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Brand New at this.....Help!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by WindcrestChickens, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. WindcrestChickens

    WindcrestChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2008
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    Hi Everyone - My H and I recently bought the farm so to speak, and it came complete with an old but workable coop (both outdoor and in barn). I want to get ready for the spring and get it started again.....I need any and all advice. Including (but not limited to, so please tell me what I am forgetting...)

    1. What to do to coop to make it operable (I know I need to add fencing and an outdoor area, but it is clean as a whistle inside)
    2. Best time to buy eggs/get started
    3. Best place to buy eggs (east coast of NH)
    4. Equipment needed
    5. Is Bird Flu something I should worry about?
    6. Idea of daily/weekly chicken chores so the whole family can be involved.
    7. Cost

    I know it is a lot....Any and all info and advice is welcomed!
     
  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Sounds like FUN for you guys.

    Let me see:
    1. You'll probably need a Roost and nest boxes inside the coop - waterer and feeder.
    2. You can get started anytime, it is safer for chicks and eggs when it warms up a little - easier to brood and get them out the house as well.
    3. Look for a hatchery or breeder close to you.
    4. Other than feeder and waterer, I have a cat poop scooper, and a rake.
    5. Nope
    6. Our daily routine is opening them up in the morning, in winter throwing scratch or treats out. Evening same thing but we close them up - check and refill feeder and waterer as needed. I remove piles of poop when needed, but use the deep litter method so will only clean out again in spring.
    Oh and collecting eggs - we do that when ever someone gets the urge to go get a surprise.
    7. Depends how many you have. I spend about $10 on a bag of feed, which lasts me around 2-3 weeks. $10 on scratch right now - last a long time - over a month (I use just two cups a day) Sunflower seeds $20 a bag, and I'm still on my first.

    GOOD LUCK!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2008
  3. WindcrestChickens

    WindcrestChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks...but, Deep litter method???
     
  4. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with Wildsky completely on all counts.

    Deep liter is when you pile your litter high 8 inches or more and leave it here for a long time some chage it every few months others will leave it all winter. You will have to scrape off some poo that is under the roosts, I use paper and slip it under them where they sleep, I only have 5 so it is easy. then I pull it out when it gets full and toss in the compost pile.

    Good luck, there is nothing more exciting than finding that first egg, well maybe your babies first step is better, but not by much [​IMG]
     
  5. WindcrestChickens

    WindcrestChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2008
    New Hampshire
    So I can compost the poop? Do you use newspaper? I have dehydrated chicken poop for fertilizer, so I am assuming the real fresh stuff will go in my compost heap and add to it nicely?

    What do you use for litter? Oh I have a million of them...

    Is it sad that I am already picking out names? ha ha:p
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2008
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    A good thing to do for a complete newbie is to buy a copy of Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. GREAT easy to read reference book, as is Living with Chickens.
     
  7. WindcrestChickens

    WindcrestChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Excellent! Reading materials [​IMG]
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Just adding slightly to Wildsky'd comprehensive reply -

    Quote:Make sure to check for predatorproofness of the coop itself, don't take it for granted. Esp. look for gaps of 2" or larger in the lower parts of walls/doors, and anywhere higher up that a raccoon could climb in (and raccoons are surprisingly compressible when they want to be!)

    4. Equipment needed

    It would be worthwhile putting together at least a basic first aid kit in advance of need so you do not become one of the sad panicked people looking for a store that sells poultry vitamins on a sunday morning [​IMG] Use the forum's 'search' utility to find several good past threads with suggestions. Make sure to include a plastic dishpan type basin that can be used for bathing etc.

    6. Idea of daily/weekly chicken chores so the whole family can be involved.

    Don't forget watching, admiring, even socializing with the chickens - not exactly a chore I guess but good family activities nonetheless [​IMG]

    7. Cost

    I believe I am spending about $20 per year per chicken on feed - tho not making any particular effort to economize there. I have a $12 bag of oyster shell that will last a Long Time; I use stuff from gravel driveways and horse paddocks for grit but if bought I think it's in the same realm as oyster shell. That's about it, other than occasional repair/replacement type expenses -- unless you count the cost of getting more and more and more chickens as an expense, lol

    Yes, compost the poo, your garden will burgeon [​IMG] Many (incl. me) prefer softwood shavings for litter, buy in $5 bags from feed store [oh, I guess that's an additional expense... but not a large one)] but some people use other things like chopped hay, pine straw, etc. Many use sand in the run.

    Personally I am a big big fan of having a droppings board (like a shelf) below the roost to catch the phenomenal amt of poo they produce each night - cleaning the droppings board each day helps keep coop much drier and cleaner - but some use wire-covered droppings pits, and some just let it go on down to the general floor litter.

    Have fun,


    Pat​
     
  9. WindcrestChickens

    WindcrestChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2008
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    I am getting so excited to shop!

    What is the cost of chicks? Does anyone recommend any particular breed(s) for any particular reason(s)?

    I love the idea of the first aid kit - thanks....I love to plan ahead.
     
  10. WindcrestChickens

    WindcrestChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Do regular vets also cater to chickens? Just curious....
     

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