Gettting started with chickens

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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:37 pm

Well,,,,,,,,,,,,,I am glad we got THAT all straightened out, I was starting to get confused. :lol: ;)
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby 4seasons » Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:57 pm

No big deal Jenny, sometimes I have to go back to the first post to see who's build I am looking at too. I just wanted to avoid future confusion.
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby 4seasons » Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:12 am

I finished the interior this morning. Got the poop board build and lined, and put up a board across the floor at the doors to hold in the compost. I also got the windows trimmed and hardware cloth over the windows and vent.
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Then I raked some leaves and lined the bottom of the coop and put some sawdust and wood chips on the poop board.
I also blocked off the nesting boxes since the chickens won't be laying as soon as I get them.
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby 4seasons » Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:16 am

I went this afternoon and got 6 chickens
Here they are on the ride home:
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So far they seem to like their new home:
Image
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby matt walker » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:21 am

Whooo Hooooo! Nice one 4, they look happy. Really cool to follow your build, gave me a lot to think about on ways I can improve my situation here. Inspiring.
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby TruGrit » Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:24 am

.. well done 4, I see a coop and ladies in my future as well, so I'm watching and learning .. just love the egg shaped holes .. :D
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby Jenny-the-Bear (grr) » Sun Nov 16, 2014 7:11 am

Nice looking hens. Look a lot like some of mine! How old are they? They look old enough to be laying.
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby 4seasons » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:24 pm

Sorry, it has been a while since I updated. I changed jobs and am working way to many hours now.

Since my last update I have done very little to the coop. I still don't have the run built. I did add a couple of makeshift latches on the inside of the doors so I can get in the coop with the chickens and close the door behind me. Those have come in handy for swapping out the litter on the poop board. I also built a box to set the food and water on as the chickens were filling the food and water with the leaves and wood chips that I use on the floor and poop board. It took the ladies a few weeks to get settled in to their new home.
After about 2 1/2 weeks we got our first egg.Image
It was laid in the corner on the floor so I opened up a couple of the nesting boxes and put a couple of golf balls in each.
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A couple of days later we had an egg in the nesting box. Within a week of getting our first egg we had 3 chickens laying in the nesting boxes ever other day. By the first day of winter (shortest day of the year) we were getting 2-3 eggs a day. So much for the common practice of having to have a light in the coop to get eggs in the winter. Now we are getting 2-4 eggs a day.
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:45 pm

Fantastic !! I am pleased to hear about your progress, and about the Lady's laying practice. Nice to see that they are getting all settled there, and that they seem to be happy with their new home.
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Re: Gettting started with chickens

Postby 4seasons » Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:09 pm

A few other things that I have observed.
1. Chickens eat, drink, and poop more than you think. We only have 6 in a coop that is 6ft X6ft. The poop board is 6X2 and need the litter changed every 2 weeks or the coop starts stinking. It only takes 15 mins to do and is great fertilizer if you put it on the compost pile. These 6 chickens go thru a gallon of water every 2 days. They also eat a 50 lb bag of layer pellets every 3-4 weeks.
2. Not all chickens are created equal. Our 3 Rhode Island Reds are our best egg producers. One lays a Jumbo sized brown specked egg, one lays a large brown egg, and one lays a medium specked egg. They are friendly (great you at the coop door) but none like to be touched. They are also quite as in I rarely hear them even when they are being tossed bread. Our black hen (of unknown breed) lays a large very dark egg every day or two. She is also very friendly but shy's away from touch, unless you have bread in your hand. She is also a bit vocal, not enough that you hear her a few yards away form the coop but anytime she moves she clucks. The silver hen lays a medium light beige egg less than once a week. She is the youngest of the bunch and is thought to be a mix between a silky hen and a polish roster although that is not certain. She is a bit shy and completely silent at all times.
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3 reds, black, and silver waiting on food
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The Americana in her normal position

The Americana just started laying this week. She lays a light blue large egg. She avoids humans at all cost and only come down from the roost to eat. On the couple of occasions that I have put my hands on her she frantically cackles and fights to get away where the rest when captured just calm down and go with it.
3. You don't need a light in the coop to get chickens to lay in the winter. While I have 2 windows in the coop facing both east and west and have neighbors with street lamps 100-200yards away there is no light in the coop at night. The Rhode Island Reds started laying as soon as they got comfortable in their new home which was also during the shortest hours of daylight. However the Americana just started laying but it may be a combination of days getting longer and her finally adjusting to her new home. I have a friend that has all Americana and he didn't get the first egg until he put a light on a timer in the coop.
4. If your coop is predator proof chickens are pretty low maintenance. I clean the poop board off and put fresh wood chips on it ever 2 weeks. My wife feeds and waters them most mornings and then checks for eggs in the afternoon. The only thing that really took time was building the coop.
5. 1 1/2 hens per person seems to be a good balance. I built the coop to hold 12, but only have 6 hens and they are keeping us in eggs. My family of 4 eats less than an egg a person per day so with an average of 3 eggs a day from the chickens we have yet to have 2 dozen eggs in the fridge.
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