Newbie here, have a few questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by m2wandc, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. m2wandc

    m2wandc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there, Our local feedstores are getting chickens in next week and I've contemplated getting baby chicks for a long time, pretty sure we're going to do it next week.

    I have convinced my very handy hubby to build a coop and agree to a couple of chickens.

    I have been reading a ton online about breeds, raising, caring for, etc...however, I'm still wondering about a few things and would love your opinions. [​IMG]

    These would be pets that donate their eggs to a hungry family. So my main goal is to get hardy, friendly, egg layers, so my children can hold them, collect their eggs without being pecked at, etc...My children are 2 & 4 years old.

    The chickens would be cooped up at night and let out in the morning into my children's play ground (about 1000 square feet fenced area at the side of our house) during the day to peck at weeds, dirty, etc...

    We have dogs that would love a tasty treat of fresh chicken kill...so the requirement of them staying IN the play yard is pretty important for their safety, not to mention we are on several acres that also house plenty of wild animals (bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, racoons, skunks, etc) Suggestions of keeping them ON the ground, vs flying over the 4 to 5 foot fence are welcome.

    ***

    what breeds do you think would fit my needs?

    would it be possible to get 2 chicks from one feed store on Tuesday and then a 3rd chick at the other feed store on Friday and raise them together? Or does that time difference in age matter? Both feed stores say their chicks are arriving at 1 day old.

    Would a large rubbermaid container be enough space for the first 4-6 weeks before they are put into the play yard?

    Will 2 or 3 chickens totally distroy my kid's playground with bird poop daily, or is it something I could go in once a week, bi-monthly or monthly and hose off the slides, swings, trampoline, etc..?

    Will they peck at the toys and distroy them?

    What is "Free Range"? I was told it meant no coop at night...but would like to hear your definitions of "free range"

    ***

    Thank you for your help...if I think of any other questions I'll add them to this thread...in the mean while I'm off to research some more...want these girls to be HAPPY birds! [​IMG]
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Hi and welcome to BYC!
    I don't think a child's play yard would be a very good place for your chickens. They poop every five minutes and you won't want your kids to come into anymore contact with that poo than necessary.
    I free range. That means my chickens are free to come and go as they please during the day and they put themselves back in the coop at night; at which time I go out and lock them in.
    A secure coop is the only safe place for a chicken at night.
     
  3. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    what breeds do you think would fit my needs?

    I love Buff Orpingtons. They are good layers, friendly, docile, good with kids....

    would it be possible to get 2 chicks from one feed store on Tuesday and then a 3rd chick at the other feed store on Friday and raise them together? Or does that time difference in age matter? Both feed stores say their chicks are arriving at 1 day old.

    You can get them if you stick to that time frame. The further apart in age they are the more likely the older ones will pick on the youngsters.

    Would a large rubbermaid container be enough space for the first 4-6 weeks before they are put into the play yard?

    It would have to be pretty high on the sides - about 4 weeks they start testing their wings.

    Will 2 or 3 chickens totally distroy my kid's playground with bird poop daily, or is it something I could go in once a week, bi-monthly or monthly and hose off the slides, swings, trampoline, etc..?

    I agree with Gritsar - not a great place because of the poop. However if you are willing to clean it off throughly each time they kids are coming out to play, you could.

    Will they peck at the toys and distroy them?

    They will peck at anything they find interesting - including your eyes - they like shiny things. Keep their beaks away from eyes.

    What is "Free Range"? I was told it meant no coop at night...but would like to hear your definitions of "free range"

    Free range means they have free run of the yard. The only place for chickens at night is a safe and secure coop.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Hi m2wandc,

    [​IMG] from Washington.
    Good advice from debiraymond and gritsar.

    Imp
     
  5. m2wandc

    m2wandc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Is this because of the avian flu? or basic sanitary purposes?
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Is this because of the avian flu? or basic sanitary purposes?

    For lots of things that can be picked up from chicken poo. Good handwashing after handling your chickens, their eggs or their feeders/waterers is a good habit to get into, for you and your children.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  7. m2wandc

    m2wandc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank you for all your help tossing these thoughts around. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  8. kycklingar!

    kycklingar! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    3 chickens really doesn't seem that bad to me, as far as health "risks" in the kiddies' playyard, but I was raised in contact with everything I could touch... [​IMG] I know all families have their own approach to this, and it's really up to you.
    I love my easter eggers, and my australorp. Both are super gentle, since I raised them from chicks. If you train the kids to handle them gently and play with them daily, you'll never really get aggression issues. Just make sure you really get hens!!! Roos are another matter. [​IMG]
    And hens one day apart from eachother can definitely get along. It's tried and tested!
    Other very good advice from the above people has already been offered... I think that about covers it!
    Welcome to BYC!
     
  9. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as a good breed for your needs, I'm gonna say Barred Rocks, I've had such good luck with them myself. They are hardy, friendly and are great egg layers!

    I like to consider free ranging, as Free to roam the whole yard during the day for foraging and they return to the coop at night and locked up for safety, I think a safe and secure place at night is the only way.....any other way your risking the safety of your chickens. That's only my oppinion, I hope that helps!:)Good luck! Chickens poop "ALOT", expect that and consider that when buying chickens. The pecking, I don't think you'll have to worry about that.

    Another oppinion of mine in your case......I would make a coop and run for your chickens and forget free ranging. You'll keep them safe and you won't have to worry about poop or pecking with your small children. Just my thoughts on that! Good luck!
     
  10. m2wandc

    m2wandc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    kycklingar! :

    3 chickens really doesn't seem that bad to me, as far as health "risks" in the kiddies' playyard, but I was raised in contact with everything I could touch... [​IMG] I know all families have their own approach to this, and it's really up to you.
    I love my easter eggers, and my australorp. Both are super gentle, since I raised them from chicks. If you train the kids to handle them gently and play with them daily, you'll never really get aggression issues. Just make sure you really get hens!!! Roos are another matter. [​IMG]
    And hens one day apart from eachother can definitely get along. It's tried and tested!
    Other very good advice from the above people has already been offered... I think that about covers it!
    Welcome to BYC!

    Thank you, to be honest we live in the country so I'm not much of a germ worrier, my kids enjoy a good dirt bath & love holding various creatures they find, snails happen to be a favorite...LOL [​IMG] BUT that said I don't want them to risk the avian flu, something I know VERY LITTLE about, but sounds "not so good" so if the poop could cause a deadly or very bad illness, I'd like to know in advance. [​IMG]

    The hens would be about 3 days apart...???

    Another question I have for this group of much more experienced then I...is:

    Could I get ONE on Tuesday and would that ONE be OK, until I got another one or two on Friday??? Or do I really need to get two at the first place and one at the second place...the reason I ask, is because they are getting different breeds and I'm pretty sure I'd prefer to get two at the second place, but will put that aside if it's not good for the chicks. [​IMG]
     

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