New chicken owner who has questions.

Bloommagical

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 1, 2012
14
1
80
Hello, I'm Emily. I'm 17 and my family got 6 chickens. They're about 2 months old now, so they have a few months of growing to do. And they are beginning to trust me. (There's one that doesnt trust me at all... But I think it's a rooster, because it protects and herds the others. Not sure what we'll do with it.:/)

We are brand new to keeping chickens and would love some/any advice! I also have a few questions..

There are 3 different breeds, I can't remember them off the top of my head, but two are red, two are orange, and two are black. I was wondering if this could be unsafe? If we kept the possible rooster (black), would it breed with all of them or just the other black one?

They have an indoor coop and an outdoor pen, both are about the same size. We don't let them out of the pen unless we're watching them because of the fox and coyote and birds of prey near our house. I have seen turkey vultures and red tailed hawks and peregrine falcons in my backyard. My friend lost chickens to hawks, and we don't want to loose ours!
What are the benefits of having them free-range? How might we protect them from being eaten?

By the way I would never imagine eating my chickens, I see them as pets. I will protect them as best I can from my family, too.

Speaking of pets.. we have two cats who I have seen charging at the cage, scaring them. Does anybody here have experience with this, and what, if anything, should I do about it?

I personally have always wanted chickens, and my mom went along with it because she wants the eggs. My dad built the coop and pen, and I look after them every day with my sister. (Ya know, providing food and water, treats, petting them when they let me, scooping clumps of poop)

For treats, so far I've given them bread, lettuce, apple, strawberries, and blueberries. The blueberries are their favorite. They didn't like the strawberries much... Which stinks cause we grow our own. Wha other treats should I try?

The water used to be in their coop but is now in the outside pen (it was getting their bedding wet) and we don't usually let them out at night, but can chickens go all night without water?


Thank you for taking the time to read this, I look forward to some answers. :)
 
Last edited:

Scooter&Suzie

Songster
9 Years
Jun 23, 2011
2,512
50
241
Pennsylvania
Hello, I'm Emily. I'm 17 and my family got 6 chickens. They're about 2 months old now, so they have a few months of growing to do. And they are beginning to trust me. (There's one that doesnt trust me at all... But I think it's a rooster, because it protects and herds the others. Not sure what we'll do with it.
)
We are brand new to keeping chickens and would love some/any advice! I also have a few questions..
There are 3 different breeds, I can't remember them off the top of my head, but two are red, two are orange, and two are black. I was wondering if this could be unsafe? If we kept the possible rooster (black), would it breed with all of them or just the other black one? The rooster will most likely breed with all the hens. I don't see how this is unsafe, you just would have fertile eggs (which are totally ediable) which would hatch out into a mix breed.
They have an indoor coop and an outdoor pen, both are about the same size. We don't let them out of the pen unless we're watching them because of the fox and coyote and birds of prey near our house. I have seen turkey vultures and red tailed hawks and peregrine falcons in my backyard. My friend lost chickens to hawks, and we don't want to loose ours!
What are the benefits of having them free-range? How might we protect them from being eaten? You could try to put a cover on your run. Or make a new one with hardware cloth that covers it and goes into the ground 6". This way, a raccoon can't rip it, a fox normally hit the hardware cloth and gives up, and a hawk can't get to your chickens. Plus it will keep out your other pets.
By the way I would never imagine eating my chickens, I see them as pets. I will protect them as best I can from my family, too.
Speaking of pets.. we have two cats who I have seen charging at the cage, scaring them. Does anybody here have experience with this, and what, if anything, should I do about it? Your cats will probably kill your chickens if they are given the chance. Once they get full grown the chickens should be able to defend themselves. Mine flap their wings and have scared the fur of my cats! What a sight... Whew!
I personally have always wanted chickens, and my mom went along with it because she wants the eggs. My dad built the coop and pen, and I look after them every day with my sister. (Ya know, providing food and water, treats, petting them when they let me, scooping clumps of poop)
For treats, so far I've given them bread, lettuce, apple, strawberries, and blueberries. The blueberries are their favorite. They didn't like the strawberries much... Which stinks cause we grow our own. Wha other treats should I try? MEALWORMS! Mine adore then! You can easily raise your own - they can be kept in a relatively small container, I keep mine under my bed in a drawer. It is maybe 1' by 2', or close to that anyway. Here is a page that explains how: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/492636/mealworm-farming It is super easy and cheap, and the girls LOVE them!
The water used to be in their coop but is now in the outside pen (it was getting their bedding wet) and we don't usually let them out at night, but can chickens go all night without water? Well, during the night they are roosting. They don't come down until morning. And they don't drink in their sleep, so you'll be okay! I keep my water outside and they are alright - just during the summer months I sometimes get up at 5:00am let out the hens, then go back to bed, so they have water.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I look forward to some answers.
I put my input in bold.

 

Bloommagical

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 1, 2012
14
1
80
Thank you for the suggestions!

I'm not sure if my mom will go for the mealworms, but I'll give it a shot.
 

Fierlin1182

powered-flight
8 Years
Aug 26, 2011
17,155
309
348
Hello and :welcome

Great to see more young folks around. I'm about your age! :frow

As for free ranging, it's good as they get access to a lot of treats that they don't usually like insects and whatnot, and they can clean off a good population of pest insects in your garden. :p
We free range our chickens, however when we aren't there to watch them (we have to watch them because they'll dig up the veggie garden, not because of predators! :lol:) we might dig up a chunk of dirt and let them pick at the worms, and throw in a bit of grass for them.

Your three different breeds should be ok together. Many people have mix breed flocks.
And as for treats, you could try grapes. My chickens love grapes. And also yoghurt and biscuits, especially together! :lol:

Don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have, and enjoy the site. :D
 

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