a bit of an attitude.

The rabbits in my opinion and experience are a lot less demanding and easier to clean behind and their manure is not considered to be a "hot" manure which means I can add it directly to the garden with out first composting and not worry about burning my plants up. They are pretty much noise free too! For months the property manager who lives next door had no idea I was keeping rabbits!!! Now thats stealth! The heat here in the summer time can make keeping them a bit tough sometimes and a little more work at trying to keep them cool. Dressing out the fryers are a heck of a lot less messy too than Chickens. It only takes me about 10 minutes to dress out a fryer Rabbit from start to finish. No boiling water and no feather plucking and pin feathers to deal with. As for breed of Rabbit I went with Florida Whites for a number of reasons over Californians and much more common New Zealands.

As for chickens if I were to get back into them again my bird of choice would be Rhode Island Reds with Plymouth Barred Rocks being a close second. They are good dual purpose chicken breeds that make for a decent fryer without sacrificing too much in the egg laying department. Hens from both breeds make pretty good mothers as they are usually pretty broody. There are a couple of other breeds that can best them in that department though, but not by much. They however dont hold a candle to Leghorns when it comes to shere volume in egg laying. Leghorns make for pretty scrawny fryers though on even a good day. If it was all about making fryers for the freezer in the shortest amount of time with the least amount in feed I would opt for the Cornish Rock crosses. They make fine feastively plump fryers in 7-8 weeks of time from day old chicks. They are cost prohibitive and a health liability much beyond that and much to be desired at egg laying.

Just my Buck O' Five on that subject...
Could you house rabbits in a movable pen similar to the ones used for chickens?
Will rabbits make it on a diet of only grass/clover in the summer time or do they require grain?
 

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I grew up in a pretty rural area, and stating when I was 11 my family began raising chickens. We raised them for the eggs, we've never slaughtered any (even unnecessary roosters), those have gone to others with chickens and needing a rooster. They are a lot of work, it was a constant struggle to keep raccoon's, opossums, foxes, and coyotes out of the chicken coop. We've lost a lot over the years, but haven't ever been "wiped out". And with our chickens being free range, the only time we had to supplement their diet with store feed was during the winter. I definitely plan on keeping chickens myself, they're worth it for me!
 

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I dont have chickens at the moment as our local city Nazis wont allow more than 6 and only then on a acre or more lot. There for I have relegated myself to Rabbits and find them a lot easier to deal with and take up less space and produce well. Unfortunately they havent learned to lay eggs yet :)...
 

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We have chickens, ducks and rabbits.

I think you would be surprised at how noisy ducks are. If their is a full moon the make feeder calls all night long, enough to wake you up. If it rains and the clouds clear on the night of a full moon, and their is a mud puddle for them to play in, they have an endorphin indused orgy. Quack Quack Quack.
 

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We just butchered some old roosters today. It was hardly worth the effort, but we had too many roosters and my hens wouldn't lay much. Roosters badger the hens so much they refuse to lay. They were 'accidents' when I ordered pullet chicks. I should have done them in last Fall, but it's a mess, and I wasn't up for it. If you raise chickens that are laying breeds, and then butcher them for meat....they are not that big. I raised Cornish Rocks a while back and they were huge. The ones we did today, were all feathers. :/ I think they were 5 to 6 pound and the meat is going to be tough. It was very hard to gut them they were so tough. Definitely stew or soup meat. Every time we butcher chickens, it's still a hard thing to do. I always say a prayer, and I am not religious. :( That said, I am going to order Cornish Rocks, in addition to a few more Welsummers and a few Buff Orps to add to what I have. Right now I have Barred Rocks (love them), RIR, and Ameraucanas that are several years old, and soon they won't be laying more than an egg here and there. I have to vary breeds, so I know who is old and needing to go. I'm just thinking they won't give me much meat when I do the deed.
 

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A chicken tractor is the omly way to raise birds, portable so it can be moved evry day to provide clean scratch for the birds, which also cuts back on purchased feed, plus they are protected from predators. Just make sure there are no cracks in the pen, I found out the hard way when mink got in and killed my 5 hens. I got my revenge though and trapped two mink. New flock being raised now. I think the tractor pen would work good for rabbits too if they were moved frequently so the could not burrow out.
 

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as far as chicken breeds i think rhode island reds are a staple in the homestead community since theyre good for eggs & meat, although some might have a slight attitude. i have heard the same good things about plymith rock chicken, but the trade in is a bit smaller eggs for a better temperment, more popular with the families with small kids who dont like to get pecked by the rouge freerange chicken lol.
 

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How long can you keep a laying hen, before she's too old? Would a heat lamp or two w/ an insulated coop be enough in MN winters that can get to -50 w/ wind chills? If you had the heat lamps, that would keep the light for 14 hrs required for laying. And if you let them rest a few months w/o laying, that seems like a fair trade off, right?

I have a friend in Tasmania that was having a hard time with grasshoppers. He got Guinea Hens and they are hell on wheels getting those 'hoppers. He didn't worry about hoppers nor snakes after getting the Guineas. They will hide their nests, though, and are really loud. They make a good alarm system.
 

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We place a 200 watt light bulb in our coop, and have it on 24 7 during winter. The coop is a gambrel roofed shed 6feet by 8 feet with laying stations along both sides. That bulb will keep water from freezing that is on the floor down to about 15 degrees Outside. The light will keep them laying. The hens don't even leave the coop in really cold weather.

A laying hen starts at about 7-1/2 months and will lay to about three years depending on bread and feed. In our experience.
 

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A half dozen or so layers and a cocky rooster to keep them in line is definitely in the picture for us. I mainly want eggs and insect control from them. I've raised chickens before and had horses along with rabbits. The rabbit hutches were in the horse paddock...worked out great for protection but the silly horses kept letting the rabbits out until they finally escaped.

As I am getting older I keep asking myself just how much I want to take care of. I remember haying and graining horses in 5 below weather and taking the ax out with me to chop a hole in their water trough. It was tough work when I was in my early 20s and now that I'm....well, not in my early 20s anymore, it sounds pretty undesirable even though I love horses and mules and recognize one as a benefit should TSHTF.

So Chickens to me are the less labor intensive for me.. Yeah, still have to feed and water in cold weather, still have to muck out the coop, but chickens are small in comparison to a lot of live stock. I already have the run built from 6 foot tall dog kennel panels I have collected down through the years. All they need is a cover on them for protection from hawks and eagles. I'm counting on our dogs to keep the raccoons and possums at bay and plan to run a hot wire a foot away from the coop to keep the dogs at bay, :)

I'm not looking to raise for meat but will butcher if the need arises from a mean rooster. I'm mainly looking for insect control for our orchard and should there be a disaster where we have to provide our own meat, they will feed us, especially if I'm lucky enough to get a broody hen or two.

I also have a pile of metal siding that all I need is a break in the weather to put up on the shed that will be my coop. It has a cement floor...oh, and I need the chickens.
 

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I plan to use a chicken tractor for about a dozen hens. I like them not only for the eggs and meat but also to help witht he insects around the garden. I plan on one large tractor and a couple of smaller ones for daytime use only where the larger tractor won't fit. I also plan to add guineas at a later date to help with insect control and snake control.
 

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We love our chickens. They were our first livestock and the kids got super attached to the Cochins we got for brooders and our Barred were great layers and meat. They weren't especially noisy and they were tame as can be. The problem with chickens is that people don't do their research to choose the right breed for them. Just like dogs and cats, different breeds of chickens have different uses, personality types and needs.
That being said, why is it always chickens OR rabbits? We love our rabbits too. Delicious (after a few attempts), hardy, and fast breeders.
 
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