Retired and a first time homesteader

jenniferny

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 21, 2013
3
21
85
Lockport, NY
I finally just bought a house with 1.6 acres of great soil in an agricultural district. My plan is to have a large garden, a flock of chickens and some milking goats.

I plan on selling fruits, veggies and eggs roadside, and possibly have a goat share program for goats milk.

This is a first time venture for me, but one that I have dreamed about for a long time and a venture that I am very much looking forward to!!!

I will be building a coop for the chickens and an enclosure for the goats, but do not know where to start from or how to begin.

How many chickens will I need to have enough to sell eggs, and what size coop will I need, and what is the best coop layout and where can I find plans for the coop??

I live in Western New York, 20 miles from Niagara Falls, NY, so it gets cold here in the winter, should I insulate the coop?? Should I/do I need to heat the coop, if so what is an economical way to provide heat and what temperature do I need inside the coop??

What is a good breed of chicken for egg production, brown eggs, possibly blue eggs??

What do chickens naturally eat in the wild?? I would prefer to feed as natural a diet as is possible.


Those are just a few of the questions that I can think to ask right now.

Any recommendations on one or two or three or four really good, comprehensive books on raising chickens would be GREATLY appreciated!!!
 

ronott1

A chicken will always remember the egg
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Mar 31, 2011
69,005
197,493
1,992
Woodland, CA
My Coop
My Coop
advanced chicken math.jpg

Chickens often leads to advanced chickenmath!

Selling eggs is an up and down business. The hens do not always lay.

I did read an article that said you needed two chickens per person in the house that eats eggs. After that you can start selling.

I would suggest starting with 5 to 15 hens for the first year and see how it goes
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,049
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Start small, but build big. Look at Woods open air style coop. Plan on a minimum of 4 s.f. in coop and 10 s.f. in run per bird. Also look at deep litter management in both coop and run. Other things to consider: fermented feed will stretch your feed budget. Test your market. While you want to sell eggs and produce, you may find that the market in your area is saturated, or you can't compete with the "big boys". I do well to sell/give away enough eggs to cover my feed costs and keep my refrigerator reasonably cleaned out so I can put something in it other than eggs!!!
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
139,534
279,532
2,027
Out to pasture
First, join your state thread on BYC. They can tell you what breeds handle the climate best, what type of coop they use. Generally chickens can handle cold much better than heat. If the chickens will be shut up in the coop for lengthy periods because of horrible weather - you need to make it larger. Cramped chickens are angry chickens, they will bully others, feather pluck them and at extremes exhibit cannibalism.

The little bit I know about goats is, they are escape artists, they need fencing they can't climb, jump over, or push it down. They also like getting their heads stuck in the gate, etc. and waiting to be rescued- numerous times.
 

jenniferny

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 21, 2013
3
21
85
Lockport, NY
Start small, but build big. Sounds like a plan, but since building a whole new coop is expensive I was thinking about building a larger coop than I will need to start out. Is this sound thinking??

Look at Woods open air style coop. I did, and I really like the concept.

Plan on a minimum of 4 s.f. in coop and 10 s.f. in run per bird. 4 sq ft per bird? I read elsewhere that it was 2 sq ft per bird, but if 4 sq ft is best that is what I will use.

Also look at deep litter management in both coop and run. What is deep litter management??

Other things to consider: fermented feed will stretch your feed budget. Do you buy or make fermented food??

Test your market. While you want to sell eggs and produce, you may find that the market in your area is saturated, or you can't compete with the "big boys". The road is relatively high traffic and I have not seen even one other EGGS sign and no fruit/veggie selling structures near me, so I am guardedly optimistic.

I do well to sell/give away enough eggs to cover my feed costs and keep my refrigerator reasonably cleaned out so I can put something in it other than eggs!!! Is that what ts is, you just cover feed cost when you sell eggs?? It is just me and my four furbabies that will be eating the eggs, so if I will just cover costs, maybe selling eggs is not a good idea.
My four little guys, Bacon, Rascal, Lucky & Chico 12 25 2015.jpg
lazy gardener, thank you for responding, the information was very helpful!!
 

Teila

Bambrook Bantams
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
16,612
26,062
1,026
Forrest Beach, FNQ, Australia
G’Day from down under Jennifer :frow Welcome and Congratulations! :clap

This is a link to Find Your State Thread Diva mentioned.

Here are a couple of links to helpful articles:
Pickin a Chicken
How Much Room Do Chickens Need

BYC has a Learning Centre and also Topic of the Week discussions which I have found to be a great resource, informative and sometimes entertaining; so definitely worth checking out. These two may be of particular interest:
Topic of the Week - Getting Started, Keeping Chickens
Topic of the Week - Keeping the Flock Safe from Predators

I hope you enjoy being a BYC member. There are lots of friendly and very helpful folks here so not only is it overflowing with useful information it is also a great place to make friends and have some fun.

If you would like to share Pictures and Stories of your flock when they arrive, you have come to the right place. BYC’ers never tire of these and do not back away slowly or commence eye rolling when the photo album or home videos come out ;)
 

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