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tator 03-19-2012 11:16 AM

raising chickens-- HELP!!
Anyone on here raise chickens? Here's the deal- I got my shed moved across my property this past weekend and I'm going to make 1/2 of the shed into a chicken coop. I also am in the process of making a "pen" for them.

I'm going to be getting Rhode Island Reds- so any specific information on them would be helpful. From what I gather- they are good laying chickens and they taste good when that time comes! lol

What I need to know is what is their daily routine like?
What time of day do they lay their eggs?
What type of floor should I have for the coop? Concrete, gravel, dirt, plywood?
I'm planning on getting about 10 hens and 1 rooster (straight run).

I hear they are excellent at eating bugs from your garden- their coop and pen are RIGHT next to ours.

Also- this may sound dumb- but what's the difference between their nest and roost? I keep hearing people say they need these two things?

I realize some of these questions are dumb- but I've never raised chickens and am looking forward to starting! Thanks all:w00t:

tator 03-19-2012 12:06 PM


spiker 03-19-2012 03:40 PM

Sorry Tator i have no info but wasnt Foghorn Leghorn a Rhode Island Red:w00t:

bigevil1 03-19-2012 06:21 PM

my aunt has a dozen or so but i dont know the breed. they only have hens for the eggs. the roosters they had years ago were mean. they made it to the plate in a hurry. she has two sheds. both metal. both have wood boxes for laying. both have branches in them for roosting. one dirt floor the other wood. they eat anything including their own egg shells. they live with a goat also in the same pen. any other ? i'll have to ask her. oh and really no particular time for hers to lay and collect.

timberghost 03-19-2012 07:17 PM

Make your shed (coop) have a small outlet door that allows them to go out into the pen (chicken wire/mesh) and the floor will be nice with just plywood and hay. The roost can be a stick or tree branch for them to climb/jump up the things parrots stand on, the round stick deal. Get the eggs before they get pecked up. You got me thinking a ways back when my family used to raise chickens. One rooster used to get out and chase me around....I got really fast and in good shape from those darn things.

tator 03-21-2012 11:21 AM

TG- haha sorry I had to laugh about the rooster thing! I appreciate it guys-- I'm going to work more this weekend on the coop and hopefully have it done by easter. Thinking about getting 10-12 hens and one rooster.

Thanks alot for clearing up the roost part--- sort of like how turkeys go up into trees at night? Do the chickens ALL like to be on the roost at the same time? I'm just trying to figure out how big a branch or roost to make....


bigevil1 03-21-2012 01:34 PM

my aunts hens seemed to roost at different times, but she also had a small tree in the pen for them to roost in also.

buckfever 03-21-2012 09:51 PM

Im a chick pro! Joking. Have spent time raising them though. Here are some pics to give you ideas to set your coop up. Just go with dirt floor. Plywood will just rot and need replacing. Plus if give the chickens something to scratch on.

Pic 1 is of the nest boxes from outside the coop. Notice the doors on top. Thats so you can get eggs out without going in the coop. Chicked lay in the darkest areas. So if you nest is to bright just nail some boards or black paper or something up to darken it up inside.

Pic 2 is a of the nest box from the inside. Just throw some hay down. You will notice I added some wood to block a little light. My coop is in the barn so it stays kinda dark in there anyway. I have a board they can jump up on before they climb into the nest box.

Pic 3 is of my roost. The birds will go the highest point they can reach. I made rows out of mine so young birds can just gradually hop up. (notice 1 board fell out) When my birds are old they always roosted on top. they kick the young birds down a board. I just split up some rough cut lumber. You could use 1x1 if you wanted.

Pic 4 here is of some rhode islands reds we just got from one of kids 4h class. Notice the heat lamp. They need that when their little or when they are without a mama hen! Small waterer and chick food and your good to go.

Chickens lay eggs in cycles so to speak. For instance today hen #1 lays at 8 am. Well tomorrow she will lay at 10 am. Next 12 and next day 2pm. Then she will skip a day and start the cycle over again early in the morning. I usually check for eggs in the morning and evening. You will most likely find eggs at both times with 10 hens.

This is my first time on the Reds. I have always had Buff Orpingtons or Black Astralorps. Those are both very nice birds with laid back roosters. My kids use to chase them all the time and they never fought back. 11 birds is a lot. You will start getting eggs in about 6 months or so and you will never eat that many eggs from 10 hens. You will probably average about 7 or 8 a day if the Reds lay as good as the Buff Orps.

If your doing this to save money just go ahead and cancel the order. Its nice having your own fresh eggs though.

Hope this helped. Show me a pic when you get your coop done. Ask any questions as well.

Kansasdoe 03-21-2012 09:52 PM

Rhode island reds are good all porpose birds. Are you starting with baby chicks or older birds? Get some 2 x 2 s to build the roost. Our old one was made from 3- 8footers and 2-4 footers put together like a wide ladder and leaned against the wall of the coop. If your getting chicks ill post more tips.

tator 03-22-2012 10:05 AM

Yes, I'll be getting chicks... I'm thinking about starting with 10-12 chicks and 1 straight run.
BF- I like your set up and it makes sense. Do they need their own space to nest, or will they nest right next to each other? I like your idea and way of getting the eggs... I think i'll have to do the same thing.
I will for sure post pics when I'm done. Looking forward to Easter vaca b/c I have some time off and I'm going to get a big part of the coop done then.

Here's a stupid question for you,,, and I know BF or you Kansas can answer this... but how long do you have to keep the chicks "enclosed". I mean, how long until I can put them in the coop and not have to keep the heat on them,, etc.... Planning on having them in the garage while they are little to keep heat on them.

Thanks y'all!

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