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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need a plan.
What time of year to buy chicks.
If I buy chicks what do i expect.
How long do you keep them in the house? This is Ohio and cold now. Assuming they'd be better after adjusting to weather. Feed?
What temps and age should they go into coup? Change feed?
trying to get my head around this.
 

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Hi, Viper.

Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens.

Before you buy them, you need to figure out what your goals are. Meat? Eggs? Both? Are you going to just raise them and keep them for a long time or are you going to want to keep them about two years and then cycle them out with fresh hens? Or if you're raising meat chickens, do you want them to grow fast (8 weeks) or moderate (12 weeks) or slow (18 weeks or more)? If you want eggs, do you want brown eggs or white, (or speckled or blue or green)? How many and how often do you want them?

Yes, that sounds like a lot of questions, but it helps you narrow down what you want to get. Once you jump that hurdle, then you get to figure out which breeds that meet your goals are the ones that will fit best with your situation. Sometimes this is based on personality, other times on color, other times on just a hunch.

For instance, I have Buckeyes and Barred rocks because they both lay medium to large brown eggs in decent amounts. I also have a Golden comet who is an egg laying machine. She lays a large brown egg with dark spots and does so far more regularly than any of my other chickens. These are calm, easy-going breeds that form the backbone of my egg production.

For fun and eye candy, I'm also raising Silver Spangled Hamburgs. They lay small white eggs and are crazy as junebugs. But they are very pretty and full of spunk.

So, to answer your question, the best time to get them is right about now. You can brood them in a garage in a 30 gallon plastic tub with a heat lamp over them for the first couple weeks or so. Then, when they start to feather out, you can gradually move them outdoors. By the end of February, it's usually not too cold and they can handle it. Then, by August or September, depending on the breed, you should be getting your first eggs.

Good luck.
 

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Like Marengoite, I live in Ohio and Buckeyes have been my favorite for many years....only breed I have kept over a decade!

March/April is the ideal time to get your first chicks but you should have an order already placed if you want a "rare" breed because they sell out quickly. For newbies I always suggest they pick a few chicks up at their local feed mill or TSC store (generic hatchery stock) just to get their feet wet and see if chickens are what they really want to raise! It's cheap and easy and you can try a bunch of different types at one time just to find something you like. Start off slow and ask questions most of the folks at the feed mill or TSC will be happy to help you get started, too!
 

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Hi and welcome! I'm also a new chicken keeper . before i got my chickens I swear I read probably six books on care so I could know what to do! After choosing my breed I read up on that particular breed. My chicks are staying in the house until they feather out. I made a great brooder out of the box that water melons are shipped to the store in! It's thick, large, and works really well! The grocery store will give it to you if you ask. Make sure it's the large thick one. You can get creative on what you use for your brooder. I use pine shavings as litter it works great! Smells good too! I got chick waterers and feeders made for chicks to prevent drowning and dumping. You need a brooder light. To keep them warm which you will adjust the temp weekly. A thermometer helps you regulate temp. It's really been a lot of fun having my chicks! I have two one month olds and I have one two 1/2 month old, I'm ordering one more 21/2 month old Friday and that will be my small flock of four chickens. I made a outside covered run for them about 8 feet long, six feet high, and 8 feet wide. I've framed in the coop with there run. I bought there coop online but now wish I'd made it myself. I have to add Another nest box to it and shingle the roof. It's kinda Small so likely I'll build another pretty soon but I think with some work I can make it work for now. The breed I choose was the silkie. They are pretty small very fluffy birds. They are very sweet temperament. Every day I work with my chicks and older bird to tame them. I have to say it's been a wonderful experience! Now the older bird is falling asleep in my lap! I'm making progress! I still have so much to learn but it's been a lot of fun! I wish you luck with your babies and when you get them, post lots of pictures! I think you will really enjoy the experience! You generally switch the chicks from starter feed to grower feed at around5- 6 weeks.; mine are a bit over 4 weeks, maybe 5 weeks now and I just switched them. If all else fails just read the bag of food and it will tell you. But never give layer feed to chicks. There is too much calcium and it can harm or even kill them. So start out with chick starter, I used the medicated kind but that's up to you. Then graduate them to grower, then when they are laying, of course layer feed. Hope this is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Plan

Well my thoughts are Id like to have eggs and meat. Mostly the eggs. Figured some hens and a rooster and let nature take over.
Guess one rooster would probably be all you want with a small group of chickens. Seems more then 1 and all they'd do is fight. My guess would be eat the extra roosters and hens when they quit laying. Wondering how many id have to have to do this. And how would you know what eggs to take or leave?
Am I thinking wrong or would this work. Or open to better ideas.
Also not sure coop or tractor.
 

