Hi from central Texas


9 Years
Oct 10, 2010
Hello all from the Texas Hill Country,
I know almost nothing about chickens and started browsing this site a few weeks ago. So far I have nothing, but I am starting to compile a plan. I live in a somewhat country style neighborhood on a 1.5 acres with mainly rocks, cedars and oaks. I am finding the more I read the more questions I have. The search tool has been my friend for the last week. Of course this will change many times over but here is my plan so far;

Take my time this winter and build a nice coop to house a dozen or so chickens. I only want to start with 3-6 but I read, build bigger. I will have a small run under and to the side but have a goal to free range all the time (knowing the risks). I want to order chicks as early as possible next spring. I yet know nothing about breeds, where or when to order but I’m sure, the answer is in here somewhere.

Well hello again and I’m sure I’ll be asking a million questions before I get started.
Welcome to BYC! From your neighbor here in San Antonio. If you have any questions, feel free to pm me.
Hi Rick,
from a former Austinite.

Being familiar with the land, I'd recommend having a lot of little lean-to's and boxes they can run under if a hawk shows up. That, and train them to lay in the coop before you let them range, because you'll have an Easter egg hunt every day if you don't!
so don't free range till they are producing eggs? thanks

Thanks, Break an Egg I appricate that ...
Well, not necessarily. You can let them run and then keep them in the coop until later in the day when they reach laying age. Once everyone lays they get to play! But, hens don't lay on a schedule. Seems like there's always one that waits until afternoon to lay.

I usually don't put them outside in the coop/run until fully feathered. Then I keep them in the coop/run for a couple or three weeks, until they recognize that it's home.

I lived in S. Austin, 78745, and had to be really careful about free ranging. We had fox, coyote, raccoons and neighbor's dogs running loose all over the place. After I lost 4 to various predators I gave up the free ranging in the city. If you're outside the city your chances are actually better for survival.
We live close to Boerne ... but not in the city. There is a lot of wild life and livestock nearby. All the land in our neighborhood is between 1- 3 acres. They call them ranch-ettes, I call them upper class rednecks. We have a deer feeder on our land and it's common to have 10 plus deer every evening. By the way … do chickens and deer mix?

There is one house in our neighborhood that I noticed that free ranges … and his land is not fenced … I almost ran over one once.
One of the first things I have to get passed is … convincing my Wife that the odor will not be as bad this time …

About six years ago I lived in Houston and my brother and I decided to raise Quail. So we built a 12 x 12 extension on my shed and my brother (a welder) built some very nice cages that stacked 5 feet high. We went all out … self watering system, PVC feeding tubes, I mean everything. Well before I knew it I was trying to take care of 200 birds … every evening I would spend an hour or more cleaning the pans (this got old quick). Once I went out of town and my brother came twice that week to change pans … and when I got home I was met at the door with “It’s either me or the birds” … the cages went from Wednesday till Saturday without care. It STUNK. There were 200 “Georgia Giants” in my freezer Sunday night.

So, I can construct a coop that will be easy to maintain. My question is how long is too long before you clean your coop? Six chickens can go how long without maintenance? Not talking about food and water, I will automate that. I’m talking just cleaning poop. Tell me your worst story … please.

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