Intro from PA

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by bigbear1, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. bigbear1

    bigbear1 Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    Hey all,

    First time on the forum but I've surfed around the coops pages a few times.

    A brief intro - Married with 4 children (7, 5, 3, 1). I carpool/commute an hour away to work. We're homeschooling. Neither of us have chicken experience beyond what we've seen at a few friends' places. We have a small garden (250+ sf) and a few fruit trees. I'm trying to do as much as I can 'organicly' (and even that isn't quite right, I'm trying to spend as little as possible on day to daily stuff...) And now we're looking to add some protein and nitrogen (fertilizer/compost) to the 'homestead'. We live in a fairly rural area, but I'm sure it's considered suburbia by many. No HOA and I'm surrounded by ag land. There are a few people in the area who have chickens and/or various other 'farm' animals on their property.

    As for my goals with chickens: nitrogen, eggs and child-friendly. Oh and my wife wants least smelly. :) And I want easy to maintain.

    Nitrogen - I'm sure any old chicken will do.

    Eggs - I just picked up "Storey's: Raising Chickens" and have been using Gail's grid as a starting point to narrow down the field. My son (7) seems to have taken over the bird selection job from me as he has spent a few days analyzing that grid! He seems to think Rhode Island Whites (and one other breed) are ideal for us.

    Child-friendly - My kids are naturally nervous around animals unfortunately. So I think their first chicken exposure should be very docile. I have heard New Hampshires are pretty good 'starters'. But this initially rules out roosters (at least that's what my wife and I have agreed to at this point). So that does open up a world of hybrid birds as we would need to buy chicks regardless.

    Smell - I would think the smell isn't driven by the type of bird, but a function of housing and maintenance (i.e. coop design) for the most part. Right? Any thoughts on minimized the smell? Especially as it related to the design or breed?

    Maintenance - Since my wife and I have a ton on our plates, and the bulk of the care/maintenance will fall on me and the children, this is a priority (and why I'm here now). I would imagine care/maintenance is probably a function of the coop design and maybe feeding 'style' (free range, paddocks, etc) with some health consideration of breeds that are the main time drivers. Right? Any thoughts on minimizing the time involved? Especially as it relates to the design or breed?

    Well that's my intro, now off to look at coop/tractor/pen designs... And a big thanks to the powers that be on this forum/site!
  2. Alright [​IMG] great to have you joining the BYC flock [​IMG]

    BYC has a very useful learning center [​IMG]

    Great to see the entire family getting in on the poultry raising [​IMG]
  3. 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.

    For breeds I recommend the buff orpington. They are friendly, hardy, great layers, super affectionate and curious. Black australorps, speckled sussex, EEs, and cochins are all great too. RHWs are super layers but aren't super friendly unless tamed when young. New Hampshires are great layers too but also tend to be on the more wild side.

    All chickens can smell. There is not a breed who is less smelly. Smell all depends on you and how often and well you clean your coop. Herbs in and around the coop help tremendously with smell. Ventilation contributes to how the coop smells. Bedding also contributes to smell. You need absorbent bedding such as pine shavings or straw.

    Chickens and chicken coops don't require a whole lot of maintenance if started and (coop) built right. Your main jobs will be cleaning, feeding and watering, checking for health issues, collecting and storing eggs and checking the coop for wear and tear.

    Here's some links to check out.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. You have a very good and thorough introduction. Since you are open to hybrids, I would suggest Black Sex Links. They are very hardy and friendly, egg laying machines, and you will be guaranteed to have all hens as the chicks can be sexed at hatching (boys are black with white spots on top of their heads and girls are all black). I have raised Black Sex Links for years and they give me 6 eggs per week per hen (occasionally 7). Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Whatever kind of chickens you decide to go with, good luck with your flock.
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

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

    So glad you could join our community!

    Probiotics in the water definitely keeps down poop smells. I use it almost daily in the water. Sand instead of regular bedding really keeps all smells down. Keeps the flies away too. So you might check out this thread on sand if you are interested....

    Enjoy this new journey you are on and welcome to our flock!
  7. liz9910

    liz9910 Crowing

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
    Welcome to BYC! x2 on the Learning Center, it's the best place to start! :)
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Silkies are a very popular breed especially with children. They aren't the best layers but, I think they would be best for fearful children. They are small and docile, and don't even look too much like chickens. People often think they are small, furry dogs - from a distance.

    Other docile breeds are cochins and Buff orpingtons - both larger than silkies.
  10. bigbear1

    bigbear1 Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    Wow, impressive welcoming committee! Thanks all!!!

    Buff orpington - That's the breed I couldn't remember. It's pretty high on our list too.

    Black Sex Links - Good stuff!

    I'm in southern York county.

    Probiotics? Does they in chickens similar to how they work in humans?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: