1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Excited Chicken Newbie

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Magnolia7330, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. Magnolia7330

    Magnolia7330 Songster

    Aug 13, 2016
    Northern California
    Good Evening!

    Our city has recently approved backyard chickens. The new zoning ordinance should be official in about 6 weeks. We can have a maximum of 6 hens. I plan on starting with two, maybe three birds. I'm thinking to start with 2 black australorps for egg production and maybe a bantam. I am very excited to get chickens. I've never had them before, but used to live next door to some. I am ready to start doing some more in depth research and have already started reading at the Learning Center. I think I want to start with chicks and plan on getting them in early spring. I am open to any help and suggestions. We are planning to build this coop: http://www.simplesuburbanliving.com/2016/03/how-to-build-simple-suburban-chicken.html?m=1

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC - thanks for joining us. The coop design seems fine, but one word of caution - the 4*4 sqft will only house a max of 4 chickens, and thats not including nesting space. Since you are allowed up to six, I'd suggest increasing the footage of the coop (you will want you max of 6, i am very sure). Ideally, a run (if you are going to use one) should be 10 sqft per bird - again, I'd suggest going for a 60 sqft area to accommodate your max allowed chickens. This link may help - https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

    In terms of number, it might make sense to get at least 3 chicks. The reason i say this is that if you only get 2, and one dies or is taken by a predator etc, then you will be left with 1 lone chicken. They are social animals and thrive in their own company.

    You may wish to consider joining your state thread as it will put you in touch with other BYC members in your area - https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/26/where-am-i-where-are-you

    All the best and good luck

    3 people like this.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to BYC - you have a lot more patience than I do. I could never wait till spring. Still time left for growing out chicks before winter sets in.
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, Magnolia, and :welcome. Happy you joined our community! Best of luck with the coop building and chickens!
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] so glad you have joined us and congrats on the ordinance change and your plans to get your own flock.[​IMG]

    @CTKen has given you great advice.

    IMO go for the 6 you are allowed - They are happier in flocks of at least 3, but 4 or more is even better.

    Build larger than the minimum - expanding later is much more difficult once you have the flock residing in the coop/run. But, if you do decide to start smaller - include possibilities in the plans for expanding their home. Deciding to later increase the flock is somewhat of a challenge in integrating the newbies.

    Find a source that offers sexed chicks to lower the risk of drawing unwanted roosters. Spend the year planning what you want, designing your coop/run and time to explore the Learning Center, Predator protection and general managing flock information. And deciding on a brooder, location best for you.

    And IMO Spring is the best time to get your new babies - and easier to transition out of the brooder with weather issues.

    Enjoy the new adventure, you are in for a really wonderful experience.
    1 person likes this.
  6. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    Mar 20, 2012
    Hi and welcome to BYC! You already have some great advice, so I just wanted to say thanks for joining us! [​IMG]
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    CTKen has given some good space recommendations. I'd go 4x8 for the coop (area inside of the pop door). The 4x4 coop in your link will (somewhat tightly) house four chickens. The 4x8 coop would give six hens plenty of room. Plus, sheet goods such as plywood come in 4x8 sheets so that reduces the number of large saw cuts that have to be made...good efficiency of material and labor. The larger coop also allows more room for feeders and waterers inside.

    More space/room is *always* better for chickens!!! [​IMG]

    Definitely go for the full six hens to begin with. Out of six chickens there is a chance of getting a rooster, which you would have to cull by either re-homing or making soup out of...that would reduce your number of chickens. Chickens do die suddenly, especially young ones. You might lose another one there. Predators may also kill one or two. Or, nothing at all will go wrong and you will end up with six wonderful laying machines that adore you. [​IMG] If the latter is the case, then that is much better than adding a couple of hens later as the new chicken introduction phase can be rough (very rough sometimes). It's much easier to start out with the number of chickens that you ultimately want to have. With the larger number you also have a slight buffer against losing a chicken or two for whatever reason.

    I agree with sunflour about getting chicks in the spring. It's the natural timing for chickens to mature into healthy hens with fewer reproductive issues. Also, this will give you un-rushed time to construct your coop and run.

    Best wishes and HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!

  8. Magnolia7330

    Magnolia7330 Songster

    Aug 13, 2016
    Northern California
    Thank you all for the information. I was wondering if my coop and run would be big enough since it had such well laid out plans and I have no building experiences. With reading all of the replies I think I will make a 4x8 coop with an attached run that is 8x8 or 12x8 feet. This should provide 32 square feet of coop space and 64 or 96 square feet of run space. Plus, there will be 32 square feet of space under the coop which I'm guessing is where the food and water should go. Hoping I can find some already made plans for this. I would love to start with all 6 birds. However, that decision is not mine. I'm hoping I can push it to closer to 3 or 4 (or 6) when the time comes.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  9. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by