The sound of peeping chicks
My Favorite time of year is chick days, to me chick days should be a national holiday. The excitement I feel when I walk into tractor supply and I hear the musical notes peeping away. My husband on the other hand cringes when he knows I have to go to Tractor supply for something because he knows if there’s a chance I could come home with wwwwaaaaayyyyy too many chicks when I’m supposed to only bring a few. Now big reminder, chicken math is real, I have fallen victim to it many times. You go in to buy 6 chicks and come out with 37. There’s been a lot of hype on keeping backyard chickens, and I for one am all for people having chickens but there’s a few things you need to consider and do before you get your flock started.
Are you allowed to have chickens?
And I’m not talking about your husband. A major hurdle that can be in your can be your town ordinances, you may live in a town that doesn’t allow chickens in town, you might be able to out of town. Another town may allow you chickens but no roosters. So make sure you double check what your town has to say on you getting chickens.
Which chickens do I choose?
Raising chickens is fun but how do you decide what kinds of chickens to get? When you do go to tractor supply to buy birds make sure you pay attention to the signs on the side of the bins.
Pullets or Hens
These are your best choice for egg layers because you know they are female and that they are built for laying. There is so many different breeds out there for chicks, make sure you pay attention when your looking at breeds, Tractor Supply has signs up on the tubs of chicks. Do your research, look at what birds are going to be hardy for your area, feather footed or not. Big eggs or little eggs? The possibilities are endless.
Cockerels or Roosters
Cockerels: Basically this means male roosters. You can either raise them for meat or have a couple mixed in with your egg layers to have fertile eggs to incubate.
Straight run: Its a mix of birds, hens or roosters. At Tractor supply you can get the bantam chicks strait run, they are too small to sex them, that’s why they sell them as a mix. Its a cheaper option when ordering chicks, female chicks are more expensive to purchase
Good housing is a must.
Something to think about before your feathered friends arrive is do you have a sufficient space for them to live? Do you have enough space in your yard for a coop and an outside pen? Not everyone is going to have to worry about making sure their coop is going to stay warm through the winter. Others may have to worry about making sure the coop is cool enough for the birds (wish we had that problem). Whatever building you put them in needs to be varmint proof, weasels are horrible little beasts, I have seen the aftermath of when a weasel makes its way through your coop, raccoons, foxes, bears. A big thing to make sure your birds have is a place to go outside, some people just let their birdies free range and others make sure their outside pen is more reinforced then Alcatraz.
Dedicated chicken time and care
What does your schedule look like? Do you travel a lot? Do you have a lot of land or just a postage stamp sized lawn? Depending on your situation chickens just might be the barnyard gateway drug to more farm animals. Do you have a friend or neighbor to step in and take care of your feathered friends if you have to be gone for a few days. Do you have kiddos to help you out? You have to go in and take care of them a couple times a day. Remember these chickens are your babies, they need to be loved and handled too. When you spend time with your birds they will be so much more easier to handle and it makes raising chickens so much more fun. Nothing is better than walking in the yard and you have a fan club following you around.
It might seem to be the easiest thing to do, but raising chickens is a commitment. You need to keep them clean, dry, warm, clean, fed and watered and they will provide you eggs or meat to feed your family or to show your kids how to grow food at home. If you do go all in and get chicks and it doesn’t work out, find a good home for them or butcher them to eat.
Check out the links below, there’s links to all the gadgets you need to raise chickens.
Tools you will need
Disclosure: I do have some affiliate links on my website, they are to help support my site. I make a small percentage when you make a purchase through my links.RED RITE FARM 2400 PRO DIGITAL 96 QUAIL 24 CHICKEN EGG INCUBATOR KIT TURNER FAN 685349875122 | eBay SMALL- RESTRAINING KILLING KILL PROCESSING CONE FOR POULTRY CHICKEN FOUL BIRDS 685349875689 | eBay 100-300W Cultivation Heating Lamp Thermostat Fan Heater Light for Chicken Pigs | eBay DELUXE CHICK BROODER KIT POLY CORRAL PEN & BULB & LAMP & STAND FOR BABY CHICKENS 685349877904 | eBay 60″ x 150′, 1″ Mesh, Galvanized Poultry Net, 20 Gauge Chicken Wire 538793 99713032439 | eBay Large Walk in Chicken Coop Hen House Enclosure Backyard Poultry Cage w/ Cover XL | eBay *COMBO* RED RITE FARM PRODUCTS QUART FEEDER & WATERER POULTRY CHICKEN CHICK 685349875139 | eBay
Special tip: add a small radio to your coop, it helps keep predators away and lets your chickens be accustomed to noise, that way they aren’t as spooked when they hear noises, my ladies used to love to listen to the canadian station.