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Procedures for very first chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by OrlandoFLACoop, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. OrlandoFLACoop

    OrlandoFLACoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2013
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    Hello! We were going to get everything in the middle of this month due to finances, but I found out today that time has been reduced to this Saturday! We would get pullets since we can't take care of the babies. But we would get the coop and the chickens probably on the same day. Is that okay? We would get a "Chick-n-Hutch" with the additional "Chick-n-Pen" that attaches to the front and then a single "Chick-n-Nest" to put in the back because they are all the same brand and fit together perfectly.

    But what I'm asking is: What procedures would I need to take to get the chickens used to the coop, and what special things to do during the first few days? Is there any additional things to do before we even build the coop and bring the chickens home? (ect,ect)

    P.S. We are probably getting an E.E. and a R.I.R. What do you guys who have those breeds think about them? I am very excited about this coming Saturday! [​IMG]

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG] and welcome to the world of chicken keeping!

    Nothing special to do the first few days. If you intend to let them range at all, wait until they've been in the coop and run a week or so, so they know where home is. I wouldn't plan on handling them the first few days, if you intend them to be pets, let them settle in without the stress of being caught and petted.

    I'm always leery of those types of coops--they're usually way too small for the number of birds they claim to be able to handle. Are you going to stay with 2 birds? Or do you plan to add more down the line? It's always easiest to build bigger the first time than add or build a second coop later. Each bird should have 4 square feet in the coop, and 10 square feet of run, minimum. Don't take the manufacture's word for how many birds fit in the set you're getting, get the dimensions and do the math yourself.
     
  3. OrlandoFLACoop

    OrlandoFLACoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2013
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    Yeah, I did worry about the girls having enough space at first.

    Here in Orlando they limit 3, but since this is such a growing "hobby" they are thinking of raising it to 4. But anyway, I went into the Tractor Supply Co. and a woman saw us looking at the coop. ( This woman was another customer, not an employee). She said it's a very good coop and she wouldn't put more than four chickens in it.

    So pretty much all that we have to do now is compare the coop prices with another store that's nearby and then buy all the supplies, including the chickens! ( we still have to see where we can get some pullets locally). I have made a list of everything we need, and I was wondering if there's anything special we needed to do.

    I was wondering about the breeds too. Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, or Easter Egger probably. Oh, and we are going to let them into the yard probably an hour each day hopefully, but probably more, depending on the day's schedule, ect. But I'm not sure what else to add other than that!

    Yay! Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    You still need to do the math on the coop. the store should be able to get you dimensions if they're not clearly labeled. Lots of folks don't give their birds enough space.

    Those breeds are all nice, dependable backyard layers. Since you haven't bought the birds yet, my suggestion is to post a pic here after you locate some birds, but before you buy them. We've had way too many folks getting scammed, being sold birds that aren't the breed or gender they're supposed to be. Heartbreaking to get young roosters when you pay for females.
     
  5. OrlandoFLACoop

    OrlandoFLACoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2013
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    I"ll look at the coop dimensions now. About the pullets, isn't that the age where you can tell more easily what the gender is? I'm not sure. But I think I could post pictures for the community to look at before I buy them. I'll definitely look VERY closely at the birds' health too!
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd also recommend that you get your birds from the same flock so you won't have any quarantine or integration issues. Take a close look at the place you are buying the birds. Is it clean? Do the birds appear to be well cared for? And ditto what Donrae said re: posting pics before you purchase. It's so easy to get caught up in the moment and just come home with them, then find that you've picked up someone else's culls, sick birds, or roosters!
     
  7. OrlandoFLACoop

    OrlandoFLACoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2013
    Orlando, Florida
    There's a Howcast video on how to buy/ pick out chickens, which includes looking for healthy and well kept birds. So I now know the signs of sickness and what a healthy chicken chould look like. Thanks for the tips! We're starting off with two birds, like I said, because it's our first time and we want to see what' it's like and how well it'll work out.
    If you"re curious, here's a link to that video! [​IMG]

     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    That video has some good points. What we've seen too often is folks being told they're getting point of lay pullets and coming home with younger roosters, or even older roosters. If you're confident in your ability to spot male vs female, plus identify the specific breeds you want, then you're good to go.
     
  9. OrlandoFLACoop

    OrlandoFLACoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2013
    Orlando, Florida
    I only know the basics of male vs female, like spurs, fancier tail feathers, ect. Are there any other closer details to look at? Also, what do I use to take the chickens home in?
     

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