New to Chickens in Magnolia Texas

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by pvsnyder, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. pvsnyder

    pvsnyder Just Hatched

    Jun 4, 2014
    Howdy Y'all

    I retired this year and have fenced in 1 acre of my 8 acre property with the intention of raising chickens and goats. I am currently completing a chicken coop and I need to get some chickens started with all of your help. I have a wife, 4 grown children and 5 enthusiastic grand children who will get into "The Farm".

    Please talk to me and advise me on the W6H2 of backyard chickens:
    What kind of chickens? (eggs)
    Where to buy?
    Which supplier of chicken stuff?
    Who to turn to locally with questions?
    Why problems and issues?
    When do I buy, raise and etc?
    How many should I get?
    How much should it cost?

    I'm having a great time in retirement but I need to busy building my farm.

    Regards to all,

  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Hello from OREGON!! [​IMG] Wow! That's quite a "shopping list" you have!! The best thing I can tell you is to make a BIG pot of coffee and plan on spending at least a full day browsing all the various forum threads here at BYC [​IMG]...the absolute BEST place on the internet for all the types of information you are seeking!

    Best of luck to you....and again, welcome!
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! X2, be sure to check out the BYC Learning Center, lots of good articles on all aspects of chicken keeping.

    What kind of chickens? (eggs)
    So far as more layer breeds go, for egg numbers alone, the White Leghorns for white and the Red Sex Links (Golden Comet, Red Stars, ISA Browns etc) for brown eggs are probably the most popular layers around. If you want breeds that don't lay quite as well but will lay for a longer time, Australorps, Orpingtons (lots of people really like these, great pets though broody), Plymouth Rocks, Sussex, Delaware and Wyandottes are some other popular breeds that are usually pretty easy to get along with, they all lay different shades of brown eggs. The Easter Egger, often sold as Ameraucana by hatcheries, are a fun breed because they usually lay green/blue eggs, and they tend to be very nice birds, and then there are the Welsummer and Marans for dark brown eggs.
    You might also like to check out your state/country thread to see what people in your area have.
    Here are a couple of links to some nice chicken breed comparison charts you might like and when you have narrowed down your choices, don't forget to check the BYC Reviews section for member reviews on the different breeds.

    Where to buy?
    There are a couple of articles in the Learning Center that give you some suggestions, but try your state thread and Craigslist for local birds. There are a lot of mail order hatcheries that are still shipping chicks also.

    Which supplier of chicken stuff?
    Try your state thread for suggestions on local suppliers, feed/farm stores like TSC or Southern States etc or if you have a local feed mill are usually good places for basic supplies and feed.

    Who to turn to locally with questions?
    Again, try your state thread for suggestions from people in your area.

    Why problems and issues?
    Check out the Learning Center section on keeping your Flock Healthy

    When do I buy, raise and etc?
    Most people buy chicks in the spring so they can raise them over the summer, it is easier because chicks need to be kept warm and in the summer they chicks can be outside earlier. If people are getting birds in the fall usually it is recommended to get started pullets or older birds to make it easier to keep them in the winter.

    How many should I get?
    If you are just looking at layers, when good layers are laying well, you can figure on about 5+ eggs per week per chicken... chickens lay best the first two years, so if you keep them longer / don't plan on replacing them be prepared for them to lay fewer eggs every year... many people who keep birds just for eggs replace 1/3-1/2 of their flock every year so they always have young birds laying well.

    How much should it cost?
    Well, the more DIY you are the cheaper you can make things, especially if you do a lot of recycling since the coop is usually the biggest expense. There are a couple of articles in the Learning Center on some basic start up costs,
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    Welcome to BYC!

    Wow, Kelsie has really given you some great advice!! So I will just say, Welcome to our flock!
  5. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Alright [​IMG]

    Sounds like you need to go to your State Trend [​IMG]
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  7. pvsnyder

    pvsnyder Just Hatched

    Jun 4, 2014
    Thanks for all the info.
    I am really worried about predators, especially raccoons, so I might back off until I am finished with my coop and secure all thee holes in my parameter fence.
  8. cardonafam

    cardonafam Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 4, 2014
    Hi! Me and my family live in magnolia too!! Welcome!!
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! You will always get lots of opinions on questions like these, but here are my answers to your questions:

    I have had many breeds over the years and recommend Black Sex Links (Black Stars) for egg layers. They are friendly and gentle hens that are excellent layers of large, brown eggs (sometimes over 300 per year). White Leghorns are also super layers of white eggs, but they are flighty (mine always screamed bloody murder when I handled them) and they do not lay as well in cold, dark winter weather as the Sex Links. If you want to raise a specific standard breed that will breed true (Sex Links are hybrids), I would recommend Black Australorps. They are calm, gentle birds, very hardy, and the best brown egg layers of all the non hybrids. You can read up on these various breeds by clicking on the breeds icon at the top of the website.

    I have mail ordered chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery, Dunlap Hatchery, Cackle Hatchery, and Ideal Poultry and have been satisfied with all of them. You can take a look at their online websites. You can also purchase from local supplies in your area, but be careful as their birds are not always what they claim and they do not have the money back guarantees on sexing and other issues like the previous mail order hatcheries do.

    For which supplier of chicken stuff, you can probably purchase most of your needs from a local feed or hardware store. If you need to mail order chicken stuff, Murray McMurray Hatchery has an excellent and very complete inventory and reasonable prices on new products. You can check out their site at

    For local questions, problems and issues, and when do I buy, raise, and etc., Kelsie2290 has given you excellent advice and I don't know anything worthwhile to add to it.

    How many chickens should I get depends both on your intentions, the size of your coop, and whether you are going to free range your chickens or keep them in runs. Most mail order hatcheries require a minimum of at least 15 chickens for shipping (some require 25). Are you going to just be eating the eggs yourselves or do you intend to sell eggs as well? How bid a coop are you going to build? You should have a minimum of 4' sq. per bird (more is better). Do you plan on free ranging them or are you going to raise them in runs (this decision could depend on what kind of predator problems you have in your area). For runs, you should have a minimum of 10' sq. per bird.

    For cost, again follow Kelsie's advice and check out the articles in the Learning Center on basic start up costs.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your flock!

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