Starting with 3 Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dellengwyn, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. dellengwyn

    dellengwyn New Egg

    Mar 29, 2009
    Greetings, All,

    My partner and I will be moving to Olympia, WA this summer, and intend to stay for awhile. I understand that Olympia's city law allows for up to 3 hens. What is the best way to get started with 3 birds?

    I am envisioning a small garden with the hens as part of a permaculture system. I'll probably begin by building a small coop/run with access to a garden. I like the simple design of the A-frame coop/runs I have seen. The size of the run will depend on the size of the yard, but the first year will be on the order of some section of a 1/4 acre.

    Here are my main questions, as a total neophyte:

    1) What the best breeds for egg laying (we don't plan to eat the chickens--at least not often), and where can we get pullets for that breed in the Olympia area?

    2) Should we include artificial lighting in the coop? I read somewhere that it requires 14 hours/day of light for chickens to lay. On the other hand, I don't want to stress them out by making them lay more than their natural cycle. Do some breeds "want" more light than others, naturally?

    3) How do chickens respond to moving? My partner and I will be renting for the first couple of years, but we plan to eventually get a few acres in the country. Should we wait to start our flock until we are out of the city? My gut instincts tell me that the hens will love going from a more restricted to a less restricted environment.

    Anyway, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts and advice.

  2. Jena

    Jena The Welsh Witch

    Nov 2, 2008

    I am not familiar with your area, so I can not answer specific questions, but I have 4 chickens that are called Black Sex Links in America, they do not have lights, but they started laying in November and have continued right through. They had no heat despite snow in the winter, and they have been lovely friendly girls.

    I bought then as POL (Point of Lay) in September which gave me time to get used to them and learn from BYC, before they started laying in November.

    Good luck with your plans.
  3. Feathered Landings

    Feathered Landings Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2009
    Eatonville, WA
    I live in Eatonville, WA and we bought our chicks at 2 days old. The upside: we can see how they were from day one and they're cheaper to buy that way...downside: we have to wait for them to lay eggs. We bought one of each: Rhode Island Red, Black Australorp, Araucanas, Buff Orpingtons, and a Red Sex Link(a few weeks later my husband bought a guinea fowl-game bird-thinking it was a chicken. Turned out to be a good mistake because they're like the watch dogs of the coop). Out of all of them I really like the Araucanas, she's very beautiful, mellow and sweet. The Buff was a bit aggressive until the guinea put her into her place, but she'll try to peck us once and awhile. I also really like the Red Sex Link, she lets my son hold her when ever he wants and she comes when you call her. The Black Australorp seems to be a very intelligent bird, she knows when I'm getting the food and water and is first in line waiting for me to come back. Not much to say about the RIR, she's a chicken...but really pretty. We went to the Graham Hay Market (right on hwy 161). They have very reasonable prices, are extremely friendly, very helpful and knowledgeable. Ask them any questions you have and they'll give you all the info you need. They helped me get started with my chicks. I asked them the same question about best egg layers and they said for as few as I have it really doesn't matter (I'd only notice the difference of about 5 eggs a year between the different kinds) but white legged horns (commercial type) lay more than the ones I have. I've also read hens ovulate about every 23 that will be more than plenty of eggs for us. They also have ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl and more. I recommend holding and petting them everyday all day, it's not hard because you'll become addicted anyways, but this will help socialize them to humans so when you come around they won't be skiddish. We have two children (1 1/2 and 3 1/2) so this wasn't a problem for us. As for lighting...have you considered putting a window in the coop? Also, really double check the rules for Olympia reguarding placement of the coop from the house and property lines. It would really stink to build the coop and then have to tear it down (check your HOA too, if you have one). Putting it by your garden is a great idea. We're going to have to fence in our garden if we want the chickens in there because the coop is on the other side of our property...wish I had thought of that earlier:/ If you want to look at how we built our coop just look at my blog page on BYC. BYC was a excellent source of info for me so check out the chats, coop pics and blog pages. Good luck!!! Rachel. [​IMG]
  4. loopityloop

    loopityloop Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 11, 2009
    I don't have a ton of help being new to Chickens, but here's what I found out.

    I saw in person the eggs from Golden Sex Link hens. Wonderfully large brown eggs. And they lay a lot of them.

    The Golden sex links are great because you can sex them via color. that way I was able to get 3 pullets at 2 days old.

