Confused in Central Texas

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Strange_Screams, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Strange_Screams

    Strange_Screams Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    101
    Sep 5, 2010
    Salado Texas
    Backstory: I live in an RV park, with a very "hippy" minded landlord. I work at a petstore, so am accustomed to exotic species and have several pets. Crazy neighbor moved in from a different country. Two chickens(and a miniature horse), are now "free ranging" around the RV park. She went back home for a visit but has not yet returned.

    I had an interest in keeping chickens before this and now I really want some of my own. I'm currently locking up these two chickens(one white rooster and a red hen) at night in a makeshift chicken wire hut, she was letting them roam freely at night but I'm kinda in the woods so didn't think it was a good idea. The lady was feeding them leftovers exclusively and they have been coming over to my house to eat the bugs in my garden.

    I live in pretty much next to a scrap yard so have a range of almost right raw materials to work with but now after reading posts for the last six hours and design plans I'm completely confused.

    Would the deep bed method be to hot for chickens in this warm climate?

    Should I build the coop out of mainly chicken wire and just block the wind in the winter?

    Is it only possible to teach tame chickens to go in the coop at a certain time every night?

    What are chickens even supposed to be fed in texas if scratch makes them hot?

    I work 2 to 10 at night, is 11 to late to lock them up?

    One of the chickens only has half a beak(the hen)....?

    How do you know if they are molting?

    um....

    I, myself am wanting (I think) three hens since I'm only feeding myself. But if there is a rooster in the area and I occasionally get chicks...and the species is an egg laying species, is it ok to eat the cockerels or not worth it?

    How do I get a free range chicken to pick an egg laying box over a shady spot under an RV?

    Is there any specific threads or sites about keeping chickens in a warm climate?

    How small does "chicken wire" need to be to keep out predators?

    I have access to large amounts of 3x3 fencing wire, is it possible to overlap it so i can use that to keep predators out?

    yeah....any help is appreciated
    Strange
     
  2. MaggieRae

    MaggieRae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2009
    North Texas
    [​IMG] from N. Texas!
    Now, let's see what I can answer...
    Not sure on the deep litter method. I just clean my coop 3-4 times a year and it takes me about an hour and a half for a 10 chicken coop (with only 6).
    I just built my coop with plenty of ventilation and my birds do fine. With the extended freeze we had this winter, I was glad I didn't put in a screen wall because it was very difficult to keep the waterers from freezing. I had to move a little heater in there and run an extension cord to the coop.
    How old are the chickens you want to have? Mine I raised from day-olds, so I just locked them in the coop for a couple of weeks (and the last week let them out but put them up each night) and they go in every night by themselves now.
    I buy Layena feed. About $8 for 50 lbs, I think. They forage quite a bit and eat all my leftovers. I only have to buy a bag of feed maybe once a month.
    To prevent predation, you want to lock them up at nightfall before the nocturnal animals get active. You could build a predator proof run and lock them up before you leave, if you want to be as safe as possible.
    So you're taking your neighbor's hens? Well, as long as the hen can eat by herself, she'll be okay. You can also provide a deep dish so she can scoop it out.
    You know they're molting when they look like this:
    [​IMG]
    Ok, maybe Cleo's a bit extreme... You'll also find feathers all over the ground. Like walking on a mattress, I tell you.
    I've never killed a rooster, since I only had one, but most people do. I hear they taste awesome, too. It's a common practice to cull and eat excess cockerels.
    I think in your situation, you'd want very tame chickens. I don't know of any way to 'train' a chicken to lay somewhere, but you can create incentive. You can put golf balls or wooden eggs in the nest box of your choice, so they think "Oh. That's where eggs go." My hens only like nest boxes with curtains and golf balls. I took the golf balls out, and they decided to lay in the middle of the coop, which meant I had to crawl in there to get them. Golf balls are back where they belong. (Sometimes I wonder who's the trained one around here? [​IMG] )
    I used to have a couple of links for cooling chickens off in hot weather, so I'll see if I can find them for ya.
    Chicken wire will not keep out predators. It will keep out chickens. What you want is hardware cloth. I used 1x2 inches to keep out all the big things (mountain lions, bob cats, dogs, foxes, coyotes, etc.) and 1/2 x 1/2 on the lower 3 feet to keep raccoons from reaching in.
    Maybe? [​IMG]

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!
     
  3. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

    6,676
    65
    273
    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    WOW - - a lot of questions . .

    FIRST - - [​IMG] [​IMG].

    Yes, 11 is too late to lock them up for the night. The idea behind locking them up is to protect them from predators when they are sleeping. When chickens go to sleep, a bomb could go off and not distrub them. Mine act like their night vision sucks too. So, you should be locking them up no later than a hour after dusk - - IMO. Mine hit the roost on their own at dusk.

    You can use an old dog house for a coop. There are many creative and cheap ideas here on BYC. I had some OLD WOOD PANEL fencing given to me and I used it for my coop. I nailed the panels together and made a 5 x 10 coop. I staple cardboard to it in the winter to insulate it. Works well for my north Florida climate.

    Scratch does not have the protein or calcium that they need. If your hen is laying, you need to feed her laying crumbles and it is fine if the rooster eats it too.

    Hope this helps and maybe some other BYC member can answer some of your other questions [​IMG]
     
  4. Strange_Screams

    Strange_Screams Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    101
    Sep 5, 2010
    Salado Texas
    I'm not "taking" them, she went back to Mexico more then a week ago and didn't come back yesterday like she said she was going to....she is a bit more then nutty(she informed the landlord that I would be taking care of the chickens, which I had no idea about). If she comes back I'll get my own, if she doesn't...I suppose these two are the start of my flock.

    I don't know if she is laying, the hen is rousting on an old vanity mirror in my neighbors front yard when I get home from work.
     
  5. MaggieRae

    MaggieRae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2009
    North Texas
    Quote:I was just curious if you were starting a new flock or using a started one, because that would change how you'd want to approach them. If you want to catch her, do it after she's sleeping. They're more docile then.

    If she's full grown, feed her a laying food available at pretty much all feed stores. For about the first 20 weeks of life, you feed them something called "grower" or "starter". It has the nutrients they need to be big, healthy birds. But after that, all you need is laying feed.
     
  6. Strange_Screams

    Strange_Screams Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    101
    Sep 5, 2010
    Salado Texas
    I can pick them up pretty easy if I corner them. They are pretty docile. They don't freak out at all.
     
  7. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    5,227
    296
    288
    May 6, 2010
    Tucson
    My Coop
    [​IMG] from Tucson! Good for you looking out for those poor birds!
     
  8. texasgal

    texasgal Brood with an Attitude

    8,666
    14
    278
    Apr 18, 2009
  9. Strange_Screams

    Strange_Screams Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    1
    101
    Sep 5, 2010
    Salado Texas
    thanks, she came back, but I'm still getting my own birds, building the coop now....(well not NOW, its raining, starting to get supplies together) if her birds want to sleep in the coop with mine I'm ok with that

    and I've joined the texas thread
     
  10. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

    6,676
    65
    273
    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    Quote:WARNING - - It is HIGHLY addictive ! ! You will be enlarging the coop before long. Welcome to the addiction!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by