How to get started??

Fluffy&Cutie

Songster
May 17, 2018
376
867
206
Los Angeles Basin
many of the previous posters were all in. i'll give you my perspective as a "toe" in the water type of gal.
I didn't know much about chicken keeping. i got two birds to test the water. they were rescues. i got a prefab coop with extended run off amazon on something similar. luckily, our chicks were great (and females, how lucky!) i fell in love with chickens and chicken math hit...(YOU WILL BE AFFECTED BY CHICKEN MATH)
my city only allows for 5 chickens. we built a coop for the 5 allowed by city. the pause between the first chicks and the second set gave me some time to explore breeds, eggs, and breed "personality". then we got 2 more chicks. :love we are satisfied with our 4 pets who give us love and eggs.

i personally wanted to stagger the chicks every two years, because with a city limit of chickens -all eggs could be done in two-ish years-then what. (i choose to let my hens live out their life)
sadly, so no more chickens for me for like 10 years. yikes. i made sure the second set of chicks were the ones i NEEDED.
good luck. you are going to love it!!!
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Premium member
Feb 5, 2018
3,126
23,186
932
Northwest Oregon
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You have already received a lot of very helpful advice and opinions,
but I'll still add a bit more...

I found out that most chicken permits in town are for 6-12 birds, and no roos allowed- boo
No biggie, you absolutely don't need a rooster, especially if you're not free ranging or breeding, and hens don't need a rooster to lay eggs.

I thought the rule of thumb was 4sqf/bird? 64sqf would be 16 birds..unless I'm missing something??
I want to put a roof over the run and I saw some people cover the sides with plastic to help keep the wind down- that definitely seems doable, I imagine birds would not want to be kept inside for weeks or months on end- so if I did that, would that work for the number? Or would it still be advisable to have fewer?
Correct, but that's the bare minimum if "cooped" inside all day. More important is where they'll actually spend most of their time. My girls have free access to the very secure covered run (no locking pop door) and they never really choose to hang out in the coop during the day, except only to lay eggs, even in the pouring rain or freezing weather, they just prefer being outside. Also an important overlooked factor inside the coop is the space needed to jump down off the roosts without crashing into walls, and the length of roosts themselves. At least 12 linear inches per bird for low roosts, and much more than that for higher roosts to account for flapping wings and settling.
I think you're on the right track covering parts of the run with plastic as a temporary weather shield, that's what I do.

@Doc7 already left one of my favorite links... it was my original plan when I started 3 years ago but still haven't completely adhered to it yet:
A 3 Year Chicken Rotation to Optimize Year-Round Laying

Adding chicks yearly is easier than many people think, and because they come straight from a sterilized environment (hatchery) or even a very short stay at the local feed store, they are far less likely to bring in parasites or illness. There is always a risk when bringing in grown birds and they'll need to be quarantined for weeks before the actual integration process that can also take weeks. All that requires 2 types of separate housing, and I don't have the facility for that. I do have room to fit a brooder space inside my coop for easy integration of chicks which has worked awesome!
Integrating at 4 weeks old
Important information to know if adding POL pullets to an existing flock:
The Essential Quarantine
See But Don’t Touch


Another thing I'd like to also attempt is harvesting meat for the family, like you mentioned. The following article is a great intro to the process (still trying to get my head around it), and leads to some great YouTube videos. I'm now a big fan of Alexia Allen's teaching.
Pets VS. Livestock & Respectful Chicken Harvest

Sorry for all those links, but I think you'll really find some helpful information there.
Good luck with your new adventure!
 
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KnightsMist

Chirping
Jan 18, 2019
42
140
77
Massachusetts
Thank you FF- very helpful info and links!! :)

I was hoping to get a rooster for free ranging. I don't intend to free range all day every day, likely just weekends and spring/summer/fall early eves when we're home and tend to spend a lot of time outdoors. I read that roosters are good for protection. So, you're right, not the end of the world if I can't have one, but would be nice if I can convince the town.. :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
72,565
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SW Michigan
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jreardon1918

Songster
Jul 13, 2016
451
696
206
Southeast, MA
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I am only two years in. Built a 4x8 raised coop. Got 7 chicks. Mostly things have gone well. The first winter we had many eggs. This winter very few. Planning to add a few things spring. Which means either an addition to the coop or subtraction in the fall. So, you might consider building big enough to only partially "fill" the coop. The advantage to this is your first experience with chicken math would be addition. That math function is usually easier than subtraction. Good luck.
 
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