    I live in Town and I'm not certain that I can have roosters. And so this sexing via color worked great.

    They are supposed to be a friendly kind bird as well.

    I shopped locally via craigslist. It took some time and patience, but I found a great woman who is also willing to answer my future questions.

  5. guesswhatchickenbutt

    guesswhatchickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Central FL
    I'm a newbie too but I'd suggest going to and either going to the "which chicken? breed selection tool" or scroll all the way down to the "chicken breeds" link where you can learn all about the different breeds. It shows which ones are good layers, friendly, big, small, tolerate confinement well, etc.

    I researched breeds like a maniac before choosing ours. We got a Barred Rock, a Buff Orpington and an Easter Egger. We were also somewhat limited on what our feed store could supply us with - we had about 9 breeds to chose from and I wanted good layers that would also be very friendly and be okay with some confinement.

    If you think you want to eat the chickens, I'd make sure you either know you have that personality, or I'd get not-so-friendly chickens that you don't name. I didn't think I'd get attached to my little chicks, but at this point we're so close to them that I couldn't imagine eating them. I know if I was to get chickens for food, we would have raised them a lot differently.
  6. aidenbaby

    aidenbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    For your first question, you'll want to look at the different breeds and decide for yourself because sometimes it isn't just about egg laying. You want to take into account things like beauty and docility. Personally, with a smaller flock (I have 4 chicks), I ended up getting 2 Ameracauna's for eggs and 2 bantam D'Uccle's for looks. My Ameracauna's are much more docile right now than either of the D'Uccle's which are known for being easy to handle. I have no idea where to get poultry in your area but I found mine by looking up farm supply stores.

    In regards to your second question, I am only going to resort to artificial lighting in winter and it will be on a timer but most assuredly, it will not be 14 hours a day.

    As for your third questions, I think they will be fine if you take the coop to each new house. There are plans for smaller coops that are moveable. (I bought the City Biddy house plans and they can be built with wheels.) Also, when you are building a run that too can be built to be able to be moved or to come apart. My coop and run that I am building are going to be completely dismantleable (real word? I don't know). It isn't in the plans to do so but I wanted to be able to moved everything easily if/when we move in the future.
  7. Garden Gal

    Garden Gal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2009
    Quote:This is exactly what I've been thinking about... nice, pretty hens for my eggs and not so nice nor attractive for the ones we would eat. Any suggestions on the not so nice good ones to eat category? [​IMG]
  8. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    There is actually a chicken that Meyer Hatchery calls "white broilers." They are strictly a meat bird. I don't know what other places call them. Although I heard that an Amish man has a hard time parting with them because they can be friendly. They actually would jump up on his lap.

    You may want to get a catalog from a hatchery. Meyer Hatchery has good descriptions in their catalog so I assume the other hatcheries would as well.

    I'm getting my first 3 day old chicks tomorrow. Never had chickens before. I'm getting Golden Buffs (Golden Sex Link). I'm starting with these on the suggestion of the hatchery. They said that they can be very friendly and docile along with being easy keepers. I will see if that is true. We will keep them in our basement for the first few weeks to protect them from predators (mainly our barn cats).

    As far as a coop, we have decided to go with the Eglu from Omlet. It is a plastic chicken coop that is easy to clean and movable along with having an attached run. I had the hatchery explain all the pros and cons of all the different coops and had to assess what would work best for us. We have hawks and vultures in our area so we needed to protect the chickens but still wanted them to have "free range." My plan is to let them out in the yard when I can be out there with them but they can still eat bugs and grass in the run. I will say the biggest con is the price but we decided the price is worth the easy cleaning along with not needing to add pine shavings or straw for deep bedding.
  9. LauraM

    LauraM Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 7, 2009
    Everett, WA
    Hi! We are in Everett, WA. I just bought 4 chicks, they were 4 weeks old off CL, from a great guy who raises chickens and lives fairly close to Olympia. He was super helpful in picking out the hens, and he breeds quite a variety. They were ready to be outside and that was a huge plus. I think you will have to determine if they need light to lay on those dark winter days, I have heard both sides from people around here. Good luck! Our city code is 6 hens/ no roosters. If you look on Cl, you can find that ad, I think, there are a few reputable breeders around the South Sound area. It makes it easier to get a few hens and make sure they are actually hens.

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