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New to chickens

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I going to convert a shed into a chicken coop..... I am trying to cheat and instead of making my own mistakes learn from other peoples ! Does anyone have any tips or advice to make things easier? Like cleaning feeding gathering eggs etc? I am going to make them a predator proof run but they will be out of the run most of the time in the yard.

 

Also right now I have 7 Ameraucana I am looking for a new breed to go with them...Egg laying is the most important aspect BUT would like the new birds to double as meat birds. ANY recommendations?

post #2 of 5
Welcome to chickens! They are great and addictive!

If you are looking for a dual purpose birds, I have listed some ideas below along with their breed reviews for you to have a look :

Rhode Island Reds:
They are good layers of brown egg and they also grow to be quite large.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/rhode-island

Orpingtons:
Okay layers of tan eggs and are very large birds
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/orpington

Australorps:
Good layers of brown eggs and are good dual purpose birds
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/australorp

Barnevelders :
If you can find LF Barnevelders they are good layers of dark brown eggs as well as being dual purpose. They can also be very pretty
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/barnevelder

Barred Rocks :
Attractive and good dual purpose layers of light brown eggs
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/plymouth-rock

Black Sex Links:
Big Birds, docile and excellent layers of brown eggs
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/black-sex-link-chicken

Dorkings :
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/dorking

Sussex :
Large and good layers of brown eggs
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/sussex

Marans :
Great layers of dark brown eggs and large
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/marans

Welsummers :
Dual purpose and good layers of terracotta brown eggs
http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/welsummer
Four lovely hens : An Exbattery Hen, a Lavender Araucana, a Wheaten Marans and a Gold Laced Frizzle Polish
Two dogs and four cats.
If you want to read my chicken adventure, here it is :
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/947562/my-story-our-experience-join-me-on-my-adventure.
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Four lovely hens : An Exbattery Hen, a Lavender Araucana, a Wheaten Marans and a Gold Laced Frizzle Polish
Two dogs and four cats.
If you want to read my chicken adventure, here it is :
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/947562/my-story-our-experience-join-me-on-my-adventure.
Reply
post #3 of 5
You can look through these stickies to get a whole lot of ideas. The “things you’ve learned” thread can give you all kinds of ideas.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/206328/byc-coop-section-helpful-thread-index

You don’t say where you are. Your climate can play a big part in what your coop should look like. You might want to modify your profile to show your general location. That helps a whole lot when answering a lot of questions.

I suggest you follow the link in my signature to get my thoughts on how big it needs to be. We are all so unique there is no one number on anything that covers all of us. I also suggest you read these, especially the last two if you are not in a really cold environment.

Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

In general I find the more room I give them the fewer behavioral problems I have to deal with, the more flexibility I have to deal with issues, and I just don’t have to work as hard. This extra room means in the coop, run, brooder, nests, and on the roosts. Give yourself good access, it’s a lot less frustrating. Be flexible, things will not work out exactly as you plan them.

We all have our favorite breeds. There are a lot of breeds that will suit you, about any of the dual purpose breeds. Not knowing where you live and whether you have a specific need for a cold hardy or heat tolerant breed, I suggest you look through Henderson’s Bred Chart and try to pick one or some that you think you might like. Things to pay attention to are size, you want early maturing, and egg laying. Depending on how you manage them, you might want some that take confinement. Do you want them to go broody? That’s why we have favorite breeds, we have different goals and set-ups.

Henderson’s Breed Chart
http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

Another thought is to get a special from a hatchery where they send you an assortment of different breeds so you can compare them and see which you like better. These assortments are at their discretion, it’s basically whatever breeds they had hatch well that week so they have extras.

Good luck!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am in near Chicago.

post #5 of 5

Here's my contribution to your coop planning.

 

There's a 'stack up' aspect to coop design:

Bottom of pop door should be about 8" above floor so bedding doesn't get dragged out of coop.

Nice to have bottom of nests about 18" above bedding to allow use of that floor space under them(doesn't count if your nests are mounted on outside of coop).

Roosts should be about 12" higher than nests so birds won't roost(sleep) in nests and poop in them.

Upper venting should be as high as possible above roosts so no strong drafts hit roosts in winter...and hot/moist air and ammonia can rise and exit coop.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
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