Hello from North Dakota

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Christy85, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Christy85

    Christy85 In the Brooder

    Feb 7, 2014
    North Dakota
    Hi there,

    Not yet a chicken owner, but I am looking to start this Spring.

    At present, I am a little intimidated from all of the things I would like to do and the level of expense that will all require, from chick-starting equipment to feeders and waterers for my adult birds, fencing and/or electric netting and/or a chicken tractor, slaughter gear for my meat birds, and winter light timers and water heaters for my layers. I understand that a lot of this can be used year over year, but it's still feeling very steep.

    We have a chicken coop already on our property, with the floor level of the coop sunk about 12-18" into the ground. I've never seen a coop like this before, but it has big south facing windows, roosts, and laying boxes so I figure that's what it is... it needs some major clearing out and cleaning up work done, and it doesn't have electricity run to it. So there's a whole list of jobs that will need to be done there. Does anybody know much about this type of coop?

    We also have a barn with horse stalls. The barn does have electricity (which will come in handy for a winter light and water heater), and I figure we could turn one of the horse stalls into a coop, and let the chickens have the run of the whole barn during the winter when they won't want to go out in the snow. The problem with the barn is that it has very little natural light.

    We live on 10 acres in Eastern North Dakota. My husband and I are both city born-and-raised, but were seeking a quieter life (and lower property taxes), which is what brought us to living rurally. We currently have two dogs and two cats. Eventually we'd like to add goats, and perhaps try our hand at other livestock animals as well, though not right away. Let's get this chicken thing figured out first.

    At present, I'm considering getting a few each of the heavy breeds such as Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, Australorps, Rocks, Orpingtons, and an extra handful of Dark Cornish for meat birds.

    I understand that raising your own chickens for meat is never going to be as inexpensive as buying CAFO chicken and eggs from the grocery store, and that's fine. I don't want CAFO meat and eggs. The reason we want to raise our own meat and eggs is to give these animals a proper life complete with grass, bugs, sunshine, room to move around, and free of hormones.

    But right now, I'm worried. I'm worried about losing my birds to predators, or the North Dakota cold. I'm worried about what it's going to be like on butchering day -- I've been hunting before, but taking the life of something you raised is going to be very different and rightly difficult. Plus, I've got no idea what I'm doing, and my inexperienced hand could very well mean undue suffering for my meat birds. I'm even worried I'm going to hate the whole experience and my chickens will all be buttholes.

    Anyway, here I am!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014

  2. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC!
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.
  4. Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Keeping chickens isn't that bad, even my first ones survived. Check out the BYC Learning Center for a good start. I know how easy it is to obsess over everything but really they aren't that demanding that everything be perfect. Does anyone you know, or any of your neighbors have chickens? Check out your state thread for people in your area are doing, especially so far as the cold weather etc. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/270925/find-your-states-thread
    With the supplies a lot of things can be made or re-purposed or gotten used, Craigslist etc can be useful... if you are going to get goats, you will probably have to have electric fencing which can be good perimeter control for some predators even if you don't also have electric netting just for the chickens.
    No idea why the chicken coop floor would be that far down, interesting, hope somebody has an idea, wonder if somebody dug it out to put in or replace a floor / bottom and never got around to it? If its dry sounds like a candidate for the deep litter method. Our main coop is actually in an old bank barn that has very little natural light when most of the doors are closed for the winter, it does have electric and I just have a couple of lights on with a timer all day, am not adding extra daylight hours now so they are just on about the same as the sun... has worked out great.
    With the meat birds, maybe check out that forum again for local people, https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/21/meat-birds-etc there are quite a few threads with pictures on processing if you can't find someone who you can learn from in your area.
    I also like to have a wide range of breeds, makes it more interesting to me, and a good way to start to figure out what breeds you like. Chickens really are a lot of fun, you may not like them all, which is the nice thing about chickens, even the annoying or nasty ones make really good soup.

  6. Alright [​IMG] great to have you onboard with us [​IMG]
  7. [​IMG]

    Welcome to BYC! Glad ya joined us!
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  9. herechilychiky

    herechilychiky Chirping

    Feb 4, 2014
    Central Fla.
    Hello, Welcome to BYC!!!!!!

    Looks like you've already done a lot of homework! That's good. The best I can give you besides technical info. (which you already have) is just be attentive to your girls....so you can stay in front of any opportunities you may have. Sounds like you have a big adventure ahead!!! Don't stress over this, your at the rite place if you cant find the tech. info. on the site just ask, someone here will be able to help you! Have fun! [​IMG] its all good......

  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    Welcome to BYC! You also might like to do some reading in our learning center here on BYC for some tips and hints on raising and keeping your new flock....


    Nothing better than rural living! I couldn't live any other way. Good luck with your new lifestyle and enjoy BYC!

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