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Discussion Starter #1
My husband and I love eggs and we are considering keeping backyard chickens. We can't keep them (legally) where we are currently, but we will be moving in a year and I'm curious if anyone else here keeps backyard chickens? Do you find it's cheaper than buying good quality eggs, or is it more expensive due to feed costs, shelter etc?
 

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i posted recently about backyard hens but i don't think they thought it was funny. Apparently the movement from home-grown vegetables to animals now goes far beyond chickens. In toronto, says the globe n mail, the largest illegal animal recently being raised for human consumption was a goat. Also in toronto, rabbits are legal because they're classed as pets.

the new york times contemplates the long life of hens after their laying fertility ends. One could wind up with 80 or 90 elderly ladies and only about a dozen actively laying rhode island reds. The normal solution for this would be an abattoir but problem is that hardly any are left. There was a picturesque photo gallery of functioning ny city abattoirs. Gah. You sure you want to get into this Addy ??
 

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Nope, I'm not sure, just considering it. It would drive me nuts to have a bunch of old hens around!
 

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Spent a lot of time possessing chickens on the family farm. Egg layers are tough old boots when the laying days are over. Your biggest problem will be over supply of eggs and fresh eggs look a lot different than store bought.

Even 6 hens is 6 eggs each day 7 days a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Oldroe. We may not keep chickens, but its good for me to find as much info out as possible then decide. I was thinking of keeping 2-3 hens at the most. We are a family of three so any more than this may lead to wasted eggs. I've had lots of farm eggs so I'm aware they aren't as pretty looking inside as store eggs, but I prefer the taste... in fact I find most store bought eggs (unless they are real free range ones) are tasteless.
 

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There are a zillion resources online for raising backyard chickens, but you might find this one handy for starters:

http://www.gatewaytovermont.com/thefarm/chickens.htm

I have a few friends who keep small flocks of chickens; one of them also had guinea fowl for a few years but those things make a LOT of noise. I do think the economics are questionable; same goes for most small vegetable gardens. I wouldn't go into it thinking it was a money-saving proposition, but rather as a way to get those delicious free-range eggs for yourself and probably a few friends. I agree that fresh-laid eggs taste different, and while I don't know if free-range eggs actually taste better to me than those from caged birds on feed, it's certainly a satisfying experience to eat them. I used to buy my eggs from a woman whose chickens had free run of her yard (and even her house, she was pretty eccentric) and I've never tasted scrambled eggs or omelettes as good as the ones I made with those eggs.

It's amazing the stuff that people will keep in their urban or suburban backyards. I have a friend who lived for 10 years in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, and his neighbours had two pigs as well as a flock of chickens.
 

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There was a story about this very thing on the news recently. The fellow, either in WPG or Calgary, is doing it. It's messy work though, and you gotta do it 12 months per year, regardless of weather. What I mean is you have to go out in the freezing cold and do the manual labour. Most white collar city folk couldn't be bothered for what it costs to buy eggs.

Best idea would be to find a farmer in the country who sells them. We used to do it all the time, same thing for honey and milk.
 

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I think you have to be into the whole process and lifestyle of it. Some people find caring for livestock and poultry fascinating and involving; others just find it a nuisance and a chore.

A surprising number of people in New York City keep bees to make honey, which amazes me: honey is so cheap that it doesn't seem worth the effort and expense, but that's not the point for these people. It's the process that counts. I've extracted honey and it is indeed fascinating (though hot; you have to keep the room really hot so the honey flows out in the centrifuge), but once was enough for me.

A friend of mine in Vermont keeps bees and sells his honey; another friend taps maple trees and sells his syrup. Neither one is doing it for the money though, they just enjoy the process.
 

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Best idea would be to find a farmer in the country who sells them. We used to do it all the time, same thing for honey and milk.
+1 I grew up on a farm and we sold fresh milk, eggs, apples, corn, pumpkins, squash and they all make groceries stores seem tasteless


I can't imagine trying to raise chickens in a city lol. Your neighbors would hate you

It's been on the news about about angry neighbors complaining etc
 

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Nothing like popping the bread in the toaster and running for a tomato.

Most people or a lot try livestock when they move to the country theirs a lot of work same with gardens.

Around the GTA you can go to places like the Woodville Sales Barn and get real farm fresh.
 

