Time Spent

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lpyrbby, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. lpyrbby

    lpyrbby Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've been holding off on getting chickens (the coop that came with the property, we're not sure we're interested in fixing so that's been another reason) because I'm concerned about the amount of time I'll reasonably be able to spend taking care of them.

    How much time do you spend on your flock's basic needs, and how large is your flock?

    Longer story, I get up at 6a to take care of 5 dogs. I'm leaving the house anywhere between 7-720 in the morning. I don't get home until around 545p. I don't finish with the evening dog care until around 615p. I could make adjustments of about 15-20 mins or so, in the AM and PM, but I'm not sure how much time I'd have to actually spend with the chickens during the week. Obviously, I'd have more free time on the weekends.

    Should I wait until the canine herd thins some (sadly, that'll likely happen over the next 3 years so - almost all of them are up in age)?

    I don't want to commit to chickens before I can give them the time they need too, ya know? Thoughts?
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It depends on how you plan on managing your flock. We go to the coop in the morning, open the gate and let them out. We make sure there is food and water available. At some point in the day, I'll go get eggs. At night I shut the gate to the run for the night. That's for my 6 older girls. For the 30 three week olds, I make sure they have food and water, look to see if it seems too hot or cold in their pen (took the brooder box out a few days ago) and unplug the heat lamp if it's warm out. I plug it back in at night for them. I'll probably spend more time monitoring them when I integrate the two flocks in a few weeks. Others will clean up every speck of poop in the coop every day, wash and dry feeders and waterers weekly (maybe more often, I don't know), sit with them, babysit them while they're free ranging, put them in the coop at night, take them out in the morning, move them to where they're to range for the day... So really it could be anywhere from 10 minutes a couple times a day, to hours a day. It all depends on you and your chicken-keeping style.
    1 person likes this.
  3. lpyrbby

    lpyrbby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here's what I'm envisioning, currently.

    I'm on 4 acres, but I do have a "back yard." Most of it is concrete because there's a pool back there. It's defunct and in need of repair though, so there's a pool cover on it. Because of the limited amount of grass available for 5 dogs and the risk of them trampolining off the pool cover, I leash walk them to an area just outside of the main fenced yard that we created with woven wire and t-posts.

    The one section of grass that's in my back yard is next to the fenced area we use for the dogs. There's currently a huge sage palm there that I'm not at all attached to, that I'd be glad to cut down/rehome and place a small-ish coop there. We would probably use more t-posts to go around the grassy area there, and find a way to put a cover of some kind over the area too. I want to be able to walk into that area, take care of their food/water, collect the eggs, and let them have roam of that area while I'm gone for the day. Since the dogs would be walking by the area, I'm thinking I'd put some landscape fabric along the bottom to mitigate the dogs seeing them. One of the dogs has an extreme prey drive. Additional thoughts are maybe on the weekends, I could open the coop door directly into the dog yard to let them hang out for a bit and stretch their legs.

    I would guess that the grassy area's size is either 10x10 or 10x12. Maybe?

    Does any of that make sense? Would pics help here?
  4. lpyrbby

    lpyrbby Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is the basic shot of the area.

    I'd cut down the vegetation on the left.

    That's supposed to be a landscape bed there. There's currently rocks down, with some type of succulent it seems.



    This thing is huge. I really don't know how I'll safely remove it lol.

    The more I think about it and look at the spot, the more I'm questioning the feasibility. I really want a bigger area for them, especially considering the coop will take up a good amount of space in that spot.

    Either way. I need to really think hard about the time I'll need to carve out to care for them, regardless of where I build.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The time to take care of them can be minimal as bobbi-j describes.......when there's no issues to deal with.
    Getting started.... building coop/run, learning all the little details to make everyday care simpler..... can be overwhelming the first year.

    I tend to be detail focused and don't like to leap beforeiI look - not good with crisis,
    which can come off a debbydowner, but it can be helpful too, to know these things ahead of time.

    Once you have them, you may well want more...and adding new birds takes more time and space.

    Kudos to you for having realistic forethought...rare on this site.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    If you have 5 dogs that have not been around chickens, they could very well be you biggest problem. Chickens are natural prey. They flap and run away, inviting to be chased.

    The time is minimal, water and feed, collect the eggs. The set up is a big project, and sometimes expensive. A lot depends on the space you have. My thinking is that 5 dogs take up a great deal of space? You might wait.

    Mrs K
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  7. lpyrbby

    lpyrbby Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've rethought the location and coop thing. I found information on hoop houses and runs last night and am looking at that instead. It won't be close to the house, but it's a way to provide them more room, which I feel better about. That being said, with the added distance, the dogs should no longer be a problem.

    Me wanting to walk out to the coop in inclement weather may be but not the dogs LOL
  8. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I have my chickens in a coop and run, and the run is secure enough to where I don't need to lock the chickens in the coop each night. I work similar hours to you on typical days, though on occasion, I might not get home til midnight. Because of how I have my coop set up, it hasn't been a problem. I don't need to be home at a particular time. Giving food and water and collecting eggs takes very minimal time, less than 10 minutes if I'm in a rush. I save bigger chores, like cleaning the coop, for weekends. One thing for you to consider is what you will do in the winter. You'll want electricity to your coop so that you can use heated water containers and not have to lug water out there all the time.

    All that being said, any time you are dealing with living animals, things can happen that need to be dealt with. Chickens can get hurt or ill, and need tending. That's unusual, but is bound to happen if you keep your flock for a while.
  9. lpyrbby

    lpyrbby Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not so rigid that I won't be able to make some exceptions in emergencies. Truthfully though, if one of the birds came down with something that required round the clock care and attention, they wouldn't get it :/ My job is only so flexible and I have to keep the paychecks to pay for all the things. If only I could figure out a way to make ends meet from the homestead!
  10. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    As long as you have time to put a bird down if it's badly injured, then you should do just fine! You may have to do that at some point, or treat for minor problems such as mites and lice. For example, the most time-consuming problem I've had to deal with is bumblefoot on one of my hens.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by