Completely New to Chickens Please advise me on how to get started

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dilly, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Hi, I am thinking of getting half a dozen laying hens to put in this area I have that is 16 by 70, this will be the yard area, and we will need to build a coop. I am thinking of doing this inside an empty 12x12 area inside the barn, the yard is attached. I will also need to cover the yard area. Will using the netting for trees surfice? We will cement in four by fours down the center to keep it elevated and then attached to the coral panals lines with wire.

    Okay please help me here. Besides chicken feed, Shavings the food grade DE. Water. Is there anything else needed to raising healthy chickens that produce eggs. Will I need a rooster?
    Should I buy babies to start with or older hens?

    Big concern here is the area inside the barn does not have any natural light available. This yard area and side of barn is all shade. The yard will get bits of sun on and off during the day but mostly shady.
    Will I need to use lighting inside the barn so the hens lay?

    What do most feed for laying hens?

    How much feed should be available for 6 hens at any given time. Will it go bad if left in feeders for long periods of time?
    How much feed willl 6 hens go through in a week?
    How much DE should I mix in with say 50 lbs of feed?

    Should I build this area on a wooden floor or use the dirt floor? which is better in a non sunny area?

    How big should this enclousure be? Would 4 x 8 be large enough.

    Why are most of the little door going into the coops off the ground with little ramps? I see this on most of the coop pics?

    Please if I have forgotten anything, will you nice people give me the ABC's of how to get started and remember I am a female that is sort of afraid of chickens as it is. lol But loe animals and not a novice in raising most varieties of farm animlas. Just not chickens.

    Thanks
    Dilly:D
     
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
    I can't help with much, but NO you won't need a rooster unless you want babies or if you will be free-ranging, some people like to have a roo to keep an eye out for predators etc. But your girls will lay eggs without a roo.
     
  3. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Thanks that is good to know as I am a bit intimindated but the boys. [​IMG] i am excited about this but also feel so out of my rhelm of anything chicken.
     
  4. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * The 12x12 area in the barn sounds HUGE as a coop for a dozen chickens. To me, anyway!!! Maybe divide it with part for feed stores and other supplies. Any way you can cut back some trees for more sun??? And don't forget the oyster shell grit!! [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. Redfeathers

    Redfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2007
    Gervais OR
    Congrats on getting started with chickens. They are wonderful and far more entertaining then I would have ever thought. I bought my first batch last October and have since been raising 8 chicks. The first set I bought were 5 week old Buff Orpingtons and 8 week old Polish. I didn't know what I was doing either but read everything I could on this forum and I felt like I had the situation well in hand by the time I got the girls. It's the basics like you pointed out, Food, shelter, heat if they are babies, fresh air and lots of love. Food grade DE is wonderful for keeping the odors down in our coop.
    This is a learn as you go kind of thing, but it's incredibly easy and you will do fine.

    For laying hens, feed layer pellets, for baby chicks you feed chick starter. There is a treats guide here so you can get some great ideas on what to give your girls for treats.
    If you want them to lay, they will need a good 12-15 hours of light...so you might want a light in the barn if it's dark.

    I don't know how much DE to put in the feed, I just sprinkle it around the run and in the coop and especially where they dust bathe.

    Good luck and have fun.
     
  6. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
    I am sure once you have them you will fall in love! [​IMG]

    You can find a TON of information here in the different sections, I would say take a few days and get caught up on what is already posted here... the Search option at the top of the page in the first blue strip is also a good place to start. Type in "chicken netting" etc and see if you can't find what you are looking for.

    Let's see...... I have been reading a lot of posts,......

    Babies are a ton of fun and sooo cute, plus you get the benefit of lower price and they become used to YOU! Downside is unless you specifically order from a place that can sell PULLETS only, you're gonna end up with roos too.

    As far as the lighting, I can only say that it seems that hens like it somewhat dark and private for laying eggs... but I think the amount of sunlight can effect their productivity.

    Most seem to feed layer pellets and some scratch, cracked corn added when it's cold, black oil sunflower added for laying hens and treats like veggies and bugs.

    Some people have huge feed bins that hold many pounds at once, but I imagine it must have to stay dry.

    depending on how cold it gets, it seems some kind of raised or insulated floor is preferred inside the coop. A lot of people seem to like linoleum for ease of cleaning. Dirt and grass in the run.

    4 sq feet per bird??? I have seen this posted, but not sure if it refers to the coop or the run or both.

    ramps... not sure. Maybe to adjust for snow, rain etc and keeping it out or possibly to deter predators... or maybe both???
     
  7. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Okay I am going to go take a couple pics of the area I am thinking of using along with the barn area. You can all see how shady it stays on a sunny day like we have today.

    The long area in the back coral is going to be the yard, yes we are thinking of running the posts down the center and covering the entire area in netting. Sort of a tee pee affect. The coop would be inside that last stall completely shaded. HMMM How much sunlight do these birds need to produce my eggs lol

    THANKS allot back soon with pics.
    Dilly
     
  8. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    [​IMG]

    Just wanted to say hi!!!! I started out knowing absolutely nothing about chickens, we saw the ad from the feed store and had to get some babies, but when we got them home we realized we knew nothing about them (That's where BYC came in, LOL!!!). Now that I've gotten a couple dozen from chick stage to fully feathered and looking like chickens (couldn't have done it without the ppl here!), I think I would prefer to start from chicks instead of the older birds. Having them inside/in the brooder gave me a chance to play with them and get addicted, and my first set of 20 are the friendliest birds you've ever met (except for the mottled houdan, he/she's a little you know what). It's also fun seeing them go from little puff balls to big birds. Have fun, cause we know you will!!! You'll be a full-fledged chicken addict here before too long!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  9. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Apr 15, 2008
    You guys are the best. I so appreciate the warm welcomes and not bashing me for all my silly questions.

    Here is a pic of the area I plan on using and you can see the back corner of the barn is the area inside where I plan on putting the coop.
    Hope this works.

    So guys will this be sufficient for light. Or will I need to use lights inside so they lay for me. I hope they spend most of their time in the large yard. And sleep and lay inside only when needed. lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  10. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
    [​IMG]

    You had 2 img codes on it [​IMG]
     

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