Hello from San Diego.. new chicken owner..


9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
San Diego
Good Day! I just wanted to say hi before I start asking a bunch of dumb questions that have been brewing in the last month or so of owning chickens.. San Diego has great weather for my 12 week old Brown Leghorns, and everything is going well so far! They seem healthy, eat all the bugs out of the garden and around the house when i let them free range in the backyard, and have become more or less socialized to the 2 chihuahuas that sometimes share the backyard!

We got our (hopefully) girls from craigslist, which now I know seems a little dangerous, but the guy we got them from rescued 13 of them from some lady who was trying to keep 13 birds in a small pet carrier. When we got them, they were in bad shape from pecking at one another in the carrier, but now, six weeks later, they look great! One of the girls is smaller with grey legs, and I hope to make my next post in "what breed is this?" The other 2 girls are much bigger with the regular yellow legs. Can't wait to see what she turns in to!

So: first dumb question.. again, they are only 12 weeks old, but winter is fast approaching (does not mean much in San Diego, cept more rain) and the light is getting less and less.. Should I still extend the light cycle, even though they aren't laying? or just let them go to bed when the sun goes down? I expect that they will be ready to lay around Christmas, or New Years.. Should i extend the light cycle when they start laying? or wait till next season to extend the light cycle?

Second, there are several threads on here about extending the light, you will get several different answers. Personally, I don't extend the hours of lighting and let them go to bed at dusk....
Welcome to the neighborhood!!
Hope you are enjoying your hens!
I'm not sure how dark the winter's are here yet (for lighting up the coop), but last year in ME we added about 2 hours to our hens' morning with a shoplight wand (one that the bulb has a cage over they make LED ones too) screwed to the inside top of our tractor and powered by an extension cord & xmas light timer. The set up worked fine but our girls (who were free range during the day) preferred to have their tractor opened up immediately so would make all sorts of noise until we'd go let them out. In the end, unless it was going to be super cold & I was using the light for heating the tractor, I opted for sleep over eggs as their production really only dropped by about 2 collective eggs a week.
The guy that gave us our hens said to add light to the morning as they will freeze in place if it gets dark all of a sudden, which made sense. Our girls would get closer to the tractor at dusk and always put themselves to bed before it was completely dark - we would just close the door (and wish them a good night of course:)!!)
Are you located in SD city limits? Are your neighbors ok with the new additions to your family and where do you get your feed & supplies?
Haha! My girls wont go anywhere near their coop at sunset when they are out in the backyard, they would love to sleep in the orange tree or the lemon tree.. Not too terrible, except the citrus trees are full of large thorns, and its hard to get them back out again without hurting them or myself! They would much rather hang out in the garden then the silly coop..

I am seriously thinking of buying a large net to cover the entire backyard so the hawks cant get to them in the backyard. And so they wont want to try the grass in the neighbors' yards either.. As for the Neighbors, they are totally cool with the birds! The owners of the houses on both sides of us grew up in Mexico, and always had chickens growing up. They actually miss the noise, they said! Of course that is part of the fun of owning your own home, you get to do pretty much whatever you want! Supposedly our community also allows one Goat per household, but I don't know if we will go THAT far..

I have decided to not extend the light cycle this year, and let them naturally start laying this spring. Next year I will reevaluate the situation when winter comes around again.. I would imagine we will have a few more chickens by then, and a bigger coop, so I might start thinking of running power to that corner of the backyard when i expand the current coop.

Oh, and I havent been out to the Feed Stores in the East County yet, but I have been going to San Diego Pet Supply here in Downtown San Diego since we got the chicks. I work in the gaslamp, so its right on my way home. (Actually we tried Pet Kingdom in Point Loma, but they were very expensive and not a great selection.) SD Pet Supply is awesome, and have several different brands of chicken feed, feeders, waterers, etc. Give them a try!

Cant wait for more San Diegans to get on the sustainable living thing with us.. Brewing our own Beer, growing our veggies in our Backyard, raising our laying chickens, and growing other things too! Its all kind of the same when you look at the big picture!

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