Newbie asks: If I get some, how much time will my chickens require?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ndp, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. ndp

    ndp New Egg

    Jan 9, 2009
    I am thinking about either 6 broilers or 6 layers, deep litter method. I don't have a good feel for the time commitment ... # hours per day, special trips weekly, etc ... Just want to make sure I don't get in over my head, as my wife and I have jobs.
  2. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    Making a coop will be the biggest chunk of your time. Once everything is set up you'll probably spend 5 minutes morning and night taking care of your chickens. It's up to you if you want to spend more time with them as entertainment. We get feed once every couple months.

    and Welcome to BYC
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  3. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    I agree - we built the coop in a weekend and other than a few clean-out hours every few months, there's really no time involved. I work full time too and feed my chickens before I leave for work and when I get home. I go out before I go to bed and turn off their lights and that's pretty much it. The feedstore is on my way home, so every couple weeks I stop and buy a bag.

    The benefits, on the other hand, are more than worth it. Fresh eggs every day, and visiting with them is a great stress reliever. I absolutely love watching them play in the yard too. Cleaning the cats' litter boxes take more time than the chickens with no perks.

    And [​IMG] !!!
  4. ndp

    ndp New Egg

    Jan 9, 2009
    How about butchering the chickens ... how much time would that take? Also, does anyone have any experience with rabbits (curious again about the ongoing time commitment)... I was thinking of an integrated operation where the rabbit cages are suspended above the chickens in a deep litter arrangement?
  5. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    Can't help you with the rabbit question, but processing a chicken (for a newbie) is time-consuming, unless you skin them or have a plucker. The rest is fairly easy and fast.
  6. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Your best choice would be pullets. Layers don't require a lot of your time to remain happy and healthy. Broilers eat a lot -- but can't have food in front of them 24/7, so you have set it out in the morning and pick it up at night. They poop A LOT, so you need to spend more time cleaning up. They have a greater risk of health problems. All in all, for their 6-8 weeks of life, they'll be far more demanding than an equal number of pullets over several years.

    My aunt & uncle used to raise rabbits, some for show, most for sale/meat. They require far more work than chickens. They have to be fed twice a day, cleaned up after regularly (your deep litter would literally be deep in litter very quickly), and if you want to breed them then you have to learn to tell the bucks from the does and be ready to provide nest boxes for the moms... It doesn't stop.
  7. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    It takes me about 2-3 minutes each morning & again at night to open, then close the coop. I've got 3 standard-sized and 1 bantam (little) chickens. During those 2-3 minutes I:
    * Do a headcount to make sure all 4 are there & healthy
    * check on their food and water levels
    * throw them some scraps from the kitchen
    * collect the "rent"

    If I have time I spend more with them - maybe 5-10 minutes, sometimes way more!

    On weekends it takes me about 20 minutes to clean the coop. I put on a rubber glove and pick up the poopy clumps and litter, then put in fresh litter. Check the girls for parasites, give each girl a pet, ask them how their days are... you know... typical stuff!

    So... minimums are:

    DAILY - 5-10 mins
    WEEKENDS - 20-30 minutes
  8. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Chicken Obsessed

    Oct 16, 2008
    If you are going to start with chicks and raise them, then it is going to be more than 10 minutes per day to begin with.. after they are feathered out and about a month old they become less work.

    My gut reaction to you is, do not get any.. just your hesitancy to spend time with them tells me you do not have the time to spare..

    sometimes emergencies come up with chickens that take a lot of time.. will you have extra time then?

    read through some of these threads and put yourself into the situations you read about..

    eventually you will get more involved and then you will be spending more time with your chickens....It is ot a matter of choice,, it just happens.. then, will you be willing to spend more than 10 minutes per day??

    It takes me close to an hour just to feed and water my birds each day.. I started out with 7 pullets "just for eggs"..

    I have in the neighborhood of 100 assorted species and ages of birds.. turkeys 29. laying hens 60, geese 3, muscovy ducks 5, guineas 25. I just recently got rid of 9 ducks, 25 quail, 300 guineas, 15 chickens, 9 geese... is this what you want??
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  9. ndp

    ndp New Egg

    Jan 9, 2009
    I would probably start with 2 or 3, then move up to six. Maybe -- distantly in the future -- I would grow the flock up to a dozen. No roosters (I live in the 'burbs).
  10. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    As many have shared, small chicken flocks can be fun, easy and provide some fresh eggs. But these are animals, and as such, don't read the books, so nothing is cast in stone.

    Some breeds are better egg producers than others, some more cold hardy, etc. As some of our BYC's have found out, it can also be frustrating. Dealing with mites or injuries. Waiting FOREVER for them to lay eggs and then getting ONE a day from 6 hens. You can end up paying premium price for your eggs.

    If you and your wife are already time challenged, maybe now isn't the best time to start your own flock. That doesn't mean you have to give up fresh eggs or fresh meat. Locate someone who has excess eggs for sale from their flock. Even with the meat birds, maybe there is somebody interested in raising extras and having them all professionally processed at once. (By the way, it isn't any more economical to raise your own meat birds.)

    Keep thinking and planning, though! Good luck.

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