1st time 'mother hen' from the Blue Hen state, Delaware (USA)! (with pictures)

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by rumbayly, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. rumbayly

    rumbayly Just Hatched

    Apr 6, 2016
    Good morning all!
    So, finally I bit off more than I can chew: went and got 6 little pullets from the TSC store to start my first flock for fresh eggs.
    I think I'm spoiling them, and I also don't know what breed they are, (Buff Operingtons?)
    Never had chickens before, but thought about it many times/read a bunch---so here we go!

    I have so many questions--which I am sure reading around this site I'll get a ton of information. Like, my coop holds 3-4 and now I have 6...geez, expanding already? Probably going to put a dog kennel up around it to make space. I'm reading the portable (tractor) vs. non portable now...Do they lose all these baby feathers or what age do they really 'start' to look like chickens?
    Also reading about the 'deep litter' method for examples...

    Just yesterday It got cold (freezing/frost 29 degrees) last night-so they are ok-still hanging out in the garage with the heat lamp. (4 weeks old). Everyone was chirping away this morning. Might put them in my green house for a while to warm up today (sunny).

    Oh, They already grew out of one box.. The ringleader hopped up on the top of the feeder and was like trying to lead them out like in Braveheart. Haha! So quoting the Jefferson's, I 'moved them 'on up' to the Eastside'...actually just a larger cardboard box...

    Here's my newbie profile:
    (1) Are you new to chickens / when did you first get chickens? Yes, totally new, got them 2 weeks ago.
    (2) How many chickens do you have right now? 6
    (3) What breeds do you have? Not sure, but they are 'supposed' to be pullets.

    (4) How did you find out about BackYardChickens.com? TSC employee who shows her chickens in 4H advised of the forum.
    (5) What are some of your other hobbies? Gardening, traveling, camping (travel trailer), gambling and bingo.

    (I didn't realize how much I sound like an ol' biddy there..I haven't earned my AARP card just yet.) [​IMG]
    (6) Tell us about your family, your other pets, your occupation, or anything else you'd like to share.

    I'm in my mid life crisis zone, so over the last 2 years, moved to DE from MD, changed career paths (same company), changed cars, and started gardening. I have 1 tween daughter, who really wanted the baby chicks (I was set on getting just 2 that were Rhode island reds/2 months old) but I gave in and now we have the 6 pack instead. We did this backwards, got the coop on clearance last year and just put it together last week. Then, the winds that came over the weekend blew the whole thing over (Its typically not windy like that here, was a bad storm). No other pets...

    I'll quit babbling on for now, putting some pictures below, and any suggestions on what to do next, like 'when' what age do I put them outside? Do I let them run around free in my garden?

    I haven't named any of them yet, waiting til they get 'bigger' but the personalities are:
    "Skiddy" (skiddish)
    "Fluffy" (likes to stretch the wings out)
    "Legs" (that one stretches her legs out alot)
    "Tiny" (smaller than the rest)
    "Brownie" (has darker spots on head)

    Thanks for reading and any info is welcome. Have a great day my peeps!
    Sharon "aka" 'rumbayly'




  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Hi there and welcome to BYC! Your first move is definitely gonna be to get a bigger coop. While that coop may have been advertised to hold 4 birds, prefabs like that use pathetically tiny space standards when coming up with these numbers. Looking at that coop I wouldn't put more than 2, maybe 3 birds in it. I'd recommend trying to source a shed-style coop (example - photo not mine) locally. Prefabs tend to be super weak, and most energetic dogs or determined raccoons can walk right through them, not to mention being absolutely tiny! The birds will also need a run for the day time hours. While you could easily fit 6-8 birds in a coop of the style/size I linked to above, it's very important that they have an absolute minimum of 10 square feet per bird run space, as that is where they will spend most of their time! Some people prefer tractors... I can't really comment on those, having never personally used them... that said, nearly anything can be a "tractor", you just have to put wheels on it. Usually 8-9 weeks they will molt into their juvenile plumage, and most will look like gangly, tiny, adult versions of themselves. Deep litter works good if you don't have too many birds. For small flocks it can really work quite nicely, though as I've found once you get to 100+ in a barn that isn't absolutely huge, the moisture builds up too quickly and the system goes downhill fast. Age to put them outdoors depends on weather, with standard sized birds like this, in cold weather 7-8 weeks, in warm 6-7, in hot 5-6... maybe 4 if it's really hot! I mean, you can let them in your garden, but only if you no longer want said garden and would prefer to have a patch of razed, barren earth instead... I mean while they are still young I suppose you could with minimal damage but once they mature to 10+ weeks they're gonna start getting their scratching and pecking instincts in... You have a gorgeous little flock, which appear to be Red Sex Link pullets. Lucky for you, since TSC is notorious for purchasing straight run chicks and selling them unmarked or as pullets.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
    2 people like this.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Queen Misha did a very thorough response - [​IMG] so I will just add Welcome to Backyard chickens.[​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC - you have some great advice already so I'll just say hello! [​IMG]

    All the best
    1 person likes this.

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