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Discussion Starter #1
So I just put in my order with the hatchery, and expecting my new girls to be delivered around the 24th. Woohoo! :lol: This will be the first time I have kept chickens in 15 years! So since I am a bit rusty, I went with easy hens - I ordered a total of 25 pullets, 13 Rhode Island Reds and 12 Buff Orpingtons. No roosters, not a fan of the nasty dudes :evil: The henhouse is about 90% complete right now, I should have it finished up today hanging roosts (if I get a move on, since I am in here typing to you instead of outside doing it *lol*) there was the original 1872 henhouse on the property when I moved in, however I tore it down because it was half collapsed from a tree branch falling on it. I have a 12x15 garden shed I have converted for the purpose to be the new henhouse.

The hens will be loose during the day when I am here. They will be locked in at night to keep safe from critters, through midmorning and let out around 10 am each day. The hens I had years ago used to go in on their own each night to roost, but I can't remember if I had to teach them that or if they did it on their own. My dogs are herders and were started on chickens so I figure I can use them to give me a hand if the chickens don't want to go back in the coop! (the dogs will never have unsupervised access to the chickens, though, dogs have their own fenced backyard and the chickens are on the front/side of the property).

But I had a question about nest boxes, because I honestly can't remember. I salvaged the old nest boxes from the old henhouse, and added another row of them, so that gives me a total of 18 boxes. I can add more if needed, but I don't need to do I? I don't need to have the same number of boxes as I have chickens right, they are somewhat communal about it? I don't think I had but maybe 10 boxes with my chickens before, but I know sometimes they would lay on the henhouse floor.
 

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I don't know about the nest boxes but congratulations on the chickens!
I've always wanted to have some chickens but while I'm still living with my parents it's just not a viable idea. One day though! =D

You'll hafta post pictures once you get them. Heehee
 

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Congrats!! The number of boxes should be fine. Some hens just don't like the boxes and will lay anywhere but there as well as them sharing, you may end up with a broody hen that will steal others eggs and lay her own with them. I'm sure it will all come back to you once you get going. Our chickens were kept inside for the first few days after we got them and let out after that so they knew where safty and water was and they automatically came inside at night, instead of letting them loose right away and having them all confused. Thats just the way I've always done it though. Good luck! Can't wait for pictures!
 

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What hatchery are you buying from, Indy?

I'm thinking McMurray, but we also have a 'Farm and Fowl' swap in the next couple of weekends at our local Tractor Supply, so I may be able to get what I want there.

I'm looking for either Orpingtons or Rhode Island Reds, because I want both meat and egg birds. Which of course means I'll HAVE to buy a rooster in order to replenish the birds who'll be going into the freezer.

I've heard the Orpington/Red roosters aren't as nasty as some. Either way, little man had better be tolerable or he'll be the first in the stew pot! :wink:

I need to get off my fat duff and get my coop ready though, before I can bring any birds home. I need hardware cloth, nesting boxes, and roosts. Thank goodness I have a shed that's easily convertible to a coop, because those premade coops are scary expensive!

If all goes well with the chickens, I plan to raise a beef steer next.

Hard to believe I was a suburban-raised child. I'm really into this whole get-back-to-personal-farming stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wallaby, haha, thanks! i'll get pics on when they get here. They are pullets, so will be past the cute fluffy stage (about 60 days old, I think) but I'll get them on here!

Grayshell, yes, that's a very good idea, not to let them out straight away, I think that's what I had done before, but I forgot! Thanks for the tip. I know it will start coming back to me once they get here!

What hatchery are you buying from, Indy?

I'm thinking McMurray, but we also have a 'Farm and Fowl' swap in the next couple of weekends at our local Tractor Supply, so I may be able to get what I want there.

I'm looking for either Orpingtons or Rhode Island Reds, because I want both meat and egg birds. Which of course means I'll HAVE to buy a rooster in order to replenish the birds who'll be going into the freezer.

I've heard the Orpington/Red roosters aren't as nasty as some. Either way, little man had better be tolerable or he'll be the first in the stew pot! :wink:

I need to get off my fat duff and get my coop ready though, before I can bring any birds home. I need hardware cloth, nesting boxes, and roosts. Thank goodness I have a shed that's easily convertible to a coop, because those premade coops are scary expensive!

If all goes well with the chickens, I plan to raise a beef steer next.

Hard to believe I was a suburban-raised child. I'm really into this whole get-back-to-personal-farming stuff!

