hello and introduction

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by brookwoodpat, May 12, 2008.

  1. brookwoodpat

    brookwoodpat Songster

    May 11, 2008
    Hi, I'm new to the board. I have had ducks before and have a green chicken (a 28 year old amazon parrot) and a German Shepherd, but it's been a long time since I've had chickens, though I would sometimes gaze longingly at the online chick ordering places. I walked into the feed store at the wrong moment a little over a week ago, and came home with three red star chicks pullets. They are now growing their little tails and are quite big. I wanted 2 or 3 more and another feed store had rhode island reds and I put in for 3 of those. When I got home on Friday, I discovered they had not only doubled my order but thrown in one with a pasty butt, no doubt knowing it needed more attention than they could give it. Got that cleaned up that night (wet paper towels, a toothbrush and a hair dryer) and all the RIRs are fine now, and I can't tell which was the affected one. Though the RIRs are much, much smaller than the Red stars, who look like giants in comparison. Both groups have wings growning out and are starting to grow tails, so I am thinking they are only a few days apart in age. I thought RIR and Red Stars were comparable in size but the Red Stars are so much bigger.

    Right now all are brooding in two large plastic storage bins with a heat lamp (though the Red Stars don't seem to need it much). On very warm days (75 or so) I've been putting the Red Stars out for an hour or two in an old 4' X 3' by 2' high 1/2 inch galvanized wire cage (a true cage enclosed top, sides and bottom) with a tarp over one side. I have another one similar to it for the RIR to serve as a safe and portable "tractor" while they are growing up.

    I have an acre and a half, fenced partially with six foot stockade fencing and part with five foot garden fence. The yard is fully fenced though there are places under the stockade where a chicken could squeeze under. We do have foxes, racoons, possums and feral cats, not to mention hawks, so while I'd like to let the chickens loose in the yard during the day, I am concerned about predators - particularly the hawks during the day.

    I am NOT a carpenter. Prefab I can do, but cutting wood no. And so I was looking at chicken housing that was either prefab or easily made or modified. Though I had some reservations, I finally purchased a chick-n-barn with yard to start (when I thought I would just have six). I didn't really see any affordable chicken housing that I liked and it seemed a reasonable starter house. Now that I have ten, I suspect it will not be big enough (though it says it will roost ten). I am home during the day, so they can be out all day. I had planned to add a bigger roofed yard around the setup anyway, made of garden wire fencing and covered with a net or wire against hawks. Something I could easily move around. I had thought of building a frame with wheels to the bottom of the chick-n-barn, and make it a sort of tractor. Though because I also have those two movable cages I could use those as well. Anyway, I didn't plan to have ten hens, only six, but I think the feed store wanted rid of them.

    I'm still looking at all the modified chick-n-barns and tractors on the internet, and on this site, and also marveling at the prices being charged for chicken housing. I would have loved to buy one of those clearance Lowe's My little playhouse - that would have been perfect. In the meantime, I'm keeping my eyes open for other possibilities and thinking and hoping the chick-n-barn will do as a roosting and laying house in the meantime, with them foraging elsewhere during the day.

    I'm in MD bTW, in NE Baltimore county, just below harford county.

  2. catfish

    catfish Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Greenbrier, Arkansas
    you don't need great skills to build a chicken house, just build a square box and make one side higher than the other and box it in with plywood. Then make a flat roof thats sloped for water run off. Cover the roof with simple rolled roofing. It can be short and have a roof mounted with hinges to lift it up.
    I used 2 pallets for the floor on mine and then nailed plywood to it. Chickens aren't fussy they just want a place thats dry.

    Down south its common to see chickens in the ward with 55 Gallon drums for each chicken. Sure its not pretty or cute but it works.

    I got maybe $85 in my chicken house. I need to paint it yet.

  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Welcome to the board and congrats on the babies.

    The RIRs are fast developers...my little NHR was the fast developing out of my girls and she was double their size at the same age. I would not worry about them as long as everyone is getting along okay, eating and drinking normally and thriving.

    If you want something prefab, just put up a fence within a fence like your privacy fence and put a chicken wire top on it.

    Hopefully someone will come on here that has better suggestions for your prefab stuff.

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