Biting off more than we can chew?

MrsFitzBear

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
11
0
22
Hello everyone, I'm new here, making the requisite introduction :)

My husband and I just bought our first 13 chicks, and are thinking of getting 3 more. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? My husband grew up with chickens, but it has been a long time. I have done tons of research, but have little to no practical experience. We have a large coop, at least 8 x 8ft, and tall enough for my 6'3'' husband to stand in comfortably. He is also building a large(?) yard for them, and we plan to let them range in our lawn and in the garden, once the plants are established. We have an 18 month old daughter, and another baby due late July, both of whom we would like to interact with the chickens as they are able. Does any of this raise any red flags for anyone yet?

So far, we have:
2 Silver Laced Wyandottes
2 Black Australorps
2 Rhode Island Reds
2 Barred Plymouth Rocks
2 Bantam Silkies (one each of black and white)
1 Delaware
2 Buff Opringtons (one of which I thought for sure was going to die, so I bought the Delaware to replace it, but my FIL seems to have nursed it back to health with some Malt-o-Meal and a toothpick)


We are thinking of getting another Delaware (we really like the idea of having pairs) and two Ameraucanas when our local feed store gets their last shipment.

We are mostly just raising chickens for eggs, and for the entertainment and learning experience. We go through at least two dozen eggs a weeks, sometimes three or four, and I'm sure our parents and other family members would be glad to take any extras off our hands. We really don't know how many eggs to expect though, with our variety and number of chickens.

Now an actual question: how often should I handle the chicks if I want to tame and socialize them? So far I've been visiting their breeder box twice a day, and holding each one for 30 seconds to a minute, checking for blocked vents and just generally petting and talking to them.

Thanks for reading, anybody that made it this far! I welcome any words of wisdom, or words of caution you can give! And answers to any of the questions I asked plainly or otherwise :)
 

MrsFitzBear

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
11
0
22
Also, I'm in Northern Idaho! Just thought it would be fun to find out if there was anybody else nearby :)
 

3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
8,454
3,215
512
Hello everyone, I'm new here, making the requisite introduction :)

My husband and I just bought our first 13 chicks, and are thinking of getting 3 more. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? My husband grew up with chickens, but it has been a long time. I have done tons of research, but have little to no practical experience. We have a large coop, at least 8 x 8ft, and tall enough for my 6'3'' husband to stand in comfortably. He is also building a large(?) yard for them, and we plan to let them range in our lawn and in the garden, once the plants are established. We have an 18 month old daughter, and another baby due late July, both of whom we would like to interact with the chickens as they are able. Does any of this raise any red flags for anyone yet?

So far, we have:
2 Silver Laced Wyandottes
2 Black Australorps
2 Rhode Island Reds
2 Barred Plymouth Rocks
2 Bantam Silkies (one each of black and white)
1 Delaware
2 Buff Opringtons (one of which I thought for sure was going to die, so I bought the Delaware to replace it, but my FIL seems to have nursed it back to health with some Malt-o-Meal and a toothpick)


We are thinking of getting another Delaware (we really like the idea of having pairs) and two Ameraucanas when our local feed store gets their last shipment.

We are mostly just raising chickens for eggs, and for the entertainment and learning experience. We go through at least two dozen eggs a weeks, sometimes three or four, and I'm sure our parents and other family members would be glad to take any extras off our hands. We really don't know how many eggs to expect though, with our variety and number of chickens.

Now an actual question: how often should I handle the chicks if I want to tame and socialize them? So far I've been visiting their breeder box twice a day, and holding each one for 30 seconds to a minute, checking for blocked vents and just generally petting and talking to them.

Thanks for reading, anybody that made it this far! I welcome any words of wisdom, or words of caution you can give! And answers to any of the questions I asked plainly or otherwise :)
Yes, 16 chickens is just right for your coop. Each chicken should have 4 sq ft in the coop and 10 sq ft in the poultry yard. Sounds like you have a nice collection there. Enjoy! Oh, make the run so you can stand up in it. There's nothing worse than having to get on your hands and knees and crawl thru chicken poop to retrieve a chicken in the poultry yard. I found that out the hard way, smile. Much easier to clean if you can stand up in it.
Best Regards,
Karen in western PA, USA
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,999
62,136
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

Congrats on all those new babies!! Sounds like your coop will incorporate all these birds. I would start to handle them right away. Carry them around the house, get them on the living room floor, just handle them. 30 seconds is not enough! LOL This will make them so much more easy to deal with as adults, they will be much friendlier and calmer around you. And these are friendly breeds to begin with. The Australorp breed is big on lap sitting! I can't sit anywhere outside without an Aussie wanting on my lap. But this comes from a lot of attention as babies.

If you need any tips and hints on raising your new brood, stop by our learning center for lots of good reads on all the aspects of keeping poultry...

https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

Make yourself at home here on BYC and welcome to our flock! Oh, and enjoy those new babies...they grow so fast.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! X3 on the Learning Center, there are several articles on raising/taming chicks as pets in the Chick section you might want to check out. You should get plenty of eggs out of that bunch, except for the Silkies I'd expect the girls to lay 4-5 eggs a week or better when they are young and laying well.
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium member
10 Years
Aug 26, 2009
125,567
176,675
1,857
Out to pasture
Do you mean "red flags," in regard to chicks and children? Children should wash their hands thoroughly before and after handling chicks. It's also a good idea to put goggles on them - chicks tend to peck shiny things and eyes are very shiny. It's also best if the children do not kiss the little chicks.

Children should sit on the floor to touch them - chicks are very fast and this helps prevents accidents from falling.
 

MrsFitzBear

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
11
0
22
Thanks, folks! I have another question, if anyone is still around to answer. Assuming that we get a few roosters in our mix, what is the best way to "find them new homes"? We would like to keep one, but will need to get rid of the rest. How old will they be by the time we can tell for sure if they are hens or roos? And will people still be willing to buy them at that age? Also, which breed of roo should we keep, assuming we have more than one in our current selection. Thanks for any advice you're able to offer!
 

MrsFitzBear

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
11
0
22
Sorry, a couple more questions! At about what age can we put our chicks out in the coop? We're afraid that they'll outgrow the tub we currently have them in before they're really ready to be outside. Our coop is well insulated, could we put them in there with their heat lamp and just not let them out into the run if they're not old enough to be outside? Also, if we have 16 hens, do we need 16 nesting boxes, or can we have fewer and have them share? As always, any help is appreciated!
 

MrsFitzBear

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
11
0
22
Sorry, a couple more questions! At about what age can we put our chicks out in the coop? We're afraid that they'll outgrow the tub we currently have them in before they're really ready to be outside. Our coop is well insulated, could we put them in there with their heat lamp and just not let them out into the run if they're not old enough to be outside? Also, if we have 16 hens, do we need 16 nesting boxes, or can we have fewer and have them share? As always, any help is appreciated!
I just found another post asking this same question, and they said that a good rule of thumb is one box per five hens. We currently have three boxes, so we'll just wait to see how many hens we end up with to see if we need to add a couple more boxes or not :) I'm still curious about when we can transfer them to the coop safely, if anybody has some advice :) Again, we live in North Idaho, so not exactly the warmest region...
 
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