Why is there not a Chicken Specific Area? or is there? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Why is there not a Chicken Specific Area? or is there?

LOL.... my daughter is working at TSC during her last three semesters of college. Chick Days are on... and this is her first baby chick season to work there.


We are, apparently, getting chickens. She's going back and forth between buying an 8 hen prefab coop at TSC that's on sale, or a used one a friend of mine's grandma wants to sell since she's reached an age she doesn't want to fool with chickens anymore.



Surprisingly, Hubs is cool with it - we love fresh eggs and they're available all over our local area, but it's a matter of chasing people down or having time to 'get out there' to where they live.


I... have no idea how this going to go. I am still enrolled in the School of Redneck Equitation and learning fast with their Trial and Error and Hard Knocks curriculum, but chickens????


I. know. nothing.... except I have been whipped by a mad hen when I was in 5th grade and that's a whipping I don't ever want again. That hen was like fighting a GHOST. She was everywhere and nowhere at the same time.


So. Anyway. We're going back and forth on the types of hens she should get. I suggested Americaunas, she's considering the Sussex hens. I'd prefer she not buy chicks - they seem to need a lot of care and my trail riding friend, who also has hens, says it can take up to 5-6 months for the chicks to mature and start laying.


Rhode Island Reds are rumored to get egg bound... I don't know anyone with Leghorns around here.


Other breeds anyone would recommend for SE Oklahoma?
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post #2 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 12:34 PM
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Ask and ye shall receive:
https://www.horseforum.com/farm-anim...thread-112282/

The thread has gone a bit quiet in the last year or so but used to be really active. Maybe you can revive it!

I know we can't post FB links, but find the "BYC (BackYardChickens)" page, it's very active. There is also a forum set up just like this one by the same name (backyardchickens.com). I knew nothing about keeping chickens when my neighbor moved his coop and 4 hens from his yard to mine in the middle of a January snowstorm back in 2012 or 2013 (his wife threatened divorce if the chickens didn't move)- that website saved me as I had no chicken "mentors" and had to learn a lot of chicken first aid/basic vetting myself.

Good, cold hardy and semi-heat tolerant breeds include a couple of my favorite breeds: Wyandottes, which come in a bunch of fun colors, and Dominiques, who I have found to be particularly personable. Here's some more info, though I don't think your winter is quite as cold as ours here: https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2014/...en-breeds.html. Basically, the type of comb they have makes a big difference in how hard the winter cold is on them- you generally want a "rose" comb to minimize frostbite. I have 4 speckled sussex (they're pictured below) and they have lost most of their comb tips to frostbite over the years, though it doesn't really seem to bother them.

Oh, just remembered, @Dreamcatcher Arabians is somewhat close to you, right? She's got a big flock and probably good advice for you based on location.

Mine are solidly pets, I am way too attached to them and they have a home here forever even when they get old and lay less. Others take a much more practical, livestock type approach. There's really a spectrum of crazy chicken ladies out there. Hope you'll love having them, I find them endlessly entertaining little creatures.




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post #3 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 12:40 PM
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PS- DON'T waste money on the prefab coop. It will be ripped to shreds by common predators, has nowhere near enough room even for half the hens it claims to house, and if a predator doesn't tear it up, it will fall apart on its own.


I think you're pretty handy, right? You'd be much better off building a basic "shed" style structure and connecting it to a covered run using small gauge hardware cloth (NOT chicken wire, does nothing to keep out predators)- you want it covered so you have a place they can be protected from snow/sleet/heavy rain even if you free range a lot. If you don't want to build a new small building, you could convert a stall or corner of a barn into an area for them to get locked up at night. Some people leave them out overnight to fend for themselves roosting in trees, but if you have a tiny flock you'll lose it pretty quickly that way (and I would be too sad, see above about my pet sentiments )
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post #4 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 12:44 PM
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I'm in Texas and I've had a lot of luck with "Americanas." Generally what you get when someone tries to sell you Americanas is Easter Eggers. Like, 100% of the time that I've gone looking for Americanas the people have been selling Easter Eggers. But they are great chickens. We had to get rid of our last one this summer because of raccoon attacks, but she was seven years old and still laying. They do fine in the heat but they've tolerated cold well also. They do stop laying in the middle of winter, though. If you really wanted production, I'd get a mix of production hens (my red sex link chickens were really good, although they got hot in the middle of summer and sometimes stopped laying, but they laid all through the winter) and Easter Eggers. Easter Eggers will stop laying late autumn and start up again around January, whereas in my experienve the sex links will stop in the middle of summer but will lay through winter (although you might not be so lucky in Oklahoma; their laying cycle is based on day length). So if you get a mix, you will always have eggs.

I bought Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens when I first started out, and it was the best thing I could have done. You can find it really cheap on Amazon. That plus the internet is really all you need.
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post #5 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 12:51 PM
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I saw the one in the Farm Animals section before as I'm thinking of getting some chickens too! My HOA only allowed horses but now some new blood moved in and got it changed to allow chickens(hens only)! Yay! Soooo I'm in debate of actually do I need another animal to care for and clean up after? But I have plenty of veggies to feed them! I am NOT handy so I was looking at the Pre Fabbed but good to know they aren't what they say they are in the advertising thanks for that @egrogan .

