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The new guy

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi to Everyone on the Forum,

 

Well, I am the new guy, greenhorn, newbie, rookie at the chicken game. We live out in the country and the folks that lived here previously or those before them at some time had chickens.  The coop is already set up as an 12X10 mini-barn with a run attached that is about 8X10.  So, naturally, I thought I needed to be a chicken farmer along with everything else I have going on.  Yes, now I am obsessed to the point that I think I need to have every breed available and have to get therapy in order to quit looking for new types of chick breeds.  Seriously, I ordered a variety of day old chicks 27 to be exact (yes, I know, what was I thinking!!), all cold hardy as we live in Indiana.  They are a mix of hens only - Black Australorps, RI Reds, Speckled Sussex, Black/Copper Marans, Buff Orpingtons Easter Eggers, Wyandottes, Barnevelders and Barred Rocks  They should arrive here in a few days.

 

With that said, I have a ton of different questions.  I have a big brood box ready plus feed, water source, heat, etc.  One of the things that I am concerned with is keeping the flock healthy - especially with a coop that is only 12X10.  Moreover, I did not think to have the chicks vaccinated at the hatchery.  Is this necessary and am I in for a disaster by not having this done?  With this many chicks, can some of you please give me some tips on the best way to keep them all healthy and getting them off to a great start?

 

I would appreciate any and all advice as I need a lot of it!

 

Thank you

 

Mike

post #2 of 24
Hi there Mike! welcome-byc.gif and welcome to the addiction!

Your set up does sound a bit small for the number of birds you're about to receive, but you've got some time to figure things out. The recommended square footage for adult chickens is 4sq.ft in the coop and 10sq.ft in the run/per bird (minimum), so you're coming up quite a bit short. I'd recommend either growing them out, picking your favorites to keep and selling off the rest, or do some expanding on your coop and run situation.

As for vaccinations, you'll get lots of different opinions on whether or not they should be done. I don't vaccinate, and haven't run into any issues with illness. Chickens are pretty simple and don't require too much to be happy and healthy. Fresh air, clean water, food and a dry, clean, draft free coop pretty much covers it.

Best of luck on your new adventure!
Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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post #3 of 24
Looks like you're good on the coop size unless you want to expand your flock (you can have up to 30 birds with that size and still have 4 sqft/bird), but I agree that you are going to have to extend your run. Luckily, you probably have two months or better before it becomes a serious issue--plenty of time to research, plan, and construct!

I didn't vaccinate my chicks either. I thought their little immune systems were already going to be combatting some major stresses with being shipped in January. I fed them a medicated chick starter and probiotics in their water for the first week for the same reason.
post #4 of 24

If it's healthy birds you desire, then brooding them outdoors in the coop would be best for them. You can read about all the reasons why in the article I wrote about it, the second one linked below.

 

As for nutrition, I recommend you read about fermenting feed, which releases additional nutrients plus natural probiotics for their systems. Fed from day one, the chicks will be off to a smashing start.

 

Welcome to BYC. You've come to the best place for advice that could substantially shorten your learning curve.

 

And I concur, you need to expand that run, taking care to mitigate against predators, from snakes up to hawks and owls. You might consider covering the run to eliminate sky predators as well as negating the need to shovel snow out of it in winter. Chickens detest snow, by the way.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello guys and gals,

 

First of all thank you for the help!  I really appreciate it!  In reviewing your advice, since my coop when divided by the 4 ft. recommendation is about 12 square feet short for the number of birds I think I will add on a bump out or connect the existing coop to another small one to give them just a tad more room.  As for the run, that is not going to be a problem at all.  I have 15 acres so I can make that pretty much as big as I want plus I plan to let them free range some when I am at home.

 

Again, I am pretty much a dummy as I have never had chickens before but do they get pretty much "homed" in to where there coop is or when I do start letting them out will I be chasing a bunch of chickens to get them back in their pen/coop?

 

As far as feed, I am using the Nutrena Chick Starter but as you had suggested maybe I should move to a medicated food to start them out.  About brooding them in the coop, I know there is a large heat lamps set up there and it is hard wired in and closer to the ceiling...what do I do about warmth just get an additional brooder light and hang it real low until the weather and temps are such that they do not need the warmth?

 

Thanks again !!

 

Mike

post #6 of 24
My math: 12 x 10 = 120 sqft total in coop, divided by 4sqft/bird and you can have 30 birds

Check out the Mama Heating Pad thread in the Raising Chicks forum for a great way to provide heat when brooding chicks with much less risk of fire.

Since they're being brooded in the coop, you have a much better chance of them just filing back into it at dusk for roosting. I'd count heads to make sure there aren't any stragglers before closing the coop up for the night. If there are stragglers, they do get sleepy and settle down with the darkness, so you are unlikely to have to chase them as long as you don't startle them too much. A lot of people train their chick(en)s to come when a treat can is rattled, which I think would be super-useful if you ever have to get everyone cooped up in the daylight hours.
post #7 of 24

Hey Mike.  I'm glad you're starting with a mixed flock!  You're ahead of the curve with electricity hard wired into the coop.  You can start the chicks in the coop, perhaps in a huge box to start.  Can you drop that light down to about 18"?  Of course, my first recommendation would be to forget all about that light, and use the MHP brooder.  Again, start them in a big box or other enclosure for the first week (give them about 1 s.f./bird.)  By the time they are 2 weeks old, they'll be flitting around that coop like a flock of parakeets.  Be sure that your coop is predator proof.  Chicken wire will keep your birds in, but it will not keep any predators out.  You'll need 1/2" hardware cloth for that.

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

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Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #8 of 24
Hi Mike! Everyone here has given you fantastic advice. I'm just piping in on the vaccination part. If your chicks haven't been shipped yet you may still be able to call the place you are getting them from and have them vaccinated.

If your property has ever had chickens on it and you don't know the history you may want to have them vaccinated for Mareks as it will be on the property.

If your property has never had fowl on it you could just skip it, but, song birds also carry the Marek's virus.

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

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"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

Reply
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 


Hi Gardener!

 

Thanks for the advice!  Funny you mentioned the large box as I am able to get boxes at work the measure 4'x4' and have 4 ft high sidewalls.  I can set it up right in the coop.  Might have to get a second one though because I have so many birds coming.  The light in the coop... I do not think I can drop down to 18".  I will have to double check.  If not I will look at the brooder light you mention.  The coop itself seems to be predator proof as it is like a small mini-barn with a floor.  Unless something can chew through the exterior wood siding or something like a snake can slip in somewhere I think it is pretty secure.  I am thinking about running a length of chicken wire fencing around the bottom on the inside to give it a second barrier just in case.

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chocohen View Post


Unless something can chew through the exterior wood siding or something like a snake can slip in somewhere I think it is pretty secure.  I am thinking about running a length of chicken wire fencing around the bottom on the inside to give it a second barrier just in case.

Go for hardware cloth for that extra security. The only thing that chicken wire keeps out are chickens! LOL

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

Reply

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

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