New to raising chickens.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by captainsam87, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. captainsam87

    captainsam87 New Egg

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    Hello

    I would like to keep some chickens as pets. This will be the first time I will be doing anything like this. I've looked at some coops and runners. I think a big runner with coop within it would suit me best as my garden is large enough.

    What else do I need to consider other than feed and DE? And obviously, purchase some chickens?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Make sure your coop and run aren't too small, chickens don't get along too well when the coop space is tight, disregard that 2 square feet a chicken recommendation and provide plenty of room. I personally don't like DE, I have read some bad things about it getting in your lungs, others use it all the time, but it's not for me.

    If you're starting out don't keep a rooster as they can be trouble if you don't understand them. Chickens don't like chickens they don't know so get them all from the same source at the same time until you understand chickens a bit more.

    Chickens can be noisy, they don't always lay eggs consistently, different breeds have different personalities and lay differently. They are animals not egg machines. They get stressed easy and sometimes die with no apparent reason.

    Just a few random things about chickens.
     
  3. captainsam87

    captainsam87 New Egg

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    Ah. I had no idea that chickens don't get along with chickens. I was thinking to buy from a number of different sources (breeds). Thanks for the heads up on that. Imagine waking up in the morning to find they'd all pecked each other to death!

    How many shall I start with? Is four a good number?

    Is there like a 101 for chickens somewhere?
     
  4. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Beware of chicken math! We were going to get 4 and we wound up with 9! I'm already planning my order for 10 more in the early spring! #1 make sure you have a coop that can handle your chickens! I recommend books from the library. And just about every question you could think to Google will lead you back to BYC forums...a wealth of information!
     
  5. jas humbert

    jas humbert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The big thing is to determine what you want in a chicken. Good natured docile pets, high volume egg layers, good foraging skills, cold hardy, able to take the heat? Take your time and research breeds. No, not all chickens in a breed have the same personality. But kind it stacks the odds in your favor for typical breed characteristics. You know, like someone getting a golden retriever without doing any research and then being shocked when it won' stay out of the water. There are a lot of opinions, so be prepared to spend a good amount of time doing research and reading up. There are so many breeds and its fun to think about all the possibilities. Then get your layout (coop,pen, etc) set up first. Far too many of us (meaning, me) have bought the chicks then scrambled around desperately trying to get everything set up by the time the chicks are ready to go outside. It always takes longer to get set up than you think and if you recruit a husband or other man to help, it will take even longer.

    There are a lot of threads on introducing new birds to the flock and lot of tricks for doing so. I started out this spring with 18 chicks of 10 different breeds (I had no idea what I really wanted), then sold off some pullets and a couple of accidental roosters at about 10 weeks old, keeping only the nice, easy-going girls. Sold off a couple more polish at about 5 months- just too flighty for my taste. I had 5 adult pullets left that I really,really liked (1 australorp, one speckled sussex, 1 welsummer, 1 silver laced wyandotte and one gold laced wyandotte). When the hens were about 5 months old, I added 15 silkie chicks I had hatched -fresh just out of the brooder- at about 6 weeks old. I have a good sized pen (15 x 35) with plenty of places for chicks to hide and I made some more hidey spots the big ones could not get into. I think the sheer number of chicks overwhelmed the adults. I had a little chasing and a minor peck or two but not much more than enforcing pecking order. No injuries at all. Not even missing feathers. They have been together nearly 2 months now and are slowly melding into one flock. The babies are a little over 3 months old now. They often hang out as two separate groups but when I bring treats, they all gather around my feet and eat together without too much fussing. I'm noticing them hanging together just a bit more and I think in time they will all be one flock. On the other hand I've heard a lot of horror stories about chickens killing a new one, so it can happen.
     
  6. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Start by buying and reading Raising Chickens for Dummies ( http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Chick...43913728&sr=8-1&keywords=chickens+for+dummies ) - great book that covers most things you'll be wondering about. Read read read this site - the more time you spend learning on here before you take the plunge the better prepared you will be and hopefully will keep you from making any big mistake$.

    If you have a question, type it in the search box and you'll be sure to get an answer...lots of very experienced people on here and odds are 100% your question has been asked/answered.
     
  7. captainsam87

    captainsam87 New Egg

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    Thanks for the responses thus far. Burning question here: how often do I need to clean the coop? Do they have a designated poop area or do they piss and **** where they live? How often will I need to clean the coop of poop? What about the runner? Will they poop there?
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Basically, the poop will land behind where ever the chicken happens to be at the moment. Chickens don't pee. The white that you see mixed into bird poop is the urates, or what is produced by the kidneys. You clean the coop as often as it needs to be cleaned. You want it clean enough that the chickens are not walking in fresh poop on their way to the nest box! Some topics for you to research: Deep litter, fermented feed.
     
  9. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I keep mine on sand and scoop poop twice a day. If you don't think you'd like this, look into the deep litter method of keeping them. look at all the articles on this site about raising chicks and coop design in the Learning Center. Ask lots of questions. Read lots of other people's threads. Have fun and good luck!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Do a lot of research and have your coop and run built before you buy chicks/chickens.

    Space and Ventilation are very important......2 good articles linked in my signature below.
    Your climate can change lots of aspects....putting your location in your profile will help folks give better advice/suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015

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