New, Hello! Advice?


5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
Graham, WA
Hi Chicken Lovers of the World! I am new to this world of (very adorable) chicks. My husband went to the store for plywood (hence my username) and came home with 6 cute chicken little's and the makings for a coop :) I do love him! It makes sense, we are a big family and go through a big pack of eggs every week. My hubby & I have discussed it before but this was still a fairly large surprise! We've got the starter area with heat lamp and all that jazz & the coop covered, I've been browsing this great website here and have found some ingenious ideas for watering and feeding systems but that's all the easy stuff. I need advice on simply how to raise chickens......... Are they OK in the winter? Do they need an completely enclosed area in their coops or is just a roof and an open front okay? how often should you clean their coops? I've heard they don't produce eggs with chicks unless there's a male, is that true? So on & so forth, any advice and help is appreciated!!!!
If you go to the "Raising backyard chickens," forum above, one of the side tabs is called "raising baby chicks." You can also find great information at the Learning Center.

You do NOT need a rooster to have eggs. Hens will lay anyway. If you want fertile eggs that can be hatched out to chicks - then you do need a rooster. One rooster can handle 10 hens. If you have less than that, the hens are liable to get overbred and can be injured.
BTW except for hot climates, the coop should have four walls and roof. Please check out the coops section for different styles etc. that may suit your needs. Also read up on predators - they will know as soon as you get chickens and will be very eager to grab an easy lunch.
Welcome to our forum!

I'll give you some links to show some ideas about coops, but we have a huge coop section as well. The advice? Make it bigger than you think it needs to be! Note the "Woods coop" thread with an open front and snow on the ground. It's a rather expensive coop to build, but might also give you some ideas. We have several members who use and love them, in the North. Chickens enjoy some weather protection but have a lot more tolerance for cold than heat. In summer, even where you are, they will no doubt require shade and breeze just to survive.

Many of us eat fertile eggs every day; I've eaten them for many years. They will not turn into a chick unless incubated, either in an incubator or by a broody hen, who must sit on them for 3 weeks. I have never opened an egg for breakfast and discovered a half developed chick.

Some clean their coop every week, some once or twice a year. A lot depends on how much space and air exchange they have. They typical 4'x4' box you will see often will probably require weekly ckeaning, if not daily poop removal. In an area where there is snow on the ground and they may choose to stay in, a large coop has a great advantage. It's great if you can shovel them a place to go out, or cover a place, but not everyone does, and they may refuse to walk on snow.

Ventilation is critical, and difficult to do well in a small, short coop. An 8x8 shed with a roof slanted to one side is my favorite for a 4 sided coop, as the ventilation is easy to arrange on the high side, even for 6 chickens, though an awful lot of people end up getting more. Ventilation allows the humidity and ammonia they put out to exchange out with the outside air. They can get frostbittten on their combs and wattles, more often caused by humidity than just cold.

You'll find a lot of basic info in our Learning Center. You'll also find there is certainly more than one waay to do just about any aspect of chicken keeping.

Some of my favorite links about coops and such: Note that the so-called "hot weather coops" can be used a lot farther north than some of the states in that thread.
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Welcome to BYC!

And welcome to the world of chickens! Judy has given you some great advice here. Build your coop bigger than originally planned as you WILL want more birds over time. I did not take this advice early on, and well, the new larger coop was born 2 years later!! Definitely stop by our learning center for lots of great reads on all the aspects of keeping your new brood as well as our coop section. Ventilation is everything in a coop for cold weather and hot weather. The basic rule is 1 square foot of ventilation in the eaves or ceiling per bird, roosting low to the floor in cold weather climates and this will keep your birds warm and dry in the cold months. Sand makes an excellent medium for coop floors and runs. I use it everywhere. You can hose it down in the summer time to keep the birds cool, it is easy to maintain and clean, keeps the flies away and there is no poop smells. Here is a great thread to look thru on sand if you want to consider it...

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Enjoy all your poultry adventures and welcome to our flock!
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Congrats on your new chicks, good luck with them! The shopping trip for plywood somehow becoming a purchasing trip for chicks is funny, farm stores are dangerous this time of year. You've gotten some great advice and links above. You might also like to chat with your neighbors on your state thread about what they are happy with so far as set ups go
Thank you everyone! This is the beginning of an exciting chicken journey and I am so appreciative of all the advice! I hope to be an excellent chicken owner and am so glad I found this awesome website with awesome chicken owners to help me on my new journey :) I will continue updating!

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