Intro

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SandraMort, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    Hi! My husband is looking for a new job and we're hoping to leave the city (NYC, what other city is there? [​IMG] ) and move upstate by an hour or two. If we're able to find a place with space for chickens, I'd like to get some, as my kids and husband are ovolacto and eat more eggs than the average family. I may end up getting some meat chickens for myself, too, but only if I can find someone to process them for me. Eating them is hard enough! *sigh*

    I'm reading everything online I can get my virtual hands on and it all seems very confusing. I'm not really sure where to start other than waiting until I have a place to figure out what I need in terms of housing. But I have a ton of questions....

    - Do the silver laced wyandottes really lay through the winter? (NYS)

    - Are white birds really easier to pluck?

    - How do you really figure out how many chickens your family needs? Half a dozen eggs a day would cover our family, so I was thinking 8-10 hens but extras are always good -- my extended family could eat as many eggs as we give them.

    - If you're planning to slaughter the meat birds at 4-10 weeks (depending on the kind) then do they really need the full amount of roaming space?

    - How do you know how many birds you can have per square foot of roaming in order to mimnimize damage to the ground? I'll be renting and if we ruin the yard, the owners'll be annoyed. Can I somehow keep them in an unfenced yard? If they roam the yard, how poopy will the ground be? How nasty is the poop? My MIL says it's VILE....

    - Other than 4H, which is for kids, are there any chicken raising clubs?

    - Am I better getting chickens from online or my local feed store?

    - How aggressive are roos really? I have four small children.

    - How many roos do I need to keep my chickens in line, safer from predators, etc? One per ten? One per twenty five? How do I prevent inbreeding if we let any hatch?

    - What time do they start crowing & is it REALLY that annoying?

    - If I let a fertilized chicken sit, either deliberately or not, how long before it's not edible? Should I assume that all eggs within range of a rooster are viable?

    - How expensive is it to have my chickens processed for me? Does that include plucking? How do I know the chickens are being treated humanely?

    - What do you wish you knew before you started?

    TY!!!!!!!
     
  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    [​IMG]

    8 - 10 chickens will probably be a good amount. With that many, the poo around the yard won't be much of a problem, it easily hoses away!! Not sure how big your yard will be, but if it is small, then keeping them cooped up part of the time will keep it from becoming bare. But if it is big, that won't be a problem, although I'm not sure how big. I get my chicks from local feed store. Depends on the person if crowing is annoying or not. You can always put eggs in a bowl of water to test for edibility.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=6895
    The only real need for a rooster is if you want your eggs fertilized. They lay without a rooster. Sometimes roosters are too aggressive and tear up the hens. Some are calm, but some can be very aggressive towards children, and adults!
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2588-Roo_behavior
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  3. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    Quote:Thanks!!!

    8 - 10 chickens will probably be a good amount.

    I'm thinking, for a start anyway. Don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

    You can always put eggs in a bowl of water to test for edibility.

    Maybe my question wasn't clear. How long between laying a fertile egg and seeing baby chicken parts? I know how to float an egg to see if it's old.

    The only real need for a rooster is if you want your eggs fertilized.

    See, not everybody says the same thing. Some people say that having a rooster will protect them from predators and straying.

    Thanks!​
     
  4. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    Oh! And I need information on greenhouses that use chickens to heat it in the winter. Can't find that online!
     
  5. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    592
    1
    141
    Jun 11, 2008
    N. West Michigan
    Welcome! We're new at raising chickens too.. and the folks here and all the great information the site provides makes it MUCH easier!

    For your families needs,
    You figure a good laying hen will give 5 eggs a week on average ... there are several good breeds that will lay on a regular basis even thru the winter...Stars, Rocks, Australorps etc..
    If you are the only person eating chicken, I'd get a small batch of meat birds (like Cornish or Cornish crosses) and freeze em... some areas have places that will process the live birds for you... and yes-- the white ones are easier to pluck, and "look better" after as far as skin color-- but IMO.. doesn't change the quality of the bird.

    Make sure where you move is zoned for raising poultry, or get a zoning permit for them..

    Then build a coop with a run and get everything you need for them before you get the chicks...
    IMO (from our recent experience) it is easier that way---

    we just spent 7 weeks with chickens in my daughters bedroom-- they are now in a temporary coop while we save-up $$ to build a proper coop.
    Figure at least 2 square feet of coop and 3 square feet of run Minimum per hen-- and one laying box for every 3 birds.

