Indiana: Brand New to Chickens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by IndiesChix, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. IndiesChix

    IndiesChix Chirping

    Oct 16, 2014
    Hello I'm from northeast Indiana and very interested in getting started in the chicken raising hobby, Wanting chickens for eggs, will not be purchasing any chickens until late spring of 2015, Right now we have an old tool shed, that at one time was an old chicken coop, and we (husband and I) are in the process of turning it back into a chicken coop. I'm not sure what type of chickens I will get, I'll be researching all winter before I decide. I have a lot of questions about the inside of the chicken coop ,design wise. I have seen and read through posts on here on that subject. But wondering how high do the roosts and nesting cubbies have to be or does it matter ? And the coop has a wood floor, I have read people will put down linoleum, is that what we should do too? As of right now I plan to follow the deep litter method but only through winter months, during warmer weather just ???? have no idea what you put inside of coop if you don't use deep litter method. There seems to be so much to learn and everyone does something different and has a different opinion on what should and should not be done . I have one horse and two boar goats and they seem easy compared to what I need to learn for chickens. I'm sure by spring of 2015 Ill have it figured out and get me some chickens.
    Thank goodness for this forum!
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    The roosts in your coop can be as high as you want and there is room for. Chickens love roosting high, but if all you have is low roosts, they should still be happy. The height of nest box doesn't really matter, either. Many hens like laying in nest boxes that are right on the floor, especially if they aren't very good flying breeds (like Silkies). Nest boxes above the floor will stay cleaner, though, and your birds will learn how to use them.

    It is your choice as to whether you put down linoleum or not. Both of my chicken coops have a sturdy wood floor. While not a perfect set-up, the floors are easy to clean. The main advantage of linoleum is that it is slippery (which makes scooping bedding out a little easier), and it is easier to disinfect.

    Whatever floor you decide on, it will need a layer of bedding/litter on it. The best choice of litter is dry, fluffy pine wood shavings. Wood shavings are absorbent, easy to find, and relatively inexpensive. Any type will work, though you should stay away from cedar due to its harmful vapors.

    Another good bedding choice is chopped straw. You can also use whole straw, but it can be hard for birds to walk on and isn't as absorbent as the other choices.

    Good luck with your future chickens! Raising chickens may seem a little daunting, but in the long run, they are actually easy to care for and very enjoyable. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
    2 people like this.
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    Most of my roosts are 2 feet off the ground. For most heavy breeds of chickens, you don't want them much higher than that, unless you have a ladder-type roost so that they can jump from one roost to another. Bantams and lighter breeds like Leghorns can have higher roosts. My birds always enjoy taking the high roosts more than the lower ones, but they are mostly bantams. My large fowl tend to have a harder time reaching higher roosts.

    I suggest putting the nest boxes on the ground. You can also stack nest boxes so that one layer is on the ground and there is another layer right above it. Make sure that the nest boxes are lower than the roosts, or chickens may sleep on or in them, fouling the bedding and the eggs.

    A wood floor is fine. All of my coops have wood flooring. Linoleum might make clean-up easier, but wood's been used for a long time and I've found it to work out great just on its own.

    Cover the floor with a layer of bedding at least 4-6 inches deep (and deeper is better in winter). You could use the deep-litter system even in the summertime. I use a rather modified version of the deep litter system throughout the year. I just keep adding new bedding and clean the coop twice a year.

    Wood shavings, I've found, make the best bedding. But, many other people have great success with sand. Chopped straw is fine too, but don't use unchopped straw. It isn't as absorbent. Whatever bedding you use, be sure that it is dry and mold free. Don't use cedar wood shavings, as these can cause respiratory problems.

    Be sure to check out the Coops section:

    It has lots of information on designing the right coop.

    The Learning Center also has lots of information for new chicken owners:

    Good luck with your future flock! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! I'll be happy to help you pick out the best breed for your flock and answer any other questions you may have.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
    3 people like this.
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I agree with Wyandottes here in that it is best to keep the roost bars close to the floor, especially if you keep heavier breeds. They can sprain their legs easily coming down hard from a high roost bar. I keep my 1 foot off the floor for my Black Australorps and Barred Rocks. You can use pine shavings for bedding or even sand. I am a huge fan of sand. I use it in the coop, run and even the nest boxes! It stays dry when wet, absorbs all poop smells, repels the flies, soft on the chickens feet and you can hose it down in the summer and keeps the birds incredibly cool. Use a covered run when using sand however. Nest boxes are best close to the floor, but always lower than your roost bar.

    Stop by our coops pages here on BYC for some ideas on how to build your coop. Wyandottes has left you with the link.

    Lots of nice breeds out there....Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps. Plymouth Barred Rocks, Wyandottes, etc....If you want the cute and fuzzy chickens, Silkies and Polish are fun birds to keep. But don't keep either of these breeds with standard breeds as these last two tend to get picked on because they are so different.

    Good luck on this new adventure and if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
    1 person likes this.
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Hi there - welcome to BYC!
    You should stop by this thread - great place to find other BYCers in your area.
    You've gotten some great feedback so far - so much of it really boils down to a matter of personal choice and what works best for you and your flock.....which you will find through trial and error as you start into this adventure.
    1 person likes this.
  6. liz9910

    liz9910 Crowing

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
    1 person likes this.
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Bantam Lover and Wyandottes have given you great advice.

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. The other members have given you some great advice. As far as breeds go, it depends on what you want in your chickens. If sheer egg production is a priority, I would recommend 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 year per hen. If you want docile breeds that are good with children and make good lap pets, then I would suggest breeds that have a well deserved reputation for being calm and gentle such as Australorps, Orpingtons, Cochins, Brahmas, Sussex, or Faverolles. Australorps are the best layers on this list, and Cochins are the poorest (although they are the best brooders and mothers). For meat birds, Cornish cross is the way to go. With their fantastic growth rate, they are ready to butcher by 8 weeks. In fact, if you wait much beyond that, they begin developing all kinds of heath problems due to their abnormal growth rate. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting you coop built and in getting your flock.
    1 person likes this.
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    1 person likes this.

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