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Raising Chicks- Beginner

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This upcoming spring I am interested in raising some chicks, and would like to get some people's opinions, and learn how they do things to help make decisions on how I will do things.

Do most of you buy chicks from a retailer or feed store, such as tractor supply? Since I am just beginning I would prefer to get the chicks after they are born, because I am a beginner and am not sure I'd like to invest in an incubator, and the rest of the products you need.

I have a catalog in which there's an article about raising chicks, and from what I've added up so far I'm expecting the products I need to be around $100, not including the chicks, or feed. Do you need a specific feed for chicks? Or can they eat the regular feed? I have also heard of vitamin supplement type things and am curious about them as well. Do they really help? Are they necessary?

I'm sure I will be back with more questions but I figured I might as well learn just piece by piece. I am reading other forums on BYC as well as poultry catalogs and magazines.

Thanks guys, Wyatt
post #2 of 5
Hi! Welcome to byc it's an awesome place for learning and chatting. There are heaps of articles on the questions you've asked in the learning centre or using the search bar you can find threads with that topic in the heading or replies.

Where you get chicks entirely depends on where you are and what you want, I can't answer that for you sorry, I'm in Australia and have gotten my chicks and laying hens at times from Facebook, from farms, and the last lot I bought eggs to put under my hen.

Chicks need to be fed a chick crumble, it is usually medicated to prevent coccdocis (sp) a disease found in the dirt that can kill small chicks. It is a complete feed, they will not need any supplements though if they are shipped they may need a pick me up when they first arrive, I believe theres a product called save a chick? That many people use for that purpose.
The first few weeks they will need to be kept in a brooder with a heat source, usually a heat lamp but more people are starting to use a heat mat instead (search mamma heating pad) as a more natural and safer approach to keeping them warm.
A brooder can be anything you have on hand but keep in mind they grow fast and jump and fly quite well , my chicks go outside into a fully enclosed covered coop I got off eBay at around 4 weeks old, once they are mostly feathered, depending on the time of year you may need to still provide a heat source at night up till 6-8 weeks but if you have a few they will huddle and keep each other warm quite well.

Good luck, the feather brains are quite addictive, soon you will learn of chicken math and open a whole new world of fun smile.png
post #3 of 5

ChristieB gave you some good advice to get you started. Also check out the Learning Center for articles on raising chicks, feeding etc. Enjoy your new venture!

 

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

Reply
post #4 of 5

Couple of things Wyatt. If you like the pictures of properly bred birds you have been researching, then buy your chicks from a breeder who is breeding to the Standard of Perfection. ( the poultry equivalent of the AKC Book of Standards).  The reason for this is that the physical look of the breed is closely allied to the breeds ability to perform like the articles you are reading say they will. the egg breeds have a definite physique. So do the meat breeds. And the dual purpose ( egg and meat birds) also have a definite physique.  Now most people who buy birds from the commercial hatcheries want one or both of 2 things. They want eggs or they want a pet who will lay eggs     too.  So the hatcheries need to make sure the breeds they sell are also good layers.  This means that the meat and dual purpose birds' physique may show signs of the egg laying breeds. If you want the physique which is historic for the breed, buy from a breeder.  A great way to start out is to buy started birds. that way they have been culled at least once by the breeder for quality. make sure you tell the breeder you are looking for foundation stock for a flock. That way they can provide you with birds from their line which are diverse enough you can breed them together. Cousin to cousin, 1/2 sis to 1/2 brother, aunt to nephew, nephew to aunt.

 Where to find the quality breeders? Couple of good places ( there are many more).

BYC: check out the "Genetics and Breeding" forum and inquire about your breeds. Also there are many BYC threads on different breeds. Check them out and ask who the leading breeders are.

The Poultry Press newspaper. ( website) Subscribe. It's a great place to learn!

The national breed clubs for your chosen breed. They usually have a breeder' directory.

 Best Regards,

 Karen


Edited by 3riverschick - 11/8/15 at 11:04am

Walt Boese strain and Tewart flock of Pure English  Light Sussex

My flock now resides with Farmer Karl in PA.   

  I know he will do well by them. Karl is a knowing poultry man.

RIP Hellbender, my friend. Good friend, good heart, gone too soon.

Reply

Walt Boese strain and Tewart flock of Pure English  Light Sussex

My flock now resides with Farmer Karl in PA.   

  I know he will do well by them. Karl is a knowing poultry man.

RIP Hellbender, my friend. Good friend, good heart, gone too soon.

Reply
post #5 of 5

Hello Friend,

 

I built my first coop about two months ago and have 6 hens and 6 roosters that I got at 4 days old. There is a feed store near me in rural Texas and they provided me with the 3 pairs of hen breeds I asked for. They ship roosters with them to keep them warm. So be ready to take delivery in double the amount of your order. I currently am trying to give away the roosters. No big hurry.

 

They are currently about 4 weeks old and are all doing great. I was like you and started researching early and used this website to help me with ideas to build my coop. You will be well served to keep up your research. 

 

I went for layers as opposed to meat chickens. Either way, buy only non GMO feeds and always have very fresh and clean water available. I think my email is available in my profile if you'd like to talk about this in greater detail.

 

You are in for much fun! Hopefully you'll have a 3 week old hen fly right over your shoulder like one of mine did! They are deceptively strong!

 

Enjoy and good luck.

 

Bruce

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