new to BYC, new to chickens!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by canemaet, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. canemaet

    canemaet New Egg

    Sep 23, 2014
    Hello :) My name is Christine, and I'm a newbie in all sense of the word - regarding chickens at least! I'm currently living in Chesapeake, VA (hubby is active Navy) with 3 elementary age kids and a wonderful hunting dog (vizsla). I have day-old chicks being shipped to me next week, and I am SO excited! Any tips are greatly appreciated.. most importantly, does anyone have hunting dogs and chickens?? I'd appreciate any tips on introducing them as pets to each other - not prey!
    This is a fantastic site that I found through a facebook group local to me. There is so much information! I will receive 6 chicks soon, all supposed to be docile, good layers. I plan on having them in a coop with a covered run on each side, so they hopefully won't be easy prey or wanderers. I know it depends on breed, but do chickens wander far, usually? I'm wondering if I can/should let them out of the coop into the yard. It's not fenced in, but we are on a side street that only gets traffic from the people that live on it. Any tips for transitioning them outside to the coop, would be great as well. It'll be winter here when they are ready to move outside. It usually doesn't get below freezing, so I'm thinking they'll have an easy transition. I've seen lots of comments on using heat lamps vs. the deep bedding method (which seems to be preferred). Any suggestions with that are also welcome :)
    I love that there is a community like this established, ready to help those new to the world of raising chickens. I'm looking forward to connecting with you!
    1 person likes this.
  2. 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]

    Congrats on the soon to be new chicks! I hope they arrive safely to you. You might want to start in our learning center. LOTS of good articles on all the aspects of keeping your flock and I will also include an article you should read on raising your new chicks the first 60 days...

    Have your brooder all ready before the chicks arrive. As soon as you get them, dip everybody's beaks into the water as you put them in the brooder. This will give them their first drink. Withhold food for 15 mins or so until everybody is hydrated. This will help to prevent pasty butt which is caused from the dehydration and stress of the shipping.

    If you plan on free ranging, when they are ready to go out to the coop, lock them in the coop for several days and don't let them out. This will help to teach them where home is and they will always return. If you don't do this, they will not see the coop as home and you will never get them to go inside. You will be fishing them out of the trees that first night! Chickens won't wander far at first, but eventually they will. You might invest in an electric fence or even put up a fence to keep them from wandering into the street and the neighbors prized flower beds.

    If you don't get much below freezing, you will never need a heat lamp in the coop unless somebody gets sick. So hold on to your brooder lamp just in case over the years one of your birds becomes ill and needs some heat.

    Enjoy this new journey you are on! And if you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You might like to check out the BYC Learning Center, lots of good articles on all aspects of chicken keeping you'll find useful. this is a nice article on raising chicks the first few weeks.
    There are several nice threads on dogs/chickens where you might find some tips to help with your dog, ie here is a good one
    Chickens will wander pretty much anywhere they want, they can't really be boundary trained, you'll either need to fence them in or out of things. If you want to let them wander in unfenced areas of the yard etc, you might check into either tractor type things you can move them around in, or electric poultry netting. and
    Usually chicks are ready to go outside full time when they are fully feathered, around 6 weeks as long as it isn't really cold. It sounds pretty warm where you are so they shouldn't have much problem as long as they have a draft free dry coop. You can put them outside for short periods of time when they are pretty young, ie 2-3 weeks if the weather is nice, to get them used to it. Just watch how they behave and bring them in when they start acting cold. Adult chickens generally don't need supplemental heat unless there is a big temperature change (ie 30* colder than normal) but if it never gets below freezing where you are they probably won't ever need it.
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. It's always so exciting getting those first chicks. You've been given some advice by TwoCrows and Kelsie2290. I would personally avoid heat lamps. Too many times they have in some way or another been the cause of fires. Feathers are wonderful insulators. Just make sure your coop is well insulated, draft free with good ventilation, and dry. Moisture is a greater enemy of chickens than cold. Cold especially should not be a real problem since you don't get much below freezing. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. What breeds of chicks are you getting?
  5. canemaet

    canemaet New Egg

    Sep 23, 2014
    moisture is one of my biggest concerns. We have a ventilation system under our house b/c of how close we are to the ocean. I've ordered a coop online.. Any advise on insulation? I'm getting a Blue Orpington, Delaware, Golden Buff, Silver Laced Wyandotte, and a Welsummer. all female.
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I would be very cautious introducing your dog to the chicks. Many new members start out by saying their dog(even Chihuahuas) massacred their chicks. Chicks are squeaky toys to most dogs and after they stop making noise, they go and grab another one. Generally dogs + chickens = dead chickens. You never hear of a chicken killing a dog.

    I was at the International KC show 1959 when Vizsla's were first allowed as a registered Breed. They are beautiful, high energy, - very high energy dogs.
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    There are two excellent articles in our Housing Chickens section that will help you out. The one on Coop Ventilation is at, and the one on Coop Insulation is at You are getting some good docile breeds that lay well. Buff Orpingtons are especially friendly and gentle. My children, and now my granddaughter, made lap pets of ours. Golden Buff is one of a number of labels under which some hatcheries market their Red Sex Links and like all Red Sex Links, they are egg laying machines. I raised them for years, and along with my Black Sex Links, they were my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per bird per year. You were wise ordering all hens. I currently have 25 hens and I get loads of eggs without the aggression, fights, non-productive mouths to feed, crowing in the middle of the night, and over-breeding and battering of hens that goes along with having roosters. My hens are stress free and enjoying life without any roosters around. Good luck with your flock. :eek:)
    1 person likes this.
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    At our lodge
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help

    All of the posters have taken the words out of my mouth. They have given you good advice so I'll just say welcome and good luck.
  9. LIChickens

    LIChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2014
    Long Island, NY
    Welcome to BYC!

    You will find a lot of good information here. Keep on asking questions and you will get many good answers.

    You may also want to read the FAQ below.

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