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Well my thoughts are Id like to have eggs and meat. Mostly the eggs.
.....Guess one rooster would probably be all you want with a small group of chickens. Seems more then 1 and all they'd do is fight. My guess would be eat the extra roosters and hens when they quit laying. Wondering how many id have to have to do this. And how would you know what eggs to take or leave?
........Am I thinking wrong or would this work. Or open to better ideas.
Also not sure coop or tractor.
There are a LOT of questions in the above post....you want eggs and meat but mostly eggs. 1.) a dual purpose breed would be a good start for both and perhaps one that is a stronger layer, Golden Comets or Red Stars (hybrids) might be worth considering.

2.) How many chickens you need or want is all dependant on your family size (consumption rate) and the space you have. Some families find that 6-10 hens provide more than enough eggs others might need more hens. How often you want to eat chicken is another consideration, some people butcher 50-100 chickens at a time and freeze them others butcher only a few on special occasions....how many you need must be based on consumption.

3.) Not sure what you mean by "what eggs to take or leave"??? Here is my best guess you want eating eggs but you want hens to sit, hatch and brood as well. This is a whole other wringle because some varieties or breeds are NOT sitters or brooders. You may want to have an incubator if that is something you want to do or sselect a breed that is very broody (inclided to sit, hatch and raise chicks). Generally speaking, hatching takes place in the spring and with an incubator you would collect eggs for both eating and incubation at the same time. If you go the broody hen route consider isolating the hen that is sitting on a clutch of eggs and you wont disturb her when collecting the other eggs for eating.

4.) stop thinking (and posting) for a few days and READ some books on "keeping poultry"....this is a new book but VERY good for beginners;

http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-Whisperers-Guide-Keeping-Chickens/dp/1592537286

Andy Schnieder is the "Chicken Whisperer" and has radio talk shows, is in a variety of publications (Backyard Poultry) and on Facebook. His NEW book will help you tremendously!

Good luck and stay in touch.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks

Well sorry for all the questions. I am on my 5th book now. And will download that one next. But will take your suggestion and read some more. Sorry didn't want to pester any one.
Stop back when Im not asking stupid questions any longer.
 

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I think what Buckeye Chickens was implying is that there's more than enough research to keep you busy for a while. You can visit your local library or TSC or whatever Ag supply store is in your area and pick up some good books that will get you started in chickens. Andy's book is good. Also, the Storey's Guide, while more geared to commercial poultry, will give you a good look at the basics. If you can borrow it from the library (it's priced a little steep for the kind of info in it) The Small Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussrey will also give you enough info to come up with some really good questions.
 

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Well sorry for all the questions. I am on my 5th book now. And will download that one next. But will take your suggestion and read some more. Sorry didn't want to pester any one.
Stop back when Im not asking stupid questions any longer.
There is no such thing as a stupid question....my recommendation about reading a couple good poultry books was simply to help you. Tell us the 5 poultry books you have already read so we can steer clear of them! LOL :D

If my remarks offended you, my apologies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Offended

There is no such thing as a stupid question....my recommendation about reading a couple good poultry books was simply to help you. Tell us the 5 poultry books you have already read so we can steer clear of them! LOL :D

If my remarks offended you, my apologies.
@BuckeyeChickens Well appreciate that. But really stranger rarely offend me even when they try. Figure of a person really dont know me or me them why worry. Also if they want to think things they dont know as fact well its on them and not me.
i do ask tons of questions and some do get offended. Mostly because of a lot of health and age problems. Its more to confirm what I already think. When you cant trust your own memories as being right, well hard to be sure of your self. Oh and the books i read where great ones. But seems every one has there own thoughts also. Only stupid people really count on what they read Ive found.
Enough about that.

@ any one!
Is there any one who understands why some breeds of chickens eggs seem stronger or rich as i call it? I know roaming and eating different things such as garlic or onions will cause it. But i mean pen raised birds. Reason i ask is wifes no egg lover and she wont eat a strong one. So want to make sure i dont get a breed known for this.

