Kinda Wishy Washy Wanna Be! Were You?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by oliveitsv, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. oliveitsv

    oliveitsv New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2014
    High Desert area , Oregon
    Hi everyone. I was so excited to find this place and actually see all the kind and helpful remarks from chicken raisers. I am 61 years old, always a city dweller until recently. 2 years ago I bought 4 acres( of predominately rocks) and now live in the middle of no where. I really want to raise some chickens for eggs but every time I read about how to start I see lots of talk about disease and chickens pecking each other to death etc. Also I'm in the high desert, hot in summer, cold in winter. I only want to keep chickens for eggs for myself and a few lucky friends. Is it really as hard as it sounds? Will they be happy if they don't get full access to the property? (I have hawks that check out my dog for dinner). Does it really cost a fortune to begin? Can things be set up so they survive for a week if Im gone? I have so many questions!
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    So glad you could join our community!!

    If you keep your birds right, they are less likely to become aggressive. There is a strict pecking order in every flock that has to be adhered to at all times. But if you give your birds enough room, the squabbling is very minor. Give them as much space as you can afford to. At least 4 to 5 square feet per bird in the coop, 10 square feet in the run. You don't have to have them out free ranging all the time. I have all kinds of predators here and can't let them out without supervision. So if you can get them out for an hour a day, they will love you for it. Mine seem content with an hour a day.

    As for disease, the best way to keep your birds healthy is to start with health stock from a hatchery, or a private breeder you know has healthy birds. Keep your coop and run clean, keep your waterers and feeders clean. I am a huge fan of probiotics. Really keeps the birds in tip top shape. Don't let wild birds into your birds food or water. They spread all kinds of diseases. And don't be tempted to keep bringing in new birds. New birds can be carrying all kinds of things.

    Good ventilation in the coop is essential for good respiratory health. 3/4 to 1 square foot per bird of vent space in your eaves.

    Keep them on a good diet with a few fun treats occasionally and spend time with them. They love human interaction and a happy bird is a healthy bird.

    Stop by our learning center for all kinds of good articles on getting started, and keeping them healthy...https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

    Feel free to ask any questions you may have along the way and welcome to our flock!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    It's not so hard to keep them as it can made out to be! To avoid disease, make sure you buy your birds from a reputable breeder, or a hatchery. Most hatcheries have big-time biosecurity to keep their birds disease free. Many people keep their birds in a safe, predator-proof run and coop all the time and can't free range, either due to predators or legality in their area, and their birds do just fine :)

    I'm sure you can find the right breed for your area. I'm not so concerned with heat for my birds, since here our usual highest temperature is 90 degrees in the summer. We do get cold though, to perhaps -20, and my birds do very well. The trick is to pick breeds that work well in your environment. I actually also keep breeds meant for the heat, and they still do fine in the cold here, so I think with proper housing and care, most breeds can really be kept anywhere.

    Pecking to death is not a normal occurrence. I've only heard of it happening in factory farms or other environments where birds are crammed together and just given way less space than they should be.

    As for whether you can set it up so you can leave for a week and they'll be fine, I've done it! You have to make sure there is no way a predator will be getting to them, since you won't be around to interfere or care for any injured birds. You also have to make sure you leave out plenty of food and water. Personally I like to have a neighbor look after them, with the stipulation that they get to keep all the eggs laid while I'm gone. A win win for both parties, and I've never had my neighbor turn me down!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. ChickyChickens

    ChickyChickens Chickening Around

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    Welcome to BYC!!! The members here are great and so are their chickens[​IMG]!!! This is the BEST CHICKEN KEEPING FORUM ON EARTH!!!!

    Hope you have fun and if you need anything we are here to help!!

    [​IMG]
     
  5. oliveitsv

    oliveitsv New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2014
    High Desert area , Oregon
    Thank you so much for your detailed response! It is so encouraging. Ill keep learning (if only to prove that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.)
     
  6. oliveitsv

    oliveitsv New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2014
    High Desert area , Oregon
    Thank you very much for the info. Are you a breeder? Im so encouraged by this (and other replies).
     
  7. oliveitsv

    oliveitsv New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2014
    High Desert area , Oregon
    I believe it about being THE BEST! Ive already had helpful and kind responses!
     
  8. oliveitsv

    oliveitsv New Egg

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    Dec 14, 2014
    High Desert area , Oregon
    If I dig down , raise the coop and then put hardware cloth under and up the sides will I moset likely be able to keep snakes out? Or is there a better way? I have large bull snakes.
     
  9. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Two Crows and Pyxis have given you excellent advice.
     
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    I like to use railroad ties. You can bury them level with ground height and then build on top of these. Nothing will dig under a sunken railroad tie. Mites don't like the creosote in them either. You can also put 2x4's on top of the railroad ties if they bleed too. But yes, you can bury wire. Most snakes can climb half of their length. So if your snakes are 6 feet long, make sure you are protecting 3+ feet higher than the ground. Always use hardware cloth on everything external. NEVER use chicken wire on the outside. EVERYTHING can chew, rip apart and get through chicken wire. So hardware cloth is best. 1/2 inch will do. And EVERYTHING eats chicken! So build your coop and run like fort knox. Like YOU yourself are going to move in. LOL If you feel safe in there sleeping at night that nothing is going to get in and crawl on you or bite you, then the chickens will be safe. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014

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