Just seeking info/advice -- I am a COMPLETE novice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PennStater, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. PennStater

    PennStater New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Hello all,

    I must say I have been so impressed with the forum you all have here -- everyone seems very nice and helpful. That being said, I hope you will not mind answering a few questions that you've probably answered a million times. But here goes.

    I am an avid gardener and animal lover who recently has been thinking about getting some chickens for my backyard. I have two young children and I think they would love, and learn from, the experience. Here are my basic questions:

    1. My backyard is not "small" but it's not huge either. I used to have a much bigger yard (3/4 of an acre) but our new yard (fenced backyard) is probably closer to 1/4 of an acre. Is that too small for, say, 3 or 4 chickens?

    2. How big a coop do I need -- 4X4 or so?

    3. My backyard is fenced but it's a lower fence -- maybe 4 feet high. Is this a problem?

    4. As I mentioned, I love gardening and am curious whether the birds will disturb/destroy my perennial gardens.

    Thanks so much in advance.
     
  2. countrygirl4513

    countrygirl4513 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes they will destroy your garden. Mine nailed my hostas! They just gobbled them up. They will scratch and dust all in it. I have to fence off what I don't want them to bother. Personally, as far as a coop I have spoiled mine. They live in a 8x12 house it's also 8 ft tall. I just like to make sure they have all the room they need for roosting, laying etc. So I'm not the best at advising on coop size. There are those who have chicken tractors maybe they will chime in here soon. I have a 4 ft fence all around my huge chickenyard. But they never stay in it I let mine free range. I've not had any problem with them flying over it when they are inside the run.
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I think you would do great with a 4x4 coop and 3 or 4 chickens. Sounds perfectly lovely to me but I would make sure the run was enclosed and they were kept to their share of the backyard because they will scratch and pluck and eat everything you plant, your flowers and in your garden before it even gets a chance to produce anything for your table.

    Tell us what you decide to get!
     
  4. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    1. My backyard is not "small" but it's not huge either. I used to have a much bigger yard (3/4 of an acre) but our new yard (fenced backyard) is probably closer to 1/4 of an acre. Is that too small for, say, 3 or 4 chickens?

    I would say 3-4 chickens would work well for you.

    2. How big a coop do I need -- 4X4 or so?

    I recommend 10 square feet per bird. If in a cold climate, like PA, that would be indoor space. Otherwise, it can include an outside enclosure. For 4 birds, you need about 40 square feet or a 6X6 pen would work fine.

    3. My backyard is fenced but it's a lower fence -- maybe 4 feet high. Is this a problem?

    Depends on what kind of chickens you get. If they are small breed or flighty, they will go up and over. Heavy breeds tend not to fly much once they are fully grown.

    4. As I mentioned, I love gardening and am curious whether the birds will disturb/destroy my perennial gardens.

    Birds will destroy a garden. They will either eat everything and anything or just dig it up by making big dust holes to clean their plumage. I have a small garden at my home that is fenced in, so I can enjoy some flowers. Our large field gardens are open for the taking. We typically keep the birds penned until the seeds can pop during planting season.

    Good luck in your new venture and welcome to the board.
    Jody
     
  5. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I basically agree with everyone, the only thing is you are going to want more birds! [​IMG]

    The coop you planned is fine for 3-4 but what if you just fine you have to have that one you just saw. Is it possible to make it a little bigger. I have an 8X4 up on stilts so they can go under in bad weather, they love that. I have four birds but can get more. Most birds can be confined at night with less room it is the outside run that should be as big as you can get it. If you are free ranging then I think 1/4 acre is fine.

    Also, the low fence, I have a 5 ft fence and they can fly right over it especially the Polish they love to roost in the trees.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. PennStater

    PennStater New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Thanks for the input, everyone.

    Another question: For novice like myself, do you suggest buying full-grown birds or raising them from chicks? I would prefer raising them but am not sure if that's a challenge for somebody without an ag background.
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You don't need an ag background. Feed them, water them, play with them, watch them grow and one day you'll be collecting eggs!

    Get the chicks and hand raise them. They will come to you and eat out of your hands and be healthy and happy and will make you smile.

    Grown birds aren't always so easy to make friends with.
     
  8. eggzettera

    eggzettera Chillin' With My Peeps

    Like Miss Prissy said - easy - piece of cake, and getting a layer means getting a debeaked bird. [​IMG]
     

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