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New to chickens... 4H project!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mtblankus, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. mtblankus

    mtblankus Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 1, 2016
    I have wanted chickens for a long time. I finally talked my husband into raising chickens for my son's 4H project this year. We got 4 Plymouth Barred Rock, 2 Americauna, and 4 Buff Orpington. They are 3 weeks old now and we are working on the chicken tractor. They need to go outside tomorrow!!! The weather has been to cold, but Saturday it warms up, so I think with the heat lamp in an enclosed space they will be warm enough at night.

    I'd like ideas on what temperatures are best at this age. We haven't lost any chicks so far. I'd like to keep it that way. :)
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Welcome to BYC and the adventure of chicken keeping. As you mention you are intending the birds to be for 4-H I would suggest you contact your local extension office to ask about the requirements for exhibition birds in regards to the "Americana" you have. If sourced from a hatchery or farm store, and especially if that is the spelling that was used for them then they are actually likely to be Easter Eggers which are a mixed breed bird with blue egg laying breeding on one side of their parentage -- it's a dirty little trick for them to be marketed as the "real deal" breed which is the Ameraucana (the misspelling is a common tactic used in this misrepresentation). The requirements vary from county to county - some are much more lax about whether the birds shown are purebred, adhere to breed standards, etc so you may or may not be able to use those particular birds.
    That being said - the Buff Orps were an excellent choice, especially for use as a first year project breed for your kiddo - they are generally very sweet and easily handled.
  3. mtblankus

    mtblankus Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 1, 2016
    Thank you for the welcome! We got the chicks at our feed store because I didn't want to order the minimum required from a hatchery. I don't recall how they spelled the Americauna. I couldn't determine how it's properly spelled, I've seen it so many ways. We won't be heartbroken if they are not allowed to be shown. The Buffs and Barred Rocks were the ones I was interested in him showing. The Americaunas are simply because my kids love the colored eggs we got from a friend of ours who also has chickens. :-D

    Maybe next year we can order some pure breeds that are more fancy, depending on our space. I'd like them to be free range, but we do have barn cats and I'm not sure how they will do with the chickens. We are building a large tractor, big enough for 10 from what I've researched. I'd like to get more and make a permanent coop and let them free range during the day, but I want to make sure the cats won't eat them (they eat all the wild birds they can catch!) before we do that, which is why I started with the tractor this year - just in case the free ranging will not work, then I can move them to "greener pastures."
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life Water Under the Bridge Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  6. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Irish Colleen Premium Member

    Mar 3, 2015
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    This is a fairly common worry - all I can say is that in all my years of having chickens and avid hunting cats I have not lost a single bird to a domestic cat. That's not to say they don't like to indulge in some practice stalking, but that's as far as it has ever gone - now, chickens stalking, attacking, chasing and bullying cats is another story, lol. When they are small and not under the care of a broody hen you need to take reasonable precautions and provide supervision, but once the birds have some size on them (or from day one with chicks under the care of a good broody hen) it's generally not the problem most anticipate it to be. That being said, it is always wise to keep an eye on things at first just to be sure your flock and kitties are able to be trusted together.
    The two cats in this photo are some of the best hunters I have ever had - the hens have them TOTALLY bullied into submission:

    If you do some looking you'll find tons of photos of chickens that are eating out of a cat's dish while the cat sits to the side, sulking and waiting for them to let him/her have whatever they leave behind......
  8. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi and welcome to BYC - glad that you have joined us. Like Ol Grey Mare, i have never had an issue with local feral cats attacking my chickens - in fact, the flock usually gangs up on them and forces them out of the place!

    The Learning Centre is a great resource, even for experienced chicken keepers - loads of info on anything chicken. https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

    Joining your state thread may be useful as it will put you in touch with other BYC members in your area - just type the name of your state in the search box.

    All the best
  9. KelleyRae

    KelleyRae Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 13, 2016
    Eastern Washington State
    HaHa, that's funny about the cats. This spring is the first time for chicks. They have been fun so far! My cat could care less about the chicks, she just wants to share the heat lamp with them! My dog, however, is too interested in them. Every time we get the chicks out to hold, he wants to sniff and lick them, so we generally mess with the chicks while he is contained elsewhere.
    4-H sounds like a fun project for the kids. My son is 8 and I think he would enjoy the project of raising show chickens. His little chick is a white Japanese bantam that was mixed with an Amerucana. She's White but developing a lot of black spots all over her body. Ironically, she had one black spot on her head as a week old chick, so that's her name: Spot.

    I live in Eastern WA state where it is much colder that the west side (thinnk Seattle). My little guy and I put our chicks in the coop yesterday. I tried a few different setups to keep the coop warm at night and finally set up two roosts where the heat lamp is facing out across them. They can get up on the top roost to get warmer and go down to the bottom roost or the coop floor to get cooler. It is working very well. BTW, the chicks are about 5-6 weeks old, none have all their head feathers yet.

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