Tipping point -- new member

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by sparrow.star, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. sparrow.star

    sparrow.star Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi. I've had chicks several times. I am currently building the most predator proof chickie Fort Knox that I can envision. I've been hit by coons, possums, fox and coyotes. Half-inch hardware cloth is going in the ground around the perimeter of the entire run to discourage diggers. It'll also have a 6' "ceiling" over the run of wire fencing (owls&hawks). I live in the SWVA mountains beside wildlife land.
    The first chickens to come into the house 12yrs ago were silkies. WHAT sweethearts! But I'll never have another Leghorn--they insisted on roosting in trees instead of the coop, most of their eggs just dropped to the ground and broke, attracting skunks, and eventually an owl got every one of them. About 4 years ago I had a young mixed flock of 37 and already had any eggs they could produce sold for the next year. A coyote broke In and they who weren't eaten were scattered--accusitory crows still drift up the hill but I have yet to see a one of them.
    In for a penny, in for a pound: I have 3 Easter eggers, 5 silkies, an unknown banty (mille fleur, maybe?), 1 golden comet, 1 black sex link, 3 straight run New Hampshire Reds and 9 straight run Rhode Island reds--23 total. I'm building the coop to house 48 standards.
    Tipping point? How many chickens are enough to feed your friends and neighbors and not leave one left swimming in eggs but not having enough left to sell?
    This year I'm going to wing it--finish getting the coop set up, let whatever happens happen.
    My daughter feeds my cats when I'm go out of town but hates chickens. Therefore, tube feeders, gravity water and rollaway nest boxes.
    I figure I'll do some hatching with broody silkies and make sure to have too many chickens to consider as pets (they're livestock) so that they can become soup after their egg laying days are done. Cycle of life and (wo)man is at the top of the food chain. When you're older and on a very low fixed income this becomes a necessary evil: can't afford to feed nonproducers. Not looking forward to that day but at least I have friends who are hunters and are willing to help me learn.
    Nice to meet you all! I've already gleaned a lot of info from this site as a non member and am looking forward to both making more inquiries and reading the newsletters.
    Sparrow.star
     
  2. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing?

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    Hi sparrow.star, welcome. Sounds to me like you have it planned out very well. If you have coyotes, or heaven forbid, bears, you might want to use fencing to keep them out, lined with chicken wire to keep the chickens in. Some people have good luck with chain link dog kennel panels. This modern chicken wire they sell nowadays is not much protection against a determined predator.
    Are you planning on letting them range during the day? If not, I'd plan for a run twice as large as what most call for. Health and behavioral problems can be caused by crowding, so build as big as you are able... because you will want more chickens... we always want more chickens! :D
     
  3. sparrow.star

    sparrow.star Out Of The Brooder

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    I wish I had wings too!
    The run area is aprox 192'sq. The coop is 96'sq. If l There will be a free-range door at the back of the run to funnel them down the steep, leafy, bug-filled hill and away from my front porch--been there done that. I want them close to the house because I lost the 37 out of the old barn and never heard a peep. I'm building the coop bigger than I need because, yes, I understand chicken addiction.
    I have [email protected]'x4' pallets and will be using 6' (length above ground, 7' total length) metal fence posts with crossbars attached between the tops to support the roof wire. Coyotes can jump 8'!! If one gets up there I don't want it breaking through. I'll also be putting treated landscape timbers in the ground to lay (&staple) on the wire and keep the pallets a bit off the ground (also using a few shorter pallets to make a curve for a small round patio and table--dinner theatre). On the outside will be 4"x2" welded wire and chicken wire on the inside to prevent escapes or getting trapped in the pallets.
    This thing is WAYY overbuilt!!! Don't know how long it'll take for eggs to pay for the wire. Luckily I have a lot already and bunches of materials to repurpose for the coop, but I've already spent $100 on hardware wire alone! But its also the most important ingredient and not to be gypped on. I also have the remains of a now unused rock fence and will be ringing the perimeter with some to make it even more difficult to get in.
    My girl lives in town and her work schedule doesn't allow her to get out here twice a day, she comes every other (the cats are good mousers--i never see a live one) so the run needs to be as impenetratable as possible. The door to the coop will be chickie size, a la cat door style with a slide down locking hatch.
    What about you?
     
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  4. sparrow.star

    sparrow.star Out Of The Brooder

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    I just looked closer at your picture. Are those dyed eggs or do you have a flock of easter eggers?
     
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  5. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing?

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    Those are beige, blue, green, terra cotta, and brown eggs done with Easter dyes. No two came out the same.
    haha Fort Knox it is! I can't think of anything else you could do short of armed guards.
    I use a Brinsea auto door opener for my layer hens. It has been flawless so far. You can set the time or have it work using light sensors. It wasn't cheap, but it never forgets to shut the door every night, and I don't have cranky hens waking me up at the crack of doom to let them out. Might be a good thing for when you have your daughter chicken sitting.
    I have a small hen house, with a small run on a small property with too many chickens! 14 layer hens, lots of different ages and breeds, all of them named, all of them pets, all of them fed whether they lay or not because I am a big wimp. :D That's why the auto door is such a great thing, because when they get up, they want out to stretch their legs and eat bugs.
    I have a second coop that has plenty of room with only 6 tiny Seramas in it. They don't get to come out to roam any more, sadly, because a hawk has taken to hunting quail in my yard, and got a couple of my precious little chickens. Ever since my big dog died last summer, the quail have moved into the back, which normally I wouldn't mind, but now the small chickens aren't safe and I hate keeping them locked up all the time. When these are gone, I won't be getting any more bantams, and I'll have to find a use for that coop... maybe bunnies! or some more layers... It will be a few years at least.
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

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    Hello and welcome to BYC. Good luck with fortifying your coop :fl

    You can use this link to contact members in your area - Find Your State Thread

    Best wishes

    Pork Pie
     
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    welcome to Backyard chickens. Could you get a small(dog) exercise pen with top? So the seramas can get some fresh air and scratch like real chickens. I mean just for a short time, and with you or someone else sitting right by them.

    A friend had house chickens (silkies) and 2 serama hens. The seramas she never left outside ever. One died earlier this year - 5 years old and never felt grass or wind or sun. Really sad, the one left is the same age. My friend used to get mad because they kept scratching at her throw rugs. I told her it's because she wants them her way, and won't let them be chickens. The silkie gets to go outside because silkies are her favorites.
     
  8. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing?

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    Hi Diva, is this for me? The Seramas have a large run attached to the hen house, so they have plenty of room and get sun and fresh air. They just miss being able to roam around in the yard since my big dog is no longer there to protect them.
     
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  9. 007Sean

    007Sean Flock Master Premium Member

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    Howdy :frow Welcome to Backyard Chickens.
    Best wishes for your Fort and your chickens.
     
  10. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Reading. Must read more. Premium Member Project Manager

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    :welcome
    :yesss:We are glad you joined our flock.
    Jump right in and make yourself at home.

    This video will help you learn how to navigate this site:
     
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