Newbi advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Masonfamily, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Masonfamily

    Masonfamily Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2013
    California
    Hello,

    I am working on building a new coop, after doing some research on the site here I have a designed picked out and the kids and I will begin building soon. The 'yard' will be 15x35 and the coop will be 4x8 with 5 nests (future growth), located inside the 'yard'. We are getting 4 chickens to start with, 1 for each kid. I am getting the following: Araucanas/Americanas, RIR, White Leghorn, Black Australorp. All hens. I live in sunny and warm California (San Jose). Kids are 11, 9, 6, 3 and a new born that will have his own chicken at some point. Chickens will be 22 week old Pullets, looking for egg production in the Spring. Not in a hurry. I live on 1.75 acres with over 40 fruit trees. The coop and yard will be located under a giant oak tree and also have a black walnut tree in the yard as well.

    Here are some questions:

    1. Mix of egg laying hens, good choice?
    2. Yard and Coop, ok size?
    3. I have an orchard of 40+ trees, any fruit that I need to be worries about for the chickens?
    4. Any issues about free ranging 5 hens on my property? It is fenced, but the 'main gates' while fenced the chickens could easily slip through the wrought iron gate, do I need to put up a mesh netting to keep them from going out the gate?
    5. If I free range, what can I expect in the way of feeding the chickens? How will I know they are getting enough food or too much food?
    6. What do I use for bedding and flooring on the inside of the coop? How often to I change both?
     
  2. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mixed flocks to me are more interesting they are also easier to tell apart, and I don't think that you would have to worry about fruit chickens love to eat fallen ones. You should probably have mesh netting to keep them from coming out of your yard if you are afraid that they will walk into the neighbors' yard ( my hens love venturing to the neighbors yard they think that they own the whole place[​IMG]). When I free range I usually leave the feeder and waterer outside, though they can become overfed so you could feed them once in the morning and once at night but you should keep the waterer out at all times.
     
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Hi again...I just welcomed you over on the New Member forum!
     
  4. Masonfamily

    Masonfamily Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2013
    California
    The whole reason behind the mixed flock, so the kids can name their chicken and tell them apart. We live slightly off a busy road, so them getting out will be an issue. How about cropping the feathers, I watched a video on youtube and it seemed pretty straight forward and easy. Just have to do it once or twice a year or so. Any experience with that?

    What is the easiest way to get the chickens back into the yard/coop?
     
  5. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens naturally know how to get back to their roosts, if you keep your chickens in the coop for one day the next day they should know where to sleep.
     
  6. joannefiddler

    joannefiddler Chillin' With My Peeps

    What a great adventure for your kids. I first had chickens when I home schooled years ago...there are so many wonderful lessons to be learned! Do some research on poop boards/trays and "sweet pdz" for under your roosts--if your gals free range for most of the day, your biggest poop issue will be under the roosts where they do quite a bit...the sweet pdz makes it a breeze to keep clean. Given you are in a warm climate, the use of sand or a dirt floor in the rest of your coop might be a little cooler than the deep litter method.
     

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