Finally have chickens

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by legojenn, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. legojenn

    legojenn Chirping

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    I joined this site in February 2018, and on Saturday, June 8, 2019 I got my first chickens. I have two Lohmann Browns. They are 19 weeks old and I assume days away from laying. I've called them Eddie and Patsy. I really like this pair. They were named after characters on an old English TV show from the 90s called Absolutely Fabulous.

    Patsy does lead Eddie around like the TV Patsy did. They're just not as self-absorbed and decadent. I could always swap their water for vodka and see how things turn out.

    2019-06-08 15.35.55.jpg

    The journey to get to this point took a little longer than expected. A friend of mine that lives north of the city has her own flock. I helped her out with coop building and care for her birds. There is also a family history with chickens. As a kid in the 80s, I used to love visiting my cousins in the 1000 Islands area of Ontario because they had a 50 bird flock, that I now assume were leghorns. Until recently, I thought that chickens were white birds. Foghorn Leghorn, I say, did not alter that misconception.

    Anyhow, once our municipality allowed for a pilot to test the feasibility for allowing backyard chickens on suburban property, I applied for a licence in April 2018. The pilot allowed for three hens on property that exceeded 535 square yards. I didn't know how big my lot was and it turns out it was 10% under the requirement.

    The pilot was successful, and the bylaw amendments to permit backyard chickens were made permanent in March of 2019. Rules were relaxed to five hens on 420 square yards. I applied again and this time was approved for my licence. I like the way the city is handling things. They have handed off bylaw enforcement to an NGO headed by a biologist with a specialisation in birds to lead things. I'm not always a fan of bureaucracy, but on its face, the emphases seem to be on promoting animal welfare on an inexperienced population, and acceptance of backyard birds by non-bird owners. The city hosted an information session. A lot of it was basic knowledge. Birds are flock animals, need a clean environment, come in different varieties, have a limited laying period, do not need roos to lay, are great for gardens, will eat every plant you love, crap everywhere and practical things like where to get birds, food, supplies etc.

    Then, I started building. Armed with lots of wood, fencing, roofing, fasteners, my battery-powered Ryobi drill, circular saw, mitre saw, stapler and boombox, I started building on weekends in May. It was slow going because it was really rainy here. Last Friday, I finished and birds moved in on Saturday.

    coop.png

    I still need to do something with the walls of the coop to protect it from weathering and rot, but I am really satisfied with the results. I am a little worried about the size of coop. it is 4x4x3. I figure 3-4 birds max can live there comfortably. I chose smaller birds deliberately and built the coop smaller because I did it myself and the plywood was heavy. There is nothing to stop the coop from expanding to the width of the run or even adding a condo underneath. The run is 8x8x6 with a 4x4x3 area under the coop giving them 80 square feet to run around. It has been so hot this weekend, they've hung around in the shaded area under the coop. I also need to improve ventilation.

    Chicken math is now playing with my head. Two birds will meet my egg needs just fine and what I built will allow them plenty of space to live comfortably. I think that I should have bought three in case I lose one. It must have been a bit for them shock to move. They came from a flock of over 100. They must get bored of each other, especially if one of them just repeats the same stories over and over again. It's not like one can give the other one the slip when they get bored like at a party. Also, it is probably not the best idea to buy just one extra, so I'm considering getting two, then I'm hitting my coop limit in my first week.

    Overall, it has been a positive experience. I like having animals around. I lost my beagle in March at 15 and my rottweiler in April 2018 at 14. The beagle loved small animals and kids and would have loved chickens crawling on him if what I saw at my friend's place and her free-range birds were any indication. The adventure begins.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    Congratulations on your flock. You are correct - 3 is better than 2 specifically for the reason that you stated.
     
  3. BY Bob

    BY Bob Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres

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    I endorse the option of a third “spare” chicken. I tried for the longest time to just have two and it seemed like I had to find a companion in short order too often. I honestly believe the optimum number is four. In my experience they tend to “pair up” when free ranging. Of course if you are not free ranging that should not be an issue.

    Bear in mind I had two for years, went to 3 and when after several years I lost one and was back to 2, I tried to add 2 more. Of course I got a rooster, and was back to 3. So I got two more, now I have 5.

    Remember I wanted 4. Chicken math is never simple. :idunno

    And I agree, the same stories over and over might be cause to just break out of the coop/run to hear something different. Even if it is a story from some random rabbit.

    :D
     
  4. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

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    Welcome to Backyard Chickens hope chicken math can wait till you enlarge it :frow
     
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  5. legojenn

    legojenn Chirping

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    Aylmer QC
    I got two more on Monday. They're a different type of hybrid. The only differences that I see with the red stars are longer tail feathers and more comb & wattle. I picked the first two to have as little comb and wattle as possible to prevent frostbite in mid-January. I hope that it doesn't cause them to overheat in the 35 degree days that we're likely to get in three weeks.

    It hasn't taken them long to integrate. I don't yet have the space to do the introduction properly and hope that there are no issues. Going forward, I'll have the resources for a proper integration. They're all 18-20 weeks old. They're from farms 100 km apart. The first pair of birds were from Oxford Mills Ontario and the second pair were from Luskville Quebec. The first two did not like new pair at first. As the pecking order was resolved, bird 1 from the new pair became bird 2 in the merged flock and bird two from the new pair became bird 4. The most aggressive bird was the one that eventually became 3. I think that things are settled. The dominant bird called the others to bed about 9 PM last night and they came. Nobody seemed hurt this morning and they ate together.

    Fortunately, the city has put limits on my chicken math, so I'm in no hurry to introduce more.
     
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  6. BY Bob

    BY Bob Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres

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    That sounds just perfect. Congratulations! Post pics when you can.
     
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  7. legojenn

    legojenn Chirping

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    Saturday's birds in front. Yesterday's birds with their backs to us.


    62191005_10157019289831041_4625114981002641408_n.jpg
     
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  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    I wouldn't swap their water for vodka, they would start falling off the roost and could invoke bad injuries on chickens below.
     
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  9. legojenn

    legojenn Chirping

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    They're getting comfortable in the run and becoming a flock. They've left me 23 eggs since Wednesday 2-2-4-4-4-3. Maybe I'll find a fourth tonight when I put them to bed. They're all fairly small eggs, but they made a nice quiche, gift to the neighbour and I still have 7 left. perchy birdies.png
     
  10. legojenn

    legojenn Chirping

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    It might be time to change the generic Orpington on my avatar to one of my own birds.
     
    BY Bob likes this.

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