Starting from fresh. Some help please guys.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jerdna, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. jerdna

    jerdna New Egg

    Jan 5, 2017
    Hey guys,

    I understand that this might be in the wrong place but i was a little overwhelmed by the amount of subtopics and wasn't sure where to place this. If it would go better somewhere else please let me know and i will try to get it moved.

    Anyway It's great to be hear and i'm looking forward to taking in as much knowledge as possible. Now the world is turning organic more and more each day it is about time that i got involved in the new way of life. I have been wanting to start up an organic, free range-ish chicken farm for myself, friends and family. I have measured out a large 5m x 6m rectangle fenced off with chicken wire, i would give them more space but i think it's safer to keep them there so they don't wonder off too far. This is located in the back end of my garden for them to run around as do as they please. I have found books online at places like this but to be honest i believe what people say to me and i can get a much better understanding. Here come the questions.

    What kind of living environment do they like?
    How many chickens could i place in this area for a comfortable life?
    What age should i get the chickens at?
    What should i feed them from the beginning until the end?
    How much maintenance goes into keeping Chickens? daily, weekly or monthly?
    And then any tips, tricks or anything i have missed would be great guys

    Looking forward to your reply's

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
  2. slkyldy4evr

    slkyldy4evr Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 29, 2016
    1) They like a grassy area that is mainly dry, and make sure there are no plants that are poisonous to them in the area.
    2) Each chicken needs about 10 square feet per bird in the run.
    3) If you want chickens that will bond with you, I say order them at one day old and if you live in the continental U.S., I would order them off of, but if you want them for laying (or meat, gosh I hate saying meat but it's a personal choice for people to raise for meat) I say order them at 20 weeks old from Craig's list or sited that ship older birds, but don't get any over a year old.
    4) I would feed them Purina Start and Grow until they start laying (for eggs) then Purina Layer
    Or starter/grower then grower/finisher (for meat)
    5) depending on how many you get, probably $50 for food a month for 10-20 large birds. But work? Maybe 30-50 minutes a week for feeding, water, and cleaning bedding.
    6)If there's nything else you have to ask, just reply with the questions :)
  3. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    A lot of what you're asking depends on your goals and the environment you'll be raising them in. For example, different breeds do better in different environments. I live in the SW desert so I raise breeds that do well here like Leghorns among others. I also have a lot of predators around and little or no natural vegetation so free-ranging doesn't make a lot of sense, shade is absolutely essential, and chicken wire offers no protection. As far as what to feed them, that also depends. If you're raising laying hens it might make sense to start out with a starter-grower feed and switch to layer feed with calcium once they start laying. But if you're raising heritage birds for show or a mixed flock of hens and cocks you may want to go with Nutrena Feather Fixer or Purina All Flock. So I think the best thing to do is establish your goals first and then maybe get one of the many good books on the subject which'll help answer a lot of the questions you have.
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    You want roughly a minimum of 10 sq ft per chicken in the run, though more is always better.

    Age: Starting with chicks is always best, though if you want the fast route to eggs and/or are concerned about NOT getting roosters (due to restrictions) you may want to get pullets.

    Feed: Assuming you start with chicks, you'd generally start with chick crumble (medicated or not, up to you), then move to grower. Once they start laying you can switch to layer, or you can continue with grower with oyster shells on the side. You may also be interested in fermenting feed, there's many threads for that on the Feeding subforum. As far as brand, others mentioned Purina. I personally would not, I don't use products from bigger brands like that, preferring feed from local, smaller companies. But that's a personal decision and availability of brands will depend on your area.

    Maintenance is a daily thing, though in general they're not that time consuming. I spend about 15 minutes a day feeding, watering, collecting eggs, etc. You will need to figure out a schedule for bigger jobs like coop cleaning, run maintenance, things like that.

