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Newbie questions from Michigan

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MiChickMagnet, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. MiChickMagnet

    MiChickMagnet In the Brooder

    Jan 6, 2014
    Traverse City, MI
    Hello, I am brand new to this site. I don't have any chicks yet, but I had a few questions that I was hoping to have answered before I get some chicks. I have never had chickens, so really don't know what I'm doing, but figured chickens would be good for my family. I already started by having the law changed for my township so that I could legally have up to 6 chickens (no roo's). Now I need some info on which breeds would be best for a newbie who lives in the pretty cold, yet beautiful area of Traverse City MI. I want to start with 6, which is the limit that I can keep. I plan to keep them in a size able coop/run and use a tractor during nice days when there is not a foot of snow. I want to get day old chicks in a few different breeds if possible. Does anyone know of reputable hatcheries (preferably in Michigan) where I could get a good breed mix?

    Also, is there anything that, if you could start over again, would you change how or when you did something with your flock of chicks? Or what is the most valuable piece of advice that you could impart on a newbie before taking the plunge?

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    here are several threads you may enjoy, while waiting for more responses to your questions


    I have ordered from McMurray Hatchery, Welp hatchery, Cackle hatchery, MyPetChicken.com, and of course bought chicks from the feed store.

    For a small order of chicks, you will pay some in shipping and thus if you can get them from the feed store that is cheaper. MyPetChicken does small orders. There may be some other hatcheries that do small orders as well.

    I would NOT buy older chickens from someone...that is a good way to get chicken illnesses, as older hens are more likely to be sick. Of course reputable breeders may be OK but I always prefer chicks.

    Make sure your tractor has nest boxes.

    Most valuable advice? To realize that your six hens will eventually stop laying and to have a plan. They go through molt and stop laying, they go broody and stop laying, they get old and slow their laying. They stop laying for stressors, they stop laying for worms/mites/lice, and so on.

    So the golden piece of advice is to have chickens for the joy of having chickens, not just for the eggs. Try not to be too disappointed if they quit laying on you for a bit.

    It helps to have new hens each year so someone is always laying if you give them the 14 hours of light per day. However, with new additions to the flock comes fights and thus it is more peaceful if all the chickens are raised together from chicks. When you add a new chicken it can be difficult for the new one as the pecking order is established.

    So it is the most harmonious thing if you have a rooster and let the chicks be reared by the hens, and that way they are defended by the mama and by the time they are 6 weeks old, they are just part of the flock.

    With no rooster, as I am assuming you will be without one, it is best to add chickens by twos. So add two new chickens if some of yours need replacing and not just one. That way they can be buddies as they will be rejected by the original chickens at first.

    Another thing you can do is to buy hatching eggs and let your broody hen hatch them out and raise them herself, if you need replacements. With shipped eggs, I get a 50% hatch rate. Keep in mind too that even for hatching eggs you need to get them from a reputable source, as there are diseases that are transmitted vertically through the egg to the chick.

    Chickens are so much fun to watch. They are what I watch out my window every day when I am in the kitchen washing dishes or cooking. I hope you can enjoy them as so many on BYC have found to be the case.

    Enjoy your future chickens!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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

    You also might check out our breeds section for more info on hardiness, tempermant, laying, etc...


    There is one thing that many people look back on and wished they had done...and that is build a larger coop than you think you need. Not only are chickens addicting and you want more, but you will find that the birds you do have will have much happier in larger spaces. I started out with a small coop and sure enough, I built another one. Thousands of people here on BYC will tell you the same thing. Over build the first time and you will not regret it. :)

    Great to have you aboard and enjoy BYC!
  4. liz9910

    liz9910 Crowing

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey

  7. [​IMG]
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Great, that you got laws changed to permit chickens BEFORE you got them.[​IMG] A good bit of advice is to visit the Learning Center .
  9. MiChickMagnet

    MiChickMagnet In the Brooder

    Jan 6, 2014
    Traverse City, MI
    Thanks for all of the replies. I am thinking about starting with a pair of each breed (Road Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock, & Golden Comet (Sex Link).

    Based on plans that I have seen in a number of places, I believe I will be building a coop that is elevated off of the ground by about 2 feet and it will be 4ft wide x 8ft long x 4ft tall (plus the 2 foot elevation making the entire coop 6ft tall). This should be enough coop space for 6 hens in the deep cold winter when they may be shut in, right? I was also thinking a run of about 6ft tall x 10ft long x 8ft wide.

    Thanks for the advice of having a nesting box in the tractor, I hadn't thought about that.

    I tend to be someone who researchs every possible aspect of something before jumping in fully. I have learned a lot over the last month of research and plan on getting my chicks in March, leaving me plenty of time to surf these forums and become an active member before I put my thoughts into action.

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