New to the World of Chickens!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by aridchickens, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. aridchickens

    aridchickens New Egg

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    Feb 8, 2014
    Hello all,

    My husband and I are getting ready to start raising our own chickens, for eggs and meat. We are completely new to this, so any advise is more than welcome!

    Here's our plan....we live on 50 acres, with two dogs and two horses, no rules or restrictions to get in our way. We're planning on building a 4'x8' (with pitched roof) coop, with a 8'x16' run, with the additional 4x8' area under the coop for shade. We're at 7200' altitude in Central New Mexico (desert/mountains/dry dry dry!). Our temps range anywhere from -20 in the winter to 100+ in the summer. Day to night temps can vary by 40 degrees, so I'm assuming we'll need a hardy chicken breed. We've been considering the Buff Orpington for its good dual purpose characteristics and its seemingly pleasant disposition.

    Since we're new to this, we thinking of getting 2-3 laying hens to get our feet wet, and then after we're comfortable with their care, getting a rooster and adding to the flock as we see fit for our needs.

    Would this be a good breed for our purpose and climate? How hard are they to raise from chicks? Or should we try to purchase older birds? We work at home so raising them shouldn't be an issue. Also when is a good time to purchase? I would assume maybe mid April? (our average last freeze date for gardening is May 15)

    We want to raise these birds all organically. We have a 30x50' garden, fully inclosed, including the top, (full of tasty bugs!) that we'd like to run them in on occasion. Predators will be a big concern, so anywhere they are, will be fully enclosed. I don't know if free range would be a good option for them (hawks, coyotes, snakes, rats, mountain lions and bobcats are in abundance out here!) What is a good feeding plan for the chicks? And then as they mature? I've look at different feeds, and am now completely overwhelmed as to what to buy!

    Thanks in advance for any information, we're so incredibly excited to start on this new venture!

    Arid Chicken
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Here Here!! South central mountains of New Mexico!!!!! Where abouts are you??

    I also wanted a winter hardy bird and after much research decided on the Black Australorps. And I can tell you, they are very winter hardy. Nothing phases these birds when it gets cold. They have seen incredible cold and they act as if it is a nice spring day. I keep mine in an enclosed run with sand. I hose it down in the summer when it is in the 90's and the sand just radiates such cool, and with evaporation, their feet stay incredibly cool. No panting or over heating.

    Your local feed store many carry chicks in the spring. I got mine at Harveys Feed in Ruidoso Downs. They get theirs from Privett hatchery in Portales. Very health birds.

    Well it is great to have another New Mexican on board! Good luck with all your poultry adventures and enjoy BYC!
     
  3. aridchickens

    aridchickens New Egg

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    We are north of Magdalena, near Riley. Wonderful country!

    Thanks so much for the mention of Black Australops, I just did a quick search on them and they sound like a very nice bird! I'm sure as you know, weather is always strange in New Mexico, so you have to be prepared for just about anything! The closest feed store is in Socorro for us. Next time we're in town, I'll see what they carry in the spring. I've heard of Privett hatchery before, so it's nice to get a thumbs up for them!
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Oh, you are in some nice territory! We have taken day trips to Magdalena and just love it out there! I would imagine Socorro will have have good feed stores, but you could travel to Albuquerque if you had too.

    Oh, and you might want to tune into the New Mexico thread as well. Lots of people up in the east mountains and around Albuquerque that might be able to direct you to good places to get chicks....

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/18195/new-mexico

    Good luck with your new flock! I think you will love the Black Australorps. They a very friendly bird, they follow me around like drooling puppies and beg to sit on my lap. The like to fight on who gets to sit closer to mommy. LOL And they are great layers as well. Mine are 3 years old and still going strong.
     
  5. herechilychiky

    herechilychiky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello Aridchickens, sounds like you've really thought your way threw this and have an action plan. Your more ahead of the game then most (like myself). Welcome to BYC! Good luck on your new flock. [​IMG]
     
  6. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
     
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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