Greetings From Kentucky!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Country Mama, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Country Mama

    Country Mama Out Of The Brooder

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    We are moving to a heavily wooded 6-acre property on the top of a hill in a few months, we are very excited! As soon as the weather breaks, we're building a coop, and want to start with a 6-hen flock. Eggs are great, but I love that chickens help with insects. I am going to free range. I'm hoping to be able to raise them as naturally as possible.

    We have never raised chickens, so i have so many questions! I have a friend that has a small flock, so I have some local expertise, but I'm really looking forward to learning from folks all over the country.

    Thank you in advance for your patience with me :)
     
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Good luck with your planning and future flock!![​IMG] Don't hesitate to ask any questions.

    Have you decided on breeds yet? I would highly recommend the buff orpington. They are sweet, docile, very affectionate, curious, hardy and great layers.
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    Have you check out our learning center yet? Lots of great articles there!
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/advice-for-first-time-chicken-owners

    Glad you joined!!
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Definitely stop by our learning center. Lots of good articles on getting started, building the coop, raising the chicks and keeping your adult flock healthy, happy and safe from predators. Mountain Peeps has left you with the link.

    X2 on the Buff Orpingtons. Black Australorps as well. Both of these breeds are very docile, friendly, are kid friendly, hardy and are great layers.

    Enjoy this new journey you are on and welcome to our flock!
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
     
  5. Country Mama

    Country Mama Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you both so much! I've been leaning toward the silver laced Wyandotte, maybe with a few golden laced as well :) the buff orpingtons sound like a wonderful back yard breed, I need to read up on them!

    I have a really dumb question - should we build the coop with a run? I think we're leaning toward a shed-type coop, one that I can walk in to clean and gather eggs. My plan was to let them forage during the day, then lock them up at night. Our property is very isolated, a large yard surrounded by trees and a creek.

    My 2nd dumb question is about a rooster. We are only really interested in eggs and pest control, but have been told that roosters help to protect the flock. At some point we may decide to try breeding, but its really not something we'd want to jump into right away.

    Last one - what about the floor/nesting material? I've heard straw is good, but would love to know what really experienced chicken people use :)

    Thank you again, I'm really excited to start my new adventure. I was raised on dairy farms, but we never had chickens! My kids (17, 14, and 6) are looking forward to having chickens roaming the yard, lol!
     
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    There are no dumb questions --

    I would go ahead and construct a good, secure run. It's better to have and not need than to need and not have - meaning you could find yourself in a situation where you would want to confine your flock but in more space than the coop provides and if you have a run already built and in place this is not a problem -- a run isn't something you can just throw together in that moment of need, kwim? You can still allow your birds to free range by leaving the run open if/when you choose, but you can also keep them securely enclosed if/when you need or want.

    On the rooster - it's a matter of personal preference. When not intending to breed I find them to be more trouble than good - a rooster may or may not provide protection and guidance to the rest of the flock, and that role can also just as easily be filled by a hen if there is no rooster (in our current flock we ended up with a surprise rooster and even with him here I have a few lead hens that are better at the role many will tell you the rooster will fill- and the roo's time here is likely short, I am hoping to have him re-homed in the nest couple of weeks). I'm not one for investment with no return - hens consume feed but they give me back eggs, roosters consume feed and give me back nothing. I would take the first year or two and just get the hang of chicken keeping - you can always add a rooster down the road if you decide you want to, they tend to flood the market (CL, swaps, etc) about 2-3 months after the beginning of "chick days" each year as people start getting rid of those surprise roosters that were bought as pullets from the chick bin.

    Bedding is something you'll figure out your personal preference on. I bed in pine shavings in the coop and as a base layer in my nest boxes with grass hay on top of the shavings in the boxes. Others use sand, pellets, straw/hay, etc. I
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
    2 people like this.
  7. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Alright Congratulations on the new home sure you flock will enjoy it .... [​IMG]
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Ol Grey Mare X2 It is always good to have a run. There maybe times you don't want to free range them, or the weather is bad and they need out of the coop, but it is not a good day to free range. You might want to incorporate a roof too on the run so there is shade and protection from the elements.

    If you are only interested in the eggs, don't bother with a rooster. They are more like alarms than they are protectors, although some have been known to dive in and save a hen from attack. But roosters can turn mean. So if you don't want chicks or fertile eggs, skip the rooster.

    I use sand in my coop and run exclusively. I used to use pine shavings, but they got to be too much work. Sand is easy to maintain, keeps the flies away, no poop smells, stays dry when wet and is soft on the pads. You can hose it down in the summer time and the chickens feet stay really cool. Cool feet mean cool chickens. Chickens love to dust bathe in it and natural sand has lots of gizzard stones as well. Here is a nice thread on sand if you are interested...https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/444759/got-sand-you-should
     
  9. Eepster

    Eepster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :welcome
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. X3 on Black Autralorps and Buff Orpingtons as great breeds. Both are very hardy, calm and gentle, and good layers (the Australorps are exceptional layers). As for roosters, you will find some BYC members who will disagree with me, but you don't need one unless you want fertilized eggs for breeding. Roosters can create a lot of problems in your flock. The recommended ratio is 1 rooster for every 10 hens. Anymore than that usually leads to aggression, fights, injuries, over-bred and battered hens, etc. I currently have 25 hens, no roosters, and I get loads of eggs without feeding any non-egg laying mouths, without the aggression, fights, crowing in the middle of the night, injuries, and over-bred and battered hens that frequently goes along with having roosters (especially too many of them). As far as protecting the flock, there may be some value in that with the more aggressive game roosters, but among the docile egg layers I have raised over the past 50 years, I haven't seen one rooster that was any good at it. Not only have I lost as many hens free ranging with a rooster as without, but sometimes it was the rooster himself that fell victim to the predator. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your flock going.
     

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