A few questions for ya'll!
Coop is on the way and will hopefully be set up in a week or two in the Phoenix area (we're so excited!!). So we're gearing up. There is so much info out there on what to have on hand immediately, and at this point I'm not even sure how soon I will be getting my birdies (more on that below), and whether I will find my hopeful girls as chicks or pullets. Some of the resources suggest buying SO MUCH stuff. For instance, if I were to get everything for a first aid kit recommended on one blog site, I'm at $300 just for that. I've had chickens before (some time ago) and didn't have nearly that much medicine and supplies on hand. Granted, a handful of the items are outside the first aid kit (like chick-sized water/feeder & heat lamp stuff - maybe $50-70 or so), but I don't want to break the bank and get a bunch of stuff that I may not ever use before it expires! I'm fine with spending whatever I need, but I don't want to waste money on stuff I don't really need right now. I've tried looking all over BYC for a concise checklist of what to have on hand before you bring your first biddies home - regardless of which age of chickens you get - and can't find anything that fits what I'm looking for (there are SO many articles that come up on a search for "checklist"!). I think I have the coop furnishings in hand, but what about everything else I should have ready? And what would be a good "short list" on the first aid kit? Any suggestions out there?
On the feed issue...I live on the west side of town. I know Pratts is over here, and there's a Cal-Ranch out this way. Where do other Phoenix west siders get their feed? I had issues in the past with feed being populated when I brought it home with more protein than I expected (not sure if that's a good or bad thing!), and would like to make sure I get the best quality for my girls. My dog gets the good stuff...so will they! Suggestions?
Also, being in the Phoenix area with the weird weather we're having, are there any issues with putting birds outside pretty much right away once they reach the recommended "they can handle being outside" age (acclimating them, of course)? Does pretty much everyone use heat lamps here, or are they not necessary? My chicks in the past didn't have a heat lamp, but my aviary birds did.
My short list of girls includes Barred Rock, Easter Egger, Speckled Sussex and Laced Wyandotte. These four seemed to fare pretty well in our heat, had a wide range of egg colors and were good layers. Not 100% positive, but I think all were considered friendly to people. Any other suggestions? Or cautions against? I had Polish (skittish) and Barred Rock (a sweetie) in the past. Hubby wants to stay with full sized birds (though that Sebright sure is purdy!).
And lastly, any ideas on where I can reach out to find any or all of them? I've seen people advertising various chicks and pullets for sale, but none of these breeds. And I'm not "connected" enough to know who to reach out to.
Thanks in advance for any advice you may have to offer!! We're looking forward to having chickens again after a very long time!