Not even a newbie yet...but need validation!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mfh, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. mfh

    mfh New Egg

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    We are in Northern Virginia, in a area that is more country then city. I really want to get a small flock (6-12) chickens for eggs and for hobby. We have twin seven year old girls that adore every animal they encounter and I figure raising and caring for chickens will be a fun family activity.

    I have been reading and researching every night for months to determine if we can handle the new hobby and just how big a coop I need to build.

    From this site as well from www.homegardendesignplan.com I have a good idea of what I will build with an attached run. We have loads of foxes, raccoons,dogs and hawks that routinely visit so having them free range will likely be an expensive way to feed the other critters.

    I think we will gravitate towards three types of hens (no roosters) and on the list are RI Reds, Buff Orpington and Barred Rocks.

    My big question is if we get older already laying birds, and they were not handled often, will there be a good chance we will not be able to handle them? I want the kids to be able to go into the coop, pick up the birds as required and not be fearful of being bullied as I know some foul will do.

    Reason I would like to get some layers right away is my better half is on the fence if this endeavor is a good idea...and waiting months for eggs will not go over well.

    I do want the kids to experience chicks...so I was thinking, get a couple layers, and then six of so chicks and keep them separate until they are 1-2 months old. If I keep the ratio of 6 to 2-4, I am thinking there will be less issue of one being bullied.

    SO...is that viable or should I stick with all chicks?

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  2. crumptz

    crumptz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had success bringing new birds into an existing small flock. I put a temporary run next to my permanent one for a while so the birds got used to being together but couldn't hurt each other. Then, when I felt the time was right, I put the new chickens into the hen house at night when they were all sleeping. I was told that was the best way. It worked out well. My big difference was that my first small flock of 3 were raised by hand and so were the second set of 3. If you want to be safe, get all at the same time.
     
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan [​IMG]

    Some breeds are friendlier and tame more easily than others - Cochins are always good chickens for children.
     
  4. weimarmama

    weimarmama Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us.
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Welcome to BYC.
     
  6. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  7. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you have a very good plan. I integrate different ages all the time, and it always works out well. When my babies are about half the size of my big girls, I set up a temporary pen inside the main run. I put the babies inside the temporary pen, and the big girls stay in the outer section. I shut them in for around a week (more or less depending on how everyone gets along), and then I open the temporary pen, leaving things for the babies to hide in if they need to. There are two benefits to this method. One is giving them a soft introduction to one another, and second, it teaches the new babies where "home" is. After everyone is comfortable with eachother, I begin letting them free range together. It always works out very well for me.

    [​IMG]

    As for wether you can tame down a bird that hasn't been handled alot really depends on the bird. In my experience, they CAN be tamed down to a certain point, but not always to the point of being puppy dogs. I have had one or two that would not tame down as much as I wanted them to, and I ended up rehoming them.

    One solution is to look for someone who handles their birds as much as you plan on doing. I personally purchase more of whatever breed than I plan on keeping, and sell off my extras. My birds are very very tame. They come when I call, and I handle them constantly. I am sure there are others that do the same....take a look on craigslist and see what is available around you. I always word my adds to let people know that my birds are PETS, and super friendly. I always give the ship date so people know a pretty accurate age for them.

    I also highly recommend that you ask lots of questions, I have read the experience of more than one newbie on here thinking they were buying first year layers, or pullets that had just started, only to find out they were sold much older birds that rarely lay, or even that a dishonest person has sold them a very sick bird. Basically, you have to weigh out the risk of purchasing an adult who could potentially be a carrier for a disease (look up infectious coryza here on BYC. From what I understand, birds who survive become carriers, and stress can cause them to become symptomatic again), or purchasing babies and waiting for eggs.

    Of the three breeds you have chosen, I would like to point out that the chances of getting a true RIR without going to a breeder are minimal. I have also heard that both RIRs and BRs are quite bossy, saucy, and bold, and that BRs can be quite loud. in any instance, hatchery quality BRs and RIRs tend to behave and look very differently than breeder birds. Depending how comfortable your girls are with bolder animals, you may want to keep that in mind...also, I really want to recommend two other breeds for you to consider...salmon faverolles (the big girl pictured in the baby pen) and speckled sussex. I find both to be SUPER tame, beautiful, and very interactive! Of course, everyone will have different recomendations for you, but in the end, pick what you like!
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    Whatever you decide to do, if you ever integrate different groups of birds, always always quarantine!
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  8. JBee449

    JBee449 New Egg

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    Hi there! I just joined BYC too! And...I also have 7 year old twin girls (and an 11 year old girl). We've had chickens for a couple of years, and it's a really fun activity for the kids. They still love to collect the eggs. It's not a novelty that wears off. We got some Easter Eggers, and that's been fun to collect the green eggs. And: we have our first hatch in the incubator right now, and that's been fun too. Also, little kids, under 9, can do 4H with small animals like chickens and rabbits, and 4H is a great learning experience for the kids. Have fun!!
     
  9. greymane

    greymane Chillin' With My Peeps

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