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Brand New and planning on getting Chickens for Eggs!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Suetheeggulator, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Suetheeggulator

    Suetheeggulator New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2014
    Hi Everyone,
    I am new to this Forum and am very excited as I am researching about everything I need to know about having some Chickens. I love my eggs every morning!

    I have longed for friendly pets and have heard that chickens can be funny and wonderful! We are a family of 6 and we eat 36 eggs a week. The chickens will be my main responsibility to take care of.

    Now for my question:

    Do you know where there are step by step instructions to take care of my chickens? Or do you guys have any kind of books or website? I checked on here but didn't find much. I'm planning on starting simple with some raised chickens who are already producing eggs... I am still a student so I want to make this an easy process and be succesful. We have five acres so I should be fine to have 12-15 chickens.

    Any Advice?

    Thanks,

    sueeggulator
     
  2. Shalom Farm

    Shalom Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would recommend picking up a copy of "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" and if you can get it "Talking Chickenese" ( http://www.thepamperedpulletsfarm.com/The_Book_Store.html ). Then I would invest in the"Chicken Health Handbook".

    They cover basically everything with more specialized stuff available for advice on BYC. Also, don't forget to browse University published research!

    http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/index.html
    https://sites.google.com/a/poultrypedia.com/poultrypedia/poultry-podiatry
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/6/diseases-of-poultry/217/vitamin-b2-deficiency
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/

    Above are good sites for more specialized questions
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Another option is to look in the Learning Center at the top of this page. Lots of good information in there.

    One thing I’ll warn you about. We all keep chickens in different conditions for different reasons. There is a world of difference in someone keeping four hens in a small urban backyard or someone pasturing hundreds of broilers or someone keeping a free range mixed flock of several hens, roosters and chicks. Some people keep chickens in their house, with or sometimes without diapers. Don’t dwell on that last one too much. What works for one person may not be wise for another to try. We all tend to write about what works for us in our unique situation. A lot of those university websites are geared toward commercial chickens, not backyard flocks but you can still learn a lot from them. I don’t care if it comes from Storey’s Guide or another book, a university website, a magazine article, or anything on this forum, including what I write. You need to determine if what they are saying is suitable for your method and conditions.

    There are a lot of rules-of-thumb and general guidelines throughout the literature, often conflicting. That’s because they cover different situations. Most of the guidelines given on this forum are geared more to the person keeping 4 to 6 hens on a small urban lot. The further you get form that model, the less they mean. And they are pretty conservative and safe for that model. They are intended to keep about anyone out of trouble under a wide range of climate and management techniques.

    I may be making this sound hard. It’s not. It can be pretty simple if you allow it to be. Chickens need food, water, protection from predators, protection form the worst of the environment, and enough space to be chickens. If you can cover that in your unique situation, you will be successful.

    You might check out the link in my signature for my thoughts on space and I consider these articles as required reading for anyone planning a coop or run

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    And just for fun, you might look through Henderson’s Breed Chart to check out the characteristics of different breeds and Feathersite to see photos of how pretty they can be.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart
    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    Feathersite
    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html

    Good luck. Hope you join the adventure.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    An other book that I'd recommend is "The Small Scale Poultry Flock" by Harvey Ussery. Do a comparison of all books suggested before spending money on any. Local library may also be a good resource, as well as the internet. Beware, just because it is in print, that doesn't make it completely true. And as previously mentioned, there are lots of opinions and ways to successfully raise chickens.

    The advice I'd give you: Research the available breeds, and choose a docile, easy to manage breed. What is your climate like? There are breeds that excel in warmer climates, as well as other breeds that excel in colder climates. Do you want egg laying machines, or a bird that will perhaps lay a few less eggs, but live longer? Do you want a chicken that will be good at free ranging, or will your birds be kept in confinement? Will you eventually want to have a rooster and hatch some eggs either under a broody hen or in an incubator? The answers to all of these questions will help you decide which breed(s) to get. Regarding your coop: don't believe it when you look at a cute little pre-fab coop that is reported to house x number of chickens. The literature almost always mis-represents the amount of space required to keep a chicken happy, especially if the chickens will be experiencing winters with freezing temperatures. Also, chicken wire is designed to keep chickens in, not to keep predators out! For that, you'll need 1/2" hardware cloth, as well as a wire skirt around the base of the coop. Finally, whether you choose started pullets or day old chicks, it's best to get them from the same source and at the same time. If you add new birds at a later date, you'll be dealing with quarantine and integration issues.

    Sue, I guarantee that you'll have a blast with this endeavor. Kudos to you for doing your research before you jump into poultry keeping!
     

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