How much of a mess? (and other noob questions)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Krysstyllanthrox, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Krysstyllanthrox

    Krysstyllanthrox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2008
    Tulsa
    Morning all, I'm Haley and am just starting to get interested in keeping chickens in my suburban back yard. The city allows for up to 6 adult chickens (no roosters) to be kept so long as you meet some distance requirements from houses.

    I've been reading this forum for a while, and all the books I can get my hands on, but I'm still coming up with some questions that I haven't seen answered. I hope ya'll can help me with these.

    Right now I'm planning on building a small, non-heated, raised coop to house about 5 girls, with a run surrounding the coop, and tall enough to be able to stand upright in. They will not be allowed to free range as I live in the city with tons of stray dogs and cats around.

    *How much of a mess do chicks/pullets make? This is my big hangup. Hopefully later this year I will be pregnant with our first child and as time goes on and I get bigger my husband will have to care for the birds...and he doesn't handle tons of mess well.

    *Do pullets ordered from feed stores always come debeaked? I saw a picture of a debeaked chicken yesterday and wanted to cry for the poor thing. But at the same time I'm not sure I'll be able to devote enough care to raising chicks.

    *How much of a routine would I need to establish? As in, would I never be able to sleep in again? Do the girls have to be locked into the coop each night since they would be in a secure run?

    *Are there any other noob questions that you wish you had asked when getting started?

    Thanks everyone, I've already seen how friendly and welcoming you can be. [​IMG]
     
  2. Pelican49

    Pelican49 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Hi Neighbor, I'm in Broken Arrow, and, like you, I don't have chickens yet either. I'm learning tons from this forum.

    I'll be moving near Locust Grove before I get any hens, hopefully, that'll be by fall.

    Check this thread for other Okies!
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=23736
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:First, congratulations [​IMG] Second, once they are past the confined-to-messy-brooder stage, there is neither tons of mess nor tons of work -- the only reason I would guess you'd have a problem with it in the later stages of pregnancy would be if you are for some reason confined to bed or if you are unlucky enough to have pregnancy-long morning sickness and the smell happens to bother you. Unless you think either of those is particularly likely, I wouldn't really worry about it.

    (Just so you know, I got my chickens last spring, one month before I was due with my now 9 month old son... although I weenied out and got ready to lay pullets not chicks, about which see below)

    *Do pullets ordered from feed stores always come debeaked? I saw a picture of a debeaked chicken yesterday and wanted to cry for the poor thing. But at the same time I'm not sure I'll be able to devote enough care to raising chicks.

    I hear you. The reason I got r-t-l pullets was because I was fairly certain (and I'm fairly certain still that I was right) that in the last month of pregnancy and first month of having a second child in the house I would not be up for dealing with fluffy fragile needy chicks. HOWEVER, I think it depends considerably on the exact timing. If I could have gotten baby chicks, like, 3 months before I was due, it would have worked out fine I am certain... chicks do grow into independance pretty fast, much faster than babies anyhow [​IMG]

    If you feel that baby chicks are not the thing for you this year, then why not see if you can get started pullets from a private citizen somewhere in your area. Unless you are alone in the wilds of Nowheresville, I would strongly bet there is SOMEONE within an hour or hour and a half drive from whom you could get started birds, although you may have to compromise on preferred breed(s). Ask here, and ask around at local feed stores.

    Myself I would never get debeaked feed-store pullets again, I just don't like that they're raised in conditions where that has to be done and I don't want to be the cause of more birds having to go through it... HOWEVER, I also feel compelled to say that it is not necessarily the end of the world and my 3 (now 2) debeaked girls honestly do just about fine and do not seem bothered by it, no matter what horror stories you may hear from some people. I have to be a little more careful how I feed them to make sure they can eat well but truly it does not seem to be such a big deal for them and they are fat and happy and as far as I can tell quite normal.

    *How much of a routine would I need to establish? As in, would I never be able to sleep in again? Do the girls have to be locked into the coop each night since they would be in a secure run?

    LOL, we are twins [​IMG] I worried about this a whole lot too - I am NOT a rise-at-the-first-pink-of-dawn person, especially not with a newborn in the house [​IMG] You wanna know what I think, I think that if you go the extra mile to make your run and coop REALLY secure, go ahead and leave the henhouse door open to the run and let them go out whenever they want.

    Welcome and have fun,

    Pat​
     
  4. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Welcome to BYC!

    I have 13 (12 pullets and 1 roo) in a 8x8 coop with a run. I use wood shavings for bedding. I clean the coop once a month and rebed. It takes me only about 15-20 minutes. It depends on your pregnacy as to whether or not you could handle it. With both of mine I did the farm chores right up until they were born and cattle chores are more demanding than chickens.

    As for sleeping in-Go ahead. I'm up early for the dairy cow chores but, not everyone is done laying when I leave the barn. If I don't have to worry about weather concerns (i.e. freezing) I will just leave them until afternoon chores. Your baby will be waking you up before you need to worry anyway.

    As for locking in the coop. It really depends on you and the run. If you believe it is preditor proof then they will be alright. I have a neighbor whose chicken house is an old dog house modified to make collecting eggs easier. There really isn't anyway to lock them in with her numbers but, the run is solid and she has never had any trouble. I lock mine in right now due to the winter weather. Last summer I left the door to their run open at night.

    I started with chicks and it wasn't really all that much work once you get your brooder set up. I have read stories on here about debeaked chickens and how they need extra care with their food. Not only does it sound terrible it sounds more time consuming than what you would have starting with chicks. Chicks growup but, debeaked pullets/hens will always be debeaked and need the extra care.

    Good Luck!
     

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