Advice for a newbie?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Barb Schuetz, May 24, 2007.

  1. Barb Schuetz

    Barb Schuetz Songster

    May 24, 2007
    Viroqua, WI
    Alright, here it is. I have never had chickens in my life and I want to have some for personal use. I plan to only have a handful of layers- free range in my garden+ yard area. I would rather not have a rooster yet but I am considering it in the future. Now here's where most of the needed advice comes in, I've heard from a few ppl that having a tom would be a good substitute for the rooster for the time being. Is this true and if so, what kind of housing is needed? I'd like a pair of geese as well, will this be an ok mix? What about housing for the geese? Can I somehow combine the housing? Anything I should be aware of that I may not already know? Oh, and how can I prepare the housing for winter/how does the care for the birds change in winter other than the lack of garden? Any pointers are much appreciated.
  2. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    Welcome to this forum, and welcome to the Addictive Art of Chicken Keeping!

    There are people on here with far better advice than I regarding geese and turkeys, but I thought I'd give you a bit of info on chickens.

    You do not have to have a rooster unless you want babies, or want a beautiful lawn ornament. They will lay fine without a male around (including a turkey).

    Second, as far as keeping them warm in winter, we insulated our coop with R-17 type house insulation (it was leftover), but that is due to the fact that we live in Maine, and I wanted to be SURE They would be ok when the temp drops below freezing. We also plan to hang a light in there for extra warmth. I think a lot it depends on where you live, and what you can expect over the winter.

    Good luck with them! I'm having a blast with my babies. They are so cute and funny to watch!

  3. Barb Schuetz

    Barb Schuetz Songster

    May 24, 2007
    Viroqua, WI
    Thanks for the info! We live in sw wisconsin, I probably should have mentioned that in my original post. BTW, I usually use the tune of Buffalo Soldier![​IMG]
  4. Barb Schuetz

    Barb Schuetz Songster

    May 24, 2007
    Viroqua, WI
    I have another question, Is it possible to acuire layers that have already begun laying? Or can you only start out with chicks? Haow do you know a reputable breeder from one that's not? Ok that was more than one question. Any answers?
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Welcome, Barb.

    I take it that you have never had chickens nor geese?

    You will get a lot of great chicken advice from this forum. Good luck with them. You will have a blast with them. I hope you have a wonderful experience putting together your flock.

    Geese are another story.

    Geese need a larger area to wander about in as well as a water source (small pond, etc.) Geese are MEAN. If you want a guard dog -get the geese. They are not gentle. They are protective over their living space and nests. They will hiss and come after anything and anyone that gets near to invading their space. They bite. They have a serious bite. I have never met a 'nice' goose. I am sure that somewhere in this world someone has had a nice goose but in general geese are not nice.
  6. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Hi Barb,

    It is possible to aquire hens that are just about to start laying, and they are referred to as POL (point of lay) pullets. They are around 18-21 weeks old at this stage. If you do want to get POL pullets then you will have to go to a reputable breeder (there are lots on here) rather than a hatchery.

    I've had all my birds at anywhere between 6 weeks to POL, simply because the postal service here refuses to mail chicks, and if I ended up with a rooster I'd be in serious trouble!

    You don't need a rooster for them to be happy / lay / lay better / be protected, or anything other than to fertilise eggs. A tom turkey won't do anything either, except you do get cases where chickens give turkeys blackhead, even though the chickens don't show symptoms.

    There are such things as nice geese. At the farm where I work, there are two Chinese geese, and they wander round, with nothing inbetween them and the three year olds that wander around (it's a city farm, open to the public). They have never been aggressive, and I was told it's to do with the breed.
  7. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    My advise for a rookie is don't get to overtwhelmed by chicks. Sure at first they are little and don't take up much space but soon they will grow. Start small maybe 6 pullets. Read read read. storeys guide to chicken raising is good. Get good beginner birds ie such as Buff Orpingtons, Australorps or Barred Rocks. Buffs are excellent, very quiet docile birds. I wouldn't recommend a rooster. Many of us usually get one anyway at one point of time because of a mix up at the feed store or hatchery. Roosters start out nice but when the hormones kick in it is a whole differnet story and the crowing may drive ya nuts. You can buy starter pullets, they may be harder to find. They might not be as tame as chicks that you have raised. Good luck.
  8. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    It's funny, I was just talking to my mom the other day about the geese we had when I was a little kid.

    She was telling me how SUPER friendly they were, and how they loved to cuddle and be scratched... I, on the other hand, remember that the geese wouldn't let my sister and me OFF THE PORCH. They didn't seem so friendly when I was 5!!
  9. Motherhenandflock

    Motherhenandflock Songster

    May 17, 2007
    Southeast Idaho
    Hi Barb, Here's a link to a reputable hatchery. Their pullets are 17 weeks old, nearly laying. Yikes and the beaks are trimmed! They would look funny!
    Personally, I get a real kick out of running to the post office at 5am to pick up my box of 25 little peepers.[​IMG] There's nothing like going through the catalog, paper or online and choosing what you want. If 25 is too many, I just sell off what I don't want to keep. There are always buyers in my area.
    Some hatcheries will sell less than 25.

    Not to take away from Barb's questions, but MissPrissy: about the geese being mean. I've always heard that too. But I see "good reviews" for Buff and Pilgrim geese. They are supposed to be calmer and friendlier. Any comments on that? I am wanting geese too but I don't want to have the family cower anytime we go outside![​IMG]

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