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Help Please?? EXPERTS NEEDED!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by racizme, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. racizme

    racizme Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Jamaica
    Those of you with ADD or ADHD, BEWAREE!!!! THIS IS A VERY!! LONG QUESTION! Lol.


    Ok, where to begin?? Well, I guess I'll start at the beginning.

    About 3 months ago my mother finally answered my never ending question of "Can I get chickens?" They reply was a hesitant "Yes, But only after we come back from vacation." Well we went off to vacation a few weeks ago and now were home again. I talked to my mother and father again today, and on Monday we begin getting ready for my chickens!! But here is where my questions come in. You see, I've been trying for the past 3 months to find out the answers to my questions on the internet, but every site seems to contradict the other. One says you should start with chicks, another says first timers shouldn't have chicks (I think that was only one site that said it though), one says you need to let your chickens run loose, another says that you should keep the chickens fenced in. So here are my never-ending questions.

    1) Me and my father have decided to convert an old shed into my chicken coop. The shed is fairly large and is made out of cement. My dad says that it would be no problem to gut the place totally and to cut out an opening for the chickens to go out to their pen through. (I have already killed the "no fences" thing, 1) because my mother has a garden, 2) Because I'm afraid that my not-so-honest neighbors would steal one and 3) Because of all the dogs living around me.) We finally can now come to my question. What goes into a chicken coop?? I've heard about perches and nest boxes or whatever and am totally confused. I'm going to have to build the nesting boxes with my dad, so I need a design I can use (And money is kinda an issue with my dad, cause he dosn't want me to spend a lot cause he's afraid their just gonna become pets and have no use for them also, my parents are missionaries and money is kinda a strain, but I'm getting to all of that). So I need to know what should go on the floor (Oh and I should just mention that were missionaries in Jamaica, so that has to go into consideration when helping me![​IMG]). should I use hay? what would be the best way of cleaning all that? How high should the nests be from off of the ground? The structure is about 15 feet long and 10 wide. And height is about 10 ft. I have two windows on the side walls and on the back wall will go the chicken door. So what do I need and where does it usually go? I heard I also need to drill large holes in the top closer to the roof to allow carbon dioxide and stuff to escape. And What kind of glass should go in the windows? Right now its all boarded up. Also, We had a cockroach problem in that shed, and nothing was ever done, we've pretty much wanted to tear down the thing, until now (It really is very structurally sound though). Should I do something to treat the place for bugs or anything? I really think that once it's gutted, we'll be fine, but I don't want anything to destroy the nice stuff I'm about to put in.

    2) What kind of chicken should I get? I Live in Jamaica (as stated) so I need a chicken that can make it through hot temps all year of between 70F in the winter and between 80-100f in the summer. And what precautions can I take to keep my birds happy and healthy in such weather? I see other families who have chickens, but until lately I never really cared to ask about how they took care of them or anything. I will be going to the home of one of the other pators in my church to find out about raising chickens in JA, but they run a childrens home, so their chickens are for eating, so I'm not really sure that he can help me out for much more than taking care of my chickens.

    3) Should I start off with pullets ( thats the one thats about to start laying eggs right?) or with chicks? My parents have agreed to let me decide. I'm not sure what the pros and cons of both are.

    4) I already know that I want 3 hens and a rooster (and that's only to say I want 3 girls and a boy. I don't want any of you fluent chicken experts to say "But I thought you were thinking about starting chicks first") Now I have questions about the rooster. Can he be kept with the hens at all times. And if he fertilizes one of my hens eggs, is it still okay to eat?? And If I can't keep the rooster with the hens, then where do I keep him?

    5) Along with the whole hen, rooster thing. If I want to have chicks to sell or raise, do I just leave the hen alone with the eggs? Will she become "broody"? Do I have to just continue taking her eggs and just wait until she becomes "broody"? And if she becomes broody and I don't want chicks yet, can I just take the eggs? Will that emotionally scar her? Will she scar me??

    I can't think of any more questions that I have right now, but I'm sure that more are to come. Just please don't refer me to any online stores! It cost a bundle for shipping! And please don't tell me to go to Home Depot. There are no home depots in Jamaica. But please recommend the things I should need. I'm going to ask around to find out where I can buy chicken fee... OH!! What kind of feed should I get?? lol. I'm gonna ask around for stores that I can buy chicken supplies at. PLEASE HELP ME!! I will be eternally grateful for all you do!
     
  2. Chelly

    Chelly Cooped Up

    May 11, 2007
    You should be able to find all your answers just browsing around here.

