1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login, otherwise join BYC here!

Calling all experienced backyard chicken folks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hairchick1, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. hairchick1

    hairchick1 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Oct 14, 2012
    I am trying to learn as much as I can to maintain a 3 hen flock for fresh eggs in the city. I am open to any suggestions. I also would like to know if anyone sells Gingernut Rangers in the Piedmont area of NC. At first, I thought about Dominiques, but after reading about the breed, it seems they would be unhappy confined to a smaller coop. I would also like advice about a breed that will be a good egg layer, not broody, ( don't plan on hatching any chicks) and is friendly, likes to be handled and doesn't mind smaller spaces. If someone has a really neat and easy to construct, mobile coop that they would like to share as well, that would be awesome too.

    Open to all advice.

    Hairchick
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    269
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    Planning on putting them in a place where they don't have adequate room means you'll have problems from the get-go. But since you plan on only three, how much space will they have? How much in the coop, and how much outside it?

    Bantams take less space but lay a smaller egg. Most of your breeds that generally are "friendly" are also broody. However, just because a breed doesn't have the reputation of being friendly doesn't mean yours won't be. As far as liking to be handled, most really do not like that. And the ones that do have usually simply grown up being handled and have had nothing but good happen when they get picked up so allow it.
     
  3. hairchick1

    hairchick1 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Oct 14, 2012
    I was also considering a Plymouth Rock Bantam. The coop I am planning on building will be at least 5x4x4 with an completely enclosed out area of 4x5x10 feet. I plan on having 3 nesting boxes, lots of screened windows that can be sealed in cold weather and opened for ventilation in the spring and summer. It will be mobile so I can move it occasionally and I will have a heat source that I can use when it gets to cold. I am just worried that the Plymouth might get depressed in this limited space. What do you think? I am trying to find a class or group or club that I could go sit in on and learn as much as possible before I make this important commitment.
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    269
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    I don't know what area of the country you live in but that sounds WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYyyy too small for most. Maybe Bantams of some sort would be your best bet.

    Reason I mention "part of the country" is that if you are where it gets very cold, they will be spending a lot of time in that tiny coop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Look at something like sex links, they're good backyard birds. Most of your "dual purpose" or "heavy" breeds will do okay......rocks, australorps, orpingtons, wyandottes. Give them as much space as you can.

    You need to have a plan in place for maintaining production, also. With only three birds are you going to sell them when they're 18 months or so (after they peak for production) and start with chicks again, thus not having eggs for 5ish months? Will you consider your birds pets and give them a home with you forever, feeding them even though they're not productive? Will you just restock with pullets at point of lay, thus limiting your time without eggs?

    These are all important things to start thinking of now, also.
     
  6. handyman

    handyman Out Of The Brooder

    Red Stars sound good for you. They have great personalities and should be just fine in the space you are talking about.
     
  7. tarrbaby

    tarrbaby Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    32
    Aug 11, 2012
    Marylands Eastern shore
    I started out with a few adult hens of unknown breed, the have been great egg producers and loads of fun, so last spring i purchased a few chicks red stars and brown leg horns they are now 6 months old the lady atthe farm store says they should be laying by now, they are beautiful but no eggs,any advice?
     
  8. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,242
    208
    208
    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Hello! I have 5 hens in a very small yard in urban Los Angeles. I don't have to deal with the weather, but city birds in a small space is definitely my life. My coop is about 8 x 4 x 6.5 I would guess. The bottom half is a very small inclosed run area and the top half is roosts and 2 nests. (I made it myself with an old bookcase and fencing materials) I let them free range in my full yard during the day and then shut them in at night. With three birds you only need one nest box. They like to share. (4 birds per box is the general rule).

    I have tried several different breeds to try to find what I like. Bantums are cute and take up a lot less space but also lay pretty small eggs so that is definitely something to keep in mind. My white leghorn is my best layer by far and I think my favorite chicken but she is very adventurous, can fly really well, and is an escape artist. She has gone to visit the neighbors more than once. I have also had a RIR and a wyandotte, which may be a better bet for you. They were both good layers with good personalities and less adventure.

    If you can let your birds free range, even if it is only for a hour or two a day or even only part of the year then I highly recommend you do it. They really do not do as well shut up all the time and can start to pick on each other.

    If they are going to be shut in make sure you feed them grit separate from their feed. They need this for digestion and will not be able to find it themselves if they are shut in. You may also want to consider sprouting your own fodder which can be done in a small space in doors and will give them greens to munch on year round with little effort and expense (PM me if you would like more resources for this). Meal worms are also a great treat that is easy and space saving and you can do yourself. (Cheap, DIY and small is how I make this all work)

    I think Donrae has a really good point about thinking in advance how you are going to handle your birds when you are only allowed so few. Are they pets that happen to lay eggs and you will keep them regardless or are they for eggs and you are going to rehome or process them once they are not laying regularly. I have 2 show quality birds that are pets and three laying hens that I plan to process and replace as they age. This works well for me but is not for everyone.

    Here is my small coop. What you can see is basically my whole yard with small patio and long concrete driveway in addition.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
  9. hairchick1

    hairchick1 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Oct 14, 2012
    Thank you all for your input. I love the coop pics and all the advice on which breeds. I know I could work in some supervised free ranging in the yard as long as they can't jump a 5 foot fence. I will age out my birds and replace them. Yes, I will process them ( I learned how to "process" them on my neighbors farm as a teenager ). So actually I will replace as they "age out". Now, of course, if one endears itself to us, she will be sparred. But I will not keep more than 4 at a time and prefer to keep it at 3. As far as eggs go, I will be happy to get 2-3 dozen a month and anything else will be gravy. I am reading and studying and have decided to postpone my chicken endeavor to this spring so that I have ample time to build and equip a proper coop, double check city ordinances and find just the right breed for our needs. Please keep posting any and all feedback, as I love to learn from others experiences.
    Thanks y'all,
    Hairchick
     
  10. abChicken

    abChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    746
    10
    151
    Mar 10, 2008
    Gaston County N.C.
    [​IMG]ChickensRDinos
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by