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Tomatoes are one of the vegetables it makes sense to grow yourself. You get an embarrassment of tomatoes for a few months at the end of summer, and they taste better than anything you could buy at a store or even a farmers market (I've peaked behind the curtain--farmer's markets are not what you think they are). Also, some fresh herbs are worthwhile as well, since buying them is a pain.
 

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I think you have to be into the whole process and lifestyle of it. Some people find caring for livestock and poultry fascinating and involving; others just find it a nuisance and a chore.

A friend of mine in Vermont keeps bees and sells his honey; another friend taps maple trees and sells his syrup. Neither one is doing it for the money though, they just enjoy the process.
Agree and I'm not trying to judge. To each his or her own. Just that keeping livestock isn't something that I fancy doing. Bee keeping, on the other hand, sounds fascinating to me.
 

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Try carrots, eat them all summer and just before frost cover with 3-4 bales of straw. Have had carrots fresh from the garden into the 2nd week of Jan.

Another point if you go to a farm market and the vendor has peaches and plums and you are east of Toronto that vendor goes to the food terminal. Pick a vendor that only has local stuff, better change they picked that morning.
 

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Another point if you go to a farm market and the vendor has peaches and plums and you are east of Toronto that vendor goes to the food terminal.
That explains something. Every summer we get "Ontario peaches" here at the markets in Montreal, but they don't taste anything like peaches to me. They either taste like water or like some foul mixture of preservative chemicals. They arrive rock-hard and tend to transform overnight into a mouldy, mushy mess. I've given up on trying to find edible peaches here.
 

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There is also some problems with fraud: passing off foreign produce as local. You will see this especially at 'sketchy' places of business like roadside stands and farmer's markets.
 

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My cat would love to have your chickens as neighbors. Yum...


Seriously, "free-range" chickens in the city will be either implausible, or very expensive. You will have to cage in your entire backyard (even creating a wire roof), or the multitude of roaming, predatory animals who exist even in the city will soon turn your chickens into lunch.

That's if they survive visit from the city inspector, sent out by your neighbors annoyed by the constant clucking and the smell.

Better to find a supplier of farm-fresh eggs and just buy them when you want them.
 

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I think you have to be into the whole process and lifestyle of it. Some people find caring for livestock and poultry fascinating and involving; others just find it a nuisance and a chore.

A surprising number of people in New York City keep bees to make honey, which amazes me: honey is so cheap that it doesn't seem worth the effort and expense, but that's not the point for these people. It's the process that counts. I've extracted honey and it is indeed fascinating (though hot; you have to keep the room really hot so the honey flows out in the centrifuge), but once was enough for me.

A friend of mine in Vermont keeps bees and sells his honey; another friend taps maple trees and sells his syrup. Neither one is doing it for the money though, they just enjoy the process.
Actually Brad, honey isn't THAT cheap. If you go to the store and buy the real stuff it's actually quite pricey.

I know some beekeepers out in the country, last year I got a 4L ice cream pail for $20. I transferred most of it to yogourt containers and froze it, then a small amount in a mason jar for daily consumption. Lasts a long time, only real downside is you get 4L worth and need to have enough smaller containers to store it in. Far better than anything I've ever purchased in a store. Trouble with stores now (and this applies to the eggs and tomatoes and everything else too) is you're getting meat from corn-fed cows from these huge concentrated feed lots where cleanliness and safety are a problem. So yes, I'm a fan of buying food directly from the farmer if you can find one that is selling you the real deal. A lot of these roadside stands and farmer's markets, I often wonder if we're getting the local stuff we think we are. Mennonites are good to buy from also if you live and conduct business out in the country and can get to know them. A lot of this is word of mouth. Need to get off facebook and out of the city and talk to humans in person, make friends in the rural areas etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My cat would love to have your chickens as neighbors. Yum...


Seriously, "free-range" chickens in the city will be either implausible, or very expensive. You will have to cage in your entire backyard (even creating a wire roof), or the multitude of roaming, predatory animals who exist even in the city will soon turn your chickens into lunch.

That's if they survive visit from the city inspector, sent out by your neighbors annoyed by the constant clucking and the smell.

Better to find a supplier of farm-fresh eggs and just buy them when you want them.
If you want free range, I suppose thats what you would call it. There's been a big media blitz here in Winnipeg about a couple who wants the city to pass a bylaw allowing residents to keep hens in their yards and interestingly enough you can have a hen-pen thats not huge, built up with roosts and fairly open (wire enclosure). I would still want a bigger yard than I currently have, but fresh eggs would be lovely.
 
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