Brand new... With questions

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by UpstateNewbie, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. UpstateNewbie

    UpstateNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 24, 2016
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    Hi everyone! So excited to join the ranks of chicken enthusiasts. I have nothing at the moment as we are trying to get a handle on things before we start. Coop construction begins this weekend, hooray! My first question is about getting chicks. I have read all sorts of things about WHEN to get your chicks and it seems that there are pros and cons to all different seasons. I live in NY. And since spring has come and gone (in a flash I might add!) we are looking at purchasing in late summer/early fall. My main concern is that we don't unnecessarily subject the young girls to stress and low temperatures based on our eagerness to get started. Would you recommend waiting until next spring or are we underestimating their abilities? And can we assume that (if we do start this year) it will be difficult to obtain chicks?

    Next questions... I live in a very remote area. We have 8 acres that are mostly woods but a decent amount of cleared land around the house. In the warmer seasons we plan to let the girls roam free during the day. Should I be worried that they might venture off into the woods? Also, my neighbor (~1/8 mile away) has chickens and a rooster. Would that be something that would lure the girls away?

    Lastly (for now), any thoughts on good egg layers for a beginner? There are SO MANY breeds!! What to do!? There are a few that we are thinking about but since we've no experience it is based solely on what we've read. The ones we think we like are Australorp, Amber Star (hybrid?), and light Sussex. I have no clue how reasonable those are to obtain/keep. What do you think?

    Looking forward to chatting with you all!! Thank you!!!:D
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us! Before I start answering the questions, do have a look around the Learning centre here:

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

    There is a lot of great information there.

    Regarding the coop, have you a design in mind yet? If not, you'll get loads of ideas here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/2/Coops

    The chicks, a breeder friend of mine taught me that the best time of the year to be raising chicks, if you want to give them the best possible start, is Spring and early summer. If you can wait that long, that would be ideal. In spring it will also be easier to find the breeds that you are looking for, as most breeders will be hatching and selling and then there is the feed stores' chick sales of course..

    Regarding them roaming free, my concern here is possible predators. (There is a section in the Learning Center on predators and preventing attacks and losses) Also, if there is another flock nearby, there is the possibility that they may venture over there, or some of that flock may come over to visit with yours.

    The egg layers, yes there are loads of breeds! Too many almost. The three you have in mind are all 3 very good layers as far as I know. I had an Australorp hen that laid well at the ripe old age of 7, currently a light Sussex that is laying nearly daily and have been since September when she came into lay. For more ideas, have a look here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/733432/best-egg-laying-hens/0_30

    I think that's everything? lol Let us know if you need any more help/advice [​IMG]
     
  3. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     
  4. UpstateNewbie

    UpstateNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 24, 2016
    Albany, NY
    Thank you for your reply! Yes, I've been checking out the learning center everyday to read on as many topics as I can. My husband has been appointed foreman of coop construction. It's going to be an 8x8 mimicking the layout of one designed by an Ag Engineering Dept from U of Wisconsin (with a few tweaks). We planned to fence off 60'x16' for the outdoor run. Do you think that will be sufficient and just scrap any free ranging ideas. We can definitely hold out until spring if that is what's best for the girls.

    Again, thanks for the reply!
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    You're welcome [​IMG] If you're only keeping a small number of hens, that will be nearly as good as free ranging for them, a run that size. Predators are always on my mind, in isolated places like yours, with not too much human activity especially. I have lost too many birds to critters, personally, so I'm leaning toward caution and prevention. For the coop, before you build, consider making it a bit bigger, unless you are limited by local ordinances on the number of hens you can keep, once you get into the hobby and find how enjoyable chicken keeping is, you are probably going to do what 99.99% of us do and want more chickens! It's call "chicken math", you'll see the term around the forum, now you know. Consider yourself warned [​IMG] I am personally a good example, I managed to build up a flock of over 100 birds in surprisingly short time though I'm currently housing a much smaller number, I am adding steadily again. In fact I added a new bird today… and I have eggs hatching about 2 weeks.

    On a side note, if you're interested in documenting the coop build and making a page to share with us, we always have a coop page contest on the go here is the current one: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-and-run-page-contest-winter-spring-2016/0_30

    And to add to your temptation research, I'm slowly working my way through most of the known breeds here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/975504/chicken-breed-focus-project/0_30
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    X2 on the predators. We live out in the middle of nowhere and when you are out in the boonies, the predators really do over populate. Most chickens will stick close to home when free ranging, but they can wander a few acres away. I free range my birds with supervision only. When I am out side or can check on them frequently...if not, they have a huge run they get to hang out in. If you find you need to confine your birds more than free range, give them huge spaces. The minimum requirements for a run are 10 square feet per bird. My birds find this is confining so I do recommend you at least double this space.

    Make yourself at home here and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    Welcome to our flock! :)
     
  7. Donna R Raybon

    Donna R Raybon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The reason spring is best to grow out chicks is the day length is increasing. If you have electricity in coop you can set up timer to mimic legthening spring days. Set timer to lengthen day on mornings so regular sundown allows them to roost naturally. Spring/summer long days give birds more time to eat which means they grow out quicker. Also, if you live in snow covered winter land the birds won't get a chance to be out on grass in winter. You can raise chicks year round if you have space, correct lighting and a way to keep them warm.

    As newbies I would either wait until March or see if you could locate juvenile birds hatched this spring. I would find reputable breeders as close as possible so you can visit and they can mentor.

    A good investment is to join American Poultry Association and get yearbook. There is listing about various breed clubs, too. We have French Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans, Buff Orpington and are members of those breed clubs. This gives us access to membership list so we can find other breeders with good birds.

    Also, the National Poultry Improvement Program is also good place to look. You can find your state and download participants list. Then go download the stock codes so you can search for your breed. I absolutely would at a minimum want to buy birds only from NPIP certified pullorum and avian flu clean birds.

    I would also find out about any upcoming poultry shows as they are great to meet folks. These events are usually hosted by a local poultry club. They have regular meeting so a great source of info, mentoring, and good birds.
     
  8. UpstateNewbie

    UpstateNewbie Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 24, 2016
    Albany, NY
    So THAT'S what chicken math is! lol! I'm learning so many cool things! I had no idea that eggs didn't have to be refrigerated right away!

    You folks are so generous with your knowledge, thank you!
     
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC
     
  10. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    I see others have already answered your questions for you, so I'm just here to say :welcome
     

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