Help me ---- PLEASE!!!

amandaandandy

Hatching
10 Years
Mar 9, 2009
1
0
7
Hi! I just moved from the city to well, the middle of nowhere. I was at the store the other day getting things for the flower beds and they had the most adorable baby chicks. So I've decided If I have to live in the country then I should have some animals. The house we live in has an old chicken coop (its an old farm house) but with no fence. I've been told both that I do and do not need a fence bc chickens roam? Also, there are at least 2 cats that live in one of our barns - if there are chickens roaming around they should be ok right?!?! I read on here that chickens will eat small snakes (thank goodness!) but might attract mice. But hopefully this will all work out....no snakes bc of the chickens...and no mice bc of the cats. I live in indiana so I'm thinking that if the chickens are inside the coop at night they should be ok - I'm just worried about the fence and cats! And what about winter -- do they just stay outside? Hmmm...let me know! THANK YOU!!!

City girl trying to be country
 

FrenchHen

Chicken Ambassador
10 Years
Jan 26, 2009
2,182
11
191
Bagshot Row
Welcome! Check out the learning center link at the very top of the page. There's a ton of info there that helped me start from scratch this summer.
 

lisahaschickens

Songster
10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
1,018
25
161
Vancouver, WA
I highly suggest you get a book on keeping chickens. Your babies will need a lot of protection. Yes, from things like cats and dogs... but also raccoons, possums, hawks, owls, etc. Everything likes to eat chicken. When you or a guard dog are there to watch them, they can free-range, but otherwise you will have some losses. You will also need to learn about brooders and raising small chicks first if you want to get babies from the feed store. You can't just toss them in the coop because they need to be kept very warm (95 degrees the first week) until they are older. This site and a good book will give you a good foundation... and then go for it and join the rest of us!
 

Schultz

CluckN'Crow Farm
11 Years
Aug 5, 2008
3,837
34
221
Indianapolis
Welcome from Indianapolis.
We have lost a couple of chickens to raccoons and I have heard that foxes, hawks and opposums are a threat here as well! All of our cats are indoors but the neighborhood cats have not hurt them. We keep ours locked up at night and they have a run for daytime and get to free range when we are there to supervise. I have heard of people letting their chickens free range all day and lock them up nightly. We can't do that here for fear of the neighborhood dogs and cars. Also, most of our 4 acres is wooded and we don't know what kind of predators might be lurking about. "Stranger" dogs WILL kill your chickens. I hope that helps!
 

Chirpy

Balderdash
12 Years
May 24, 2007
3,788
28
221
Colorado
Hi and Welcome to BYC! It's great when "city people" find they have a "country side".
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First, you need a very secure hen house to lock up your chickens every night to protect them from predators. You should allow at least 4 sq. ft. per chicken (standard size) inside space - allowing extra room for their waterer and feeder and nest boxes.

Then you need to decide if you are willing to take the risk of losing chickens when they are free ranging during the day. Many predators (coyote, fox, raccoons, dogs, some cats, hawks, etc.) can and will take chickens and once they learn where an easy meal is they will come back again and again.

The other option to free ranging is to have a secure fenced in chicken run where your chickens can safely scratch around during the day. Bigger is better for them. You should plan on at least 10 sq. ft. per chicken in a run area. You will want to use either hardware cloth or 2x4 welded or woven wire to enclose the run. Bury the wire at least 15 to 18 inches into the ground and if you use 2x4 wire you will also want to run either hardware cloth or 1" chicken wire around the bottom two feet of the run so raccoons cannot stick their hands in and grab a chicken to pull through the wire.

Welcome to the country!
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lambchick

In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 6, 2009
35
0
32
Nebraska
A few years ago, we had some ducklings and I thought I had a pretty safe pen. It was safe for a few weeks, but around 8 weeks of age, something was able to break into the pen and mauled all of them. It was a horrific sight. My advice, have a good solid pen at least for the nights to avoid the night time creatures-possums, racoons, skunks, etc.
 

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