Hello, I'm new and not sure where to start.

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Katran, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Katran

    Katran New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2008
    Arizona
    Hi all! [​IMG] I've been thinking for awhile about getting hens for eggs, and I'm just not sure where to start, what the best kinds of chickens are, how to set up a coop for them, etc. I've browsed the forums and read the FAQ's, but I still have a few questions.

    I live in Phoenix, where the temps can easily get over 110 in the summer (and we usually have at least a few days above 115). Plus, our humidity goes up oh, right about now, so it gets really hot and somewhat muggy. Is this a safe environment for chickens? I don't want to condemn them to heat stroke right off the bat. My house has no A/C, so keeping them indoors wouldn't be much better.

    I also have 5 dogs, two of them large and three of them small. What's the best way to build a coop they won't be able to get into (they've never seen a chicken in their lives)? Should I fence off a portion of my yard so the chickens can have free range, or is it best to keep them in an enclosed coop? If they have free range, should I keep their wings clipped (and how do I do that) so they can't fly over the fence? How much free range space do they need? My yard is not really big, and we have very little grass right now.

    We have a family of five, and some days we'll go through a half dozen eggs in one day, other times we won't eat eggs for days. How many chickens should I have if I want to keep an average one dozen eggs on hand each week (we'd probably eat more if we didn't have to buy them)?

    Where is the best place to get hens in my area? Should I start off with babies, or is it better to get one that is already laying age? How much can I expect to pay for a chicken?

    I'm sure I'll have more questions, but if anyone can answer these to start, I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. petlove

    petlove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2008
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    [​IMG] Get on the site "Where are you? Where am I?" There are other BYC members from Phoenix. They will guide you through with their chicken wisdom. Welcome.
     
  3. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. Katran

    Katran New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2008
    Arizona
    Thanks guys!
     
  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Welcome welcome!!

    I can't help much on the breed selection - maybe others who live in your area can help more with which breeds are especially heat hardy. I do know that they can be kept in warm conditions with the right considerations. If you have a shady spot in your yard, that would be the best place to start for a coop [​IMG]

    The breeds that are better layers will give you about 5-6 eggs a week at peak production. I'd recommend a flock of maybe 4-5 hens which would give you around 3-4 eggs per day. You'll be surprised how many more eggs you will eat when you have really yummy good home grown eggs in your fridge!

    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    This is a great chart on the various breeds of chickens, and which are better egg layers than other, etc. It might help you make your decisions.

    Also, My Pet Chicken (www.mypetchicken.com) has a good breed chooser on their website.

    Have fun and welcome!!
     
  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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  7. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    When you make a post such as this, make sure you have "Arizona" in the subject line. That will narrow things down to people in your area!
     
  8. Frogdogtimestwo

    Frogdogtimestwo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    Like previous posters have stated there is are other Arizonans in the forums, search using keywork Arizona
    I also live in the desert and have found several options for keeping my girls cool, I have a water mister system $12.00 at lowes or home depot, On really hot days I add electrolytes to their water which is changed daily, Watermelon is a favorite treat for them and they peck at it all day. Height of the pen and coop is important nothing too low that will hold in the heat. I have a fan in the coop to keep them cool at night. My outdoor pen is covered not only for shade all the time for them but to keep them dry from the monsoon rains that we will have for the next few months.
    Personally I would start with day old chicks so they are able to adapt to the heat. They are supposed to start under a heat lamp etc, but the heat in your area is probably enough in your house, I have never had to use the light for as long as people in other parts of the country, however I do use a light (red light bulb for less picking etc, or a low wattage flourescent)
    I am not sure where you can pick up chicks but check craigslist, local feed stores etc. I would be careful as I picked up some day olds in Phoenix a few months ago and they were infested with mites(private breeder), I was not a happy camper. That is why it is important to quarantine new chicks from your existing flock or chicks you have picked up. Hope that helps. There are so many more highly qualified chicken people on this site who may have more insight also for you. Oh and I would fence off a section for the chickens away from the dogs, our dogs are known around here as the "occcd" dogs (obsessive, compulsive chicken chasers) they would kill them without thinking twice. About breeds you will have to find what you like, I bought Rhode island reds (RIR) and Black Australorps which lay 5 a week average(large and extra large eggs) and the others Easter Eggers( which most feed stores sell as Amercaunas) lay about 3 a week I think (med size eggs) Go for it, they have been such an enjoyment to our lives.
     
  9. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    Arkansas
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  10. Katran

    Katran New Egg

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    Jul 5, 2008
    Arizona
    Thanks again folks! [​IMG] I found the Arizona thread and am slowly reading it through. I've already learned some very helpful things and am really glad I found these forums! I really appreciate all the tips and advice.
     

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