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Need general starting info

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Clovis, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Clovis

    Clovis Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2013
    Hello all! My name is Clovis and my hubby and I are interested in getting some chickens for the first time. I came across this site when I was looking for info and it looks like a great place to get lots of good input.

    Here is our general situation. We have never had chickens personally before but have both had limited experience caring for them when we were kids (in our 40's now). We have 10 acres of very rural ground so there are no problems of worry about local ordinances or laws. We are in S.IL and as anyone in this area knows, the weather can be quite unpredictable, hot and dry to cold and wet. I don't know yet if we are wanting to try to winter over the first year or not. May just be a kind of wait and see thing.

    What we are wanting to start with is about 4-6 pullets this spring since we have no experience or equipment to start with chicks right now. We have an area in our back yard that is surrounded by pine trees on the south and west sides with a large area of pine needles on the ground. If we could fence this area in, would it be a good area for chickens? Shade in the summer and wind break in the winter?

    I have also been looking into breeds and good grief the amount of breeds is overwhelmiing! I never knew there were so many kinds of chickens! We are wanting to start with something that would be heat hardy since we have no idea what this summer will bring. Also a good egg layer and preferably not prone to broodiness. Meat producers would be okay if they were good layers too.

    I have seen the Black Ausrtolorp highly recommended as well as the leghorn and Rhode Island types. I will also need to find out what is readily available (and fairly inexpensive) in our area as we are on a limited budget.

    Any and all thoughts and input would be welcome and appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
    Clovis
     
  2. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    First things first.

    Build your coop as large as you possibly can. I recommend a coop/covered run combo which can be walled in and added on to. Build for twice the chickens you think you will ever want. Trust me, you won't be sorry. Nobody ever says, "I wish I hadn't built my coop so big and so strong." Get your housing finished before you get the birds, it will insure that you don't cut corners.

    Check out coop plans and advice on general chicken care on this site. Don't worry about the kind of chickens to get unless you already know what you want. Stay open to any good opportunity that presents itself.

    Good Luck and welcome to BYC!
     
  3. Clovis

    Clovis Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2013
    Thank you for your reply and advise on the coop building. We're not really planning for any certain breed of chicken, just kind of looking for ideas and input.
     
  4. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Here is a pic of my coop.

    [​IMG]

    I have been very happy with it and have added eight feet on the far end, already.
     
  5. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    This coop is 12x16. It has 4x4's on the corners and mid-wall on each side, and there is one dead center. At 192 square feet, I could house 19 largefowl birds in there full time. I use it for sleeping quarters (only) for 30! The peace of mind I have once I lock them in at night is worth every penny I spent on it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  6. Clovis

    Clovis Out Of The Brooder

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    That is a beautiful coop Wisher. It sure looks like you put a lot of thought and love into it.

    How big would you recommend for about 6 chickens?
     
  7. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Recommended coop size is 4 sq. ft./bird and run size is 8-10 sq. ft./bird. But as wisher says, bigger is better!!
     
  8. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    If you are going to build one, there is little reason to make it smaller than 8x8. The lumber works for that size, but you have the room and are in a rural area. I would suggest you build it no smaller than 8x12. For 6 large fowl birds, you need 24 sq. ft inside (4x6) space and 60 (10x6) ouside space MINIMUM. Keep in mind that doesn't include an area for feed and supply storage. I really like mine (after adding the 8' extension,) it is a very comfortable and versitile layout. The covered run area is 12x16 and I can put up tarps in really fridged weather. The extension is 8' added on the 12 ' end and it has an 8x8 'bedroom' area the birds access through a pop door from the run and a 4x8 feed and storage area. I have some plans/pics ...

    [​IMG]

    I still need to add siding but can't decide which kind I want! The demensions below are general.

    [​IMG]<-----This is not to scale!


    I really like that it could be used for goats, a pony, or parrots with only a bit of alteration. I could also side the run area and use it for a garden shed, workshop, or storage shed. I am planning another for breeders and it will be even bigger! I'm thinking 20x30, divided into two pens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  9. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I am so jealous of your coop and run, Wisher!!! It looks awesome!
     

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