Originally Posted by Cheers2Ya
I live in North Dakota with my sons and husband. I am professionally a Licensed Addictions Counselor and my husband owns and operates a trucking business. I am not currently working as I am busy being a mom to my sons. We are blessed to have a rural home on 40 acres. We have horses, dogs, and cats and have had goats and ducks in the past. I have been wanting chickens for a very long time, and am now in the preparation stage! I am so excited!!!
So, for the help I am seeking...
I bought a 2year old 6X8 foot solidly built shed. It has one door currently. It is insulated and sheeted inside and has a slanted steel roof. It is wired for electricity, which will be trenched to the coop and hooked up, and has a light built in. It also has an infrared heater hooked to a thermostat, no exposed wired anywhere. It is built on treated skids and the floor does not sit directly on the ground, although it is sided to the ground.
I am installing an automatic pop door with a ramp so the birds can enter and leave. I plan to lock the birds in at night as we have MANY predators in this rural area. I am also putting vents up near the ceiling on each end and along the back. Do I have to have windows as well? They will have a very large run, or securely fenced in area, and will be able to be outside as much as they want, until dusk. I plan to start with about 8 laying hens and will build three nest boxes (unless I need more?). Eventually I will get several butcher chickens, but not at this time.
I would appreciate ANY guidance at all. I am hoping to hear that it is not necessary to have windows, as I'm kind of worried about cutting windows into the shed. Living in North Dakota, our winters tend to range from very cold to very, very cold. And we have much wind all year long.
Thank you to all who read this and offer support. I've been reading this site for a long time and just joined today.
The ranch where I lived prior to this location, we built a ranch 'office' -- it was double insulated with two doors and NO windows. The temps in that building were so EASY to control. It cost about nothing to keep it cool in the TX summers and warm in the winters. I would say -- why not try for a season without windows. Since you can open the door, have a pop door, are adding ventilation -- I think you will be fine -- and since you have electricity - you can turn on light when ever you need it. If you need windows, you can always add them later, since it is a retrofit anyway....JMO -- With that in mind as you plan the layout for roost, nestbox and other things in there -- then keep the idea in the back of your mind -- if you were to add a window - then the place you would add it.
Meanwhile -- welcome to having your own flock. It sounds like you are starting with a good number, and you will be able to feed your family fresh eggs before long.
I would recommend getting a breed like Golden Comets as your starter flock. They are a hybrid of Rhode Island Red rooster and Rhode Island white hen -- and the chicks that you get will definitely be females. you can always get fancy later with breeds..this bunch is healthy, friendly, reliable layers, calm and curious, entertaining and have a marveous feed-conversion ratio --
You should be fine with the number of nesting boxes you are planning -- sometimes the whole flock decides one of the boxes is THE BEST and it wouldn't matter if you had a dozen nesting boxes -- they all want the same one.
You'll love having chickens -- and they will amuse and delight you no end.
BYC will have answers to the questions you will encounter -- so you came to the right sight for sure...
one thing to consider for your chickens is poop boards (isn't that great -- start by talking poop) This thread by 'the spoiled chicken' was the one that started me using sweet pdz - now-a-days I alternate with shavings -- depending on what's handy and how long I will be gone. Just about all the information is and questions answered in the first dozen posts. There are numerous other threads on the subject.
Looking forward to bumping into you on the threads! Happy chicken keeping!
ETA oops forgot the thread link.
Edited by ChicKat - 4/9/16 at 7:04pm