    You'll need wood shavings or hay weekly for the floor/nests and the right feed.... read as much as you can here on the forums and at the Home Pages of this site-- it really helped us!!!!!
     
  6. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Maybe my question wasn't clear. How long between laying a fertile egg and seeing baby chicken parts? I know how to float an egg to see if it's old.

    oops, I'm not really sure, but if it starts setting on it right away, I would think within a week maybe? As you might be able to tell, I don't have a roo.​
     
  7. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    Quote:INDEED. I'm reading everything I can. I don't anticipate chickens before next spring, so I've got a bit of time to decide and get ready [​IMG]

    there are several good breeds that will lay on a regular basis even thru the winter...Stars, Rocks, Australorps etc..

    I saw that. My question is, though, what requirements they need in order to be able to do so. A specially heated house or artificial lights or nothing?

    If you are the only person eating chicken, I'd get a small batch of meat birds (like Cornish or Cornish crosses) and freeze em

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Those looked promising.

    ... some areas have places that will process the live birds for you

    Any idea of cost? What is included -- do I need to gut and pluck them still?

    Figure at least 2 square feet of coop and 3 square feet of run Minimum per hen-- and one laying box for every 3 birds.

    LOL! See, this is what I mean about no one agreeing... earlier today I saw 4/10 and you're saying 2/3. Big difference!

    You'll need wood shavings or hay weekly for the floor/nests

    Even with the deep litter method? That sounded a lot easier...​
     
  8. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    You won't see any baby chicken parts UNLESS you put the fertile eggs under a broody hen OR in an incubator for several days.

    If the eggs are collected daily and stored at room temp or below you won't have any eggs begin to develop. There is no difference in appearance or taste between a fertile and infertile egg.

    Having said that, there's really no reason to have a rooster at all unless you want eggs for hatching. A rooster can bring a lot of unnecessary 'drama' to the hen house and can become aggressive towards people too, depending on the individual rooster.

    Hens will lay just as well with or without a rooster...

    The more space the better! Since you are in an area with pretty cold temps in the winter, your girls may have to be cooped up more than if you lived in a warmer area, so the more space in the coop will seriously reduce chance of aggression and pecking, etc.

    No body EVER stops with the original 8 hens.... just assume the chicken bug will bite you and go as large as your space and budget will allow!

    8 hens will give you around 5-6 eggs a day.

    As far as winter laying. They lay best when they have about 14 hours of daylight. So, in the winter months, have a light on a timer in the coop to come on in the morning a few hours before daybreak. It's best to let them go to bed with the twilight, and extend the lighted hours on the morning side.

    Deep litter, you don't have to replace the shavings weekly... many use a dropping pan under the roosts to make the litter go further with fewer changes/cleanups. They do most of the concentrated pooping at night on the roost - a pan of some type or easy-to-clean arrangement there means most of the poop will land where you can do easy spot cleaning.

    Good luck with your move and WELCOME!
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  9. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    I use grass hay in my nest boxes only (I have a horse), I do not put anything on the floor of their coop, mine free range mostly, with lots of things for them to take cover under. They can go in and out of their coop, under the barn, in the stall, under utility trailers, under trees. Hawks fly around here a lot. I rarely have to rake out my coop, mainly when they are molting, I clean out the feathers when it gets to be a bunch!
     
  10. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    Quote:Exactly what I needed to hear. If I miss an egg for a day or three, it won't suddenly sprout parts at room temp.

    Having said that, there's really no reason to have a rooster at all unless you want eggs for hatching.

    I see that but I also see "it's really important for the safety and pecking order" opinions too. How to decide?

    The more space the better! Since you are in an area with pretty cold temps in the winter, your girls may have to be cooped up more than if you lived in a warmer area, so the more space in the coop will seriously reduce chance of aggression and pecking, etc.

    But don't they huddle together in the winter?

    As far as winter laying. They lay best when they have about 14 hours of daylight. So, in the winter months, have a light on a timer in the coop to come on in the morning a few hours before daybreak. It's best to let them go to bed with the twilight, and extend the lighted hours on the morning side.

    Bingo, just what I needed to know.

    They do most of the concentrated pooping at night on the roost - a pan of some type or easy-to-clean arrangement there means most of the poop will land where you can do easy spot cleaning.

    fabulous!!! ty t y​
     

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