Completely new at this

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lmabernathy, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. lmabernathy

    lmabernathy Hatching

    Jun 2, 2010
    I currently have no chickens but I own and operate a small horse farm. I also have a 1/4 acre garden. I am interested in getting a couple full grown chickens to help keep bugs down in the garden.

    1st-will this work or will the chickens eat the veggies too?

    2nd-eggs would be nice but I don't want a million chickens, do I need to have a rooster? What is the smallest number of chickens you can keep successfully?

    3rd- this is a 16 acre farm, surrounded by neighborhoods-not a whole lot of predators. Do I have to have a chicken coop?

    4th-how much trouble are chickens to raise? What is the easiest breed of chicken to keep?

    Thanks in advance
  2. PriceFamilyFarms

    PriceFamilyFarms Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Henderson, NC
    Hello and welcome!

    1. chickens love least mine do

    2. you don't need a rooster to have eating eggs. you'll average about an egg a day from layers. multiply how many people in the household and that's a good starting point for how many you want if just for eggs.

    3. I have 42 acres. You'll need a coop for the chickens to have shelter, nest in, have protection from predators - you'll have them believe me!

    4. Chickens are very easy to keep. You're climate will help you choose the best breed. Some do very well in hot weather, while others handle brutal cold well. Buff orpintons, barred rocks and rhode island reds are great layers and do well in most climates.

    Hope this helps!
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:You're welcome.
  4. PriceFamilyFarms

    PriceFamilyFarms Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Henderson, NC
    on another note...I have one runner duck that is allowed in my garden...she keeps the bugs down alot and doesn't eat everything.
  5. CrazyBirdLady

    CrazyBirdLady In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2009
    Salem / Redgranite
    Quote:Hi! I also don't have any chickens, but I spend a lot of time here reading and plan to have chickens very soon.

    Quote:I think the chickens will also eat your veggies, though I believe ducks are great gardeners.

    Quote:You do not need to have a rooster, and I believe you should have at least 2-3 chickens. They're social animals and happier if they have a 'friend'.

    Quote:I wouldn't be surprised if predators suddenly showed up once they discovered free food hanging around.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  6. carrlr

    carrlr Songster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    1. Chickens can do damage...depends on how many chickens and how much time they have in the garden.

    2. Don't need a rooster. I would recommend at least 2-3 chickens.

    3. You don't need a fancy coop, but do need some protection from the elements. I've seen folks with a small number of chickens use a large dog house.

    4. For the most part chickens take care of themselves. They'll need access to food, water, and shelter. As for breed, I'd go with a common breed such as Barred Rocks.
  7. OccamsTazer

    OccamsTazer Songster

    Mar 2, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, AL

    1. Chickens will destroy a garden. You'll need some kind of barrier to keep them either in or out of places. I don't keep ducks, but I hear they're better for the garden..

    2. You can keep as few as two, and you don't need a rooster unless you want fertile eggs.

    3. You need some kind of coop for safety and so they have a place to roost and lay. You can do this on the super cheap!
    My coop is one of those Rubbermaid things designed to disguise two huge trash cans. My nine hens fit just fine on the two roosts, and they lay in milk crate nest boxes. Craigslist usually has goodies.

    4. They're easy-peasy and lots of fun! Chicks need a heat lamp, and for grown birds as long as you remember that Cleanliness is Rule Number One, you probably won't have any problems.
    As far as breeds, my Red Sex Links are the nicest out of the flock. Lots of handling as chicks will make them friendlier.

    Glad you're here! [​IMG]
  8. PriceFamilyFarms

    PriceFamilyFarms Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Henderson, NC
    wow..thats 3 votes for barred rocks so far!
  9. Liana

    Liana Songster

    Mar 9, 2009
    Southern NH

    Chickens will be happy to eat your veggies for you.

    Hens will give you eggs whether or not you have a rooster. Chickens are social, so I'd recommend getting at least 3.

    You do need a coop for them to shelter in at night. Predators will figure out that there are chickens around before long.

    Chickens are not hard to keep. What breed you should get will depend on a number of factors. (Climate, egg production, docility, egg color, etc.) Check out the "Breed" link at the top of the page and do a little reading.
  10. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    If your main interest is bug control, perhaps you should consider guinea hens? They are wonderful bug eaters, and can probably take shelter in your horse barn. Lots of info about them on here...Good luck!

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