Hi all, new to chickens!


5 Years
Sep 26, 2014
Hi everyone! I'm completely new to this whole chicken thing. It was by accident that I am now getting ready for chickens. My neighbors who are elderly are moving into a senior center and moving from their farm. They have offered us their chickens since we have been getting our eggs from them for years.

Any and all advice is needed and wanted! I have been looking over building a coop and will be starting that tonight. I can't tell you what kind of chickens they are, they have several breeds and we are only going to be taking 5-10 out of the 50+ chickens they have.

I'm nervous but excited about this new adventure. I have gotten so used to fresh eggs I can't stand store bought anymore, so us trying our hand at this will be beneficial since I don't have anyone else to get fresh eggs from now. I guess the part I'm most concerned with is getting the coop built and figuring out nesting boxes, feeding, etc.

A little about me... I'm from Nebraska and I am a wife and mother of 2. We have 2 dogs and 6 cats. (Any advice about keeping our pets away from the chickens would be great!)
Hello there and welcome to BYC!

So glad you could join our community! The best place to start is our learning center. Lots of good articles on all the aspects of keeping chickens...https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

Chickens need about 5 square feet per bird in the coop, 10 square feet per bird in the run. If you cram them in, they will turn on each other. Nest boxes for standard size or heavy breeds is about 15x15 give or take an inch. I have found that 1 nest box per 3 birds is a comfortable amount for the flock. You can have a broody hogging up a box at any time, and you don't want waiting lines or arguing while waiting to lay. Keep the nest boxes lower than the roost bars. I like to keep them near to the floor, especially if you have heavy breeds. You don't want them jumping down heavy on their legs and spraining anything. For those larger breeds, a 2x4 with the 4 side up makes a great roost bar. Don't put them in the rafters as this is where all the moisture wants to hang out. Keep the roost bar only a couple feet of the floor. Mine is only 1 foot off off the floor. Lots of venting in your eaves. About 1 square foot per bird of vent space to air off all ammonia smells and moisture from pooping and breathing all night long. Vents help to prevent frost bite by removing all this damp air. All this stuff is in the learning center.

You might stop by our coops pages here to look at our members coops and get some idea on building yours...https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/2/Coops

Good luck on this new adventure! If you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask.

Welcome to our flock!
Welcome to BYC! First figure out how many you plan to get. Or just figure the highest number and go from there. If you plan to free range then around 4 sq ft per bird is alright. If not not shoot for about 10 sq ft. If you plan to leave them in try to make them a run as big as you can. It will help prevent boredom. Also make sure it's predator proof. Nothing to get through, over, or dig under. You'll want to make sure your coop has ventilation as well. As for nest boxes you can get away with one box per four hens.

Also I would ask the couple what kind of feed they're using. If you like the feed choice go with it if not; pick some up and then choose what you'd like. You can slowly change them over like you would a dog or cat. Give them multiple food and water stations. That way if anyone is bullied away there is another spot for them to go. Next add a dish of grit if they're going to eat any snacks or other foods besides commercial chicken feed. Also add a dish of oyster shell to help replenish their bodies with calcium that they use to make the eggs.

Congratulations on your new adventure!
Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. TwoCrows and BayBay Peepers have given you some really good advice so I'll just say, please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your coop built and getting your flock.
I recommend checking out the Learning Center, it is the best place to start: https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center and I highly recommend keeping the dogs and the chickens completely separate! Chickens are big squeaky toys to dogs and nothing good comes from that, I'm speaking from personal experience coming from losing my entire first flock to my Boston Terrier. Also, dogs will stress out your chickens if allowed to run around the coop and bark at the chickens, so that's something else to consider. If chickens are stressed out there won't be any egg laying. Best of luck to you!
Yes, Liz got to the important part - dogs + chickens usually = dead chickens. The same with cats. The very best way to have them all if to make sure they never meet. The dogs and cats are no doubt free ranging so the chickens cannot. Some people think they have chickens loose while the dogs and cats are in the house. But, sooner or later the schedule gets mixed up or a door is left open and , before you know it, you have to order new chicks again.

The chickens will have to be in a fort knox of a coop and run, to protect them from the household predators that can get to them sooner than wild ones will.
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten some good suggestions and links above. When you actually pick your chickens, if they know the ages, you will want the youngest laying hens you can get, birds lay fewer eggs as they get older. If you can take pictures of the flock, people may be able to tell you what breeds they are and if any of them are better layers than others. Here are also a couple of links of evaluating birds, health wise etc that may help you pick http://www.communitychickens.com/9-point-comb-to-toe-chicken-check-up-diy-antiseptic-ointment/ and http://afspoultry.ca.uky.edu/files/pubs/Evaluating_egg_laying_hens.pdf
Thanks for your advice all! One of my dogs has been around chickens but the other has not. We should find out more this weekend and I'm sure I will back before then with questions. Thanks all!
Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help n

The above posters have said it all. So I'll just say good luck, feel free to ask any other questions and so glad you joined!:D

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