Hi from Arkansas!

JessOTR

In the Brooder
May 2, 2015
31
3
24
I'm Jessica, occupational therapist, home school mom, and soon to be backyard chicken keeper. For mother's day, my hubby okay'ed my starting a very small flock. My step-dad is building me a coop and run over the next couple of weeks.

We live on 3 acres in rural Arkansas. It's mostly wooded and we are off in an area with empty lots all around us. The ticks are ferocious, which is my main motivation for getting chickens at all. One of my coworkers has a 2 year old who is undergoing more tests for suspected Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. I limit my kids playing outside in the summer due to the ticks and chiggers, and I'm sick of it. Having fresh eggs would be a much welcomed bonus.

I had decided I would get 4 of the best foragers known to man, and get "teen" chicks instead of babies, since I have no experience raising them. I'm seeing that they aren't that hard and they "grow up" faster than I thought. I don't have a heat lamp, but could get one, obviously. Other than that, I think I could manage.

Our only other current pet is a lazy Bassador. I'm not sure how he'd be with chickens but we'd keep a close watch and separate them if needed. Any thoughts on any of my plans? I'm noticing around the forums that 4 chickens is super small compared to what most of you have. Breed suggestions would also be welcome. I keep "deciding" on things, then changing my mind. I know my local feed store currently has sex-links and Rhode Island Reds (and some others that I can't remember). I was leaning toward the sex-links for more assurance of hens, but for all I know, they are all female. I didn't ask that many questions.

I look forward to learning a lot more!
 
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drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
137,461
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Out to pasture
Actually guineas are the bird of choice for ticks, they love them too death, they are also a great alarm system when anything looks amiss to them. Chickens are best for the eggs, and will eat what bugs and sometimes snakes & mice, they find but, GUINEAS love ticks. I have never had them myself but, hear nothing but raves about their tick hunting prowess.

As to dogs a Bassador has two obvious hunting breeds behind it. Generally dogs + chickens = dead chickens. You never hear of a chicken killing a dog. Even if a dog is just playing the chicken or chick usually end up dead or have to be put out of their misery. Even Chihuahuas, yorkies and little doxies are among the worst breeds with chickens.
Who knew? We hear it from new members.
 

Michael OShay

Crowing
5 Years
May 14, 2014
25,581
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Montana
Welcome to BYC, Jessica. Glad you decided join our flock. My daughter's name is Jessica. Which part of Arkansas are you in? I was born in Hot Springs and still love that area. Drumstick diva is correct where ticks are concerned; guineas are the birds of choice. However, where chickens are concerned, Sex Links are an excellent choice as they are hardy egg laying machines. I've raised both Black Sex Links and Red Sex Links for years (along with dozens of other breeds and hybrids, including RIRs), and my Sex Links have been my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. If the feed store has a choice between Black Sex Links and Red Sex Links, I actually prefer the Blacks as they have been friendlier than my Reds, have been slightly better layers in really cold, winter weather, and have tended to have a longer laying life than my Reds. However, you can't go wrong either way. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in solving your tick problem.
 

JessOTR

In the Brooder
May 2, 2015
31
3
24
Thanks to you both! We live a bit north of Conway.

I should have been more specific on the tick thing. I want the best chickens for ticks. I ruled out guineas early on. The ones I have been around are awesome foragers, to the point that they go so far from the actual yard that the tick problem persists closest to the house. They are also LOUD! I do want some eggs, and some educational opportunity and work ethic builder for my kids, and I figure feeding and gathering eggs can accomplish that.

You're probably right about my dog. I'll just plan to keep them separate.
 

Michael OShay

Crowing
5 Years
May 14, 2014
25,581
2,434
438
Montana
Thanks to you both! We live a bit north of Conway.

I should have been more specific on the tick thing. I want the best chickens for ticks.
You're welcome. I have an uncle who lives in Conway. Sex Links are decent foragers and will likely eat as many ticks as any chicken breed or hybrid will; and you'll be getting super layers and all pullets to boot. :eek:)
 

NickyKnack

Love is Silkie soft!
6 Years
Oct 13, 2014
10,608
4,711
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Don't like your attitude, change your latitude
Hello!
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Welcome to BYC and the coop! There's a lot of great peeps here! Feel free to ask lots of questions. But most of all, make yourself at home. I'm so glad you decided to joined the BYC family.
 

JessOTR

In the Brooder
May 2, 2015
31
3
24
I talked to a seasoned chicken-keeper today. She told me where I could get some older pullets so I don't have to do the whole brooder thing. I think that's my plan going forward.
 

arkansasdaisy

In the Brooder
Jun 26, 2015
10
0
24
JessOTR, would you mind telling me if you found the older pullets? I am looking at doing the same thing and could use any advice you could give me. Thank you!
 

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