New to the BYC Flock

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Wolfy1972, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Wolfy1972

    Wolfy1972 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello,

    I am new to the world of chickens. I'm looking at starting a poultry farm for raising chickens for eggs and meat. I used to drive semi-truck, but due to a resent heart problem, I am now disqualified to driving truck. So in looking at what I would like to do, I thought about Doing a chicken farm. I have 1/2 acre of land that i can use to get started in raising chickens. The down side of this is I have absolutely no idea of what when where or how to go about it. Basically I need all the help i can get.

    Thanks,
    Wolfy
     
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A 1/2 acre is not much room so you have to plan carefully before you bring those addictive buggers in. For layers I would go with a smaller floor size coop with levels up, or even a larger floor space coop over part of a run. Things that you want to consider:
    1) Do you want to free range or place in a run? I free range mine as many do but this leaves you open to something looking for a free chicken dinner. A secure run is great for space saving if you don't want them all over the yard during the day. (You still have to provide feed with free ranging, they just eat less of it as most of their intake is from free ranging.)
    2) Are there limits in your area on how many you can have or roosters? HOA's and city limits usually have a limit on how many you can have, don't allow roosters, or don't allow any "livestock" all together.
    3) Do you want duel purpose breeds that lay and can be turned into meat or would you prefer broilers for meat? Duel purpose breeds are larger and require more space in a coop, but are great for small meat requirements. There are many small breeds that are great layers. I went with the small breeds for eggs and buy broilers for meat. Duel purpose take 6-8 months to process time for meat whereas broilers only take 6-8 weeks. Broilers poop a lot more and take extra work each day for cleanup but require less food overall.
    4) Do you have any requirements for breed or egg color? Most production breeds are brown egg layers but you can still find other color egg layers pretty easily.
    5) What state or region code do you live in? Some breeds do really bad in extreme colds whereas some do really bad in extreme heat. This will also effect coop design.
    6) Know your normal wind and rain pattern/direction. The last thing you want to do is place your nice open windows and largest vents (summer time) where the rain will come in and soak your coop.
    7) Are you planning on selling eggs or meat? States require permits, licensing, or testing for certain sales. The requirements and waivers for less than a certain amount differ from state to state and sometimes city to city.
    8) Are you doing this on a budget? There are some really pretty pre-made coops out there but they cost a pretty penny too. I built mine and love it because it has everything I want and nothing I don't. I have to warn you, nothing comes out perfect the first time we all have made twerks to our coop design. What works for some doesn't work for all.

    Any info you are willing to give us would help us to put our 2 cents worth in and what we liked or didn't like about certain things.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Wolfy1972

    Wolfy1972 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2013
    Hello Foreverlearning,

    Thanks for the reply. I will try to answer your questions the best i can.

    I live in michigan where the winters can get very cold (today it was only 15 degrees out). I was thinking my best bet would be to use a run (and a chicken tractor on the days). I live out in the country across from a cattle farm, so i was thinking chickens would be ok (there are a few amish farms around me that sell brown eggs.) I have been tossing the idea of raising chickens that lay white eggs as well as chickens that lay brown eggs. ( i will be taking the eggs to the farmers markets to sell.) as for the meat birds i am thinking the broiler type. my wife wants buff orpingtons for the brown eggs. as for the white egg laying type i dont have a clue what ones would be best for a true newbie. my wind direction mainly comes out of the west to the east. would putting the windows on the north and south sides. also i was wondering if putting the round roof vents that spin with the wind would work for venting the heat and smell? as for selling meat michigan has an exemtion from inspection for farms that produce less than 1,000 birds along with an exemption for farms producing less than 20,000 birds ( im still researching this). im working on a tight budget so i will be building the coops. im totaly new to raising chickens, so i'm following the advice of a friend of mine and joined byc so i can learn before i get into it.any and all help is greatly appreciated.
     
  4. Wolfy1972

    Wolfy1972 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2013
    Hello and thank you
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Wolfy, the answers to your questions can be found here. Good luck, and welcome to BYC.
     
  6. Mr MKK FARMS

    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Welcome! Glad you joined us. [​IMG]
     
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
     
  8. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like the hoop coop design for meat birds and runs. It is cheap and easy to drag around. You can make it with cattle feedlot panels and wrap the base with hardware cloth. Chicken wire may be cheaper but it will not keep anything that is hungry out so you loose money in the long run. Because of the snow in your area it would be wise to consider having your coop raised off the ground by 2'+ and having the space under as part of the run. You want the coop and run to have a sloped roof (2 sides or just one will work) so the snow load can come off rather then sitting. If you do only one slopped roof make sure that the high side is high enough to allow proper snow shed. You would want the high side away from the direction of the wind and this is a great place to put wire for ventilation. If you do the 2 sided slopped roof then consider eave vents. The attic fan is a great idea if you have a lot of wind in your area but if you don't have enough wind to push it then it just becomes a fancy tiny hole in the roof. For both the hoop coop and the run for a regular coop you can cover it with shower curtains. They are cheap (on sale or at a dollar store) and waterproof. I suggest not to use tarps unless you get the super heavy duty ones as they tend to block out light and fall apart quickly. Also, with the snow keep in mind that if you don't have a covered area near the entrance then there will be a lot of shoveling first thing in the morning just to let them out. Make sure that either your coop is high enough to reach in and clean or it is tall enough for you to walk in to clean. This goes for runs as well. I started my first batch of broilers in a tractor and quickly built a hoop coop instead because it was too hard for me to clean, feed, or water them with it only being 2' high. I suggest not to use sand in your coop. Don't get me wrong, I love sand in the south but many people in the north say that it turns into a brick in the winter. You will want to think about heating the water if you don't want to change it out several times a day in the winter. If you do a search on here for water heaters there are a lot of threads about what people use and how they have fixed their problems. I suggest not to use the water cups because the lever in the bottom can freeze in whatever water they leave in there. Stay away from ceder chips for bedding it is not good for them. I like poop boards under the roost (12" past the roost bar on both sides) because it keeps most of the coop cleaner. Make sure your roosts are removable. Wild birds bring lice and mites and chickens sometimes poop on them, at some point in time you will have to remove them to clean. I suggest to start your med kit with poultry dust or sevin 5%, nu stock, vaseline, blu kote, and a good box of gloves. I will ask about good white egg layers, I only have blue and brown. There is a lot of info on this site and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, don't be afraid to ask.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Shalom Farm

    Shalom Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC!
     

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