Hello there! So, you want to raise chickens? Ducks? Geese? You've come to the right place. I am here to provide you with a list of things you'll need before those feathered friends step on your property!
•Coop: The most important thing, a coop provides a safe, sheltered place for your fowl to lay eggs, sleep, roost, and shelter. It must have 4 sq ft of space per bird, but the majority agree that you should multiply that by two- a little thing called "chicken fever" hits most people! You're going to want more fowl.
•Bedding: Sand, shavings, straw or wood or paper pellets are a few choices you might use for bedding. You should have enough to provide a bed of 4 inches deep for adult birds- or more.
•Run: Birds need an outdoor area to spend their time, if you won't be letting them free range. Ducks and other waterfowl often enjoy dugouts or ponds, but putting them on creeks or rivers could cause you to lose some or all of the flock to some place downstream. For all birds, shade, grass or dirt, and 10 square feet per bird (minimum) must be provided. Fenced areas are suggested, particularly in rural areas.
•Feed: If you are getting young chicks, you should have 17-20% chick starter or grower. If you are getting a flock of layers with no rooster, you can get a 17-24% layer feed, but if you have a rooster you should have a 17-20% maintenence feed with free choice oyster shell on the side. Layer feed has added calcium, which can harm roosters. Do not feed layer feed to growing birds. If you are getting waterfowl, 18-20% duck or waterfowl grower can be provided, but chicken grower can be harmful. If you have pheasants, peafowl, guinea fowl, quail or turkeys grower feed of 23-30% can be provided (game bird or turkey), or 22-28% maintenance game bird or turkey feed.
•Water: Water can be provided in dog dishes, chicken waterers, chicken nipples or rubber dishes.
•Heat Lamp: If raising chicks outdoors, under the age of 6 weeks, you'll need a heat lamp to give them warmth. Once fully feathered, you can remove it, because they can warm themselves.
•Chicks: Of any fowl type, you should have 3 or more chicks. One chick will get lonely on its own, and if you have two and one dies it can be stressful.
•Knowledge: BYC has many helpful articles and we are happy to help you learn about the world of feathered friends!
Good luck with your new flock!