Dumb newbie question

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by starsevol, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. starsevol

    starsevol New Member

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    HI! I have always wanted a few hens as pets, and I found out (4 days ago) that my town changed its laws regarding homesteading. Since then I have been researching starting a tiny flock.

    My first dumb newbie question is about putting the chickens to bed at night. I know they spend time either in a pen or freeranging during the day, since i live in a plat they will need to be penned.
    Is it super important that I be there at dusk to latch the pen, or is it something I can do whenever I get home for the night? My work hours might not allow me to be home when the sun goes down....
     
  2. BigECart

    BigECart New Member

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    I live in the Deep South so will not be building a coop. That means that their pen needs to be predator proof. While I plan on pasturing (free range with Electronet fencing), I plan on making the pen large enough for days when they are stuck in their pens (vacations, coming home late, etc). I would think something similar might work for you.
     

  3. starsevol

    starsevol New Member

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    My plan is to have a coop and a nice big run for them for the days I will be working. If they put themselves to bed I can always check them as soon as I get home and latch the coop if need be, just not sure if that will work, as I have never kept chickens before! I also plan to get a nice tractor pen with predator protection to be moved all over the yard on days I have off, or for a few hours here and there on days I don't work too many hours.
    I am also planning on buying or building a coop and pen large enough for 6-8 birds, but only starting off with 3. That way they have plenty of room, and when their egg production goes down I can add more. Also I feel better "learning the ropes" on a smaller number. The law states that I can have as many as 12.

    I am reading everything I can even though I won't be getting them until May at the earliest. And am stuck between Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, Americaunas and Black Australopes.
    Or do I want bantams......... :)
     
  4. kaufranc

    kaufranc Junior Member

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    We lock our chickens up at night when we get home. They put themselves to bed and we go up afterwards and tuck them in for the night! We keep a radio on talk station 24hrs a day just to keep predators at bay. We have never had an intruder at night .
     
  5. rwilly

    rwilly New Member

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    They will put themselves to bed at night.
    All you have to do is lock the door behind them whenever you get the chance so predators wont get them. I like to do it as soon as they are in and on the perches so the nocturnal predators don't have chance to get there before me.
     
  6. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    A new hen in a new coop may take a few days to get the hang of where to sleep. You may need to keep them in the coop for a little while or put them on the roost at night. Then again they may go right to it.

    I've had it happen both ways but at any rate after a few days/nights they will get it.

    Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  7. kimberley

    kimberley New Member

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    austrolorps are a good one to start with. not so messy as bigger birds and quite docile. record breakers for egg laying. start with 5 would be better.
     
  8. starsevol

    starsevol New Member

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    Thank you everybody, I can't wait to start this adventure!!
    I also plan on clicker training them so I can recall them during free range (only free ranging under my direct supervision of course).
    Kimberly, I don't know about 5...there is only the 2 of us here and that would be alot of eggs!! :)

    I am definately looking into astrolorps though even though I think I will be at the mercy of what breeds people have for sale around here when I am ready. (Hurry up May!) :)
     
  9. asuitmommy

    asuitmommy New Member

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    We have a coop with a 10 by 20 run with 5 hens and a roo, we predator proofed the run bye enclosing it in weld wire and burying rebar for the digging predators we've had our flick for about a year now and they have done just fine we don't close the coop or anything cuz the predators can't get in anyways so out chickens come and go as they please
     
  10. asuitmommy

    asuitmommy New Member

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    Sorry bout the typos, thts auto correct for ya
     
  11. starsevol

    starsevol New Member

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    Gotta love auto correct! LOL
     
  12. piglett

    piglett Senior Member

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    i trained mine with bread, i would just say "here chick chick chick"
    after a while they figured out that i had food & the whole flock would come running. you will not get really young birds to do this but once they are 12/14/16 weeks old they will all have the hang of it & then you can freerange them, that's what we did with out buff orpingtons.
    BTW austrolorps are realted to buff orpingtons. some orpingtons were taken to australia & the breed at some point became what we now call austrol-orps australia orpingtons. they are not a bad choice however we went with the larger buff orpingtons for a couple of reasons

    1 they are larger so less things with big teath will want to carry them off for a free meal.
    2 lots more meat on them too so they are better for the table.

    if you have some land you really should get a rooster to look out for the hens. the rooster will attack anything that wants to mess with his ladies which will give the hens a chance to make a run for the safety of the coop.


    good luck
    piglett
     
  13. Mamachickof14

    Mamachickof14 New Member

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    Sounds like your planning well!! I would decide how many hens I want and get them all at once then you don't have to go threw all the trouble of introducing them to each other.:) Just my opinion???;) Jen
     
  14. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Flocker

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    The only dumb newbie question is the one that dumb newbies don't ask... no, wait, that's not it. Uhh, the only dumb question is the one that newbies... no, that's not it either - oh, it's right on the tip of my fingers... the only dumg question is the one we step in... or, here it is!! The only dumb question is the one that no one asks. We were all newbies once, and that is how we learned, by asking and doing. And scraping it off shoes. :D

    Welcome to the flock!!
     
  15. Pinkter

    Pinkter Member

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    Sheer genius!! I never thought about a radio. I have been late to things just because I don't want to leave until my babies are safe.
     
  16. piglett

    piglett Senior Member

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    they do make an auto door for a coop
    it's set up with a timer & i hear they work well.



    piglett
     
  17. trey1432

    trey1432 New Member

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    Ours go to bed whenever they choose. We lock the doors to their coop when it's dark, but they do it all based on the sun. If we are gone for the weekend, they are safe in their coop - we have motion lights with the sensor able to reach the coop. I like the comment about talk radio on 24/7, may have to try that.