Unrealistic expectations? MANY chicken ?s HELP

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by akanalynn, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. akanalynn

    akanalynn In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2008
    Hi all!

    I'm not sure where to put this, but here's the story:

    Well first off let me preface by saying I'm 7 months pregnant and my nesting/gardening instincts are in major overdrive. I can't get enough of just... doing STUFF [​IMG]

    So I dug up our entire back yard, overturned the crappy grass and weeds, re-seeded, made my hubby put in a retaining wall (couple bricks high) for an organic raised vegetable patch (its about 12x10 )...I've planted all sorts of good stuff... [​IMG]

    Our yard has a 7 or 8 foot privacy fence all around it... It's small, but decent for a city yard I guess. We only have a neighbor on one side (and I'm pretty sure they're old and deaf)

    My idea is this... I would like to have the other half build a little mini-coop...raised off the ground in the corner of our yard... Maybe...3x3 or so? With a ramp to get in, and a hinged roof for access.

    I really don't think we would have a predator problem...never so much as seen or heard of any fox/coon/coyote... plus the fence is pretty intense.

    My idea is to get maybe a bantam and a good layer hen. My expectations is that they will possibly eat the slugs and grasshoppers off my lettuce and spinach? Give us a few eggs a week?

    Would a bantam and a regular chicken produce too much poo for a little yard? do the chickens absolutely need some kind of mesh enclosure? ( I would make sure the fence was inescapable at the bottom, and keep their wings clipped)

    We live in Portland, OR. Pretty mild winters. Would they need a heater in the winter? Would hay and a good little chicken-house be sufficient? I don't want a whole mess of chickens, just a couple.

    Your guys' help would be invaluable. Just want to think this through before I got buy those cute little chicks!

    Also, anyone know where to get some unusual breeds in this area?
  2. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Songster

    Congratulations! Is this your first baby?
    You didn't ask for this advice [​IMG] , but I would suggest waiting until the baby is about six months old to get started with chickens. I have nine children, and have dealt with lots of nesting overdrive. [​IMG] With a new baby, you'll have your hands full. The best thing you can do is to get lots of sleep and do away with as much stress as possible while the baby is new.
    As far as slugs and lettuce, the chickens will clear it *all* away. They love slugs/grasshoppers just as much as they'll love the garden produce.
    Yes, a small 3'sq. coop would be fine for two hens. However, you might want to consider a run for them, also. This will help to contain their fertilizer offerings, which you can compost for your garden.
    You might want to use all that energy to make frozen dinners for after the baby comes. You'll consider them heaven sent.

  3. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    I remember all that nesting energy!! I agree with Carla. Spend this time designing, planning and readying for your chickens.. With a garden, new baby and other chores, you will need more energy for yourself. And I would also get a couple of hens--they will be happier, as they are flock animals. Visit sites on the net to find pictures of breeds and then choose which one best suits you or the ones you lide the best. Good luck with you new baby, garden..
  4. fullhouse

    fullhouse Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    I have 5 kids and multiple chickens, and I TOTALY agree, wait and get 2 when you feel stable again, especially if this is your first [​IMG]
  5. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Songster

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    5 kids later 2 - still home (13 & 14 yogs)

    I know I wanted everything set & done! (as long as DH will do work & sounds like he will)

    3' x 3' would be fine for 3 bantams ((look in coop design))

    I suggest Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red Bantams -
    1) BO & RIR are very gentle
    2) BO & RIR lay the bigger eggs for Bantams (small to med in your grocery store)
    3) You want 3 encase something happens to 1 (chickens need company)
    4) You also want Bantams because Large fowl will turn your garden

    I also sugesst a run of sorts ((because don't want them in the garden until established))
    & you don't want chicken poop were your sitting or toddler is playing!!!

    In your situation Chick N Barn sounds like an option:

    and look what Dawn has done with hers!
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Congrats on your inpending arrival. I had more energy than ever when PG and tackled huge jobs all the time. LOL

    Do get chickens! In a 3x3 coop you could house 3 bantams. But if you can go a little bigger I would suggest something big enough for 3 or 4 standard hens for good sized eggs. The bantams will give you eggs. You need 3 bantam eggs to make 1 standard egg. If you went with 3 or 4 standard layers you would need a 4x4 or 5x5 hen house with a closed run (house + run = coop).

