I’m considering getting a few chickens and I’m nervous

CNJ

Chirping
Oct 12, 2020
185
417
83
My town just started allowing us to have a maximum of 6 hens, no roosters.
I have always wanted chickens but I’m nervous about starting
What/ where should I research first?
I have Storeys, hobby farms and a chicken in every yard books on my couch right now and I’m a bit overwhelmed
I started by ordering hatching eggs from ebay. I didn't think they would hatch since I live far away in Hawaii. We have residential chicken codes, but its okay if the neighbors don't complain. I hatched 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Jersey Giants, 3 Austrolorps, 2 Lemon Cuckoo Orpington, and one white Rhode Island. All the hens of these breeds are docile and stay within my fenced yard.
I just hatched out some Bresse Chickens, they are very active and flighty. I hope when they grow up they don't fly over the fence. In addition, the Bresse hens may get annoying after they lay an egg. I saw a video of it, it makes a loud clucking sound to let everyone know she layed an egg.
 

RebelEgger

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 10, 2020
2,049
15,045
476
Chester, Nova Scotia
My Coop
:welcome Hello and welcome to BYC! You’ve joined a great and resourceful community! Enjoy your journey!
It’s all very overwhelming at first. There is a lot to learn but this community is great at helping you along. The learning section is great. I’m new to chickens as of May and even on the drive home with my new chicks I as anxious thinking omg what have done. But I have yet to regret it once. They will quickly capture your heart and the rest will come.
 

ChocolateMouse

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 29, 2013
5,216
16,232
667
Cleveland OH
Agreed that it can be overwhelming but that chickens are easy to care for.

  • The need fresh water. Most people just use gravity fed waterers, sometimes bowls in the winter if they freeze. Change it daily
  • They need healthy food. Most commercial feeds are formulated to work just fine. We feed DUMOR, but there's plenty of other good brands. Starter/grower 20% until they start laying eggs, then either switch to a layer feed and/or start providing oyster shell free choice. You can measure their food daily or use a gravity feeder.
  • Treats; most non toxic things are good (so no coffee, chocolate, avocado, onion, citrus peel), but limit it to about 10% of their normal diet. (There's some wiggle room based on how nutritious what you're feeding is.)
  • They need protection from the elements. 4sqft per bird in the coop, 10 out, minimum. I'd expand the run size before the coop size, 4sqft is plenty to me. The coop needs to be dry and well ventilated, not warm not even in the winter. Shade in the summer. Roost bars above the nest boxes. You can use whatever litter works best for you.
  • They need protection from predators. Raccoons can open most simple latches and pop doors and chew through chicken wire. They live almost everywhere and will kill your whole flock and scatter the remains of your chickens across the lawn. Your run doesn't need to be super secure as long as you lock them up on time, but your coop DOES. Mine has CHAINS on the nest boxes, hinged latches and a 2x2 bar over the pop door. More people lose beloved birds to other animals than mismanagement.
  • Healthcare. Most chickens will either get something there's nothing you can do about (Mareks virus, saplinigitis, prolapse) or something entirely treatable at home (bumblefoot, lice, worms).
That's about it. Most of the time, you feed and water chickens every day and they just kind of... Do their thing. They're a bit more to build an environment for, but once they're set up they're easier than dogs, cats, rabbits, even fish IMO.

Anything else is just fluff and personal choice. Sand vs deep litter? Poop boards or no? Round or flat roost bars? The chickens don't care, whatever works for you.
 

black_cat

🌻human disaster🌻
Premium Feather Member
May 21, 2020
11,242
33,782
786
Connecticut
Welcome to BYC! Chickens CAN be a bit daunting.....but they're MUCH easier than many people think. I would start by looking at how much space you have for a coop and run...at MINIMUM you will need 4 square feet in the coop per bird, and 8 in the run. I would recommend building a coop, and definitely build before buying chicks! That also gives you plenty of time to make sure that you are all set with knowing what you need to do. I'd get all your chick and chicken supplies and make sure you have everything you need. Then, I would decide on a hatchery to use (common ones are Meyer, Privett, Cackle, Purely Poultry, and Ideal) and pick out some chicks. Some breeds I would recommend to beginners:
-Easter eggers! These chickens are sweet, lovable, come in all sorts of colors, can have BEARDS, and lay blue or green eggs! How amazing is that!
-Orpingtons. These are very friendly chickens that also come in a variety of colors and will lay you lots of yummy eggs.
-Polish. These fun looking chickens are SUPER cute and fun to have around! It is a bit hit or miss on how many eggs they will lay, however.
-Plymouth rocks. The most famous of these are the barred ones, but they also come in all different colors. They have super unique personalities and are champion layers. They are also cold and heat hardy.
Chicken care is simple-you just need to make sure that they have food and water, enough space, and are safe from predators. I would totally recommend checking out the Learning Center of articles here on BYC!
 

2000096904

Chirping
Dec 30, 2019
129
155
81
Sandy springs Atlanta Georgia USA
look I have 7 chickens and there amazing! here are the Basics just buy a coop waterer and feeder first.you're going to need some food I recommend going to chewy there you can get healthy Harvest which is the brand I use for my chickens they're non-GMO certified and for laying hens. and then all you need is to make sure you have some nesting boxes set up get some strike three and some nesting herbs after that you're all set to go buy your little bundles of preciousness. after that after that just fill up their feeder and their water by the way you can get those on Jeffers petput them in the coop then coat the coop's floor with hay.then let them be in the morning you can come and let them out + cuddle them
 

Ursuline Chick

Chicken Outlaw
Premium Feather Member
Jul 21, 2017
5,698
31,082
1,032
NOLA
Caring for chickens day to day is pretty easy, getting setup in the beginning can be tricky. Take time to plan your housing for them long before you bring them home. You will need to look at your town’s regulations before you build or purchase your coop, for example in my town they require chickens to have a fence and they require this fence and the coop to be a certain number of feet away from my property line. If a coop is bigger than a certain size a permit may be needed (just like for a shed or other structure). Other things to consider are the types of predators that live in your area and the type of weather you have. Once you know these things you can figure out what your coop may need and where best to locate it on your property. Storey’s has some good info on coop building if you are handy, if not, consider purchasing a coop and sharing a photo on here so folks can help you make any modifications that may be needed for your specific circumstance. In terms of actual chickens, it can be easier to purchase started pullets from a farm than to raise chicks. Generally they are a bit older, but less than a year, and a bit grown, so can tolerate being outdoors, and known to be female at this point. Raising chicks doesn’t have to be challenging, but started pullets are definitely easier. Storey’s guide has some good charts to help you choose a breed. Think about what’s important to you. A breed that will tolerate your climate is always important. It may be easier to just compare a handful of breeds later once you see which ones are available in your area. People who live near you will likely only raise breeds that do well in your climate so that will narrows down your options quite a bit. Come back to the site often. Check out “the learning center” and explore different topics. Once you get the housing piece sorted, the rest is easy. Have fun!
@PirateGirl has given you some really good info. I researched for a number of years (overkill) and started with a cockerel that my neighbor found trying to cross a highway (true story). We bought him 3 full grown hens to start and it has gone on from there.
:frow Welcome to BYC, read threads, over build your coop, ask questions and enjoy yourself.
 

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