Just Getting Started in Colorado

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rhschulz2000, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. rhschulz2000

    rhschulz2000 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 16, 2011
    My name is Bob and I am an old dog (68) trying to learn a new trick (raising chickens). I live in Colorado and I am currently building my 12' x 10' chicken coop. I am planning to buy female Barred Plymouth Rock chicks from the Meyer Hatchery in Ohio. I have been reading a number of chicken books over the past summer, so have a pretty good general idea of raising chickens but have the following questions.
    What is the best/ideal time to purchase chicks?
    If you have the room, what are the pluses and minuses of starting with fewer (6) or more (15) chicks? At the Meyer Hatchery, the costs for shipping and vaccinating drop by 50% if you buy 15 or more chicks.
    Is it absolutely necessary to have roosts at different heights?
    I have seen a lot of different numbers when it comes to saying how many next boxes you need for a given number of chickens. Some say one box for every two chickens, others say 1-4 and still others say 1-7. What is your experience?
    Any positive or negative comments about your experience with the Meyer Hatchery?

    Thanks so much.

  2. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

    Dec 16, 2011
    I'll tell you what i know

    Nesting boxes: I saw build 1 for 4 chickens, and if you need more, build more. but definately not 1 box for 7. [​IMG]

    If you buy locally, it is a whole lot cheeper...i just about spent 80 dollars, but ended up buying locally and spent 16! If you still want meyer hatchery, take in consideration the egg production. wit six chicks, you get about 30 to 36 eggs a week. with fifteen you'll get 95-105 eggs a week. You can sell extra, but make sure people might buy before you buy lots of chickens for that purpose. A little flock will probably be more docile, because you can spend more quailty time with them. but who knows.

    by the way....[​IMG]

    THELMA Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 2, 2009
    I have ten hens and even though I have three nest boxes they all insist on using the same one, they actually queue up to use the one that is in favour at the time. Then for no reason they will suddenly change nest boxes and they then all use the other one.

    All my perches are at the same height and does not cause any problems.

    With ten hens I get far more eggs than I need and end up giving them away to neighbours and workmates.
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Perches at different heights does promote the pecking order to some extent, and you'll definitely need to locate some perches very low to the ground for any heavier breeds you may want to get in the future. I'd put in a low perch, eight inches off the floor just for your old girls as they age, unless you're planning on eating them when they get too old to lay.

    I have sixteen hens and four nest boxes and it's plenty.

    Starting out with half a dozen is wise. You won't be overwhelmed, and you can learn a lot before you get more. Staggering the ages is beneficial, so you have the joy of raising new chicks every year or so. You will find that raising chickens is an addictive hobby, and you will probably want to add different breeds as you go.

    I'm in southern Colorado. Where are you?
  5. juliaronan

    juliaronan Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 8, 2011
    Locust Grove
    Welcome to BYC from Georgia!
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I have 3 layer coops
    10 hens/4 nests - they use 2
    11 hens/3 nests - they use 1
    7 hens/2 nests - they use 1
    The advantage of getting more besides saving on shipping(cost per bird is lower) is that chickens are very social animals, chickens die, and it's hard to add more later.
    I've added birds at many times of year but it's harder in winter, not because it's too cold for the birds but it's just harder to take care of them then. However if you wait till spring you won't get eggs till fall. So the best time is sooner than later.
    My first coop has roosts at various heights and they fight for top spot.
    All the rest have a single roost height and that eliminates most of the jockeying for position.
  7. ChickenUnionOrganizer

    ChickenUnionOrganizer New Egg

    Apr 25, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    I'm in Colorado too, Fort Collins area.

    I have four hens and there is one roosting perch. It's a 2 x 4 with the wide side up so that the hens can cover their feet with feathers in the winter. The coop is not heated. My Barred Rock has handled the cold temperatures well. Last year the temperature got down to -22°, so far this year it hit -10°. The coop is well ventilated and none of the hens got frostbite. There are two nesting boxes, but one is never used. I bought my birds locally as pullets.

    Good luck!
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    [​IMG] from Indiana! LOL - as you can see, you'll get a variety of opinions on all chicken matters here on BYC.

    I would always recommend starting with a smaller flock myself. It allows you to get your feet wet (#1), and then if things are going well and your really like chickening, then you have the opportunity to add other breeds later if the desire hits (#2). Plus, it gives you space to add the following year (#3) so you can kind of rotate in fresh layers (because egg production will decrease by year three - which won't be an issue if you'll be eating them when that happens, but can be an issue if you're not). Yeah, the prices are higher for smaller numbers, but even if it comes to $10 a chick, that's far cheaper than most animals you'll ever buy [​IMG]

    I like chicks in Feb/March, because the weather is generally right by the time they come off the lamp. But there are good reasons to do summer and fall chicks too...

    If all roosts are on the same level - there's probably less fighting over top roost. But multilevel roosts generally conserve space. Six of one, half a dozen of the other really.

    Nest box numbers are really flexable...hard to go wrong. Some even do one long community nest box. I'd rather have too many than not enough, in case you ever end up with a nest box hogging broody hen or two, so I like one box for every 3-4 birds. And if I only had 3-4 birds I'd want two.

    That's my 2 cents. Oh, and Meyer is fine - I've read far more positives about it than negatives. I've only ordered from MPC, but they work through Meyer.

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