New to BYC thinking about chickens...

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Molly Sunshine, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Molly Sunshine

    Molly Sunshine Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi the hubby and I are thinking of getting a few (2-4) hens for eggs and were wondering what breeds and recommended coop/run size. We veryhave recently moved to a small town and havethe a 100x150 lot and were thinking 10x10 or 10x20threads with supervisedthem yard time.. Thinking of having the compost in with them, idk if that changes requirements as it would add some vertical space. Also just fyi, i have never done forums or threads and idk quite how they work. I am looking through tutorials but tips are helpful!
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Eating out of the compost bin can make them sick (anything moldy can kill chickens) so I would put it in a separate place if it were me. A lot of people do allow their chickens to eat compost but I have had chickens die from moldy feed so I am extra cautious.

    Some people like to use sand in the coop and run. There is a "Got Sand you should" thread and a "poop board convert thread" that you may like to see.

    [​IMG]

    from WA state!

    Usually 4 sq. ft per chicken in the coop PLUS 10 sq. ft. per chicken in the run is considered a good amount of space. If you get a huge amt. of snow you may want to give more space in the coop as they may stay there all winter.

    I like Black Australorps, Easter Eggers, and Black Sex Links (Stars).

    If you want eggs and a lot of them, I would get some Sex Link hens (Golden sex link, Red Stars, Black Stars, etc.). However, all hens tend to slow way down on laying after 2-3 years or so. If you want all different colors so you can name them, I would choose (if it were me) Black Australorp, Easter Egger, Black Sex Link, and Red Sex Link.

    I recommend having a plan for what you are going to do when they slow down laying, such as purchase new hens, or expand the coop to allow the old ones to stay whilst buying new ones.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  3. Molly Sunshine

    Molly Sunshine Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! I am still reading and rereading about the compost... it's just my husband and i so maybe compost is an overstatement. :p also are those breeds winter hardy? We don't usually have hard winters but this past one was way colder and i wouldn't want to be unprepared..
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    If you decide to buy chicks from your local feed store in the spring, which is very convenient when you only want a few, chances are all the breeds available will lay very well or fairly well, and you can buy one each of several breeds so you can easily tell them apart. They don't lay daily, or 6 days a week, all year, anyway. Things happen that interfere: molting, stressors, many things, and many chickens either lay fewer eggs or no eggs in cold weather. You can also mail order chicks, but there is often a minimum of 25 or so, and those companies who will ship only a few charge extra for this as they must be packed differently. You might check with feed stores in your area to learn who will have chicks in the spring.

    I wouldn't plan to have the compost in with the chickens. Some people allow their chickens free access to compost without difficulty, but it's a gamble, as certain things can get them quite ill or even kill them.

    The simplest andwer to the space question is, as much as you can manage. Here is an excellent article on space:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

    Please check out or Learning center for a lot of the basic information you will want. And feel free to post when you don't run across the answer to a question you have.

    And welcome to our forum!
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You are welcome!

    Here is a winter hardiness rating from a major hatchery:

    http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/chick_selector.html

    It is a chick selector tool and you can check the winter hardiness category.

    I hesitate to say whether mine are winter hardy since I give them a heat lamp and our winters aren't that bad here. You are in a very cold place compared to me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  6. SwedishDude99

    SwedishDude99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :welcome
    Everyone has given great info! As far as breeds go, I personally like barred rocks. They lay very well, and all of the BRs I have owned have been very people friendly. They are also pretty easy to find. It seems that feed stores always have barred rocks in their selection! You can check out specific breed threads too and talk to the people who are really into the specific breed.
     
  7. Molly Sunshine

    Molly Sunshine Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2014
    Southern illinois
    Thank you, the link was very helpful. This is why i joined before we get the chicks. Also we will have the coop/ run built beforehand. We tried rabbits once and didn't get everything built before they outgrew their baby zone and it was an awful experience.
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Molly Sunshine

    Molly Sunshine Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2014
    Southern illinois
    Also do chickens get along with other birds? Ducks &/or quail specifically. And i tried to start a new thread for this but gave up.....

    And has anyone ever heard of using cat litter as a substrate. Seems intriguing but didn't know if it would be harmful if eaten.

    Deep litter method seems ideal, more info please? I found a thread and subsequently lost it......
     
  10. [​IMG]
    My favorite breeds are Cochins, Australorps, and Buff Orpingtons. Those three breeds are winter hardy! Many people here on BYC keep ducks with chickens and it is fine. I am not sure about quail.
    Good luck!
     

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