So this next week we will be getting ready for their arrival. I thought I would share with you my experience in case there is anyone else planning on raising some hens this year.
Chickens were the farm animal that began our homesteading adventure. I was not prepared for them at all! My husband built the chicken coop while we used a cardboard box in the basement to brood them in. They quickly outgrew the box and we were taping more and more boxes together trying to keep them contained while he built the coop. We were all happy when the chicks finally went to live in their new home. Every couple of years now it seems it is time for new chicks!
We just ordered chicks last year but my girls have more egg customers than eggs so we decided to get more chicks to keep up with the demand.
My girls and I will be setting up the brooder this coming week, getting the heat lamp set up, finding and washing the chick feeder and the watering container and setting out the pine shavings that will cover the floor of the brooder.
If you are planning on getting chicks for the first time then here are a few things to know to get you started:
You will need to have some type of brooder to raise them in. There are lots of options for this. Something as simple as a cardboard box does work! I have used this many times. However there are draw backs to cardboard.. it can get wet and yucky and fall apart and make a big mess when the brooding time is over.
I have heard of people using plastic swimming pools, metal water troughs, Rubbermaid plastic totes, etc.. you are only limited by your imagination! Now for a brooder I have a wooden one that my husband made.
Aside from a brooder you will need a chick feeder, a chick watering container, some pine shavings to cover the floor and a heat lamp.
The feeders, water containers, pine shavings and chick starter can be found your local feed store. The heat lamp can be found at the hardware store. I go for the unmedicated type of chick starter as I donÃ‚â€™t like giving my chickens medicine unless I have to.
Make sure you can cover the top of your brooder with something, but there must be ventilation too. I put cardboard over mine and leave room for the lamp to hang down and air to circulate. The temp inside the brooder for a new chicks is around 90 degrees. I keep a thermometer in there too, just to make sure things are not too cool or too hot.
That is the starting place.. I will post more about my chicks as they arrive and more information on raising them too!
If you would like to do some more reading on poultry raising here is a huge page full of links to all kinds of info! http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultrySites.html