Our farmhouse is growing! We’ve added 6 more chicks to our brood, and I couldn’t be more in love. Whenever I post pics of our chicks (haha that rhymed) I get messages from people who say they would love to have them. So while I’m certainly a novice chick owner, I feel like I have enough info to pass on to anyone thinking about getting them. So here are a few things to get you started.
First, decide at what stage you want to purchase your chickens. There are a few options out there. Some farms will rent incubators to hatch your own eggs, you can get them at just a few days old, or you can purchase them a little older once they are sexed. What does that mean you ask. Well when you purchase cute little tiny chicks, its a 50/50 gamble whether your going to end up with a hen or a rooster. So depending on what sort of flock your trying to create, that may not be ideal. We were looking for hens only. Not just because of the laying factor, but also the noise factor. I certainly could do with out the cock-a-doodle doodling at 4am. Don’t get me wrong there are benefits to having roosters, they will protect your hens and are obviously required if your looking to hatch your own chickens down the road. Our first batch of baby chicks, we got 6 and ended up with 4 roosters. I should have known better, of course that would be my luck. The next time we got them a little older, once they could be identified as hens. Another thing to think about is what type of eggs you want and what breed produces them, if that matters to you. So do a little homework first decide what breed, what stage, and then find a farm that has what your looking for.
Before you get on the road to go get your chicks, you will need a few things to get you started. For the first few months or until they are fully feathered, you should be keeping them indoors, with a heat lamp. We got a large tote and cut some holes in the sides and a larger one in the top for a heat lamp. Then we just sprinkled some wood chips to coat the bottom of the tote. (another rhyme) You can also use this tote for picking up your chicks. Once you get them home all you really need is food, a food dish and some water. Then it’s just making sure they have fresh food and water daily and refreshing the wood chips every few days. In the photo below I have linked some things you need to get started, just click on the pic and it will bring you right to the site for purchase, or if you have a local tractor supply store you can head there too.
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Once they are older and feathered, you will need to transition them outside to a coop. The size coop you will need will be dependent on the amount of chickens you plan on having. Plotting out an area away from your home is ideal, just incase of any potential pest problems. Then you can line the bottom with either wood chips or sand, or sand covered with woods chips. Another thing to keep in mind is, depending on what area you live in be aware of what predators you may have around you. We have to be on the look out for hawks and try to always have our dog out when they range. Having an enclosed area or “run” for them to range would be ideal, and we will probably work on that for the future.
A lot of people ask if they are a lot of work. I say no, if you ask my husband you may get a different answer. In theory we (and by we I mean my husband) just lets them out daily to range, makes sure they have fresh food and water, and rakes out the wood chips in the coop weekly.
There are so many great reasons to get chickens. I mean obviously there is the eggs, now don’t fool yourself either, you won’t be getting eggs right away so be prepared for that. Aside from the eggs, they are so dang cute and fun to have around. Our kids love them, and love getting fresh eggs from the coop. Every now and then they even manage to sneak them in the house, where they usually stop and pose for a photo. If you’ve followed my Instagram then you know they have been known to make a cameo or two.
So if you were thinking about getting chicks I hope this helped.