Chickens 101

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by urbanchange90, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. urbanchange90

    urbanchange90 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 11, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    What are ten things you've learned from raising chickens that you didnt learn from books or didnt think of before you started that you would pass on to a newbie or beginner
    1 person likes this.
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Do not ever buy chickens at a swap meet or from someone you don't know personally, unless you want to end up with diseased birds like so many others on the emergency thread. Hatcheries are okay.
    6 people like this.
  3. Kernel Cluck

    Kernel Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 3: Use sand for your coop flooring. (my opinion and others might disagree)
    Make the enclosed part of your coop WAY bigger than you think you will need. (it is very difficult to add on.)
    Its not the cold.. its the moisture, build plenty of indirect ventilation into your coop.
    5 people like this.
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Any chicken that is not acting normal is SICK. That is your first clue. Put your hands on that chicken ASAP. Check body weight, proper skin color, good color comb & wattles, the crop should be full in the day empty in the morning. Isolate the chicken, observe feed & water consumption, see what poop looks like. Does the chicken feel hot or cold.

    Just don't stand back and watch from a distance until the chicken collapses. The sooner we/you can figure out solutions the sooner the chicken will be well again.

    When you bring new chickens home QUARANTINE them AWAY from your flock. Quarantine means putting them far away enough from your flock that they do not breathe the same air. For a minimum of 2 weeks PREFERABLY 4 weeks.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
    5 people like this.
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    A medicine chest is a good idea:

    Corid powder
    Blue kote
    Blood stop powder
    Honey or sugar
    Mineral oil - baby oil - castor oil
    Povodine iodine
    Bird vitamins
    Antibiotic ointment - no pain preventers
    Something for mites & lice
    Chicken probiotics
    Worming medicine
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
    10 people like this.
  6. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    1. Make it bigger, make the run bigger, make the coop bigger, make it bigger

    2. I really like a roofed run. It is even better if a large part is solid roofing (instead of just wire)

    3.I love PDZ filled poop trays. If you don't want to use PDZ, use something else, but make sure you use a poop tray or shelf

    4. a many leveled coop is best and wonderful. Make several levels of poop trays and perches, dusting levels and nest box levels.

    5. Never keep the water in the coop unless you want frost bite

    6. You must must must have perches with a minimum of a 4 inch flat surface or the toes will gt frost bite (but with lumber, I think a 2x4 is actually just 3.5, that is big enough)

    7. The personality of breeds bought from reputable breeders (even just back yard breeders) is usually much much better than the personality of breeds from hatcheries.

    8. a kind and wonderful rooster is possible but rare, keep trying until you find one, do NOT put up with a bad rooster

    9. they are living garbage disposals and can be fed burnt food, starting to rot food, starting to mold food, nasty leftovers, all meat bones with any meat still on them, fish carcasses, pumpkin rinds, stale popcorn from the movie theater (get that for free), weeds, etc. etc. etc.

    10. they can be great pets and, as my boys say, "snuggle pillows"
  7. urbanchange90

    urbanchange90 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 11, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    Awesome info guys
  8. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Battle Ground, WA
    1. The only three things in your medicine kit should be a mite/lice solution of your choice, a wormer of your choice, and a sharp hatchet.

    2. Never buy a bird from a hatchery. Temperament issues, reproductive systems problems that often are fatal or at least severely shorten the animals lives, inhumane treatment of breeding stock. Misleading information. Mixed breeds. It's just a bad idea. Genetically weakened immune systems from generation of isolated breeding in a closed/biosanitized environment.

    3. Vaccinating and Medicating sick birds only ends in heartbreak as the line gets weaker with each generation.

    4. Even if you never intend to show a chicken, buy the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection and read it, especially the first 40 pages.

    5. Focus on a small number of breeds at a time, probably no more than 3 at once.

    6. Don't let other people tell you what breed to raise. Pick what appeals to you, you're the one that has to take care of them everyday rain or shine. You'll do better with them, be happier, and stay with poultry longer. Extreme climate? If you want them bad enough you can make them work. People exaggerate how fragile chickens are.

    7. Know what role you expect your chickens to play. Do you want meat? Meat and Eggs? Just Eggs? That will have significant bearing on breed selection, housing, etc.

    8. The two most important things when housing are DRY and VENTILATION. You cannot have too much ventilation. Nothing will give you more health issues then dampness and moisture.

    9. Feed a good balanced commercial feed (preferably with some sort of animal protein, chickens are omnivores). If you're not a nutritionist, don't mix your own feed, and don't let supplements or "treats" make up more than about 10% of the food you provide for your birds.

    10. Ask questions from those that have been there the longest, then follow their advice, there is no substitute for experience it is the best teacher and what sounds good in theory over multiple decades may not always turn out the best.
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    All good advise here, even if conflicting opinions on some issues. Diseases are best prevented; be totally paranoid about biosecurity for your flock, and sources of birds. Hatchery chicks vaccinated for Marek's disease aren't a bad way to start; they won't be show quality, probably not up to breed standard size, but shouldn't bring in any diseases either. Try out several breeds that look interesting, then make your choices based on personal preferances. It is easier to manage birds that do well in your climate and environment. Everyone loves chicken! Whatever it takes to predator-proof at least your nighttime coop. No awful morning suprises, the birds face enough risks if you free range them in daylight. If you have bears, electric fencing too. Try bantams too, they're cute and fun. mary
    1 person likes this.
  10. 1. Older hens can get reproductive cancer
    2. Roosters are usually a lot bigger as then others as young chicks, people on BYC mostly can't tell size comparison by pictures.
    3. Some chickens are trainable/you can train them tricks
    4. Taking eggs away from a broody, is really hard!
    5. There is a type of comb called the noodle comb, not that important, I just like the name!
    6. House chickens can make great indoor pets
    7. A hen's 1st egg is a lot smaller, and get bigger each day
    8. Too much calcium for chicks is dangerous, it can effect their development (it's never happened to me but..)
    9. Roosters will almost never fight if they are away from hens, with hens they still rarely fight just slightly more often. But it is safe to keep a coop full of no more then maybe 5, possibly 6 roosters. The less roosters together the better
    10. BYC is much more helpful then any book or movie! They should really mention BYC in books! :)
    Just for fun pictures:


    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    3 people like this.

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