Brand New...Please Advise!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickyChick2, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. ChickyChick2

    ChickyChick2 Out Of The Brooder

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    So....I need some advice. I've been wanting to have chickens for awhile. My dream is to homestead and have all sorts of animals but alas, we are suburbians until our finances change. We have half an acre, 4 rabbits, 2 dogs, 3 kids, a creek that runs through our backyard and a vegetable garden. And while we work full time, I have finally convinced my husband to let me add two chickens! Woo-hoo! [​IMG]

    But now I am suddenly having second thoughts....I blame this on the stomach flu we had this past weekend and the thought: "OMG what if the kids get salmonella??!" (I have a barf phobia.) My kids are 5 and 3, and one on the way. I feel bad that they already can't play in the grass much because of all the dog poop (we clean it up once a week but jeez those dogs poop a lot! And I know chickens are even worse).

    I would love to hear from suburban families with kids (especially people who work full time). My kids love playing with our friend's chickens and I know they would love the experience of caring for and owning chickens. I know some people are ok with letting their kids run through poop but now I am paranoid about the salmonella factor. Of course, they will wash their hands before they eat or come inside and will leave their "chicken shoes" outside but I heard it can even be brought inside on clothing. How common is getting salmonella from backyard chickens really?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Your children are already exposed to salmonella, coccidiosis, staph, e-coli and a myriad of other pathogens every day. Then they're exposed to the snot soup served up where ever kids congregate. Do they wash their hands? Of course they do. You see to it that they maintain basic hygiene. Nothing will change in that arena if you get chickens. I'd be more concerned about getting salmonella from eating a fried egg cooked from a grocery store egg than I would about getting salmonella from any of my chickens. Yes, dog poop is gross. I think it smells worse than chicken poop. I'm not a suburbanite... more rural than that, but I've had chickens this time around while raising children (youngest is 8 years old) and had chickens in my younger years while my own children were toddlers. Never once did they get sick from the chickens. I have pictures of my 2 y.o. holding a chicken, none so gently... sometimes half upside down. Healthy kid, she was! However, I recommend that if you're going to get chicks or even full grown chickens, you get 4. Chickens are flock animals. If you get 2 and one dies, you've got a very lonely chicken on your hands. If you get 3, there may be 2 girls who are BFF to the exclusion of #3. If you get 4, your flock may be more content. 4 chickens are no harder to take care of than 2. Just be sure you give them plenty of space in the coop (4 s.f./bird) and run (10 s.f./bird)
     
  3. ChickyChick2

    ChickyChick2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, thank you for the advice!
     
  4. ChickyChick2

    ChickyChick2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2015
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  5. toynutz

    toynutz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi and welcome to BYC. I agree with the 4 chicken suggestion. I started with 5 day-old chicks and ended up with 4 girls and a roo. But then had really bad luck and lost 3 to EYP within a couple months and struggled to find and integrate 3 replacements. You don't need to go thru something like that!

    So I looked at that link. Lots of info there. Will your planned paddock setup have a secure coop? My main concern here is predators... hawks, eagles, dogs, coons, etc., so a good secure coop and run is a must for me. Plus it offers protection from the elements; they don't like wind, rain, and snow very much. There's so much to think about when first starting and lots of questions along the way... this is a great place to go for help and advice.
     
  6. ChickyChick2

    ChickyChick2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for responding and for the advice! Their coop is definitely secure and it actually has a small attached run so I will only really be letting them out into the paddock when we're home from work and outside with them (so I guess I'm not doing the true "paddock rotation" shh....don't tell the blogger [​IMG]). We have an English Shepherd for the purpose of guarding the rabbits and their hutches so I'm planning to train her to guard the chickens as well, which will help. Although I agree, I still don't think I'd feel comfortable with them in a free paddock without any netting on the roof or something to keep away the hawks and to keep the chickens from flying out. There are some 19 week old Red Sex Linked nearby that I am looking to purchase.

    I like the paddock idea because I also don't want them to ruin our lawn....I'm hoping that rotating where they free-range will help keep our grass from dying. Also, because of the creek running through, it's impossible to completely fence our yard (otherwise I would just let them free-range!).
     
  7. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That system looks great if you have the room for it. Wish I did!
     
  8. ChickyChick2

    ChickyChick2 Out Of The Brooder

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    HighStreetCoop - what system do you have?
     
  9. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I have a coop and run with free ranging when I'm home (so after work and weekends).
     
  10. ChickyChick2

    ChickyChick2 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd love to see pictures of anyone's set-up!
     

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