Hello from chicken newbies in NC

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Country Ruby, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. Country Ruby

    Country Ruby Just Hatched

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    Hello from midstate NC!
    We are excited about the possibility of adding chickens to our family. We lived in Charlotte, NC for 12 years, but about a year and 5 months ago we were able to move out into the country. We have about 5 acres and are loving the quiet and wildlife we get to enjoy.

    The main reason we want chickens is to help control the bug population (but we also want to enjoy them as pets). Ticks, stink bugs, squash bugs and Japanese beetles are in large abundance (the latter three were more of a pain in our garden than anything else). However we don't want the chickens to reduce our honey bee population as we have 3 hives. We have been told that guineas are better at bug control, but that they are loud, "dumb" (as far as getting in the road and being hit), they will roost in trees, and will eat our bees. So we don't know if we should get chickens or guineas. We have been around some guineas that did not seem loud to us. Once we saw them at a nursery and another time at a zoo. Both times they were freely walking around.

    We had planned to coop the chickens at night and free range them during the day. Now we are being told that we should not free range them, but use a chicken tractor, because of the birds of prey in our area. We have hawks, owls (although we know they usually only hunt at night) and have this last fall seen a pair of eagles within about a mile of our home. So this would greatly limit the amount of bugs the chickens could eat and where they could eat, even if we move the chicken tractor around.

    Our family loves animals! We have 2 dogs (Boston Terrier & Chihuahua), a cat, a hedgehog and a Netherland Dwarf rabbit. This small zoo stays in the house! We don't want the chickens to be hurt and are a little concerned that the 2 dogs might chase, and try to bother the chickens. How can we introduce the chickens to the dogs in a way that will let them know that they are not prey?

    So many questions! But I figure it is better to ask them now rather than to buy the chickens or guineas and learn some very hard lessons!

    Thank you for any help and advice you can share with us.

    Country Ruby
     
  2. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    I've never had guineas, just chickens but I also have heard some of the same comments you have (i.e. noisy and roosting in trees). As far as whether or not to free range your birds, that's a decision every poultry-keeper has to decide for themselves...some see the benefits of free ranging as a bigger positive than the loss of an occasional bird and others would prefer to keep their birds confined to taking a risk on losing some.

    If you haven't already done so, check out the Learning Center. There's a variety of articles there that will probably help you with your questions. Using the Search box will also help you find information. And of course, you can always ask questions...everyone was new at some point and all are here to help each other.

    Best wishes with your new hobby and thanks for joining us!
     
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, Country Ruby, and :welcome! Pleased you joined us! Free ranging is sometimes a hot button issue and I respect decisions to as well as not to free range. I think ranging is a quality of life issue....chickens live freer, healthier lives when they range but yes, with that freedom comes risk. I do a limited free range....when someone is around or the dogs are on patrol. My birds get 5-6 hours per day. Here's a link from the Learning Center about the pros and cons of free ranging: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/deciding-to-free-range-your-flock
    I have guineas as well. To me they are very vocal. VERY vocal. But they do a great job scrounging for bugs and I think I have fewer pests around. They are more savvy than chickens and need to be free ranged in my opinion. As to them eating bees, I don't know one way or the other. You might ask the folks in the Guinea Forum here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/45/guinea-fowl
    Best wishes with your future flocks and thanks for joining BYC! :)
     
  4. Country Ruby

    Country Ruby Just Hatched

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    Thank you NFC and redsox for your replies. I am still learning my way around the website so I really appreciate you helping me out with those specific links and the learning center suggestion. I will definitely check out the guinea forum.

    If you don't mind my asking redsox, do you keep the guineas with your chickens at night or do they always free range? Do they pick on your chickens?

    Thanks again,
    Country Ruby
     
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    North Central Kansas
    Oops! I double posted. :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
  6. Country Ruby

    Country Ruby Just Hatched

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    Were you answering my last question? Somehow it seems to have disappeared. [​IMG]
     
  7. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    G’Day from down under Country Ruby [​IMG] Welcome!

    Good luck with your new feathered family; guineas, chickens or both [​IMG]

    I hope you enjoy being a BYC member. There are lots of friendly and very helpful folks here so not only is it overflowing with useful information it is also a great place to make friends and have some fun. Unlike non chicken loving friends, family and colleagues, BYC’ers never tire of stories or pictures that feature our feathered and non feathered friends [​IMG]
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I have heard also that guineas are very noisy, alarm easily, and like to roost in the highest places (roofs/ trees). They will also kill or mob, snakes to move them out of their area.

    They are great tick eaters which is why folks usually get them. They will certainly let you know if anything changes are made around the area. I have seen them at the zoo also,
    they seem to be very quiet, of course visitors keep feeding them lunch scraps. But when we went last spring, pea cocks and quinea males were screeching out calling for females of their species. They went on for a long time - when we left hours later, the same ones were still trolling for females and apparently had no luck at all.
     
  9. NickyKnack

    NickyKnack Love is Silkie soft!

    Hello!
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    Welcome to BYC and the coop! There's a lot of great peeps here! Feel free to ask lots of questions. But most of all, make yourself at home. I'm so glad you decided to join the BYC family. I look forward to seeing you around BYC.
     
  10. Country Ruby

    Country Ruby Just Hatched

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    Thanks for all the wonderful welcomes! Now if I can just figure out what to do. [​IMG]
     

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