Help me start my first chicken flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Livinzoo, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Livinzoo

    Livinzoo Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Statham, GA
    I already have parrots inside, but am interested in some chickens.

    I really like the Dominique's for the fact that they are a heritage breed, interesting color and a brown egg layer. I'm wanting eggs, maybe chicks, and meat. I was thinking about ordering 7 pullets and 2 males (just in case I lost one as a chick). I am planning on ordering from Ideal.

    I plan on buying organic starter if I can find a good price.

    I will brood them in my spare room away from the rest of the zoo and once feathered they will move to my boyfriends grandmothers property a few miles away. She has 20 acres and I live in a neighborhood.

    We will have to build the coop. I have access to tons of milk crates and plan to use them as nest boxes. I have been reading the many different coop threads trying to plan mine out.

    For their run I was thinking of using the electric poultry netting and the game bird netting as a top. I am hoping that this will keep predators at bay since I won't be able to be there around the clock.

    Now that you know what I have planned out so far I have a few questions.

    Do I have to lock them in the coop at night since I will have their run pretty protected? I don't get home from work until midnight.... so that might be a problem.

    What type of feeders and waters work the best? Do I place some in the coop and some outside of the coop?

    Any suggestions you can give me based off my ideas?

  2. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Songster

    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    Welcome! Sounds like you have thought things out. A few words of advice.

    Don't get more than one rooster. Two roosters and seven hens will mean fighting and stressed out hens. If the one rooster dies, believe me, you will have no trouble finding someone willing to give you a rooster for free.

    Try to find a way to lock them in at night. Even if you lock them in at midnight when youi come home that's better than not doing it at all. There have been too many stories that began "I thought my run was predator proof until one morning I went out and found..."

    I love Dominiques, my Joey, Johnny and DeeDee Ramone are friendly, inquisitive birds who like to jump up on my back to see what's going on. You'll enjoy them!

    Have fun! [​IMG]
  3. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia

    I have to agree with peepkeeper. I wouldn't get more than one roo. In fact, if I had it to do over again, I might not get the one roo that I have. Mind you, he's a GOOD roo, and I have no horror stories to go with him, but his charm wore off quickly once he started mating the hens! Poor girls! He's always at them, messing up their pretty feathers. They've gotten used to him, of course, but I'm not sure that they wouldn't be happier without him.

    That said, I did get him for the same reason you want one. I thought, Dominiques are a heritage breed, and I should try to keep the breed going... So maybe once I have some chicks, I'll feel that I made the right choice. As a first time chicken owner, though, the roo has been a bit of a stressor for me at times.

    Also, I have feeders and waterers inside the coop and outside the coop. I do take the waterer out at night, as my coop is small and they always end up turning it over anyway. The ones outside are a big plastic one from Tractor Supply, and an old kitchen pot. Naturally they prefer the old kitchen pot. The one inside the coop is a small plastic chick waterer. For feeders, my husband built me these little wooden troughs with bases that don't allow them to turn over when a bird perches on the edge. I like them better than any of the feeders I have bought. The design is very simple, just a shallow box with a base that is about an inch wider than the box itself. Built from scrap, but they work well.

    Just curious, are chickens prohibited in your neighborhood? I ask because I know it would be hard for me to have my chickens live somewhere else. I like to spend a lot of time with them. They are so special! But if you can't have them at home, at least they are nearby.

    Good luck with your chickens. I love my Dominiques. They are beautiful, sweet birds, and mine are laying like crazy!

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