New to chickens?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by hannah3marlette, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. hannah3marlette

    hannah3marlette Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2013
    Well basically I'm planning to get some chickens in the future for eggs and I need to learn as much as I can before then... I'm sure there are posts like this one but this site is so large :/

    I'm going to buy some from the local feed stores when everything is in place, how many should I buy? And is it ok to buy some from one store and some from another or is mixing them not a good idea?

    What do I need to do when I get these chicks considering they aren't grown? What do I feed them when they are grown?

    Is there anything special I need to do to ensure they lay eggs or is this a natural thing they do on their own?

    What are necessities of a chicken coop?

    Also I have 3 horses, this shouldn't be a problem correct?

    I apologize if these questions are dumb and common sense but I focus most of my time on horses and just recently my dad and I began talking about getting chickens, thank you though!
     
  2. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

    6,334
    337
    296
    Jun 10, 2013
    Michigan
    My Coop
    First off, [​IMG]. No questions are dumb here ;)

    The min. number of chicks you could buy is three. Although how many you get depends on your coop size. 4 square feet per bird is standard. Although so the chickens aren't to cramped, five them a few extra feet too.

    When the chicks are little, go to your local feed store and buy chick starter feed. Then at 10 weeks switch the to grower feed, then at 18-20 weeks switch them to layer feed.

    Chickens do lay eggs on their own, but make sure you have proper nest areas set up for them. Most pullets (female chickens under year) lay around 20 weeks of age. Give them oyster shell too when they are laying so their eggs don't break when you grab them.

    A chicken coop must have proper ventilation, roosts, nesting boxes and feed and water stations. You can find other peoples coop designs on here, very helpful.

    Horses, if you are worried about sickness, there shouldn't be a problem. Although if you free-range your chickens an they go into the horses pasture, the horses might spook.

    Also, if you have cold winters, heating is a no-no! Chickens get used to the heat, and if your power goes out, the sudden change isn't good for the chickens.

    Are you looking for layers, pets, dual purpose birds...?
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. hannah3marlette

    hannah3marlette Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2013
    Thank you so much! On the topic of free range, we are on 10 acres but the fencing is not small enough I dont think to keep a chicken in if it happened to go through one of the holes, if the coop was away from the fence would this be an issue? I guess I'm asking how far would they wander from the coop? Or how would you get them to come back to the coop instead of just running off?
     
  4. mrchicks

    mrchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,406
    125
    176
    Jul 29, 2013
    Wisconsin
    Welcome! [​IMG]

    Peep-Chicken gives great advice. You also will need a heat lamp for the first few weeks while they are in the brooder. (If they are new babies) NO heat after they have their feathers.

    My best advice is to plan for a larger coop than you think you need. It's called chicken math. I started with 5 in a smallish coop. Now there are 35 in two coops. oops.

    And have fun!
     
  5. hannah3marlette

    hannah3marlette Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2013
    35 :eek: oh gosh! hahah, also what is a brooder? I've seen some pictures and it basically looks like just a box with the lamp?
     
  6. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

    6,334
    337
    296
    Jun 10, 2013
    Michigan
    My Coop
    When you first put fully feathered chickens in your coop, lock them up in there for a week or two so they know were home is. Your chickens don't wander all to far from the coop, the stay pretty close. Mine have always come back. It might be good to get a rooster, they keep them in line and can fight off some smaller predators, but they might not always win.

    Sometimes, your chicken doesn't come back for a while. Something could of happened to her or she could be broody. Broody is when a hen will make a nest and try to hatch some chicks! But you need fertile eggs if you want chicks.

    Yes, I did forget to mention about brooder lamps, oops. And yes, make a coop larger then it needs to be, I wish someone told me that earlier, we might need to expand soon.
     
  7. hannah3marlette

    hannah3marlette Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2013
    As for the rooster, are all the chicks from the feed store hens? Or are some bound to be roosters?
     
  8. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

    6,334
    337
    296
    Jun 10, 2013
    Michigan
    My Coop
    If you get straight run chicks, you will most likely get a couple roosters. But there is also 'sexed' chicks which are defiantly girls.
     
  9. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

    6,334
    337
    296
    Jun 10, 2013
    Michigan
    My Coop
  10. hannah3marlette

    hannah3marlette Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Dec 30, 2013
    Ahhh thank you so much
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by