Newbie with questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Steve, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Steve

    Steve Ye Olde Henhouse Builder

    Hi everyone....

    I grew up on a chickenless farm (cattle and hogs) so I am going to be new at this.

    I have contacted the local feed store in regards to obtaining some chicks, they will have some from Townline hatchery mid April. My thoughts are just a dozen should be plenty for myself and the Mrs.....with extras going to my son and his family for all our egg needs. I haven't decided on Isa Browns, Rhode Island Reds or Barred Rocks as of yet....looking for input on this from anyone.

    The coop I am building is like most around this area with the shed type roof, building size is 5 x 8 which seems from what I have read here is more than adequate and should allow for some expansion if needed. I am worried about how the chickens will do when it gets cold here (like today at -10 wind chill) I hope to make the coop draft free, but I worry about cold.

    From what I read pine shavings are ideal for the coop.....I have an abundance of Ash and Oak planer shavings, will these work or should I nix them in favor of purchased pine shavings?

    And last question (for now) if I get chicks in mid April, when will they normally be laying eggs?

    Thanks in advance for any input that you have.

    Steve
     
  2. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    Hi steve my name is steve lol. Welcome to byc. it generally takes 20-28 weeks for some girls to be laying. You can heat your coop up with a heat lamp but make sure its stuck and wont fall and cause a fire. I read ash shavings work but I dont know about the other one. Maybe a mix of ash and pine since I use pine all the time
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2008
  3. KrisRose

    KrisRose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Hi Steve, Welcome to BYC!!
    The pure breeds will start laying at 20 to 24 weeks and the hybrids will lay at 16 weeks. I have the ISA Browns which are red sex links and all four started laying in the 16 week. They did have a problem with being egg bound but they seem to have gotten over that.
    I have a mixed flock of BR's, BO's, ISA Browns, PR's, and EE's. I do provide heat in winter in a 10x12 coop. I have 14 hens and a Roo.
    Don't mean to be a party pooper but you might find that your 5x8 coop is too small for a dozen. Not too important in summer but in winter when they are in.
     
  4. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] welcome to BYC Steve [​IMG]
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Ye Olde Henhouse Builder

    Quote:Good news is I haven't got the coop built yet, just have the materials for it. Guess I might have to re-think the size of the coop. Good thing I asked before I started making it....just need to get more material:)
     
  6. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Hi Steve-
    Regarding coop size.... there are LOTS of threads about this on the forum right now, for more info. But generally most people here recommend MINIMUM 4 square feet per bird inside the henhouse (especially if they'll be cooped up in cold winters) and 10 square feet in an enclosed run if the birds are not free ranging all the time. That's for standard-sized chickens, and is for useable floor space (i.e. don't count floor space taken up by a droppings pit, low nest boxes, feeder, etc.)
    Hope this helps!
    Stacey
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi Steve,

    Quote:Get some of each [​IMG] No, actually that's not meant just as the glib obvious answer, it also means that you have a purtier more varied flock to look at, less trouble telling the chickens apart (which WILL at some point be an issue, believe me... 'hm, is that hen sitting alone in the corner the same one that was all huddled up yesterday, or is it a different one?'), less trouble telling who's laid what (egg differences are greater between breeds than within, and you may sometimes want or need to play a round of 'guess which ones are laying'), AND it will even out seasonal and lifetime variations in laying.

    The coop I am building is like most around this area with the shed type roof, building size is 5 x 8 which seems from what I have read here is more than adequate and should allow for some expansion if needed.

    I agree with those who think you should make it a bit bigger, for a dozen hens, esp. if they will be stuck indoors for days at a time in winter.

    I am worried about how the chickens will do when it gets cold here (like today at -10 wind chill) I hope to make the coop draft free, but I worry about cold.

    LOTS and LOTS of folks on this board have chickens in colder temperatures than that, often without heat lamps, and they do fine. When you are working on keeping drafts out, remember you do still need ventilation (although on very very cold, or very windy, days you will need to be able to close some or all of it off). otherwise the coop gets really damp and stinky, which (damp) is NOT good for their health.

    From what I read pine shavings are ideal for the coop.....I have an abundance of Ash and Oak planer shavings, will these work or should I nix them in favor of purchased pine shavings?

    IME with horses, and I suspect chickens would be similar, softwood shavings do better than hardwood for absorbency. But I would *think* ash and oak would be ok. However, they need to be fairly dust free, and neither too large nor too small, so you'll have to see whether yours are suitable. If they are kind of borderline you might mix them with store-bought shavings as an acceptible compromise.

    Have fun and good luck,

    Pat​
     
  8. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    Although it is mentioned that chickens can stand a certain amount of cold, you claim to be getting "chicks" from the hatchery. These will definitely need warmth until they have grown considerably! You may try to see if you can obtain "ready to lay" pullets from the hatchery, as some do offer them. It will save you a lot of the work of raising chicks, and the careful control of the environment they need to survive. The pullets cost quite a bit more, but the advantages are that you will start getting eggs fairly soon after you get them, and they are pretty hardy. Usually the pullets have been inoculated, and often beaks trimmed when you get them, so a few steps less to worry about as a new owner.[​IMG]

    The mix of breeds sounds good, but if egg production is what you are after, the ISA Brown hybrids should fill that bill. They are also generally good natured, and friendly birds.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Note that many people (me included, and I *have* several that came as 'beak-trimmed', aka more or less debeaked, pullets last spring) would consider that a minus not a plus. Its *only* purpose is to decrease cannibalism when chickens are kept in too-crowded too-stressed conditions. An equal solution that doesn't involve lopping off essential bits of chickens is to just not keep them in such tight stressful quarters. It is certainly NOT something that you would be doing anyhow as a backyard chicken owner.

    Plenty of people (I would say, prolly most here) get chicks in Aprilish weather, and either brood them in the house or garage (which is prolly the best solution, if you can put them somewhere the dust etc won't bother you) or set up a heated enclosed brooder in an outbuilding. If you need to do the latter, see http://www.plamondon.com/brooder.shtml and http://www.plamondon.com/pasture_hover.html for some useful designs.

    Just a thought,

    Pat
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Ye Olde Henhouse Builder

    Quote:I won't be getting too many that would cause them to be stressed or overcrowded. I will make sure the coop is plenty big enough to meet the needs of the birds, plus I have 30 acres (crops) so keeping them penned up all the time will not happen either. I want the chickens to be able to free range during the day and when weather is favorable.
     

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