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Starting a flock

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mattevans03, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. mattevans03

    mattevans03 Hatching

    Nov 29, 2012
    Hey guys/gals,

    I have been gardening and growing vegetables for about 2 years now. My family has a farm setup on their property down in Southeast Texas. I live about an hour and a half from this property. My wife and I are going to be staying down there on the weekends and on our time off. I would like to start raising chickens and expand my crops. There is already a chicken pen with coops setup as my great grandparents and then grandparents raised chickens in the past. However the pen needs a lot of work and since I will not be there every day of the year I need to setup a watering and feeding system.

    I already have a plan of using a 55 gallon water barrel and tying PVC into it and running a horizontal pipe through the pen with the chicken nipples attached to the pipe. I plan on starting with maybe 10 chickens. Will 55 gallons of water be enough for a flock of 10? If I top it off on a Sunday before leaving will it have water left in it Friday night or Saturday morning when I come back?

    I am also thinking about growing some rye grass in the run area because right now it is just brush and dirt, I plan on covering the pen so I can let them free range, hoping that will cut down on predators from above, since I will not be there during the week to let them into pasture and take them back to the pen daily.

    As far as feeding goes, that was going to be the purpose of the grass but also some kind of secured container that would be treated as some kind of auto feeder.

    I planned on cleaning the coops on the weekend.

    Does this sound feasible, or is this something that I need to be there around the clock to manage? I appreciate any input and suggestions.


  2. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Songster

    May 2, 2012
    I have similar but opposite desires as far as auto feeding and watering go, I want to be able to go away on weekends and be able to leave the girls along for a couple days. I don't have chickens yet so my answers are all observations of what I've been reading and thinking.

    It seems like you will be leaving them alone a lot more than I would mine. Do you have anyone to check on them a couple times a week? What if something happens to the waterer or feeder the day after you leave in the middle of the summer? You may come back to a very sad sight.

    You can plant the rye in the pen but they will destroy it in a week or two unless you protect it. I plan to make a 2ft*8ft frame out of 2x4's that I will staple hardware cloth to one side, then before I put the chickens in the pen/run for the first time I will lay this frame down with the HW cloth side up. This way the existing grass can grow up through the HW cloth and the girls can walk on it and pluck the grass shoots without being able to scratch up the plants roots and all.

    There are lots of plans on this site for auto watering and feeding, do some searching and you'll find them. I hope that when you start this all you do it at a time when you can be with the girls for a couple weeks to make sure everything is working properly and you work out all the bugs before leaving them alone.
  3. mattevans03

    mattevans03 Hatching

    Nov 29, 2012
    My grandfather is right next door so I am sure he would peek at them at least once a day. I did plan on building everything at least a month or two before occupying the pen and when I did I was going to stay down for 4-5 days a week at a time to make sure everything runs smoothly and take care of the girls and get them acquainted with their new home.
  4. Cooper Farms

    Cooper Farms Chirping

    Aug 25, 2012
    new sharon ia
    i live in iowa i know its wayt hotter in tx but i use a 55 barrel to watter my flock of about 30 and it takes 2+ weeks to get low
  5. Rich386

    Rich386 Songster

    Jul 21, 2011
    Live Oak, FL
    Take a look at my post for gravity fed water system. I think it will solve you water problem. Let me know what you think.

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