I've read the other posts about raising chickens. I'm a city girl . . . so, I need the basics about caring for the chickens and building a coop. Any advice would be helpful!! Thanks everyone!
Thinking about raising chickens...
Congrats, how exciting!!! we love our flock of 15 <3.
as PP have said, Backyard Chickens is the best site for any questions you may have and offers so much info on breeds and housing, etc. often city ordinances allow hens, but not roosters. definitely check to be sure.
Best wishes~ chickens are wonderful pets, mine make me breakfast ;). LOL
If you are in the city and have a small space, don't assume you have to hide the coop and the chickens. These girls are so much fun, I wish I had a big picture window, a couple of lazy boys and some time to kill just watching. Especially when they are pullets! And especially when they have some room to run around, so let your coop be as big as you will allow.
I know this isn't quite proper advice, but one you'll appreciate in time.
Extra points: don't space the roosts quite so close together and they won't poop on the lower roost. Use lots of litter so the space doesn't get gross (just add more on top, but remove it if the smell gets too strong inside closed coops and hutches). Give them extra places to hop up on out in the coop. They like to jump up on these and groom themselves. Just don't make these roosts anywhere near as high as the roost where you want them to go to sleep. Really, just a foot or two off the ground is perfect. Big heavy breeds tend not to fly up, over and out. That's true, until you get that one Buff Orpington that can clear a 6ft fence! I wouldn't keep a "flyer" because they put idea into the other hen's heads.) Cats can climb over fences and will when your chicks are running around. Big breeds will outgrow any sane cat. How are your winters? Pretty mild? Unless you live in Minnesota or somewhere really, really cold, I would design for air flow over warmth. Definitely protect from wind and rain, but big breeds can take the cold, so keep any closed spaces well-ventilated.
Usually city ordinances will limit the number of hens, and that's what you will want to find out. I know Seattle has a big urban chicken movement, and organizations do tours of yards and coops, so maybe your area has something like that as well.
Welcome to the world of chickens! They are so much fun. (They better be, 'cause you will be amazed at how many hens it takes to keep a family in eggs. Lazy little.... sweeties. If you are limited to a small flock, they must be pets first, because 6 hens will probably not keep a family in eggs most months, especially after the second year.)
Whatever you use as a coop be prepared for predators.I have caught so many coons and possums.Hawks are forever an issue during the day along with neighobrs dogs.
Love having the chickens. I am back to getting 3 blue eggs a day from my EE's after adding a low watt fluorescent bulb in thier coop.They stopped laying 2 months ago. Never had that problem in the winter before.
mattemma, how old are your chickens? Mine are suddenly not laying too. They are on their third winter of laying (first year they were newbies just starting to lay). They are 2 1/2 years old. I have a heat lamp in there, but I think I need a white light.
Carol it is great fun raising chickens!! They do provide an endless reason to keep doing your research though!! Backyard chickens is a great site. Check out their wonderful coop photos for tons of ideas on how to structure your coop and run and how many birds to get.
I've been suggesting to our local feed store that they formulate an "old biddy scratch" mix. My 2.5yo Buff Orpingtons sure don't need all that calcium, because they haven't been laying either. Cant blame it on the short days, they haven't been laying for weeks and weeks. Did I mention that a small flock should be considered pets first? That's exactly why. If you have a limit of 4-6, you either have to find homes for them, stew them, or tolerate them. And if you let them stay, you can't get pullets to up your egg production. Well, unless you are a sneaky scofflaw.....
Love the BYC forums. They saved me from thinking one of my hens was dying when she was sunbathing. Who knew?
I would also suggest getting the Storey Guide for raising Chickens. It's very thorough and while you don't need to read it end to end, it's critical reference material sometimes.
Miss my ladies. Working on finding a house where we can keep them!