greetings from southern west virginia!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by pcircle85, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. pcircle85

    pcircle85 New Egg

    Oct 14, 2012
    Southern WV
    Hello, my name is Nicholas and I'm from southern WV.

    Very soon my wife and I will be moving into our first actual home (no more renting yay) which is waaaaaaaay out in the country. I'll have copious amounts of room for chickens!

    The wife is skeptical, as always, cause I have a tendency to get bored with projects before completion, but generally living things keep my attention. She refers to my inability to finish a video game or something similar.

    We just had our first child 6 months ago, her name is Adalyn Jane, we call her AJ. The chickens are for her... :)

    Currently we have a 4 year old black lab named Sidney, wife is a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan, he's named after Sidney Crosby. We have a 1 year old bearded dragon named Leo (horribly unoriginal name, but he was already named when we rescued him...) We have a 4 year old corn snake named Sazh and my pride and joy is my 120 gallon fish tank with 22 tropheus duboisi african cichlids.

    Anyway, that's me. I've been lurking on BYC for about a week now and finally decided to introduce myself.

    We have been promised a move-in date of "before thanksgiving" but we aren't holding our breath. If we can move before January, we'll be happily surprised.

    WV is a pretty temperate state, pretty warm summers and pretty cold winters and since we're moving in the winter, I imagine I'll have to wait until spring to even get our chicks. I work at a company that trashes 50+ pallets a week, so I plan to (hopefully) save loads of money by using all pallet wood. Aesthetics aren't important, because we'll have no neighbors and I'm more worried about functionality than being eye-pleasing, so the weathered, rustic looking pallets will do their job sufficiently. :)

    Also, I will only be keeping them for eggs, I simply can't even think about killing and eating something that I personally raised. I love eating chicken and I don't care if someone else killed it, but it would be like eating my dog, I just couldn't do it.

    Any suggestions so far?

    Breed suggestions?

    How many to keep? I do work fulltime, so 50 chickens would probably require a lot more time than I could commit, I was thinking along the lines of 5-10 perhaps.
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan :D

    Dont name, make friends with our handle the extra boys, and take them to a processor. Believe me they look completely different once processed - and taste delicious.
  3. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    Hi Nicholas...welcome! Glad to have you aboard

    I envy you! I would so love to have some acreage, but for the moment we're stuck in town.

    If you can get pallets made of something other than hardwood, I'd go for those...that oak can be really difficult to work with, though it'll stand forever, LOL. Our coop was made almost entirely of stuff we had on hand or were able to get for free...I love to re-purpose and recycle stuff.

    Personally, I'd look at sexlink chickens. They're a hybrid, not a "breed" but they are egg laying machines! They generally start laying early...about 20 weeks, and usually lay every day. They go by a bunch of names..."Stars" "Comets" "Queens", and they are usually classified as red, gold, black or cinnamon. IMO, the "red" and "gold" are pretty much the same color, LOL. Ours are reds and we've been really pleased with them. We got started (already laying) pullets (females less than 1 yr old) when they were about 7 months old. They'd been laying regularly for 2 months at that time. They were, of course, more expensive than chicks, but then we didn't have to go through keeping them warm and watching and feeding them for 5 months before the eggs came, so it was a good deal for us. We paid $10 each for them and they laid the day after we brought them home.

    Prior to the days getting shorter, we were getting an average of 5 large to jumbo eggs a day. It was actually quite a lot more than we actually needed, and we sold some and gave a lot more away. So, this is something to keep in mind when deciding what kind and how many to have.

    We're not allowed to have roosters where we live, which is okay at least for now, since we don't plan on breeding or hatching and we're at the legal limit now. The sexlink chickens don't have much tendency to go broody (sit and try to hatch eggs) which is also good for us...they don't fuss when we take the eggs. Most of the time, they go in the coop, lay and head back out again. There are a couple who like to sit on them for a while, but it's no fuss to remove the eggs at pecking or hassle from them.

    After you've decided what kind and how many, plan for more and make your coop accordingly, LOL. Chicken math tends to get everyone and it seems we end up with more than we'd originally thought. I already want more and different kinds, but am sort of "stuck". Be generous with size...plan a minimum of 4 sq feet per bird inside the coop, and 10 sf in the run. More space is better. Do check the Coops tab...there is a ton of good info and ideas there. Whatever you decide on, make sure you have a LOT of ventilation. To keep a coop healthy, the moisture and fumes need to be cleared on a continual basis. Plan it so that when the wind blows through it goes over the heads of the chickens when they're on the roost. They can tolerate a lot of cold if they're not in a draft.

    Make sure it's totally predator chicken wire; use 1/2 inch hardware cloth. You'll need to decide if you're going to keep them in a run or let them free range. If free ranging, do look into breeds that are good at that. Ours definitely aren't. They scratch up bugs and weeds and stuff, but wouldn't know to get to cover if a predator came around. In order to free range successfully, there are a lot of things you need to have, and it's not a feasible situation for us, so we keep ours in a run. Since it's just in the back yard, we have a portable coop and run and move them around a lot. If we had the space, we'd have a permanent site.

    Hope some of this helps. Congrats on the baby and the new place! Hoping to hear more from you on BYC :)
    1 person likes this.
  4. pcircle85

    pcircle85 New Egg

    Oct 14, 2012
    Southern WV
    Thanks for all the info Mickey!

    Question; why hardware cloth over chicken wire? I've no clue what hardware cloth is. Ha!

    Also, even though I have the acreage, I won't allow them to be free range, coyotes are a nuisance out there, so I plan on a pretty large run.

    How many hens do you have? 5 eggs a day would be way too much!

    Quote: Excellent advice, 1muttsfan, I could probably handle that...
  5. jbirds2012

    jbirds2012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2012
    paicines, ca.
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Hello and welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
  7. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    Hardware cloth is a galvanized, welded wire mesh. It comes in different sizes and because it's welded, it's much, much stronger than chicken wire which is just sort of braided together. The gauge is usually heavier too so it will keep out most predators...well, not a bear or mountain lion, but...definitely raccoons and skunks. Make sure to dig down and put it under the earth as well, because lots of critters will try to dig under it. I'd also recommend covering the top of the run with it. That'll help repel hawks as well as the 4 legged variety of critters who'll happily make a meal of your chickens.

    We only have 6! They are egg laying machines...various shades of cream to medium brown eggs. When we first got them the eggs were medium to large. Now they're large to jumbo. They're a small to medium bird and very cold hardy. DH wanted brown eggs (personally I don't think there's a bit of difference in flavor), so I did a lot of breed research. I took into account the egg color, climate, bird size and egg tendencies. I figure if we have to feed 'em every day, we might as well get an egg pretty much every day :). We give a fair number of the extra to family and friends, and I'm able to sell a dozen or two here and there as well. Come the cooler weather and when the canning is done, I plan to do more baking, so we'll likely use more than we do now.

    Oh...and you'll enjoy the "chicken channel". We got ours for eggs but had no idea how utterly entertaining they can be! They'll keep you laughing ;)
  8. Big A Chickens

    Big A Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2012
    Palmetto, Georgia
    Hi and :welcomeSo Glad you joined us!!!:weee
  9. BinaryChicken

    BinaryChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

  10. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009

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