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Getting my flock tomorrow and need advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 6girl, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. 6girl

    6girl Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello! I'm getting 10 6mo old ISA browns tomorrow. Yay! I've never had chickens before, I'm a total noob, and need advice. How long should they be confined in the coop before letting them out? Do I put them under lights and if so, how much "sun" do I add? My nesting boxes are ~14" off the ground, do I need to add a roost/rail to the front or can the little ladies navigate that without it? All replies most appreciated!
     
  2. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps


    Welcome to BYC! When you have time, come visit the Colorado Thread at https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/68894/colorado/18140#post_12654101

    A couple of questions:
    1. Are they currently laying?
    2. Were they kept with lights before?

    The nest boxes are fine at that height, I personally like them to have a roost in fron of the boxes. I would also put them into the coop and keep them there at least one day or so.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They prefer a perch for them to hop on before they enter. They do a little exam. It's better for them to step in than hop in and potentially break an egg.

    If they've been on light, it isn't absolutely necessary but better to stay on the same schedule.

    I keep chickens locked in where they're going to be sleeping for 2 days before I let them out. That way they'll go in at night on their own.
    If you are going to let them free range, It's best to pen them in a couple days so they can orient themselves to their new surroundings or they may get lost since they don't know what home is or looks like.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Enjoy your birds! ISA browns are great backyard birds, they're pretty docile and lay a ton of nice brown eggs.
     
  5. 6girl

    6girl Out Of The Brooder

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    I will find out from the breeder/deliverer tomorrow about the lights and if they're currently laying. I am going to string up some lights today as a just in case measure, plus I've been told by the resident chicken expert at my favorite feed store that lights starting at 4:00 am is important for egg production.

    Got my coop pretty much ready to go, it looks like a great place to live, if you're a chicken! And it's the cleanest it will ever be, lol.
     
  6. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps


    Also remember that not all feed store employees know chickens.... At our local Big R last summer, I asked (out of curiosity) about the pullets they had. None of the employees there that day knew what a pullet was. These folks were in charge of giving directions and guidance to new chicken owners. I had to educate them.

    ISA browns are production birds. Giving them 10+ hours of light will increase production over the long run, but if they haven't started to lay yet, it won't really do much good right now to add light. Chickens like stability, and are suceptible to variation in temperatures and light.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Amen to that.
    They sometimes know something about chickens but most likely, they'll know where the chicken feed is stored.

    I would caution one not to go the feed store for chicken information.
     
  8. 6girl

    6girl Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm lucky that my feed store is small and owned by the same family for decades. They know what they're talking about, they've been raising chickens for a loooong time.
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I've never used lights and I honestly don't know what I'd do if my hens laid any more eggs lol. As it is I'm giving them away.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I use lights, and it kept the older hens laying all winter except the molters and may have helped the pullets start laying in January.

    But from all I've read, you need to add light slowly...I started last October with a timer in the mornings...until you're up to about 14 hours.
    It can also take weeks for it to have the desired effect on the hens hormones and that pullets can often lay thru their first winter without added light..

    Agrees that if they haven't been under lights, not worth starting now.

    Good Luck, Have Fun with your new flock!
     

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