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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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:
 

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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.
 

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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 on....like 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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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....

Thanks!
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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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I'm gonna have to think on that one. I used to start out at a temp that seemed comfortable for them. So they weren't piled ontop of each other but not scattered far away from the light. I guess they would lie kind of in a circular spot under the light and I just learned from watching and listening to them that they were comfy and then I'd lower the temp by about 5 degrees a week. I would put up a small cardboard ring around them in the coop to keep them closer to the light and gradually make it larger so they'd have more room. When they're big enough to fly over the ring that was about 2 ft tall I gave up and would take it down. Make sure you sprinkle their feed with chick grit so they get somebody that in their diet and until they're a few weeks old you'll have to make sure they're buts don't get pasted shut with poop. If they do you'll have to soak it with some water and gently remove it. If you have any more questions ask away. Ill be glad to help.
 

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They will nest right next to each other. They usually find a favorite spot. Either on the left or right hand side of the nest and that is where they will lay from then on. They usually lay their eggs at different times of day so its not like all 10 hens will be there at once. If its just 2 or 3 they will just slide in next to each other.

As far as heat they say 95 for week 1, 90 for week 2 and so on. Minus 5 degrees each week. I dont monitor the temp. Just watch your chicks. If they are huddled under the lamp they are to cold. If they form a ring around the outside of the lamp they are to hot. You want them to just move freely around under the lamp. Start your heat lamp out low and just slowly start raising it higher and higher until around week 5 or 6 or until the outside temp stays warm. You will notice when their wings start forming and they start jumping and hopping around the heat lamp becomes less important.

They also claim feed them "Sugar Water" for the first week. I dont know why but we did it. I have no idea the mixture.

Are you getting these from 4-H or Tractor Supply. Both places will have leaflets that will fill you in on what small stuff you need to do.
 

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Chickens.....

We have about 5 chickens and 2 roosters - Rhode Island reds are great to start with. There is another breed called sex-link that are also great egg producers. Handle the rooster a lot when it is young so it is use to you, being handled and will stay calmer.

Roost is where they go to sleep at night.

The other is where they lay the eggs. We let ours out and they eat a ton of bugs, kids love them.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for the useful tips- I have learned alot just reading your posts. Did some work on the coop and pen this weekend. Got the post holes dug and posts in the ground for the pen and began working on the walls of the coop. Probably going to be getting the chicks this week sometime, or maybe this weekend.

BF- We have a place here in Missouri called Orscheln's and it's a farm and home store kinda like tractor supply- I like ours better though! The only tractor supply around is about 35 miles away. Orscheln's is 5 miles away!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I got my chickens last Saturday afternoon. Got me 10 Rhode Island Red's. They are good chicks... very well-manered. Plus, they are pretty calm acting.

In the process of finishing up the chicken coop. Got the fence up about 1/2 of the way and still need to get the inside of the coop done- this won't take long though.

I'll post some pics of the chicks in the near future.
 

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Just be sure you don't plant them too deep. I got 500 back in 1959 and either planted themt oo close together or too deep. They never did grow and I never messed with chickens again.:wacko:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Chickens are getting big... I'll make sure to post pics soon,, haven't had time to even stop to take a pic! Working on the chicken coop this weekend, hopefully going to get it completed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
For those of you who care- I got my chicken coop about 75% of the way done this weekend. It's coming around very well. I have a little over 2 acres where I live and on the southern part of my property there was an old lean-to shed. Well I didn't it's location and so my father-in-law and I moved it to more behind the house. Once that was completed, it was time to make my coop. Got a pretty nice set up out there for them. PLENTY of room for them in their pen (pen is about 15'x25') and coop (coop is 8'x8' or 1/2 of the shed). I keep meaning to take some pics, but forget to. I'll have some time on my hands this evening so I'll have to snap a few and share.

Chickens are getting big. My fence around their pen is about 6' tall in most places and 5' tall in the other places. Will they be able to fly out of that???? My dad told me to clip one side of their wings so that they cannot fly... may have to do that. ??
 
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