Can't wait to see what pops up here! Thanks for posting this @AtokaGhosthorse !

Adding that some of those Pre Fabbed coops look really CUTE! But I know cute doesn't work if it's not functional. And to add that I would only have about 4-5 hens...
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Last edited by lb27312; 07-31-2019 at 01:02 PM.
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post #6 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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@egrogan : Thank you! I thought we had one and I was just not seeing it. Also, Yes! Dreamcatcher and I have been talking about this as well. I suspected that about the prefab coops and saw that in some of the reviews. I think our friend's coop would be a better option and it's a homemade thing, very sturdy, comes apart in sections. We have a big car haul trailer it should fit on.



We don't get a LOT of cold here in this part of SE Oklahoma, usually one hard freeze, maybe two with a little sleet or ice, and then nothing. Highs are in the 40s, lows in the 30s, sometimes just skimming into the upper 20s. A heat lamp for the coldest parts of winter has been recommended to her.


I'm wondering if we can just tie on to one of the lean tos around the shop building for their coop and run? IDK. I need to look at how it's built and talk to hubs. The south side lean tos are made so that if, in time we wanted to, we could move the horse fence, convert the area into stalls for horses. That might work.


I'd like the Americaunas, myself, @ACinATX ... and I've suggested them again to her. She's really liking the golden Sussex chicks they just got in... so... Iiiiii don't know what we'll end up with.
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post #7 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 01:05 PM
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We had an old shed that was falling down in the side yard of the house when we bought it. So we fixed it up, put on a new roof, added a couple of egg boxes to the front and put a run on the side of it. Here's a pic, we've since mad the run probably close to 3 times the size. It was a very cheap solution and while the coop isn't really big enough for all of our hens if they were in there full time, it's fine for overnight and they come out during the day.

My favorite breeds are Cochins for temper, beauty and they lay enough eggs, though they aren't huge producers. Americaunas for egg laying, Wyandottes for looks and eggs, Buff Orpingtons for looks, temper and eggs, Salmon Faverolle for temper and looks (NOT for free ranging, these birds are seriously dim, but sweet). I avoid Rhodes & Leghorns, can be very temperamental.

Almost forgot. Most breeds take 26 weeks to mature and reach point of lay. I prefer to buy my chicks as day olds from Murray McMurray Hatchery and I raise them in the garage until fully fledged. I don't buy older hens, never know what's up with them.
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post #8 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtokaGhosthorse View Post
I'm wondering if we can just tie on to one of the lean tos around the shop building for their coop and run? IDK. I need to look at how it's built and talk to hubs. The south side lean tos are made so that if, in time we wanted to, we could move the horse fence, convert the area into stalls for horses. That might work.

Yep, at our last house, we framed out one section of the lean-to that was originally meant to be for storing firewood, built off the side of our barn, and made 1/3 of that a "coop" (we used old kitchen cabinets that were torn out in a renovation to enclose it, and built in three windows for ventilation; also used the cabinet doors to make a "dutch door" that was tall enough for a person to walk into, which to me is really important for cleaning the coop). Then we essentially framed out a basic 20x20 "screened porch" tied into the side of the barn for their run. We didn't have the tools or skills to put a solid roof over that, so we did get some help on that part of it. When we moved last summer, we basically did the same thing here, but the old lean-to on the barn was too far gone to really use it so we had to tear that down first and put the frame back up to have something solid enough to carry a roof. The roof is just regular metal roofing which you need here because something flimsier would get crushed by snowpack during the winter.


Another PS- talking about heat lamps with chicken people is like talking about barefoot and bitless with horse people But I'll share that I don't think heat lamps are necessary for chickens of any ages, and definitely not in the winter for adult chickens. I brood my baby chicks on a heating pad (look up the "mama heating pad" thread on backyardchickens) and my adults don't get any heat even when it goes down below 0*F here. The risk of burning the whole place down is just not worth it to me. Also, you risk that lamp going out if the power goes out, and then your birds are really not in a good place without being acclimated to the cold. I do add some insulation to my coop during the winter, and use burlap to block out the worst drafts while still offering some ventilation. And, I give them lots of straw bales to play in and nestle down in, plus a good high protein food and occassional hot mashes as a treat right before bed. It's amazing how much heat those little feathered bodies generate when they're packed in together.
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Last edited by egrogan; 07-31-2019 at 01:20 PM.
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post #9 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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I'm passing all this along to my daughter, folks!
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post #10 of 49 Old 07-31-2019, 01:46 PM
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A very nice book to start with is Chickens In Your Backyard by Rick and Gail Luttman.

I've kept chickens for nearly thirty years now. I'm full of advice but the key principles of chickenry are:

1. protect from predators. REALLY. No half measures. Do whatever it takes, and remember predators dig deep, fly, chew, and rip to get to those easy meaty snacks.

2. give them plenty of space. Crowded chickens get neurotic and bored and sick.

3. they always need water, shade, and a place out of the wind.

They also need places to lay eggs, scratch, dust bathe, sun bathe, they need grit to digest their food, oystershell to make their eggshells strong ... but read the book. It will answer near all your questions.
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