    Only other note I can think of adding - chicken wire is NOT suitable for a run. Chicken wire is great for keeping chickens out of things, not keeping chickens in. Most predators can easily tear through it.
  5. PapaBear4

    PapaBear4 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 25, 2014
    Welcome! You're in the right place!

    There is a TON of information spread throughout the forums and it can indeed be overwhelming. While I'm sure you can get every one of your questions answered here, I'd recommend starting with a book from your local library to get the overview and then coming back here with specific things the book didn't cover and you have questions about. In the mean time browse around and read what sounds interesting.

    Backyard chickens are a fun and rewarding experience. I think you'll like it!
  6. jerdna

    jerdna New Egg

    Jan 5, 2017
    I see there is a lot more i have to take into consideration before i jump into raising chickens. I will have a stroll down to the local library/online site and see what they have a raising chickens. That is a brilliant tip on the chicken wire and completely makes sense that it's better for keeping chickens out rather than in, i will be building a wooden fence then to make it a little safer.

    Thanks for all the good information guys and some steps for me to start with. Once i have decided the types of chickens i want to raise then i will be back on here chatting again. Speak again soon guys
  7. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Rather than chicken wire or a wooden fence, I'd recommend hardware cloth. It is sort of like chicken wire but stronger and with a smaller opening. Where I live in the Colorado mountains I did the bottom three feet of my chicken run with hardware cloth and then did the rest of the sides and the top with chicken wire to save money. I also built a "skirt" of chicken wire at the bottom, going out about 2 feet to discourage critters from digging under the fence. I haven't lost a chicken when they are in the run even though we have bears, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, raccoons, hawks and owls. I have lost a hen to a bobcat while it was out of the run free-ranging but consider the predators in your area. Do you have snakes or weasles? A wooden fence might actually be really easy for some animals to climb over or dig under.
  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Other possible fencing options are chain link and electric. Depending on the predators in your area some options will be better than others, and cost understandably may be an issue as well.
  9. jerdna

    jerdna New Egg

    Jan 5, 2017
    I like the idea of hardware cloth is this a picture of the right materials below?

  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi and welcme

    It would help to know where in the world you are based? Conditions and predators vary so much from country to country, so it would probably help to get advice from local people who face the same challenges as you will. It really helps if you fill in your location on the profile page so that people can see at a glance where you are each time you post. I'm going to guess that you are in Europe since you mention that it will be in your garden rather than back yard and give measurements in metres instead of feet. People living in America or Australia may have very different weather conditions and predators to worry about than I do here in the UK as well as feed brands being very different. For instance, we don't have problems with hawks or owls predating our chickens here in the UK so overhead mesh is not necessary. Being fox proof is very important. Wet and muddy conditions are usually our main problem, particularly at this time of year.

    Feeding organic chicken feed can be expensive and there is sometimes quite a bit of waste as it usually comes in a mash form rather than pellets and the chickens pick their favourite bits out and waste the rest. Sometimes the stuff they waste is the most nutritious bits too...a bit like kids choosing to eat dessert rather than dinner. Pellets contain similar nutrients but all ground down to a powder and then processed into uniform pellets so that each pellet contains all the nutrients and there is no picking and choosing between them. Hope that makes sense. You may be able to find an organic pelleted feed in your area but I have not seen any local to me, so again location is relevant. Of course you may not be so committed to organic as to buy organic feed, but more just interested in home produce from happy chickens.

    I would probably recommend getting chicks and learning as you go along. Chickens are so much more than food producers, many of us here on BYC see them as pets with benefits, so it's nice to start that bonding process when they are very young. Having said that, again it can depend on what part of the world you are in as to the availability of stock. Here in the UK we don't have the large mail order hatcheries like in the USA and I'm not sure that chicks can be sent out in the post like they are there. Finding a local poultry breeder/supplier and going along and talking to them about your requirements and seeing all the different breeds may be a good plan to get a feel for what you want or need.

    These are just some ideas and considerations and I am happy to type more when I have some idea of you local conditions.

    Best wishes


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by