West Central Indiana n00b!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by cafe, May 20, 2010.

  1. cafe

    cafe In the Brooder

    May 12, 2010
    West Central Indiana

    I'm an almost-forty housewife with four school-aged offspring. I live in town, but I've wanted to try raising chickens for eggs for several years. Recently learned that it wasn't against city codes to keep some chickens for eggs and/or meat. Got the go-ahead from the hubby. Looks like it might actually happen.

    I've been browsing and lurking and feel I've already learned a lot from BYC's great members. There is soooo much information that I'm having trouble sorting through it all so I thought I'd start asking questions. [​IMG]

    First, some background. I live in a mid-sized, rust belt town in a mostly blue collar and retirees neighborhood. My house sits on two city lots, but I have *no* backyard. Everything is out in the front for God and everybody to see, so my set-up has to look a bit decorative so the neighbors don't get hostile.

    I want to start with 3-4 chickens and live in USDA hardiness zone 5 (-10 to -15 degrees is the average annual low temp).

    My starting point coop is a dog house my neighbor gave me. His son made it in shop class decades ago and it is super sturdy. It is 5.75 ft wide, 3.33 ft deep, and 3 ft tall at the lowest point (it has a salt box roof). Here's a pic. TLC is obviously needed, but I think I can do it.


    I am going to put it next to my garden and build a sturdy run for it. I'm thinking 5x8-10 ft. Dogs, cats, and raccoons are probably going to be my biggest predator risks. Humans are also a possible problem.

    Now some questions:
    Does my climate require a cold hardy breed?

    For my coop, I know I will need to put a lockable door on to make it secure. I was thinking of using the large opening as an access door and cutting a smaller opening kind of high up for the chickens to come in and out of. I know it will need a ramp, but how big should the hole be and will it need a door, too? Would it be bad if the chicken opening faced north? I know I need ten square feet of run room per bird, but how tall does the run need to be for non-bantams?

    Thank you for any suggestions!
  2. eggsellent

    eggsellent In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2010
    South Central Indiana
    [​IMG] also from Indiana!
  3. WV_Hillbilly70

    WV_Hillbilly70 Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    Nashville, Indiana
    [​IMG] Living in Nashville Indiana!!! Welcome!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. Bantimna

    Bantimna Songster

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
  5. GRAM49

    GRAM49 Songster

    May 7, 2008
    Hi, I am in N. Central IN and cold-hardy is not necessary, unless you just like them. I have Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, NH Reds and some bantams. We do put a heat lamp in during the winter and make every effort to keep water from freezing as they have to have water. Good Luck!
  6. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress 9 Years

    Nice coop. [​IMG] [​IMG] and [​IMG] from S Florida! Glad you joined us! [​IMG]
  7. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Crowing

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    [​IMG] and [​IMG] from Ohio. I would say yes to some cold hardy breeds. There are many good ones out there. The dog house will work fine for the three chickens. Remember you will have their feed and water in there taking up space as well. The door size will depend on the breed of chicken you get. I have a large cochin, so my door is like 18x20. I would make the height of the run no less than 4ft tall. That way you can send the kids in the run to get the chickens to go back in the coop at night when they don't want to. [​IMG] I don't think the door direction will matter much because it sounds like you are surrounded by houses that will break the wind some. Good luck.
  8. Firework

    Firework Songster

    Nov 30, 2008
    [​IMG] and I’m sure you’ll [​IMG]
  9. cafe

    cafe In the Brooder

    May 12, 2010
    West Central Indiana
    Thank you for all the warm welcomes and good information!

    I'm so happy to have all these great brains to pick! [​IMG]
  10. cutiecochingirl

    cutiecochingirl In the Brooder

    May 13, 2010
    [​IMG] Hi there! [​IMG] I'm in West Central Indiana too! Where are you at? Near Williamsport? I don't live too far from Williamsport. I have lots of chickens but they are not all cold hardy. I have some with real big combs like my Cuckoo Marans rooster and my Black Austrolorp hen. I also have lots of bantam Cochins. They all are ok here in the winter. Your dog house is cute but it does need a door. We get lots of coyotes out here and my mom said they will dig under the fence if they want to. So will the foxes and we have a weasel that lives in our ditch plus lots of cats so we have to be careful. I lost my EE Misty to a predator last summer and that was very sad cause she was my only EE. But now I have some EE chicks. What kind of chickens are you going to get? I have been breeding my Cuckoo Marans to my Silver Laced Wyandottes and I got some really pretty chicks. I hope you have fun here at BYC. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: