I'm a virgin chicken keeper, and so far, it's been a steep learning curve. I bought everything I need to bring chicks home- don't have them yet. I decided to go with Tractor Supply and take my chances. I hope to end up with 4 to 6 hens, so I'm wondering if I should bring home extra to increase our odds? Or avoid Tractor Supply and order exactly what I want? I only have space for max. 6 though.
First time panic
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If you try to order directly from a hatchery, you face minimums and a sometimes dangerous transit through the US mail. This first time, I recommend just selecting the chicks you want from TSC. They usually have the breeds labeled so you know what you're getting, unlike Big R which combines them all under the label, "Manager's Choice". It's always a surprise seeing what your chicks turn out to be as they mature.
Before you get your chicks, it's wise to have your coop and run already built since they chicks will be ready to go live in the coop in just four weeks, even if you decide to brood them indoors. Believe me. You will be more than ready to get them out of your house.
Articles by azygous:
Articles by azygous:
You're in for a neat, new adventure. I'm still in the beginning too but I'll tell ya, I haven't had so much fun doing something as I have raising my chickens lately. Anyway, everything azygous says is spot on. I brooded my gals in my garage but I'm building a second coop/run to brood the broilers I have coming. From now on I only plan to brood in the coops outside. Even in the garage you end up with a dusty mess, even if you clean everyday. Also I do believe it's best for the birds' sake to be outside the whole time. I started building the coop and run I have my gals in now in November and they moved into the new set-up in mid-February; even though I began construction well before they'd need to move in at 6-8 weeks, it was still close and I almost didn't finish in time. So that last piece of advice, to build the coop/run before getting them will save you a lot of stress so you can focus all your energy on your new birds. Good luck!
Edited by ejcrist - 3/17/16 at 7:50am
Thanks for the great advice. I've been reading everything I can find. I was going to keep the chicks in our unheated outbuilding, but it will freeze here until Mid-May, so am worried about leaving them out. I'm now considering waiting until it's warmer and the coop is finished. We haven't even started building it yet.