I have to say the best advice I could give to someone starting out is to ask questions ask questions ask questions. The great thing about this site is that people know the answers - and almost always from experience. While not everyone agrees on exactly what to do in every situation, you can always find a consensus. I have relied on this site for feeding and watering techniques, how to help sick chickens, locating people in my area, how to correctly clean my coop, both daily and deep clean, and so much more. I also met some fantastic people in my community who I've become friends with because of this site. Ask questions, read answers. Draw on the wealth of experience, literally at your fingertips. That's the exact same advice I gave a friend who is starting his research and it's exactly what I WISH someone had told me when I started. I'm nearly a year into a fully-functioning backyard chicken farm and I rely on this site almost daily to keep me informed.
Congratulations MamaNini! You won a beautiful coop from Handcrafted Coops! - Page 15
Do your homework and listen to your wife! Plan the coop well before you build and make sure your neighbors know A.) What you're doing and B.) are cool with it. Also check for local chicken keeping groups for support and advice. Most importantly make sure it's not against any city codes/regulations before you build and populate with chickens.
One of the best things that I have done for my chickens was to get them to drink their water from a water nipple. I have a water source going into a five gallon bucket with the lid secured. The water is regulated by a toilot float device. Then the water travels with the help from gravity down the pvc pipes to the nipples. I have 12 hens and 4 nipples, seems to be plenty for my girls. The girls adapted very quickly and the water remains clear, clean and fresh. No more pooping in the water. No more wet dirty jobs of emptying and cleaning the water tray. The hens are getting all the fresh clean water they want and I am getting a lot of beautiful eggs too.
R Guiliani on 9/11
R Guiliani on 9/11
If you want your chickens to get along with other animals, it can be done. I have only had chickens since around August of last year. Right now my chickens share a space with 2 lambs and an 8 week old puppy. The best advice I can give is to make sure the other animals do not mistreat the chickens. The lambs have been around the chickens since they were a few days old. I started by letting the lambs follow me through the coop and run while I fed and watered the chickens and gathered the eggs. The 2 species got a chance to become familiar with each other while I was there to supervise. I didn't let the lambs harass the chickens, although one lamb thought my black EE was her mother and kept following her around. The chickens now come out and 'graze' with the lambs. The lambs will sometimes poke the chickens in the butt trying to play, but the chickens seem to take it all in stride and just move out of their way. The puppy has been a little more work since she does want to play with the chickens. I have to keep reminding her that she is not allowed to chase or nip at the chickens. The chickens are not afraid of her and I have been able to leave them alone for short periods of time without incident. Last night the chickens were dust bathing when the puppy went over and moved them out of the way and strated rolling around in the dirt with them! I think she will be a good flock guardian! When you want animals of different species to get along, you need to have some knowledge of each species behaviors and use that to guide how they interact. It also seems to help if the non chicken species are young when they begin.
The best advice that I could give to any chick owner is to enjoy them while they're young. As a first time chick owner, I spend a lot of my time fussing over the temperature of the brooder, how clean the bedding was, how full the feeders was, and so forth. It wasn't until I looked at my four year old son holding his chick, Trample, that I realized how much Trample had grown in one week! Sometimes as parents, even chicken parents, we forget to just slow down and enjoy the ride! Soon our little chicks will be moving out and headed to their "college coop", so we're going to enjoy every moment as best we can!
I have had my backyard flock for almost a year now. We got the chicks at two days old and hand raised them from there. With two little ones they got lots of love! Our girls have been extremely happy and have a half acre as their ranging area. My advice would be to raise them from chicks and really get to know your chickens. They all have such different personalities. Know when I go out back and sit in my swing the girls all come and join me. The kids love to get the eggs and help with treats. It makes the experience to much more having a good relationship with them.
I am an absolute beginner when it comes to raising chickens, but one thing I have found important is to network with fellow chicken raisers, which includes the forums at this website. Seeking the council of those who have had experience with raising chickens has given me great advice. One of my favorite tools offered to beginning chicken raisers would be the Breeds tab. It has allowed me to discover the type of chickens I would like to raise in my area, that has a high large egg yield. Not only will the tab allow me to find out about the chicken, but is has comments from others who have raised the chicken breed and offered their own advice about the breeds.
As a beginner I have also greatly enjoyed the coops tab. I really enjoy the different coops others have uploaded onto this site, their advice to building one yourself and any adjustments they would have made if they were to build it all over again.
I'm still in the homework stage of starting to raise chickens but I feel like I'm about to join the venture into the chicken raising realm relatively soon.
The best advice I can give to raising chickens in your back yard is to ask a lot of questions and read as much as possible online and or in books. We read up on chickens before we got them and our favorite chicken information site is http://www.backyardchickens.com. We found all the information we needed about raising them and what they would need to live and survive. We even found links to sites about building coops. We learned about what breed of chicken would be best for our family and for our weather. When we brought our two day old chicks home.. we found answers to our many questions on the backyardchickens site. I don't know if I could have done the whole chicken thing without this site. We love our chickens and backyardchickens.com. Give chicken raising a try with the support and knowledge of your friends at backyardchickens.com. : )
Fantasize about your imaginary chicken flock for years. Covet all of the beautiful breeds that lay all of the most perfect eggs. Download images of every possible chicken coop on the planet and leave them scattered all over your kitchen to show to your husband and kids and friends. Try not to be jealous when your friends get their urban chicken flocks before you do. Scour your backyard for the perfect spot... not too close to the house and not too visible to the cranky neighbor. Train your Chihuahuas never ever chase birds. Then enter this contest, cross your fingers and hope you win that wonderful coop so you can run directly to the feed store and order your chicks. Thank you!