Looking for a good place to start

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kma2785, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. kma2785

    kma2785 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Hubert NC
    So I am new to all of this and looking at getting a few chickens. I have a 4 ft chain link fence around my back yard and will be building a coop with a run. I would like to eventually allow for them to have free reign of the back yard. So my biggest questions are:
    1: What is a good number of chickens to start with?
    2: Do they all have to be the same breed?
    3: If not should they all be the same size since they will be housed together?
    4: Is a 4 ft fence going to be enough to keep them in my yard? (My neighbors all around me have dogs and would hate for one of them to end up as a treat)
    5: Is it better to find someone local to buy the chicks from or an online company?

    Any other thoughts or ideas on things I haven't thought of yet would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Bruins

    Bruins Out Of The Brooder

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    I have asked some of these questions and here are the general replies I have received.

    2: Do they all have to be the same breed?
    No ,

    3: If not should they all be the same size since they will be housed together?
    Yes , the larger may pick on the smaller.

    4: Is a 4 ft fence going to be enough to keep them in my yard? (My neighbors all around me have dogs and would hate for one of them to end up as a treat)
    Depending on the type of bird they may be able to fly over a 4 ft fence . Some of the havier birds do not fly much or high.

    5: Is it better to find someone local to buy the chicks from or an online company?
    I have looked at many of the online places and most are out of stock on almost all breeds , some have limited availability in late summer . So it would depend on when you wanted to get your chicks.
     
  3. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    See responses (above) in italics. Also - WELCOME TO BYC [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  4. kma2785

    kma2785 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Hubert NC
    Thanks that really does help out a lot.

    Because of my dog (she is a black lab/german shep mix) I am more than likely going to do babies. She is a really weird dog. She will adopt any baby animal that she has been around so far and they then become hers. This has been so with pups and kittens. But she does not accept the introduction of adult animals into the home, other adult dogs or cats. The cats she will chase and sound like she is gong to kill them if she gets a hold of them and she gets very very stressed over adults dogs. I have seen her chase neighborhood cats out of our yard and then come back and curl up and help clean the ears of my 3 yr old cat that she adopted. Knowing this about her I have a feeling that if she is introduced to baby chicks of course in a controlled way they will become her chickens and nothing will be allowed into the yard to harm them ever if she has her way. I would not put it past her to figure out a way to go in and sleep in their hen house and have them crawling all over her. Like I said she is a very, very weird dog. As of date she has raised 4 different litters of kittens that I was fostering.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I had a terrier mix dog who was that way with baby kitties. She would get so excited and tremble and drool when she saw a baby! If you introduce slowly and carefully, it sounds like she will be a great guard dog. Given your fence, I'd recommend that you look at the heavier breeds of chickens. You may need to clip their wings, and will certainly need to be out with them during free range time, until you are assured that they won't fly the fence. An added layer of insurance in your case would be to clip the wings. It's a feather hair cut for chickens. you only do one wing, and it's super easy to do. It puts them a little off balance, so they aren't as tempted to check out the other side of the fence.

    Your chick choices should be made according to your goals. Look for docile breeds. What are your lowest winter temps? Big floppy combs do best in warm weather climates, tend to frost bite in cold north. For frigid climates, look for pea or rose combs. Mud and snow issues? If so, I'd stay away from feathered feet. Personal favorites: Dominique, EE (which are falsely advertised by the hatcheries as Ameraucana or Araucana). Both of these breeds are just a bit on the small side, and may fly your fence, but will be easily contained with wing clipping. Dominiques are incredibly personable, but their eggs are a bit on the small side. An excellent site to check out possibilities is: Henderson's chicken breeds chart.
     
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depending upon the breed, the DOG might be able to fly over your 4' fence!
     
  7. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Hi, and welcome. I'll answer based on my personal experience which has worked out okay for me. Hopefully it will be of help.

    #1: I began with 4 pullets almost of laying age as I wasn't sure how my family would adapt to having chickens. I didn't think I was ready to raise chicks so that's why I got pullets. I got them from a local farmer via Craigslist.

    #2: No, they do not all have to be the same breed. My mini-flock of 7 is a mix of black sex links, barred rocks, buff orpington, Easter Egger, and Delaware. I like a mixed flock as I'm learning what breeds I prefer and I enjoy getting the different type of eggs.

    #3: Mine are all standard breed size so don't have any personal experience but I will say that the smaller of my girls seem to be the ones at the bottom of the pecking order. Don't know how that works with Bantams vs. Standards.

    #4: I wouldn't bet on a 4 ft. fence confining them, especially with mixed breeds. Some seem to be more adept at flying than others. We had a 4 ft. fence and had to turn it into a covered run to keep the girls in.

    #5: I've never purchased online as I like to see what I'm getting. The pullets I got from Craigslist. The next year I was ready to raise chicks and got them at the local farm store. However, I will say I've not always been able to get the breeds that I want locally so buying online is something I'm still considering.

    Good luck!
     
  8. kma2785

    kma2785 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Hubert NC
    Ohh she defiantly could go over the fence if she wanted to but she knows that if she ever did she would be chopped liver lol. I have seen her clear a 4 foot jump up onto my parents porch from a sitting position. I think she has springs for legs. I was very lucky that she is content with staying in our yard and didn't have to buy a privacy fence when i bought the house.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about those neighbor dogs jumping in for a chicken dinner though?
     
  10. kma2785

    kma2785 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Hubert NC
    The side that I would have had to worry about that with I have put up a privacy fence. I got tired of having 3 random dogs that would come in the dog door all the time last summer because they got hot being outside. Though I cant blame the dogs much I would rather be in the AC when it was 98 outside too. The other two sides, is a lady with a little dog and the other one is always on a tie out when they let him out due to his jumping a fence when he was a pup. So the biggest thing for me will be just keeping them in the yard. My dad has gotten on board with this so much so that Im almost scared of what he has planned for the coop and run but will probably extend the size of the run more so they will have more room till they get older and are not interested in getting out of the fence. Will also clipping their wings until then just in case. I think I have narrowed down the breeds to about 10 with the help of mypetchicken and the input that I have gotten on here so going to see whats in the area locally first. I have a feeling that I will probably start off with about 4-6 and once I get the hang of it I'm sure it will just grow from there. I have also found a local group on facebook in my area so will be able to start making some contacts locally too.
     

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