New and clueless!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by IcedMochaChick, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. IcedMochaChick

    IcedMochaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2008
    Nebraska
    Hey all,

    I live in the city and I really want to get a few bantam hens for the backyard. Would it be a bad idea to try to hatch some eggs? As in, what do I do with the possible males? When is the best time of year to hatch or get chicks? Should I wait for spring, or can I keep them in the house for a few months? I'm so excited about it, I don't know if I can wait 'till spring!
     
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Personally, I think your best bet is to order sexed pullet chicks or get started or point of lay pullets.

    You can keep chickens in the house. The longest we've kept any in the house was 8 weeks (mama hen and her chicks were in the mud room). I wouldn't recommend it through an entire winter in Nebraska.


    edited for clarity... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  3. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    Since I am also a former native city boy, I would make the following recommendations.

    First, check out the local ordinances for whether chickens can be kept legally in your area. If so, then figure out where the chickens will live and prepare a structure, especially since winter will be coming soon enough (didn't check where you live).

    Second, if you are new to chickens, I'd say go with chicks at first, not eggs. Hatching eggs seems like a lot of work with mixed success even for the grizzled veterans. If you live in a city, then chicks are better because they come sexed (although, it is not always 100% accurate). With eggs, you have an equal chance at roosters. And believe me, you'll get attached to them. Only start with as many chicks as you have space for.

    Third, you won't want any roosters to start off, especially in the city. Hens make enough noise. Neighbors will become an issue if you start out with roos.

    And if all that works out well for you...go to town on whatever else you want the following year. There's no reason to think that you couldn't find bantam chicks right now.

    Oh yeah..... [​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    IIRC there is only one mail-order hatchery that sexes bantams - I do not remember which one (unless I am wrong and *none* do). If you are not stuck on banties specifically, lotsa hatcheries sell sexed *regular size* chicks, although the chance of a roo is still not zero.

    You might be able to find homes for unwanted males. OTOH you might not, and should have a backup plan for that (soup, euthanasia, whatever). To the extent that a backup plan acceptible to you cannot be found, it would be a good idea to line up prospective roo homes *first*, or find someone local from whom you could purchase half-grown or adult birds (so you could be more sure of girls).

    You realllly aren't going to enjoy chicks in the house for several months (they are mindbogglingly dusty, past 2-4 weeks of age, and it is a fine greasy sort of dust), so it might be wiser to wait til spring?

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2007
    UK
    I also live in a city. I have 3 hens who forage around the garden. I know little about hatching eggs except you need an incubator which would cost. If you only want a few birds it probably would not be worth it, and you would have the problem of disposing of the male half of them.
    Before getting birds you need to plan where they are going to live and where you are going to store the feed. They need a safe place where foxes and stray dogs cannot get at them.
    Are you going to let them roam around the garden or keep them penned up?
    How much spare time do you have to clean them out and collect eggs?
    How many eggs do you want?
    Will any noise or smell upset your neighbours?
    I love my hens and have found them little trouble, and great fun, but it took some planning to make sure that they are healthy and happy.
     
  6. weenie007

    weenie007 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    Hi, I got some new hens yesterday and three of them have bald spots on their backs right above their tail feathers and their combs have lost color and kind of drooping to the side. Is there something causing this, should i be worried or is just from roosters or old hens from the last placed they lived creating pecking order? Please help. Thanks
     
  7. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Hi Weenie. The bald spots come from either 1) molting, or 2) losts of sex with your roo. I have learned that when they are not laying, their combs are not nearly as red. How old are these hens?
     
  8. weenie007

    weenie007 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    Some are 9 months and some are 11 months. I called the guy I bought them from who seems very nice and he said that the hens with the bawled spots were cooped with roosters and the ones that don't were only with hens. But I still don't understand why their combs have lost color and are flopping over. He said that within 3 weeks they all should look the good.
     
  9. IcedMochaChick

    IcedMochaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2008
    Nebraska
    Thanks for all the wonderful advice everyone! I have checked, and chickens are ok here. You have to pay for a license, and they inspect your hen house. I suppose I'm not really stuck on bantams, but I sure do think they're cute! My sister has already decided, she has to have a silver sebright! Eggs aren't the only reason we want chickens, we also want them to eat bugs and make lots of fertilizer for our garden:D I'm leaning towards silkies for a few reasons. They don't fly, is this right? They are super-cute, I'm thinking the neighbors will like that, and I just think they're funny. I've read that they don't produce many eggs, but there are only three of us, so hopefully 3-4 hens will be good. I've read a lot of information online, but I have no experience, so please keep the info coming! Thanks a bunch!
     
  10. IcedMochaChick

    IcedMochaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    326
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    Sep 7, 2008
    Nebraska
    Almost forgot... any chickens we get will become spoiled pets, just like our other critters. I have a friend who is going to help me build a coop, so that they are safe from predators. They would only be loose in the yard when we're with them. We spend a lot of time outdoors, starting our garden early and finishing it late in the season.
    Oh, a couple more questions... When talking about sq. ft. for each bird... is this for inside the hen house? Then more sq. ft. per bird in the run? This is the way I understand it, but I could be wrong. Also, I wanted to put the coop right behind the house so that it would be easy to care for them in the winter, and we could hear if something was trying to get the birds. Any advice on this?
     

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