Hi from Humboldt

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mpieratt, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. mpieratt

    mpieratt New Egg

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    I just got Jessi Bloom's book on Free Range Chicken Gardens and want to start with 3 or 4 chickens this spring. My number one priority is keeping my hens alive and happy so I want to build a predator proof coop and run to start with. Found this site while searching for predator proof housing. Open to any suggestions on how to get started and what chickens would be best for our area of northern, northern California. Thank you. Mary
     
  2. N F C

    N F C More coffee please! Premium Member Project Manager

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    Welcome to BYC! You'll find a ton of information here about all things chicken, plus some very nice, helpful poultry people.

    Excellent to start off with predator-proof housing instead of waiting until after something happens.

    If you want some suggestions on breeds for your area, you can ask the members on the CA state thread here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/270925/find-your-states-thread

    I found the Henderson's Chart very helpful when I was deciding on birds for our mixed flock here in North FL.
    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    And BYC has breed reviews written by members, nice to check that out too:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/products/category/chicken-breeds

    Lots of reading I know, but nice to find out as much as possible before diving in. Good luck to you and let us know what you end up with!
     
  3. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good that you are thinking ahead!

    Have you investigated local city and county ordinances? So sad when people end up losing a flock under threat of fines or worse. Are you in an HOA neighborhood? Their rules override county rules.

    What is your property like? Start with natural shade in summer that will get winter sun when the light comes more from the south.
    Do you have low land, prone to flooded areas? Wet chickens stink and cannot keep warm. You will need to bring in soil and put study wire under it because the chickens will dig out. You would also want an elevated coop.
    Are you dealing with a slope? Think how run off will move around the coop and run.

    How rural are you? This affects the types of predators you are most likely to have to guard against...dogs, bears, hawks, eagles, weasel? What you got?
    Chicken wire keeps chickens in, it does not keep predators out. The type of predators you have will decide what kind of fencing you need. It can get expensive. Are you on a very limited budget? Start watching Craigslist and freecycle now to collect useful materials.

    If you get snow, you have to have a coop large enough to keep the chickens from going bonkers during foul weather. I had 3 chickens in a small safe coop. The coop was inside a six by 10 covered and fenced area, where the nest box is (one was enough, but I made it large enough for two chickens at a time), with access to a run of about 500 sq feet. It is bald. Not one green plant remains, and the soil is so churned you would think I rototill it weekly. I let them out to free range the yard for a few hours each day, too...

    Will water and electric be run to them? Does water freeze in your winters?

    What I wish I had done was to use 1/4 inch hardware cloth around the entire covered area to keep out rodents and snakes. I hate finding rat poop in there, although they cannot get into the small coop.

    I wish I had electric for a summer fan.

    I wish I had made a sloped roof, instead of a flat roof.

    I ended up putting chicken wire around the picket fenced run to contain my escape artist.

    I did end up putting bird net over the entire run when a hawk landed five feet from me on my grill to eyeball what it thought was an easy chicken lunch.

    I have removed several plants I did not know were toxic.

    I wish my coop was pretty or charming!

    Well, I hope this helps get you started!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC, Mary. I'm glad you decided to join our flock. There is good article on predator proofing your chickens at http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/07/11-tips-for-predator-proofing-chickens.html. Make sure you use hardward cloth for your coop/runs, not chicken wire as too many predators can either tear through chicken wire, or squeeze through the holes in the mesh. As far as breeds go, I've been to Humbolct county on many occasions and you don't have particularly hot summers or cold winters, so any breed should handle your temperatures fine. Which breed would be best for you depends on what your purpose is for your chickens. If eggs are a main priority, I would suggest Black Sex Links, which are hardy and friendly, egg laying machines. I've raised them for years (along with dozens of other breeds and hybrids) and they have been my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. If you are wanting friendly lap pets, I would recommend getting either Australorps, Orpingtons, Cochins, Brahmas, or Sussex, all of which have well deserved reputations as very calm and gentle breeds. My children made lap pets of all of these breeds. Australorps are the best layers on this list and Cochins are the poorest layers (although they are the best brooders and mothers). 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 flock.
     
  5. Ashley Stroud

    Ashley Stroud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of good advice above, so let me just say welcome to BYC! Can't wait to hear your chicken adventures! :D
     
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    You've received some good advice already!
     
  7. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    Kikirki has given you much food for thought
     
  9. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
     
  10. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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