I am a new chicken farmer! I have never done this before except in pre-K but I don't remember a thing! So, here is my story:
It all started when we were taking a science test. My science teacher has chickens and she announced that her husband just texted her that her chicks had hatched. Then, she showed us a picture of them. She asked if any of us wanted any. My friend and I were like, "Yea!" So that night I started to do research on raising chicks. Then I asked my boyfriend what he thought, and since we are in college, he said that we couldn't keep a chicken in our dorm. Then I asked my teacher if I could "borrow" the chick and give it back to her when it was like 3 weeks old or so. I hadn't known then, and neither had my teacher, that the chicks would attack each other when we tried to put the chick back in the flock. If my teacher had known this, she wouldn't have offered them. So I told my boyfriend this, and he saw how upset I was. Then, on our anniversary, my boyfriend took me to see this row home 5 miles away from our college (I just wanted to tell you that we have been dating since middle school, so this wasn't rushing things). He said that in the backyard we would make a chicken coop and could raise chickens.
And since then, I have been doing so much research on raising chicks and chickens. I have over 10 pages! I have a plan to make a coop out of a leftover wooden playset that came with the house. The coop will include 4 nesting boxes, 2 skylights, 2 regular windows facing the south side, a door for me to get into the coop, a roost, a chicken ramp from he coop into an inclosed pen (and foot "gripers"), a big door for me into the pen, and then bedding and other such as a feeder and waterer. I am pretty such this will make a good coop for my chickens. I am new to this website and I don't know if you can do this, but if I am forgetting anything, please comment and give advice.
So, I was looking into different breeds of chickens, and I found out that Buff Orpington (BO) would be the breed for me. They are kind and motherly and would produce good eggs for my boyfriend and I. On the website mypetchicken.com, I found that you can buy BO fertilized eggs for $3.50. I also found a small incubator on mcmurrayhatchery.com that could fit 4 eggs. I would buy 4 BO eggs and then hatch them. I don't think our new neighbors would enjoy if we brought roosters to the neighborhood, so when the chicks are old enough to tell, I would have to get ride of the roosters. Is there anyway that someone can tell the gender of an egg before it hatches? Well, I don't really know. I really only want 3 hens, but I thought to order 4 incase one is a rooster. And if all 4 are hens, that is fine! I am so excited about them and the eggs should arrive at my house in a week or so.
I am so excited to experience the chicken raising life and would love any recommendations and suggestions. Here are a couple of questions I have that maybe someone could answer:
- If my chickens are getting older, can I buy more fertilized eggs and place them in a nesting box and expect a hen to sit on them?
- I am really confused on the turning process when the eggs are in the incubator. Could someone please cover this?
- Where can I sell a rooster?
- Will the chickens attack new chicks?
- If I do end up keeping a rooster, can you keep the coop dark to prevent early morning crowing?
- How can you tell the difference between boy and girl BOs when they are first born?
- Does the inside part of the chicken coop need to have a large door so I can physically go into it?
If anyone could answer any of these questions I would be so grateful. And there will be more questions coming soon. Thank you so much and I will keep you posted on my fertilized eggs!