Newbie Here!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by KickenKoopKeepr, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. KickenKoopKeepr

    KickenKoopKeepr Hatching

    Sep 25, 2014
    Southwestern Pennsylvania
    Hello all,

    I am excited to be here! Ready to learn! I have been interested in raising chickens since we moved to southwestern PA back in December. I have read some information off of the learning center tab, and I've explored this site mutliple times. I get nervous though about starting out. I'm not sure whether or not to start with chicks or to start with full grown chickens. I do have a great dane, she is very well behaved but I want to take her into consideration as well. Do grown dogs adapt well to having chickens around? How will the chickens react to her? Is that a reason to start with chicks? I do have stray cats in my area as well, along with some large birds that fly over quite frequently. All of these elements make me a little uneasy about starting my flock.

    It would be a dream to have them be able range free when I am home and working in my yard. My goal would just be to have egg producers, I'm probably not ready to breed just yet, possibly down the road a ways. Any recommendations on a breed or mixture of breeds? How many birds is a good amount for a beginner? Is it easy to introduce more birds into a flock? Last winter was pretty cold, and I hear this coming winter will be just as bad if not worse, so I would need a breed that is adaptable to colder weather...

    I hope to turn half of my utility shed into the coop, it was build by the previous owner for his dogs. So its nicely divided into 3 parts, with two dog doors for two sections. It is my hope to combine the dog pin areas into the coop. I have already named my coop that doesn't exhist yet, which was a sign to be that I need to get started with this project. Its obviously something I dream of doing, and I dream about it often, scanning Craigslist for chickens, chicks, coops, and supplies, along with scanning a few articles here and there. I also have a tendency to check out all the chicken items at the local tracter supply store, along with nurseries I visit that also supply chicken feed etc.

    I appreciate any and all advice as I have no previous experience in this at all, and I also have very little experience builing things. But I am greatly looking forward to this experience.

    *the soon to be the Keeper of the Kicken Koop! [​IMG]
  2. stasichick

    stasichick Chirping

    Sep 3, 2014
    Long Island
    Hey There neighbor!!!

    How exciting that you are ready to start your adventure! I am new to chickens too!!! I suggest getting day old babies… its fun to watch them grow!!! I suggest starting small and then you can keep buying babies! hehehe (and they become full size in a matter of months!!! I bought 4 breeds from A buff orpington, barred rock, white cochin, and a speckled sussex… (all great cold hearty birds) I have a large dog too (so jealous that you have a great dane… my husband wont let me get one! WAAA!) but after a few introductions to the chicks they are all best friendMy suggestion is… you did a bunch of research so why not just s… it was a bit scary at first because Snoopy loves to eat, rip, and destroy small, squaky, fuzzy things but they get along great so I am happy!

    If you are nervous about other animals… why not create a large fenced in area (fence in the top too! don’t want a hungry hawk to swoop down!) That way they can have a large run area and be "outside" then when you are around / close by you can let them free run and be there to save them from predators.

    Hope this is helpful!
    1 person likes this.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Most dogs view chicks as squeaky toys and love to chase and grab them. When one stops squeaking (dead) they grab another. Dog has fun - chick does not. You never hear about chickens killing a dog but, on this thread we hear lots of "my dog killed all my chicks." they get more chicks and it repeats. Duh!! Some days have to have a long break because I've heard all I can take. Even Chihuahuas and doxies are notorious chicken killers.

    Please be very careful even with leashed dog around chickens. Glad you joined the flock.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. In answer to your first question, dogs and chickens rarely mix well. We regularly receive horror stories from broken hearted new members whose dog has (often suddenly and unexpectedly) slaughtered their chickens. Chickens are a great temptation for dogs to chase, and when they chase them, they usually catch and kill them at some point. Once a dog has begun chasing and killing chickens, it is next to impossible to ever break them from doing it again. You should keep some kind of very secure barrier between your chickens and your dog. Given the cats, hawks and other potential predators in your area, I would suggest keeping your chickens in an enclosed run attached to your coop. Do not use chicken wire as there are a number of predators that can either tear through chicken wire (including dogs) or pass through the openings in the mesh. Use hardware cloth instead to cover your run. As for breeds, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Cochins, Brahmas, and Speckled Sussex are all very friendly and gentle (my children made lap pets of ours), cold hardy breeds that would work well for your purposes. If egg production is a priority, Black Australorps are the best layers of this group. A Black Australorp holds the brown egg laying record with 364 eggs in 365 days, and while none of mine have ever reached this kind of production (and likely never will), I have still had a few of them lay over 300 eggs in a year. As far as how many birds to start with, it depends on the size of your coop and run. The rule of thumb is 4 sq. ft. of coop floor space per bird (more is better) and 10 sq. ft. of ground space per bird in the run (again, more is better). Overcrowding can quickly lead to aggression, fights, feather plucking and even cannibalism. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your flock.
    1 person likes this.
  5. chickincrazy

    chickincrazy Chirping

    Jan 20, 2014
    The middle of nowhere
    Welcome to BYC!!!

  6. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Dogs and chickens can get along. But take extreme caution when introducing them. Most dogs see chickens as dinner so you'll need to train your dog slow and well. Here's a great link on how to do so.

    For breeds, Michael has given you good suggestions. I'd highly recommend the buff orpington. They are curious, friendly, lap hogs, affectionate, good layers and very docile. Additionally, they are very cold hardy. Speckled sussex, black australorps, silkies, EEs, barred rocks and cochins are other friendly and docile breeds.

    The question of how many is a good amount for starting will vary from person to person. Some people will say go all out and buy hundreds. Others will say to start small and work up. But everyone will agree that chickens are addicting so you will get more! I'll have to say that 3 or 5 is a great number to start with.

    Good luck and glad you joined!
    1 person likes this.
  7. phily

    phily Hatching

    Sep 25, 2014
    Initially I took my staffie into the hen area on a lead. I also used a can of nails which I rattled if my dog became interested in my girls. Both methods were successful and now happily share the freedom of my garden.
    hope this helps.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
    1 person likes this.
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Good luck on this new adventure you are on! Introduce new birds slowly from behind a cage or fence. You can't just throw new birds into a flock without chaos. Keep the newbies within view of the older flock for 3 or 4 weeks, after which time you can mix them. There will still be squabbles, but it shouldn't be too aggressive. Put out more feeding and watering stations so the newbies can eat and drink. The older flock is going to guard these areas and can starve them out.

    If you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask.

    Welcome to our flock!
    1 person likes this.
  10. KickenKoopKeepr

    KickenKoopKeepr Hatching

    Sep 25, 2014
    Southwestern Pennsylvania
    All the dog advise is greatly appreciated - as it is my main fear. I don't think I would be able to just buy more chicks if my dog decides she likes to catch them. My flock dream would probably be delayed for a while.

    The success stories of chicken and dog introductions are motivating thank you for sharing those as well, along with the tips.

    The cold hardy breeds are good to know and I appreciate the information & opinions in regards to the breeds.

    & It appears I have a lot of planning in regards to my coop, making sure it is predator proof and possibly dog proof. I actually just heard coyotes in the fields beyond my property this morning. [​IMG] Hardware Mesh is now on my shopping list! and securing this coop will be a main priority.

    Thank you [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014

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