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Know NOTHING About this!

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by SpringsArmyWife, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. SpringsArmyWife

    SpringsArmyWife New Egg

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    Oct 16, 2013
    I am in Colorado Springs, and my husband wants to have chickens so he can have fresh eggs. I read that we are allowed up to 10 chickens, with no roosters, here in the Springs, but know absolutely nothing about raising chickens. So I thought I'd ask...what do you do during the winter? These would be in our back yard, probably in a fenced area. I highly doubt we'd get a full 10 right off...since I'm a total amateur at this, so maybe 3-4 to start? Where do I get them from? Is there a particular breed that would be better to start with than others? Which breeds produce the best/most eggs? What should I feed them? When should I look at buying my first chickens? Should I buy them as chicks and raise them, or buy mature chickens? And again...what do I do with them during the winter months, when it's all cold and snowy and brrrrrr outside? I'm not looking for anything to show, but please keep in mind, I have 5 kids and a dog...6 kids if you count my husband....

    Any advice and pointers would be AWESOME!
     
  2. katbriar

    katbriar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2012
    Northern New Mexico
    Chickens do fine in the winter; they're wearing down coats after all. Just make sure they have shelter that protects them from rain and snow but has good air circulation to keep the ammonia and humidity levels down. Those can lead to respiratory problems and frostbite respectively.

    Don't fret about the temperature and choose breeds that do well in the cold, provide a wide roosting bar that allows them to sit on their feet, and don't provide supplemental heat (such as via heat lamp) because if the power goes out the chickens won't have built up their ability to withstand the cold.

    In general, provide 4 sq ft per bird in the coop; 18 inches of space per bird on a roost bar; and 10 sq feet per bird in a run. (These estimates are for standard size birds, but some breeds are larger or smaller.) providing the right amount of room will reduce stress and make a coop easier for them to heat with body heat in the winter.

    Use hardware cloth with one-quarter inch squares to cover open spaces such as windows, vents, and under coop floor to prevent predators (rats, snakes, raccoons, etc) from being able to get your birds or help themselves to free meals from the feeder.

    There are a lot of great ideas for coop designs on this site- check out the coop page. Think about your building site and how the worst weather would hit your coop. Think about smart ways to use the space you have.

    As far as choosing breeds, do a google search for henderson's egg chart. It was the best way for me to see the characteristics of each breed and see what fit my situation such as those that had small combs that could withstand the cold temperatures, those that were more likely to lay during the winter, those that had more easy going dispositions, etc.

    I guess that's a lot of info, but this is a great place to do research and ask questions. Use the search feature of this site to see lots of threads asking the same questions you probably are already thinking of and those that you don't yet know you need to ask!

    Welcome, good luck, and have fun!

    Eta- here's the website I mentioned

    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013

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