New to BYC & chicken raising

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by PandorasKitten, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    My name is Red. I'm in Colorado Springs. My boyfriend and I are looking to start a backyard flock this upcoming summer. We've done a lot of research and decided to go with Plymouth Rocks and RI Reds. I'm thinking starting with four chicks total. He's talking about starting with six and adding new chicks in three years, waiting a year, then decreasing by three and starting the cycle again. Meaning once the 2nd batch of chicks reaches one year of age, we butcher some of the older ones, get another set of three chicks and so forth.

    Colorado Springs allows for a total of 10 hens and no roosters. I very much want to raise them as best as possible since they will serve us eggs and eventually meat. And, I want them to have access to our compost pile and ability to range around the yard. Ideally, our backyard will turn into a homestead with a vegetable garden and chickens.

    Our backyard is currently covered in red gravel stuff without any grass. Since I do not eat corn, is it possible not to feed the chickens corn and still meet their nutritional requirements?

    We're designing our own coop based on designs we've seen on here. And we know there ideally needs to be at least 4sq.ft. per adult chicken. We read somewhere that if we go with day-old chicks, we should have a round pen to keep them in? Any suggestions for a round pen?

    We also have an older dog and year old cat who have never been around chickens. Both the dog and the cat are dominant and have a fairly strong prey drive. How can we ensure our chickens are not tormented by our current pets?

    I am very excited to be a part of this community. This has been the best resource I have encountered for raising chickens.
  2. americana-lover

    americana-lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
  3. The Howards

    The Howards Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi and welcome to the flock from NC
    It should be possible for you to find some form of food without corn, I would think. It may take a bit of research into the ingredients. Scratch should not be a main staple of their diet anyways, not enough of what they need in it. Maybe some one can give you a better answer on the feed. You may want to consider something like we had to do for flock protection, one of our dogs is an incredible hunter of small fast animals. We divided the back yard basically in half, using Landscaping timbers as fence posts and horse fencing to make a chicken home, that way the dogs can have their area and the girls have their area. We had a extra large dog crate we kept ours in when they were chicks and used to wire cloth in a round shape held down with stakes to give them some grass time. Anything can be used for a round pen, cardboard, wire cloth, netting.
    Good luck with your flock when you get started. I'm sure someone will give you some better answers.....
  4. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us. I would hold a chick around your dog and let him/her sniff it and get to know it. Dont leave them unsupervised with each other. Make sure your chickens always have a place they can go to get away from danger.
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    [​IMG] Glad that you have joined us. Good luck in your endeavor.
  6. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009

    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Welcome to BYC!!
    Glad you joined us!!!
  8. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, Red, and [​IMG]! Pleased you joined our community! Sounds like your questions have been addressed by others so I'll just say best of luck and Happy New Year!! [​IMG]
  9. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    Hello again! With the dog and cat I agree with willow branch farm. Let the pets sniff them and be round the brooder in controlled circumstances. If they learn not to mess with them as chicks they defiantly won't mess with them as adults. My Manx was actually traumatized by one of my first chicks. It was hilarious! He was just sooooo curious so I pulled Sunny out (she wasn't even a week old) and let him sniff her. She pecked him square on the nose! After that he gave the brooder about a four or five foot clearance and won't even sniff at an adult bird if I bring one in. It's a riot! My 12 lb fluffy mouse hunting master is terrified of baby birds now! My other two cats watch chicks when I have them and the Siamese can't resist trying to 'touch' one every so often but otherwise everything is mellow. They will sniff at adults that are brought in but won't do more than that.

    I have also had stray cats come through my yard and so far they have shown nothing more than a passing interest in my birds. I think most cats loose interest once the birds get past a certain size, especially city cats. Too lazy to risk the fight when they can steal food from another cats bowl or catch that mouse two doors down.
  10. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California

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