    I'm starting with chicks, because I want to know exactly what my girls have been through, I dont' want to get pullets and perhaps have them being scared of me or anything like that. Thats not to say they will be, but might is good enough for me. I also don't mind waiting months to get any eggs.
    You can indeed eat fertilized eggs. I'm not getting a roo, as I don't want any fertilized.

    Some chickens get broody more often than others - I don't know all the different breeds very well, perhaps someone else can answer that.
    You can also try mypetchicken.com - they have a little questionaire thing, you fill out and it tells you what breeds are your best choice based on condtions.
     
  3. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    Welcome to the forum! I started with chicks, and didn't find it too difficult. They have to have a safe place, where you can manage their temperature.
    As to all the other questions, you should be able to find most of your answers already here on the forum. Try using the search function, just taking one question at a time.
    Hope you like your chickens!
     
  4. hisbride

    hisbride Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2007
    GA
    Welcome!!! Where about in Jamaica are you? I did a mission trip to Bamboo last year.

    I hope you get answers to all your questions. I am not very good at explaining so I will let someone else more versed do it concerning constructions.

    My opinions on some of your questions.
    I know you are concerned about heat tolerant chickens but if you are buying them there locally you should not have a problem.
    For your first time and since money is an issue I would go with pullets because you won't have to feed them as long till they get big enough to lay eggs verses raising chicks.
    Yes keep your roo with your hens. A fertilized egg is ok to eat as long as you have collected it the same day as it was laid.
     
  5. racizme

    racizme Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Jamaica
    I'm in the mountains in Mandeville.

    And I guess this is helping a bit. I just have a hard time finding what i'm looking for is all. But I'm still browsing for my answers!
     
  6. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
  7. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2007
    SW MO
    Your nests can be about 12 to 14 inches square. Or you could use a 5 gallon bucket turned on it's side, and a board about 3 inches wide fastened along the bottom of the open end, so the hay doesn't come out.
    You can use pine shavings on the floor (not cedar--toxic to chickens) or hay would be fine. roosts can be a 2 x 4 about 2 ft off the ground.
    Your local feed store will be able to advise you on feed. If you start with chicks, you will need chick starter, or if you get pullets ready to start laying, you will want egg pellets.
    Myself, I would start with chicks, as they are cute, and they will grow up accustomed to you. And they aren't as expensive as pullets. However, you do have to buy feed longer. It probably about evens out.
    Feel free to ask any questions here, and also look around at the posts that have already been made, and you will learn a lot. Good Luck.
     
  8. racizme

    racizme Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Jamaica
    It is advisable to have a light inside your chicken coop for at night, or is it unnecessary?
     
  9. farmgirl2477

    farmgirl2477 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2007
    Oviedo, FL
    YOu dont need a light in the coop, although I think most people have them in there for a few reasons. I have it because it gets dark in the coop far earlier then it gets dark outside. This is becuase its surrounded by thick foliage all around. I also like seeing who is in there at night, just to make sure everyone is there. Its tough to do a head count when 20 chooks are wandering the yard LOL......Others have lights to help keep the hens on a good egg laying schedule. They need so many hours of light a day to keep laying. When winter strikes and days become short, the light in a coop will help extend it out.

    As for the fenced in run for your chooks, thats a matter of option and surroundings. I have free ranged my chooks all thier life, but many people can not. When they free range you do have the concern of predetors, or neighbors lol. But they love it, and they help keep the bugs down.

    I started with chicks, and on a whim at that LOL. I was at the feed store buying goat food and they were just too cute to walk past <grin> Brought them home in a box and brooded them in the computer room. To check out alittle on different chicken breeds you can check out feathersite.com or http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html for some information.

    And dont worry, we have all been beginners some time or another. Feel free to ask any questions here, there is always lots of supportive people ready to help ya out. And dont for get to post some pics if you can.

    Shannon
     
  10. farmgirl2477

    farmgirl2477 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2007
    Oviedo, FL
    Oh and I forgot. No taking the eggs will not scar your little lady. A hen wont try to hatch until she goes broody. At this time she sits in her nest box all day. She will get up 1 a dday to eat strech her legs and go poo. A good indication as to when shes broody is if she puffs up like a beach ball and screams at you just for looking her direction LOL. Some chickens live to go broody (silkies, cochins, buff orpingtons) others rarely do (RIR and legghorns I believe are a few)

    Hope Ive given you a bit of info to help ya out!

    Oh, here are a couple other sites that might help ya out too.. (its been along time since Ive used them, so I hope they still work)
    http://www.feathersite.com//Poultry/BRKRaisingChicks.html
    http://www.ehow.com/how_5788_raise-baby-chicks.html
    http://www.webelfin.com/chickens/chickbreeds.html
     

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