Hello from Mississippi Gulf Coast

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by BigECart, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. BigECart

    BigECart New Member

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    First I want to give a big thanks to Scott from Carter's Legacy Chickens for recommending this site. I am hoping to get started with chickens in December/January. I have been reading, reading, and reading.

    Right now I am thinking I might get heritage breeds - from what I read, heritage chickens tend to be healthier and live longer. Not as many eggs, so I think that maybe they lay for more years? Either way, they sound great for the backyard flock where the hens will not be harvested when they get past peak production. I also need heat hardy birds and I have three small children (under 10) so I want friendly birds and no roosters for now. Scott has or will soon have heritage buff orpingtons, silver laced wyandonettes, and barred rocks (?). All of which meet my needs. I also want at least one blue/green egg layer. And one of every other breed I see! Gold lace wyandonettes, drool. Austrolorps are so pretty in the sunshine. RIR have such fun personalities. Delawares are so awesome with kids... :D

    My coop/run design is 8'x16', a three-sided open coop on one end. Poop boards under the roosts. That's big enough for 12 chickens, although I am planning to start with 6. I am also planning on pasturing during the day, once they are full grown, probably with electronet.

    Predators I have to deal with are: Raccoons, dogs, cats, foxes, possums, alligators (although they have always stayed in the water), hawks, buzzards, snakes. Newspaper said there was a bear sighting near us two weeks ago, so maybe black bear. :eek: Plus we have the occasional hurricane. 20' of water over our property during Katrina. Fun times. not.

    So the one thing that I haven't figured out is euthanizing chickens. Scissors - um, no. Axe - no. Right now, my solution is - "honey, please go take care of Chicken Little for me." Maybe I'll design a chicken guillotine. I could probably handle that.

    Anyways, this was a long intro of where I am in my chicken adventure! If you haven't guessed yet, I'm an engineer. I overthink everything, LOL!

    - E
     
  2. ChickenMansion

    ChickenMansion New Member

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    Welcome to the world of hens! I truely recommend a Dominique, and Easter Eggers, tolerate heat. I have several, and by far the best hens ever, especially the Dominiques! My daughter, age 7 - 9, has loved the Dominiques. They have little souls inside of them, look at you when you talk to them, make eye contact, the first to crawl in your lap. I love the Dominique's brown eggs and the Easter Egger's pink (waiting for the new spring chickens to lay their colors)! I live in the MidSouth (25 min. NE of Memphis), I understand the heat 114 degrees with heat index here, last week. I think the heat has more to do with care, clean cool water, access to shade, not locked in a hot coop, coop design, etc. The hens i've had that have tolerated the Southern heat: Dominique, Easter Egger, Rhode Island Red, Copper Marans, Silkies (small bantam), Wyandonettes. It sounds like you want full sized hens? There is a breed selector you can use at mypetchicken. (link to some heat tolerant birds http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog/Especially-Heat-Hardy-c69.aspx). You do have to worry about heat, I change my girls' water everyday, sometimes twice depending on heat conditions, I also add ice to there water, and/or put the waterer on top of a big 1' x 1' ice pack (inside a ziplock). Usually hang the water on a chair and hook to keep clean, but this summer it's been on the ice packs. I freeze the ice packs down and rotate them, making sure everything is clean, clean, clean. The big thing here is snakes, skunks and opposiums. Also, flies and maggots, brutal truth, but I can tell you Diotomaceous Earth, known as "DE" is a life saver. DE is an all natural wonder powder you can get at the Co-Op, tractor supply, it's all natural, food grade. It can be used as pest control, feather powder, mite, lice, fly control, natural wormer. I put DE on the coop floor, alot of it, and pine shavings over it. DE also goes in the nest boxes, sometimes in their food for worming (read package for amount) and also in a "cat potty box with a cover" for the chicken to take a dust bath in, if they free range and dig a dust bath hole I put some in there hole to flap around in. It is alot of work, but if you are planning ahead, you might think about what i've done. So far, knock on wood, I have not fed predators. Both my coop I used tack wire, rather than chicken wire, it is more expensive, but well worth it, much stronger and better protection. I have excavated in my last house the area under the chicken coop and run, layed chicken wire and burried it under 4-6 inches of dirt. My new home we choose a spot that was originally below grade in the yard, layed the chicken wire and brought in fill dirt over. Then we've always "skirted" our run, digging a trench on the perimeter, tacking wire like mud flaps all around then burried it. This really aided in keeping skunks, coyotes and other "diggers" out. Also the coops we've bult have large eves, overhangs, to protect the door and windows from wind driven rain, also shutters on the windows. One trick on my coops I love and work well for venting, I leave the eves completely open at the top, under the roof, high on the wall and tack screening and tack wire up. With the eves completely vented it helps the Southern heat escape. I let my girls out early in the AM during this burtal heat, down side they might lay eggs in the yard, Easter Eggs hunt. Also, I did use a water membrain "tyvek house wrap" when I built the walls I tacked it to the plywood, then put decorative sheeting over it, like a sandwich. It has kept the coop dry during our rain/hurricane seasons. Hope this helps and not too much info. Build well and get DE! Also, they don't tell you, check your chick for "blockage" check there vents, important thing they don't tell new chick owners. There is a good care guide on: http://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-care/guide-toc.aspx. They also have a breed selector and you can punch in "heat tolerant" as a selection.
     

  3. BigECart

    BigECart New Member

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    Thanks for all of the advice - dominiques look like wonderful hens but are not carried by the places I am considering ordering from. I might try to find some at a chicken swap, after my initial flock is established. DE does seem to be the miracle substance - will definitely give it a try. Oh, and yes, I am sticking with full sized hens for now - hoping that will keep down the losses to hawks. I also forgot a predator - great horned owls, so no forgetting to put the hens up in their run at night.
     
  4. ScottV

    ScottV New Member

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    Welcome BigECart from east central MS. I'm still in the planning stages for my coop. I'm planning on using Carter's Legacy Farms to stock my coop also since he's close.
    Thanks to ChickenMansion for all of the great advice also.

    Scott