Noobie from CA


7 Years
May 23, 2012

I've been lurking on this site for several months and now may have something to contribute. My family raised chickens and as a child I remember them well but was not too involved in the raising and upkeep. Last year I talked my S.O. (significant other) into trying backyard chickens. We live in a rather upscale nieghborhood so naturally Kathy was nervous about the noise and smell upsetting our nieghbors. I convinced her that if there was a problem we could simply give them to a friend who has chickens on his small rural farm. We decided to get three chicks at the local feedstore but ended up bringing home 8 with the idea that some could be roosters. The local ordinance is 6 chickens max and no roosters. The breeds were 4 Plymouth Rocks and 4 Easter Eggers. All 8 were hens which surprised me. This was march 15, 2011. We raised them in a cardboard box in the bathroom until it got so smelly we had to move them outside so I built a small wire cage about 2ft by 4ft. By June we were in bad need of a coop. I didnt like any of the ones I found for sale and the few I did like were far too expensive so after a little research, and being handy with tools, I designed and built my own over a month of weekends. This coop has surpassed all of our expectations in ways I didnt even predict.

At the 5-6 month point they started laying which was fantastic only then came the "eggsongs". One by one our chickens ended up at my friend Franks little farm. Mostly because of noise (LOUD eggsong) or too aggressive on the pecking order. When we were down to 4 we went back to the feedstore and picked up 2 Australorp chicks. This was Sept 25, 2011. Two of our older hens, a Rock and an Easter egger relentlessly attacked our two new chicks so off they went to Franks farm. In march of this year we once again bought a couple chicks, a light Brahma and a Buff Orpington. The 4 older hens are now very good layers, quiet and well mannered and the two new chicks are looking to be a very good addition. Our small flock of six is now 1 Plymouth Rock, 1 Easter Egger, 2 Australorps, 1 Light Brahma and 1 Buff Orpington. Just about perfect.

Lessons learned (so far):

- noisy or aggressive behavior seems to be more a matter of individual chicken personaltiy than breed specific.

- buy more chicks than you need and give away the troublemakers

- they lay much more than many of the posts I've read on these forums led me to believe. Maybe because they are so young? Or maybe because they are so happy being free range? We get 3-4 eggs per day out of 4 hens every day now since I started recording egg production in March. None have gone broody or started to molt so maybe this is a factor in our good luck so far.

- the little red water nipples is definately the way to go for constant clean water. I only fill the water reservoir once a month

- Backyard chickens are much easier and cheaper to own than I expected. I figure total costs per year for 6 hens is under $100 (free range and they eat all our scraps). A 50 lb sack of feed lasts 6 months which is amazing.

- if you design the coop properly there is no smell problems and cleanup/litter changeouts is a breeze

- wood shavings is preferable to hay or straw

- I went into this thinking I would have to clean out the coop every week. In reality its every 3-4 weeks, another pleasant surprise

- free range eggs really do taste better. and the color of the yokes is orange and they seem more firm.

I'll put up some pictures on the forums when I get a chance

Last edited:


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Dec 22, 2009


7 Years
May 23, 2012
Thanks for spreading some of your wisdom on here! Maybe you should copy it all and make a page to help people for when this thread gets lost.

I'm not sure what make a page means but I would like to pass on what I've learned and its been a lot in the last year, believe me. After all my research I recently saw a chicken coop for sale at our local feed store for $1400. there were so many design flaws, nest boxes too small, sitting right on the floor, etc. I built my coop for about $600 in materials and its better than most I've seen (there are a few on this site that are pretty spectacular though)


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Hello and welcome to BYC! Thanks for sharing your experiences and lessons learned.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom