New to BYC and hoping to get some soon but...

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Smokintek, Jul 12, 2019 at 9:54 AM.

  1. Smokintek

    Smokintek Hatching

    Hi BYC folks!

    I've been a lurker for quite a while but I find myself in a predicament I'm hoping i might be able to get some help with. In the near future I'm going to be moving from where I am now in my crappy little city apartment to something a bit more rural (minimum .25 acres). Part of what I'm hoping to do as part of that move is in the coming spring have everything ready for a few chickens (3-4). Before I get them I want to make sure I have everything lined up for both me and them so here are the hurdles I'm mentally grappling with.
    1. I live alone (though hoping to change that) and work in town so the chickens would be on their own for a third of the day. I'd rather not have them "cooped" (sorry couldn't help it) up all day until I get home so I was thinking a closed in run? that way I can let them out of to run around in the yard when I get home but they aren't stuck in a box longer than they have to be.
    2. I live in northern Alberta Canada where winter can routinely hit -32c degree temperatures for extended periods though with climate change that is less frequent but still well below freezing in winter though. For my american friends the temperature range is -25f in winter and as high as 100f in summer on average. Heat lamps and insulation are obvious but the size of the coop starts to play an important role since the larger it is the more it costs to heat but the smaller it is the less space the birds have for potentially months and that just doesn't sit right with me. So how big should I make the coop that is a good mix between those extremes and how do i deal with ventilation in that kind of environment? If someone knew how I could make a heated run so they weren't completely stuck inside all winter that would be amazing.
    3. What breeds to get and from where? There are a couple breeds I like the look of, Brahmas (Dark and buff specifically) and Barred Plymouth. I'm essentially looking for lawn ornaments with benefits and from my research both seem pretty docile but I'd like to have kind of a mix if possible (an Ameraucana in the mix would be lovely) However my google-fu fails me as for where I can order them from. Either they are unsexed (i likely can't legally have a rooster unless I get a property WAY bigger than I can take care of alone) or sold in numbers higher than I am comfortable getting so any advice would be super helpful ( I live near Edmonton if it helps)
    4. I'd also like to try to grow some chicken treats and while obviously all birds are different i'd love to hear from the BYC community on what might be some good candidates that the chickens would love that are also healthy(ish) for them. I'm planning on getting some toys I can load with meal worms from my local pet store for some "soccer" :)
    Any plans you could point me at would be great (i'm still going through the prodigious number here on BYC) along with any assistance in where I could actually purchase said chickens from would be most appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

    Jan 30, 2015
    Hi and welcome to BYC. I would suggest that most of your questions will likely be best answered by members in Canada - see link below.

    Here are some links to useful resources:

    Best wishes

    Pork Pie
  3. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    This is so exciting! I was thrilled the day I could move out of my condo and into a house with a bit of a yard. My one piece of advice to you, which it sounds like you are doing, is to do your homework in advance. Once you know where you are moving, find out the codes/ordinances. You want to know if you are allowed to have chickens, and how many you are allowed given your property size. You also want to know things regarding to building, how close is a coop/shed allowed to be to a property line or to a house, do you need a permanent foundation, do you need a permit? Some areas also have regulations regarding fences, does it have to be a certain material, are there setbacks, do you need a permit? Once you know these things you can make more solid construction plans for the coop and run. With your coop I personally think that given your weather, larger is better so they can hang out inside if they want (which will always be warmer than outside). You don't need to heat the whole space, but to provide an area where they can go to warm up. With your run, many people wrap the run with tarps or plastic and at least make some sort of wind block for winter. This can really help. Good luck! Have fun! @Pork Pie gave you some good links to get you started!
  4. rehdancer

    rehdancer In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2019
    Northern Wisconsin
    Welcome - this is a wonderfully supportive group. As a new (2 months) chicken parent I can relate to your wanting to have everything in place before you get your birds. We are in northern Wisconsin and have similar weather conditions, although probably less wind than where you are. I have a mixed flock for my first endeavor. They were purchased locally and incredibly cheap/cheep ($2. per chick, buy 5 get 1 free). I didn't want to invest in purebred chicks until I got some experience. I agree that chatting with local chicken folks is probably the best way to both find birds and get support specific to your area. My advice to you is to give yourself permission to make mistakes, learn from them, and trust your gut. My chickens have already survived a few mistakes of mine !!!
  5. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Hello and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
    You DON'T need to heat your coop and most assuredly, not your run!
    You need to think DRY not warm. The chickens provide their own warm. They are little ovens in down coats. You just need to keep the moisture away and provide them with roosting space in the winter that does not allow wind to ruffle their feathers.
    The opposite is true for summer. Lots of air circulation is needed. I also freeze large chunks of ice and leave them in a shallow plastic tote weighed down with a few bricks. As the ice melts, the chickens sip the cold water and wade in it too.
    I was just working on my new coop article that I have not yet published but I think a much smaller version of what I built would work well for you. Think about modifying an old shed into a coop and attaching a very secure run. One that is so secure you leave the door from the coop to the run open year round. This obviously means you need a solid roof on your run. That is how I manage my flock. Here is a quick picture of my set up:
    In the winter, all you do is cover the run walls with wind block and that is where they will spend most of their time. You will want to consider warming mats in your nest boxes as the eggs will freeze before you can gather them. I have a link in my new article to someone else's article on using seedling heat mats to keep eggs from freezing.
    When I publish, if you want, I can share a link to my article with you.
  6. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    rjohns39, Leahs Coop, 007Sean and 6 others like this.
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Enlightened

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
  8. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Enabler

    Hello, and welcome! Glad that you joined, and are trying to plan ahead!
  9. Mybackyardpeepers

    Mybackyardpeepers Crowing

    Mar 22, 2019
    Hi and welcome to the BYC flock!!!
  10. ocap

    ocap Crowing

    Jan 1, 2013
    Smithville, Missouri
    try and find a source for pullets, your local feed store should be a great help, any hatchery breed will do for a starter flock since the local breeder has cold hardy birds.

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