New Chicken Family in Virginia!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by FeatherbedJuls, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. FeatherbedJuls

    FeatherbedJuls New Egg

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    Hello! We don't have chicks yet, but are excitedly getting set up to welcome them into our lives. First-timers have a lot to learn!! We have built our brooder and are getting ready to build our coop. I have researched breeds and would like to get a variety. We are planning to start with 8-10 chicks. We are planning our coop to be bigger than initially needed (I've read about Chicken Math!) The coop will have a large run, but I am hoping to be able to free range as well. Need to research that some more, but would welcome suggestions. As we plan our coop do you all find it most effective to bury hardware cloth into the ground or to build an apron out from the coop to prevent predators (I am mostly concerned about snakes)? I also am a beekeeper and plan to free range to chickens in the same area that the bee hives are. Has anyone done this and did it work out ok? I have read that the chickens help cut down on the insects that are pests to the bees. I will put screen on the coop openings to discourage the bees from getting comfortable in the coop.
    Can't wait to get my chicks!!
     
  2. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Queen of the Coop Premium Member

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    Hello [​IMG] and Welcome to BYC from a fellow Virginian!

    Sounds like you've researched thoroughly! I've had snake problems with both of my ground coops so I built a third on stilts and haven't had one snake get in. I also suggest building a covered run, I've had hawks attack multiple times before I had a covered run and lost two of my hens to them. I don't have bees so I can't help you on that subject. What breeds do you plan on getting? I hope you enjoy BYC and all of its benefits!
     
  3. N F C

    N F C just blowing in the wind Premium Member Project Manager

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    [​IMG]

    I agree with Chicken Girl1 that a raised coop may be a good bet against snakes. I would suggest an apron rather than burying the cloth under dirt in the run...chickens love to dig and can dig pretty deep. If they scratch on buried hardware cloth, they may end up with foot issues such as bumble foot. I've never raised bees but other members have and sometimes you'll see their posts under the Miscellaneous, Hobby forum.

    If you haven't already done so, check out the Learning Center for a lot of information to get you off on the right foot.

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    A raised coop also prevents rats from burrowing underneath the coop.
     
  5. FeatherbedJuls

    FeatherbedJuls New Egg

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    Feb 23, 2017
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    The coop we are planning is raised. How high should it be to prevent snakes. We were thinking about 2 ft off the ground?? With the wire apron, I'm assuming it goes down the coop wall, under a bottom board and outside the coop a foot or two? I have narrowed down the breeds to Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orphingtons, Welsummer, Barred Rock and Wyandotte. I am only looking for eggs, not meat at this point. I want them to be docile and friendly as I reallly want my 8 yr old involved. Feel free to give advice on these breeds or recommend others. Is it alright to mix in Bantam chickens with the larger breeds or better to stick with like sized birds? Thanks!
     
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you abide to the 4 sq ft rule for the coop you will end up with an 6X8 sized structure for 10 chickens. You can not reach across the coop so you will need to be able to walk in it. If you raise it your construction costs will be significantly higher. What types of snakes are you concerned about? While the area under the coop is extra run space and a place to hang out in bad weather, if you have to retrieve a hen from under there it can be a royal pia.
    As far as your selection of breeds, I will never recommend RIR for a first time first flock. They can be aggressive bullies to the meeker ones. The other breeds will give you a beautiful and colorful flock. No desire for green eggs? Almost a requirement with kids.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  7. FeatherbedJuls

    FeatherbedJuls New Egg

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    Lots of great advice! Thank you.

    Chicken Girl1, where in Virginia?
     
  8. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Queen of the Coop Premium Member

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    I'm in the Fredericksburg/Stafford area, how about you?
     
  9. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Howdy from Kansas, FeatherbedJuls, and [​IMG]! Great to have you in our community! Best wishes with your coop and chickens! [​IMG]
     
  10. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC and the poultry adventure - so gad you've joined us!!
     

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