Speed Racer - you and I both! I was born a city girl, my mom is still scratching her head and saying "I don't know what you see in that kind of life" *lol*

Next for me is getting a few goats. I really, REALLY miss having goats, and goats milk! I wont be taking on a steer, but my neighbor is going to raise a few bottle calves (on the goats milk I provide) and I'll get some freezer beef in trade.

My pullets are coming from Mt Healthy Hatchery in Cincinnati MT. HEALTHY HATCHERIES INC. HOME OF THE HEALTHIEST CHICKS!

If you are anything like me, you ought to check out this magazine, I LOVE it, total fan. It's jam packed full of homesteading/small farm living, I love it. Countryside & Small Stock Journal. The magazine of modern homesteading. Promoting self-reliance and simple life style through home food production, gardening, cooking, food preservation and other homesteading techniques
 

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I live right in the middle of the downtown area. Fortunately, we are allowed to have hens (no roos).

You will, likely, have a roo in your purchase. It is hard to sex that age and some always manage to slip through. I got one roo when I purchased six pullets.

You do not need one box for each hen. Mine have four boxes and usually only use two of them. I have seen two in the same box together. I use stacking recycle boxes for nests. They are plastic and easy to clean.

Two of my hens tend to go broody. I am hoping to get some good fertile eggs for them to hatch.
 

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Thanks for the info on the mag, Indy. I'll check it out.

A friend of mine already raises meat goats, so if I want some goat meat all I have to do is call her.

I was trying to decide between Muscovy ducks and heavy breed chickens, and figured chickens would be my best bet.

I'm surrounded by black Angus breeding farms, so I won't have to go far to buy a beef steer.

We also have a local slaughter house, so I won't have any problem finding a place to have the steer turned into steaks! :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Allison - of good idea about the recycle boxes! Right now I have those cardboard throw away box liners - but I like the idea of the plastic better than these old wood boxes I have for cleanliness. Maybe I'll ditch the old box set and go for that instead! I know my neighbor uses stacked kitty litter boxes with hoods *lol* I thought that was a creative one too, although it takes up a lot more room, but several hens can nest in each box. I hope I don't get many roos in with my batch - I went with pullets to try to avoid them as much as possible. I guess if there are some I can give them to my neighbor :)

Speed Racer - Muscovys are AWESOME if you have a slug problem - when I lived in Washington I kept a flock of them. Banana slugs are a big problem if you garden and live in the area I did. I liked the muscovys because they could fly well, so they could get away from predators, and roosted in the trees at night which kept them pretty safe. I don't have a pond on my property here, I have a lake in the woods behind my house but it's still a good bit away and across the neighbor's property, so no ducks for me. Good luck with your steer - once you've had home raised beef, store bought is never worth paying for again!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That looks like a great set up. I scraped out the old nest boxes I had and hit them really eavy with stallsafe (lol, whatever's on hand right?) but that looks like a much better set up, not to mention more room, these boxes I have seem kinda tight for the size these hens will be full grown. I think I'll set up something like you've got! Thanks so much for the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh dear!

See, I've been out of the loop for too long. *lol*

Back when I used to keep chickens, ordering pullets meant you would get partially grown chicks that were 60 days old. Ready to go straight into the coop, feathered enough to readily sex.

Apparently times have changed. :? And I have failed to keep up.

This morning the post office calls me to let me know my chicks are in. I went to pick them up, and they hand me this tiny, cheeping box. 25 pullets in something about the size of half of a shoe box? I experienced a bit of paranoia and called the hatchery on the way home.

"You're right" The receptionist says. "Traditionally, pullets were always shipped at 60 days. But here at Mt Healthy Hatchery, we employ two full time specialists in the field of chick sexing. So your chicks were hatched on Wednesday."

Oh dear.

I was completely unprepared for newly hatched chicks. I was counting on 60 day olds that could go straight into the coop with just a brooder light. It took some scrambling to arrange a place for these tiny babies, since they have to be kept at 95 degrees for 2 weeks.

So here they are! Only lost one buff orpington in route, but they happened to have one extra buff orpington in the box so I'm right for numbers.










And yes. My attempt at a hasty chick incubation set up did involve a dog bathtub and my bedroom closet - the only room in the house I can set separately at a constant 95 degrees with no drafts. For the next two weeks. Shut up, I can hear you all laughing already.
 

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I'm not laughing! I didn't even notice that it was a dog bath, I though it was just a big rubbermaid bin. Hahaha I think it's adorable!
They are exceedingly cute! They look so snuggly too. =)
 

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I got my babies about two weeks ago!

