New to BYC and want to make sure we are doing it right

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by m_shuman, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. m_shuman

    m_shuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2011
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    Hi! DH and I are new to the chicken world. We have two DS's one who is 5 and one who is 2. For Easter we got them baby chickens and I want to make sure we are not setting ourselves up for failure. I grew up on a farm but have no experience with chickens. We grow out own veggies and sometimes slaughter wild hogs for meat so raising chickens was the next logical step in our path to becoming more self sufficient. I have been researching hen houses and found the plans for one we really think will work well. I was hoping that the more experienced people out there could help us so we make sure it is right from the beginning.

    We have purchased 9 pullet chicks 3 each of Ameraucanas, Black Australorp, and White Leghorn. We want to raise them for eggs and pets of course. From what I understand all of these breeds do well together in a coop which we are going to have to use. We can not let them be free range because we live on a busy road and I am afraid they would wander into the street. First question: Is there anything special I need to know about these breeds?

    As for our coop and Hen house, we are going to build a hen house that is 4ft x 8ft with additional space in the roosting boxes on the sides making it a total of 4x11. It is going to be elevated 2 feet off the ground. It has 2 windows in front, ventilation in the top and it has 2 doors in the back that both open for easy access to clean. W though we might actually build it where a screen of chicken wire can be latched in the back as well so we can open it up for even more ventilation in the hot summer months. We live in south Georgia right outside of Savannah GA and it gets HOT! HOT! HOT down here. I am also putting it in a shady place in my yard as well. Second Question: Do you think a hen house like this will work well for 9 chickens? Third Question: Do you think this will provide the chickens with adaquate ventilation? Light?

    As for the coop itself we are going to build a 8ft x 10ft coop/yard in front of the hen house. The underneath of the Hen House will provide an additional 4x8 space as well. We are going to build the frame out of 2x4 and encase in in chicken wire. We are going to run chicken wire across the top as well and use a tarp that can be rolled and unrolled for shade as needed. Fourth Question: Do you think this will be enough space for 9 chickens? Fifth Question: Do you think this will work well for our chickens?

    I have been looking on the internet for supplies to build the coop and hen house and I see Chicken wire listed on some sites and Poultry netting listed as well. Sixth Question Is there a difference between Poultry netting and chicken wire? What is the best to use?

    I am really looking forward to raising chickens and having our own fresh eggs everyday. Sorry for all of the questions but I want to make sure we do this right the first time. Any help or tips you can give us would be most appreciated. Thanks!

    MLS
     
  2. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

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    Hello and [​IMG] I am glad you decided to join us!
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, I'd strongly recommend a 3 sided structure attached to an outdoor run for predator protection. In this climate there really is no such thing as cold weather to them, but heat can literally be a killer. They need to be able to get out of high winds and driving rain, of course -- but they don't need a real building down here, and if they are to live in one willingly, it needs to be BIG, like an old barn. 6 months of the year they will require shade and very good air movement to survive and not be miserable. Mine are already holding their wings away from their bodies and panting a little against just 80-85 degree temps. Above 100 is considered lethal to a chicken -- but I have not lost one to heat, I suppose because they have shade and breeze, including a box fan that runs from about May til October. I do have a 4 sided coop, sort of, but half of one wall and a big chunk of the opposite wall are not walls at all but wire mesh, situated so the coop is like a wind tunnel, with one corner where they can get away from wind and blowing rain if they wish. Your plan would be fine in a cold climate but just too stuffy and not airish enough for here, IMO. And a tarp covering at least part of the outdoor area is probably good, for shade. Chickens will usually go out in rain except for the hardest rains. For winter, a roost wide enough for them to cover their feet (wide side of a 2x4 will do it) and protection from wind are all they need.

    Chickens are individuals; not that much variation among breeds, though there is some; Leghorns tend to be skittish and avoid people while the other 2 are more likely to make good pets. Yet some people have had a lap Leghorn. Bribe them all with treats and they will follow you anywhere.

    Poultry netting and chicken wire hold chickens in but will not keep predators out. Coons, possum, fox, skunk, your neighbor's dog and sometimes even cat -- most anything you can think of will gladly eat them, or at least "play with" and kill them. Some people let them "free range" anyway, while others build a predator proof run, which generally requires wire mesh and a barrier along the outside lower edge to prevent digging under.

    Here is one thread on hot weather coops, just to get you started thinking about it:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=163417
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Welcome to BYC. Camden County here.
     
  5. ourvalhalla

    ourvalhalla New Egg

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Welcome and good luck. [​IMG]
     
  6. white01

    white01 Brady Brook Poultry

    May 11, 2010
    West Enfield,Maine
    [​IMG] [​IMG] from Maine
     
  7. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    Hello [​IMG] and [​IMG] from Hesperia,Ca [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    [​IMG] from Indiana!!! [​IMG]
     
  9. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] and [​IMG] from Ohio. So glad you joined. Good luck. [​IMG]
     
  10. chickmanna

    chickmanna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Battle Ground, WA
    [​IMG] from Annie in Washington State. You're gonna love it here!! [​IMG]
     

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