Thinking about 8 hens and 4 brown egg hens and 4 white. Want heavy layers.
These are the Brown layers the local store recommends:Rhode Island and New Hampshire Reds
And these are the white ones They recommend. White or Danish Brown Leghorns
No recommendations on meat but figuring on some kind of Cornish cross, Want them for frying and roasting.

The Coup im looking at building is about 25 sq.ft. in side with a 32 ft run.
And the pen under the coup will be 25 sq ft closed in for the meat chickens while the layers have full run.
Now nothing is set in stone. And including an attachment from tractor supply showing there chicks. Thought if i picked them up I get to see condition of birds. But will have to order soon for special ones. Prices seem fair.
So any one wanting to comment feel free to share thoughts and ideas i might change or incorporate. Also thoughts on meat birds. I have heard burn a light 24/7 to feed and also feed 12 on and 12 off. Says the later provent heart attacks and such. Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Coup

Well this is the coup I plan to build or real simular. Im thing of making it 5 x 5 though so 25 sq.ft. I also plan to screen in the bottom of coup for the meat chickens. Then the run will be about 8 x 5ft. or 40 sq. ft.
So 25 sq.ft pen for meat.
And a 25 ft sq. ft for layers
plus a 40 sq. ft run.
No wasted space for storage items as I have plenty of storage there. And out side boxes for laying to further allow inside room.
What would you all say the amount of chickens is i could keep in this set up? and still provide good care with less problems?

By the way I got the picks from the coups page. Hope no one minds me re posting.
I'm thinking because of coup size Im limited to 6 full size breed layers and 12 small breed. And same for meat. But im not sure.
 

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@ any one!
Is there any one who understands why some breeds of chickens eggs seem stronger or rich as i call it? I know roaming and eating different things such as garlic or onions will cause it. But i mean pen raised birds. Reason i ask is wifes no egg lover and she wont eat a strong one. So want to make sure i dont get a breed known for this.

Thinking about 8 hens and 4 brown egg hens and 4 white. Want heavy layers.
These are the Brown layers the local store recommends:Rhode Island and New Hampshire Reds
And these are the white ones They recommend. White or Danish Brown Leghorns
No recommendations on meat but figuring on some kind of Cornish cross, Want them for frying and roasting.

So any one wanting to comment feel free to share thoughts and ideas i might change or incorporate. Also thoughts on meat birds. I have heard burn a light 24/7 to feed and also feed 12 on and 12 off. Says the later provent heart attacks and such. Any ideas?
Farm raised eggs can taste stronger and have darker color yolks (orange instead of yellow) because of the feed or "free ranging" conditions. It really has very little to do with the breed in terms of "richness" in flavor when it comes to eggs. Some folks claim brown eggs are richer in flavor than white but I have raised both types on the same feed and when cracked or boiled and peeled you could not tell the difference!

You have selected some very good brown egg "heavy layers"....(RIR's and New Ham's) are good dual purpose fowl that can lay well plus be used for meat if desired!

The Leghorns are not as "heavy" in terms of providing meat or being dual purpose but they are outstanding layers.

Finally, the TSC brochure shows they also have Cornish Rocks and these are the 8 week growing like gang busters meat chickens like the ones raised in commercial meat farms! They are a good choice for rapid weight gain and as you mentioned they should NOT be fed 24 hours a day or they can have health problems. I have never kept lights on my CornishX for 24/7 and maybe the commercial growers do in order to get even more growth??? All in all it sounds like you are off to a good start! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well

The Leghorns were favorites of my grand mother. They had roosters and raised their own peeps. But i'm thinking that's not practical for me with this size of a coop.
The Cornish seem to be favorites for meat. Confine well they say and grow as you said.
But amount of space seems to be whats left to figure. How many would you raise in such an area. I have been told I can raise more in that especially meat. But really not sure as in the winter I'm assuming the leghorns will need closed in the coup.
Do they come out in cold or snow or do you just lock their doors?
 

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viper, you're not asking stupid questions!! These are all questions that we have asked also, and we also learned by asking. Ask away!!!
 

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Viper, some of our chickens come out in the snow, some don't . We open the door and if they come out, they come out. Welcome to the forum, you are going to like it here!
 
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