Originally Posted by zooweemama
Oh goodness. So far we are only raising ducks but next year should be adding on a few hens and a roo to our little 'stead. With all this mites and virus talk I am terrified of working with chickens. My husbands uncle has chickens (where were currently buy our eggs for eating) and he's already had to deal with mites. The thought just exhausts me after reading how much work it is to eradicate these problems. And poor Jules having to cull her whole flock. I would be a mess.
Since I have a year or so to get ready- should be decide to move forward with chickens (no more than 6: 4-5 hens and 1 roo) for egg laying in far Northern Cali (Redding. our climate is funkier than down more southern)- any breed suggestions that might be less prone to disease. Also any recommendations on housing, or tips to possibly help prevent 'issues'. Although I totally get that sometimes this stuff happens. I am always paranoid when I get new hay for the ducks (mold), checking their feed (mold), making sure the plants they have access to are ok...but I know that sometimes things will happen. So I'd love to hear what breeds tend to do especially well in our area not requiring a lot of special tlc during our wet chilly winters. I simply adore the look of the breed of red hens/roos. I don't know much about chicken breeds yet but it's the typical breed you see in farm 'pictures'. I'd love to have a breed that is totally different in color to my ducks so I can easily spot them roaming around. But not necessary. I will likely just select one breed. When the chickens are done laying it's quite possible we will eat them- so if they are a decent meat bird that could be a plus (not worried about how clean the 'carcass' is). We started out thinking we'd eat duck (hence the Pekins in our flock) but have all agreed as a family we couldn't. LOL So the same might end up happening with the chickens. But we'll see!
We will build a fresh coop (there is an old existing one on our property but I think we should just rip it down? the outer shell although ugly still seems quite serviceable but the pay boxes def need to be redone). If anyone thinks the shell could safely be salvageable I would happily post pictures. It's been unused for more than 2-3 years at the least. We'd like to free range them during the day ideally but house them at night. How in the heck do you get chickens to go to their house at night though? I know with the ducks I managed to train them through routine and peas.
Thanks in advance. Sorry for all the questions. I have a friend who will be lending me all her chicken books so I will have some reading over the next year too. :D
I'm in Northern Mendocino County... It was almost 100 degrees today! Just wanted to add my opinion about breeds for your area because I believe its a similar climate (we only get occasional snow fall in winter, but below freezing often & until April usually... 100 + in summer). I have RIRs ("the little red hens") & Barred Rocks (black & white speckled) & Sexlinks that do great AS LONG AS THERE IS SHADE.
One wall of my coop is all chicken wire & the top half of the wall across from that is also wire... I just wrap clear green house plastic & staple gun it to the wire wall when the weather starts to stay below freezing. The Leghorn I had didn't make it thru the first winter; I dont think they are as cold hardy. I just got my first Buff Orpingtons & hear they are great in this climate as well. All of the breeds I mentioned (beside the leghorn) considered dual purpose & winter hardy.
Below are some picks of the coop... but that only houses the 4 old layers currently: My husband is building the palace for our 30+ chicks that I have in a brooder right now.
(I am officially addicted!) The bottom of the coop is open year round, I have pretty awesome dogs & have never had predator problems...
There is a yard we added recently that runs behind the coop & along my garden fence. The girls usually free range all day & go to roost at dusk (I don't remember ever doing anything to teach them that). But that yard is easy to close off from their main run so I am picking up pullets tomorrow & it will be the "teenagers" hang out yard.