    I suggest if you build a small hen house on raised legs you can enclose with hardware cloth a nice portion underneath and extending to make a run for them to get down in the dirt to peck and scratch. Their little yard will be plant free and bare dirt in no time. You could use all your garden weeds and clippings to throw in the coop run for them to eat. In the fall they love dried leaves to scratch around in.

    Quote:They will eat slugs and grasshoppers and they will also eat your lettuce, spinach and everything else. Your garden and landscape will not survive your chickens for very long. If you plan to have a garden and to keep chickens then you have to keep the chickens out of the garden.

    Buff Orpingtons are my favorites. they are gentle sweet birds.
  7. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I'm with the others in that you might want to wait on the chicks. Plan now, get them after you're settled with the baby. There are many sites that tell about all the breeds - what they look like, their behaviors, and how well they lay. Oh, also, consider how quiet they are. I've got a couple of hens who are noisy.... it's funny, but maybe not to neighbors.

    I know that your life right now is all about waiting, but having a baby is really momentus in so many wonderful ways... and it does take a great deal of time. We never really understand until we have our first little one.

    Congratulations on your expected arrival. [​IMG]
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Enh. I got chickens 1 month before son #2 was born. It was not that big a deal, honest.

    I think it depends on your personality, how much work it'd take to knock together living quarters, and how much if any help you will have after the baby is born.

    Honestly, now may be the BEST time for you to get chickens, really truly, because right now you have much more energy and time than you will have for the year or so after the baby is actually born [​IMG] Two months is PLENTY of time to get the routine settled in, and by the time the baby comes, the chickens will be low maintenance.

    Also, chickens now will give you something else to occupy your energy and distract you from fussing over a middle name, wondering what the kid's entire life is going to be like, and thinking 'oh, was that the beginning of labor?' [​IMG] I actually do mean this seriously [​IMG]

    Chickens will eat the lettuce and spinach as well as the bugs on it, you know [​IMG]

    Summary: IMO, get chickens now. It worked for me, anyhow.

  9. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    LMAO I get much less done now that he is a bit older (15 months) then when he was a new baby [​IMG]

    Congrats on the baby! I think Patandchickens said it best. It mostly depends on you and yours as to whether or not the timing is right. There's some really cute coop designs on here and will be a great starting point. There was recently a post about chickens eating someone's garden plants [​IMG] So I don't think you'd want them in the garden until your plants are well established and can take a little nibbling. You could enclose the chickens or enclose the garden with some netting or a fence that is too high for them to clear with clipped wings. As long as predators aren;t a problem, having clipped wings and a high enough fence seems to work fine for many folks.

    Good luck only getting a couple [​IMG] They may prove more addicting than you think [​IMG] hehehe

    The hatcheries often sell rare breed chicks but you have to order so many. mypetchicken.com has min orders of 3 and allows you to get just what you want, but can be pricey. But, at least you will only get what you need. You might check your feed stores and see if they are still getting chicks in or not. Good luck with your project!

  10. akanalynn

    akanalynn In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2008
    Hello Hello Again!

    Thank you so much for the replies!

    Yes this is my first baby- But I'm pretty sure I'll adjust to motherhood well [​IMG] I'm due the first week of July.

    I understand those folks who say to wait... But I just don't want to! I want it to be established before I'm overwhelmed with other things. I want fresh eggs and a bantam hen outside my kitchen window, LOL. I grew up on a ranch, so I guess it just feels "right" to me to finally be out of college and creating a homestead of my own.

    Heres how i've adapted the plan after everyone's input. I will build a little (modified doghouse? possibly?) with a side hatch door in the corner of the yard...Still 3X4 or so (I'm thinking a bantam and a layer still) I'll put an enclosed run attached to the mini-coop.

    My questions now are:

    Will a couple bantams and a reg. chicken get along ok? (sorry if these seem like silly ?'s)

    How big should the run be? I Plan on letting them free range on a regular basis, once the garden is established and can withstand some picking. I wasn't planning on letting ANYONE but me near it before that, much to the dog's sun-bathing dismay. [​IMG]

    Here's the big question: If I make a run, how do I clean the ground? Do they poop mostly in their little house?

    I talked to the lady at the feed store today...She said that a cochin bantam would be a good one because they tend not to scratch so heavily, something about feathers on their feet? Don't like dirty feet? I don't know...

    All I know is I want one frizzled cochin. They're just too amusing

    Also, are their any "crested" breeds that are good layers? the hubby seems to think a chicken isn't a chicken without a hilarious hairstyle. LOL.

    THanks so much for your help.

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