Wanna be chicken girl

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by wannabeefarmer, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. wannabeefarmer

    wannabeefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi! Im new to all of this. I moved from california to ohio this summer and we have a working farm. My in laws used to have checkens but havent in a long time. They like pigs and steer more. My goal is to be ready to have my first small flock (4 and a rooster?) This spring. Ill be getting them from chicks. I already have a coop space in the barn for them now i need to know everything. All winter im sewing (business) and reading up on chickens. I have a two year old that i want to be able to help me. I want layers. I understand that for the first year or so they wont lay (correct me if im wrong). I have been debating having some sand in their coop because i know there are alot of benefits. Please any help or reading material is great.
     
  2. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your new pullets should start laying around 18-24 weeks, depending on the breed. So by fall they should start laying for you.

    Give the sand a try and see how you like it. Some people like it and some don't. Personally I tried it for a while and then decided to go with pine shavings instead because they are compostable. Plus my coop really isn't ideal for sand... tiny cracks between the floor boards mean the sand falls through in certain spots. I guess if I had linoleum on my coop floor, it would work out better for me. I'm happy with shavings though.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    So glad you could join our community!

    The average age for most chicken breeds to start laying is somewhere between 5 and 7 months of age. Their first few years are the best laying years and by the 4th year they can taper off.

    Have you stopped by our learning center yet? Lots of helpful articles on all the aspects of keeping your birds...https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center

    Lots of good layers out there. Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps, Plymouth Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Wyandottes, Leghorns, Sexlinks, etc. All of these are also docile and friendly as well...Here is a nice breeds page that has some quick info on all the different breeds and their attributes....http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    I and a huge fan of sand!! Sand sand and more SAND! It is soft on the pads of the birds, stays dry when wet, repels flies, absorbs the poop and the smells, and what is really nice is you can hose it down in the summer time and it keeps the birds incredibly cool. Cool feet mean cooler birds! My birds never pant in the heat because the floor is so cool. I keep it in my coop, run and even nest boxes! Here is a good thread on sand and how it works...https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/444759/got-sand-you-should

    Make sure to cover your run when using sand.

    If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. Welcome to our flock!
     
  4. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You mentioned having a rooster... what is the purpose of the rooster for you? Are you hoping to hatch chicks out of your flock? Because you don't need a rooster for the hens to lay eggs. And roosters can be tricky for someone just starting out with chickens.

    Four hens is a small number of hens with a rooster. It can work out, depending on the rooster, but many roosters need more hens than that. Otherwise you get problems like loss of feathers from the backs of the hens, and stress (which can lead to fewer eggs laid) due to over-mating. Again, it can work out depending on your rooster, but it's something to keep in mind.

    The other thing to keep in mind with a rooster is that many of them turn aggressive - not a good thing if you have a two year old helping with chicken chores. You can be a bit safer with this if you buy an older rooster, more than a year old, who has had time to show whether he's human-aggressive. But even so, there are many roosters who can be fine with adult humans, but who are aggressive with little kids. The kids are smaller, so the roosters are bolder. Kids also make a lot of fast, jerky movements which can be more threatening. If you do get a rooster, you need to get an older, trustworthy roo, and you need to closely supervise interactions between the roo and your kid.
     
  5. wannabeefarmer

    wannabeefarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2014
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    Amina: i have wood floorboards too so im not sure how well it would work coup wise and i really want to do the compost stuff too. Where you only replace it twice a year?

    Two crows: thanks so much for the lists! I definately need docile birds.

    Amina again: i was told by my father in law that without a rooster the hens wont produce as much but ive heard thats a rumor so im not sure :/
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten some good links and suggestions from Amina and TwoCrows. Here is a nice thread on the deep litter method, https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/70/deep-litter-method
    X3, most people recommend against keeping a rooster if you have young children that will interact with the flock... keeping a rooster does not make hens lay more eggs, if anything the the added stress of a rooster may make the hens lay fewer eggs.
     
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. If sheer egg production is a priority, I would recommend Black Sex Links. They are hardy, friendly, egg laying machines. I've raised them for years and they have been my best layers, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. If you prefer a standard breed (BSLs are hybrids and won't breed true, so you'll have to replenish your stock from a hatchery), I would recommend Black Australorps. They are extremely hardy, very calm and gentle (my children, and now my granddaughter, made lap pets of them), and the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. As far as using sand, I've used sand and fine pea gravel both in my coops/runs and they both work well. If you do decide to use sand, don not use a fine sand like beach sand as chicks sometimes mistake the fine grains for food and their crops become impacted. Be sure and use a coarse river sand with small pebbles in it instead. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your flock.
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Hens are much less stressed without a roo, and that could lead to better laying.
     
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    X2 on that.
     
  10. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    [​IMG] So glad you joined us.

    You can compost chicken poop sifted from sand and thrown into your compost bins.

    Ditto on the roosters.. the hens lay fine without them. Some are aggressive, and most are quite noisy.
     

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