New Member in SW PA

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MellyHooHoo, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. MellyHooHoo

    MellyHooHoo Just Hatched

    Apr 4, 2017
    Murrysville, SW PA
    Hello! We have the luck of actually living on the family farm, although as Pap has gotten older, the farming part has waned quite a bit. Our parcel is 8 acres, although almost all of that is hayfield for the cows my uncle has taken over. I love telling people that I live on a farm--but that my gardens are all urban-style since I have so little land that isn't tree-shaded or hayfield! We moved in going on 4 years ago and each year I have declared it "Year of the Chicken Coop" with very little movement toward that goal...until now! The kids are now mostly manageable at 6 and 3 1/2, so it's definitely project time!

    CHICKENS: I have been collecting information on coop building for some time, and now I'm finally collecting materials. The coop build is planned around the roof--we are repurposing a heavy duty truck cap with lockable doors on the long sides and windows on the short sides. I plan to build a combo small yard/coop with the roost and laying area enclosed in the rear third. The cap will shelter the entire area. I plan to let the birds free range. We do have lots of hawks (especially with the big open fields above and adjacent) but as mentioned, there's a lot of tree cover. There are raccoons and opossum around, and our first winter we saw fox tracks near an area that I suspected was a den, although they seem to have moved on once the kids started tramping around.

    I plan to build the coop on a flat stretch with a hill above and below and woods behind that originally was a garden area until the surrounding trees grew over. The area is pretty sheltered and close to the house. I worry a little about the wind, but the treeline above does break it decently most of the year. My biggest worry is that the ground there tends to be wet, especially in spring as all the collected moisture starts moving downhill. I plan to have the coop built by early summer, so I may not address the dirt part of the enclosure until fall. I am hoping that will give us adequate time to train the chickens to free range and come home. THey'll have grass for a little while in their enclosure that way.

    Any tips on:
    1. The training of free range chickens and wing clipping? Needed?
    2. Guineafowl? Thinking they'll help with the hawk notification AND ticks!

  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, MellyHooHoo, and :welcome! Happy you joined our flock! The various forums on BYC will assist you on your journey as will the Learning Center which is packed with informative articles on all phases of poultry keeping!
    There are specific articles on free ranging and wing clipping!
    Lastly, if you'd like to chat with some of your poultry "neighbors" you can find your state thread in the link below and say howdy.
    Best wishes and thanks for joining BYC! :woot
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Sounds like you have a wonderful farm there!

    Chickens don't need too much training and don't wander too far from home. Once they learn where home is, they aren't going to fly off or get lost. The best thing to do with new chickens, even chicks, is to lock them in the coop for a few days before letting them out. This teaches them were home is. They sleep where ever they did yesterday that kept them alive today. If you don't lock them them, they roost in the trees and think they are safe, so always lock new birds in the coop the first few days, or round them up before roosting time. Clipping wings leaves them vulnerable to predator attacks if they can't fly if needed. Clipping wings can keep them from flying over tall fences, but that is about all wing clipping is good for.

    Guineas however are a different story. They will wander off, roost in the trees and can be a handful of work. You will definintely want to post in our Guinea section for help with these birds. They can be wonderful bug eaters as well...

    Good luck on this new adventure and welcome to our roost! :)
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  4. MellyHooHoo

    MellyHooHoo Just Hatched

    Apr 4, 2017
    Murrysville, SW PA
    Thank you so much for the warm welcome!!![​IMG]
  5. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    Your coop sounds really interesting. Be sure to take pictures of the building stages, it's always fun to see what members here come up with.

    Thanks for joining us!
  6. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Queen of the Coop

    Mar 3, 2015
    Hello [​IMG] and Welcome to BYC!
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  8. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    G’Day from down under MellyHooHoo [​IMG] Welcome!

    As you have already received some good advice and links to some great starting points, I will just wish you all the best.

    I hope you enjoy being a BYC member. There are lots of friendly and very helpful folks here so not only is it overflowing with useful information it is also a great place to make friends and have some fun.

    If you would like to share pictures and stories of your flock, you have come to the right place. BYC’ers never tire of these and do not back away slowly or commence eye rolling when the photo album or home videos come out [​IMG]
  9. ninjawesome

    ninjawesome Currently being awesome Premium Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    Wild, Wild West
    Hey there and [​IMG]! We're glad you joined the flock!

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