Beginner With Several Questions

Hillbilly Tilley

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
4
0
7
Hello Everyone, I live in West Virginia and want to start a small (6-12) free range flock this spring. I have a couple of questions with which I hope you will give your opinion. I would like to free range during on about five acres, mix of hay field and woods, and supply a coup for the nights. What breed would you suggest? How long do the chicks spend in the brooder before they can be moved to the coup? After moving to the coup, can they be turned out or do they need to spend time in the coup? I also keep bees, will the chickens eat honeybees? Any other tips of suggestions of any kind is apprecitated.

Hillbilly
 

jeaucamom

Songster
12 Years
Oct 1, 2007
2,211
17
214
Ophir, CA
Quote:
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from CA!! Your chicks will need to spend about 6 weeks inside under a heat lamp until they are fully feathered. You start at 95 degrees (need thermometer in brooder) and decrease by 5 degrees each week by raising the lamp. Free ranging on 5 acres sounds heavenly, but you have to realize that predators will get your chickens, the smarter plan is to build a run for them. We have about an acre fenced off with chicken wire and Tposts and works great during the day. For night, they will have to have a predator proof coop and they need to be locked in and let out in the am.

As for breeds, if you are in the north, try looking for cold hardy breeds. Other than that, it depends on if you want them for eggs or meat or both, and of course the ever important what is your favorite color they come in
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They will also do fine with the honeybees. Good luck!!
 

Hillbilly Tilley

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
4
0
7
Thanks for the quick responses. This bring up another question. Is it possible to house/run several different breeds together? If you run several different breeds together how do you pick a rooster? I would just like pets that lay eggs.

Thanks,
Barry
 
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jeaucamom

Songster
12 Years
Oct 1, 2007
2,211
17
214
Ophir, CA
Absolutely.. IMO the most beautiful site in the whole world is a mixed flock with all the different colors etc. Just beautiful!!! I would be careful to mix bantams and the bigger varieties like Brahmas because a Brahma roo will squash a bantam hen if you get my drift. But if they are all raised together from day olds, it is not a problem.

Good layers are barred rocks, Rhode Island Reds, any of the sex links, either black, golden or red, California whites and grays, Welsummers, Easter Eggers and I am sure several others. You can decide whether you want white, green, blue or brown eggs.
 

jettgirl24

Songster
9 Years
Feb 21, 2010
1,026
13
163
Duvall, WA
Chickens don't distinguish whether or not their fellow chickens are of another breed. They house together just fine... If you keep roos they will breed with any girls in sight so the only reason to seperate breeds would be to avoid cross-breeding.
 

gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
15,506
423
358
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Absolutely! I have 9 chickens right now, with 4 more chicks in the brooder. I got all different breeds because I'm a newbie and I wanted to be able to tell them apart. Because, of course, I named them. If they were all Rhode Island Reds, I'd never be able to tell Rhoda 1 apart from Rhoda 6, or 5....
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The breeds of chickens I have out in the coop/run are all listed in my signature. The newest four chicks in the brooder are: 2 Welsummer, a Plymouth Rock - Barred, and a Rhode Island Red.

So my flock is quite colorful. They're all layers or dual-purpose with medium to high laying rates (although I'll never use 'em for the "other" purpose - I just wanted eggs, colorful birds and different personalities). I didn't want to get any white chickens because I'd read that those are easier for predators to spot from a distance.
 

Oreo

In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 10, 2008
53
4
41
South Carolina
They will range quite far-- I got a letter from the county saying a neighbor called in and complained on me for letting my chickens get on their yard. I know the neighbors next door on both sides, and the ones beyond them, didn't call the feds on me, so it had to have been at least three houses down (nobody lives across the road). Right now my three girls and one boy are taking a vacation at my neighbor a mile down the road until I figure out what to do with them-- build a run, or something. We only have one acre, fully fenced, but fences mean NOTHING to chickens, unless the fence is extremely tall. It's only about four feet tall and they can hop right up on it and down the other side, plus our gate is not covered with chicken wire yet.
 

MANNA-PRO

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