2 EEs (easter eggers = Mutt chickens who lay pretty eggs)
2 Cornish Xs
2 Cochins - Buff and Blue
1 Australorp
1 Dominique

Coop delivered today, and the babies will be OUT OF MY HOUSE by this weekend! They are too big for the brooder and are flying all over the place!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wallaby, it's not much different than a rubbermaid bin on legs - except it's open at one end (so I taped up a piece of cardboard over that, and over the drain). They seem to have settled in happily scratching away at the shavings and all have been drinking. Not like I was getting any sleep at night anyways. :? And since I had the work done on my room last fall, I had a master bath put in and a 12x9 closet added, I have not put down my new floors yet, so if it gets very messy up there I guess it isn't a huge deal. *lol*

Alabamahorsemom, I had the coop all set and ready 2 weeks ago, I thought they'd be going out there! Was NOT counting on chickens in my closet! *lol* My neighbor has easter eggers, the blue-green eggs are so pretty. I got 25 - 13 Rhode Island Reds and 12 Buff Orpingtons. It's been so many years since I had chickens, I wanted to stick to the "piece of cake" breeds. Next year I might add in something else. Good luck with getting them moved outside!
 

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My attempt at a hasty chick incubation set up did involve a dog bathtub and my bedroom closet - the only room in the house I can set separately at a constant 95 degrees with no drafts. For the next two weeks. Shut up, I can hear you all laughing already.
Oh I'm not laughing, my child brought home 2 chicks from school (Kgarten hatches eggs) that were that size. I wasn't even slightly prepared, they ended up in a birdcage w/heat lamp (leftover from pet lizard) covered with a blanket in my dining room! Our dog wasn't a problem, the first time he met them, one pecked him on the nose and he was very careful to give them a WIDE berth after that! :lol:

I'm jealous! We had to give ours away when both ended up being roosters (no roosters allowed in city limits) and someone complained to animal control. We've since moved to a rural area and the stupid planned neighborhood my husband HAD to live in does not allow chickens or anything else that could be considered a farm animal. The local shop here had dozens and dozens of lil yellow, cheepy chicks this week.... I want some!
 

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Wallaby, it's not much different than a rubbermaid bin on legs - except it's open at one end (so I taped up a piece of cardboard over that, and over the drain). They seem to have settled in happily scratching away at the shavings and all have been drinking. Not like I was getting any sleep at night anyways. :? And since I had the work done on my room last fall, I had a master bath put in and a 12x9 closet added, I have not put down my new floors yet, so if it gets very messy up there I guess it isn't a huge deal. *lol*

Alabamahorsemom, I had the coop all set and ready 2 weeks ago, I thought they'd be going out there! Was NOT counting on chickens in my closet! *lol* My neighbor has easter eggers, the blue-green eggs are so pretty. I got 25 - 13 Rhode Island Reds and 12 Buff Orpingtons. It's been so many years since I had chickens, I wanted to stick to the "piece of cake" breeds. Next year I might add in something else. Good luck with getting them moved outside!
They have all been pretty piece of cake so far. They are so cute... I love them!

You should join Backyardchickens.com I have learned sooo much from there!

:D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Okay I need another memory refresher from you chicken people!

My chicks have now been moved out into the coop, (for about 5 days now) with a brooder light, but they have become *mostly* feathered, and all are doing great.

The weather has been really good, it's really warm out, so this last week, after the first few days in the coop, I have been leaving the coop doors open to let them come out for a couple supervised hours a day.

Not one of them has set a willing foot outside the coop doors. They seem terrified of it. If I go in and swoosh them all out, they will wait until I step back and run right back in. This seems totally contradictory to my memory, of course my chicks before have always been quite a bit older, but it seems like throwing out some scratch on the ground in front of their coop was all the prompting it took to make them quite eager to come out and explore. But as mentioned, I always got 60 day pullets in the past, these are little guys, not yet 4 weeks old. But there plenty mobile, flying already, roosting on their perches, eating well, staying well grouped, and scratching/dustbathing in their coop so I figured they would be up for some bug hunting and supervised outdoor time.

Am I rushing things? Are these guys just instinctively too young yet? How do I get these chickens to stop being...well...chicken?
 

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Chase them out and shut the door.

I put mine out for an hour or two at a time (I generally sat out there with them since we had hawks around) until they started going out on their own and staying out.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Shut. The. Door.


*shaking my head and laughing* TRUST ME to fail to think of something as simple as that! Goodness! :oops:

I do keep intend to just let them out for now while I am gardening, because they are still small enough to be carried off by hawks, or be harassed by my barn cats (well, maybe not anymore, but I am paranoid.) Thanks for the tip Delfina!
 
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