Total newbie here

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by SVS EggLayer, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. SVS EggLayer

    SVS EggLayer New Egg

    Jun 4, 2017
    Hi, everyone. I'm a somewhat new transplant from Saint Louis metro area into the heart of mid-Missouri, and I'm about to have my wish/dream of a small flock of laying hens possible! We're buying a mini-farm just outside town with six acres, and chickens are our first planned addition to the space. After reading about a dozen books and unknown numbers of blogs / threads / online articles, I think I'm more confused than ever about breeds and planning.

    Since it's later in the year, we plan to look for pullets to get started, and right now my hubby and I are "debating" numbers - I lean toward six to eight, while he thinks three or four sounds good. With no experience whatsoever, maybe starting with a lower number makes sense, but I still have a few weeks to work on him before I have the old coop area ready for the girls, anyway.

    Just thought I would sort of introduce myself, and if anyone have great words of wisdom to impart, I am happy to listen and learn. (I keep hearing the theme from "Green Acres" in my mind...)

    biophiliac and Mace Gill like this.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Peeps are a-peeping Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Welcome. I recommend the 6-8. Sometimes a smaller number of chickens can be more trouble.

    My words of wisdom is don't crowd them, give them plenty of room, both inside and out. Chickens can be addictive, so if you enjoy them you will want more. I would wait until your original birds are mature before adding more.

    Be careful where you get your birds from. Swap meets and some private sellers can be sources of some bad diseases. I prefer chicks from a hatchery.

    Have a plan on how you will deal with sickness. Are you going to seek out a vet or do things yourself, including culling of sick or suffering birds.

    There's lots of information on this site, and plenty of folks willing to give advice. There's plenty of ways to keep chickens, pick what works for you.

    Chicks can be gotten year round, so it isn't too old to raise some yourself so they will be more tame, but started birds can be a great way to start too.
    drumstick diva and biophiliac like this.
  3. Mace Gill

    Mace Gill Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2017
    New Jersey
    Welcome! If you want them for the eggs, remember that under perfect conditions, they will lay 'almost' everyday. Eight decent layers will give you about six eggs a day, sometimes three, sometimes five, sometimes even eight ... you get the idea ;) consider what you would do with the eggs. Also, are you getting a roo? If you're getting a roo, he'll wear three girls out pretty quickly, more hens spreads the love around. Also consider ... hens age. Maybe this year you get fur, next year two more, then two after that ... stagger their ages so you'll always have some young layers.

    There are no right answers ... there are choices!
    drumstick diva and biophiliac like this.
  4. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
    :welcome :lol:
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Thank you for joining us at Backyard chickens. Glad to have you :celebrate
  6. DocBirdBrain

    DocBirdBrain Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 13, 2011
    Welcome! Chickens are addictive, we are here to help enable you! I'd suggest starting with a small "gateway" flock of ~ 6 girls. Just be sure there's plenty of space for each of them in your coop, and remember that they will produce a surprising amount of poop.
    It's up to you if you would also like a rooster- a good rooster will help guard the girls and take care of his flock. (A bad rooster still makes a nice stew.)
    It's so much fun to get them as tiny fluffy peeps and watch them grow! They'll start laying in about 5 months.
    Then you can spend the winter looking at all the hatchery catalogs, breed specific web pages and visiting this forum, planning future additions to your flock!
  7. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    How many eggs do you want a day? What are your plans for the hens when they get older and egg production declines?

    If you plan on keeping them until old age then I would suggest starting with a smaller number of birds. That will leave plenty of space to add new pullets in 2 years or so. If you plan to retire the older ones (either elsewhere or to the freezer) I'd start with more.

    Either way make a coop much larger than you think you need. More space is always better. Bad weather happens and they get stuck inside, and chicken math just happens.
  8. Thornymom

    Thornymom New Egg

    Sep 29, 2014
    Hey y'all! I'm also a total newbie and hitchhiking just slightly - hope you don't mind, SVSEggLayer. :) I've done lots of research but have a couple of questions I can't figure out.

    I am in total information overload about chicken coops. I've got about an acre and a half fenced and plan to free-range my not-bought-yet chickens on that. Do I still need a run attached to the coop, and how big does a coop need to be if the birds are free-ranged? We're planning on six birds and a rooster to start.

    We're in the North Carolina Piedmont area and have pretty warm winters. I'm hoping to find chickens that are terrible fliers so I won't have to refence my garden. :) Any suggestions? Thanks!
  9. vachick15

    vachick15 Chicken Obsessed


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