Chicken beginner with a few questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Tacswa3, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello all,

    I will be setting up my new coop this weekend but don't have any chickens lined up. I would like some juveniles if I can find them. I don't want to wait months for eggs to show up and do the chick thing. (At least right now) There are plenty of Amish around me and have thought to check with them for available chickens, however they will not likely be vaccinated. I like the idea of vaccinated chicks from a hatchery.

    Can anyone recommend a reputable hatchery that they ordered from?

    Any advice for when I do get the chickens? Do I just drop them in the run/coop and let them figure things out?

    It is kinda cold here, 40ish or higher during the day and 30 or a little less on average at night. Do I need supplemental heat for pullets?

    I have a couple poultry books on the way about raising chickens and a veterinary book on poultry to help. Do you guys recommend any meds or vitamins that I should have on hand to start?

    I'll stop with the questions at this point, any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Just because birds have been vaccinated does not mean they can't get sick. The Marek's disease vaccine is what is most often given, however that's just one of a number of poultry illnesses out there. Some breeders do vaccinate for Marek's or a few other diseases, but you'd have to hunt around for them.

    Some hatcheries do offer close to laying pullets. Be aware that shipping juvenile birds is costly. Take McMurray for example. Cost per pullet is around $18. Shipping for one pullet is $72. Shipping for 6 pullets is $158. I've shipped birds before, and yes it really does cost that much.

    When you get them put them in the coop for a couple of days so they will learn where home is. Then give them access to the run.

    Fully feathered birds do not require supplemental heat. I don't think medications or vitamins are necessary.
     
  3. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Keesmom - Thank you for your response. Wow, I didn't know shipping costs were that high!! My run will be totally enclosed,including the roof. Do you mean keep them only in the coop for a while even though the run is enclosed?
     
  4. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes...that way, they will know where to go to roost at night. I am assuming, your coop is predator proof, as a run would be less so....even enclosed...also, if they are at POL ( point of lay ) best to keep them in coop, for a bit, to get them used to laying in nest boxes.

    If they have no Momma chicken to teach them...you will be the momma to them and your job will be to teach them what they need to do...

    Best of luck and congrats on keeping chickens!
     
  5. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got mine at 7 weeks old (it was summer at the time). They were fully feathered and I didn't have to mess with a brooder. I think that's probably the best way to do it so you know for sure your chickens are in their first year and they're old enough that they don't need a brooder.

    You can buy the vaccines (I think jefferson's supply has them). I read on here that a bird who is 5-6 months old or older won't benefit from it because they're likely already immune at that point. I'd also give them the fowl pox vaccine no matter the age.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  6. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    The coop is predator proof, its like a mini shed. No way to get in unless a door or window is left open. The "Run" is small and is a completely enclosed cage so to speak. The chickens would walk down the ramp into the run and would have access back into the coop as long as the door is open. They can't stray from the coop and run thats why I was wondering if they HAD to be kept in the coop for a while?
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    IMO, you're wasting your money for vaccination, but there are lots of conflicting opinions out there. I don't think the benefits really justify it, and as PP stated, there are lots of diseases. If you start with chicks, I'd recommend waiting until spring. If you start with young pullets, I'd recommend that you get them all from the same breeder at the same time so you won't have to deal with quarantine issues, and they can quickly establish a pecking order. Unless your temps stay above freezing, you might want to wait until warmer weather, b/c it is more difficult to take care of outdoor pets in the winter, especially if this is your first experience. Research the available breeds long before you choose your birds. Choosing chickens is like going in a candy store. So many wonderful options! Check out Henderson's chicken breed chart. Don't believe the literature re: how much s.f. a chicken needs in the run and coop. Chickens do not read those books, and trust me, they function on the premise that more is better, regarding space. If you have more room, you'll have less bullying in your flock. Finally, a last word of advice. Be prepared to obsess over your chickens when you get them. They are truly addictive, and to the best of my knowledge, there is no cure!

    What kind of wire is the run made of? Unless it's 1/2" hardware cloth, and there's a skirt completely surrounding it, it is not predator proof. weasels are found in the entire 48 states, and they can squeeze through any opening less than an inch, are capable of destroying a flock in a single night, even attack during the day (less often than night time) Any of the larger predators, including your neighbor's dog are able to tear chicken wire apart.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I personally don't vaccinate, so can't weigh in on that. Just wanted to say if your run is enclosed, as you say, you don't have to lock them in just the coop, that would be pretty pointless. Just keep them in the run for a good week or so. If you're planning to free range at all, wait at least that first week, it will make it so much easier to get them back in the coop/run when you want!
     
  9. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    The reason I said yes on the coop, is I have read post after post, from Op's that can't get their chickens to go into the coop at night, or it has taken weeks or even more, to hand carry them in at night until they finally "got it". The easiest solution is to keep them in the coop, for bout a week...then, when they go out in the run, or free range, they will, all by themselves, head back into the coop, come dusk. Saves a lot of work!

    Usually, a Momma chicken will teach the chicks this...with no Momma chicken...you become the teacher...mine were in their coop for 3 weeks, while the run was being finished...never had a problem with them going in at night! Just had to shut the pop door and latch things up!

    By the way, most of mine don't walk down their ramp, they launch themselves off it, flying all the way across the run [​IMG]
     
  10. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Great advice from everyone, I really do appreciate it.
     

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