Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Shreenith, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Shreenith

    Shreenith In the Brooder

    Jan 29, 2012
    Southern California
    Hello, all! I am just starting out--both with raising chickens and with this forum. I wanted to ask you seasoned veterans for your advice. So. . .

    1. What is one thing you wish you'd known before you started raising chickens? What is the most valuable thing you've learned?
    2. Would stage should I get my chickens at? Egg/chick/pullet/etc.?
    3. Any other advice for a person just starting out. I live in southern California, if that helps. :)

    Thanks bunches!

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You'll get lots of different answers (if everyone isn't in bed already, anyway.)

    Most important -- definitely -- to my mind is, get chicks and brood them in the coop that you've already gotten ready, with electric and water close by; never in the house. Handle them often so they get used to you -- don't chase them, bribe them. A bit of chick feed on an upturned palm is fine. Hatching eggs are fine as well, if you want to invest in an incubator, but try to pick the eggs up from a good breeder and avoid shipped eggs if possible. Actually this is a great way to get quality birds. If you'd just as soon have hatchery birds, which is fine too, you will probably have more choice of breeds if you have them shipped. Or, you can wait for "chick days" at feed stores and pick them up (call around to see who has chicks when.)

    Scan through the learning center here.

    Watch your chicks -- their behavior will tell you a lot. Don't be afraid -- enjoy -- they are a lot easier to raise and keep than you'd expect.
  3. Kara515

    Kara515 Chirping

    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri
    I agree with Flockwatcher! As you are just starting out, I would definitely have everything ready for your new friends first [​IMG] I know for me, I would have hated to have to wait for eggs to hatch when I was just starting out and wanted baby chicks NOW!! LOL That's a question only you know the answer to though! I love picking out baby chicks!! One thing to keep in mind if you choose to pick out chicks, you have to be aware of where you are keeping them. Not only as chicks, but as they age, and become adults. Are you going to have them in a coop? How big of a coop do you plan on having? How many full grown chickens can comfortably live in it? I mention this because I don't know what kind of resolve you have!!! When I see chicks, I can easily go crazy and get more than I need! (By the way, this is partly where ""chicken math" comes into play! LOL) [​IMG]
  4. GhostRider65

    GhostRider65 Songster

    Mar 6, 2011
    NE Wisconsin
    Baby chicks are like potato chips you can never have just one! a whole bag is much more appropriate and fun....LOL
    Good advice so far do all your research and building before you get eggs or chicks, though eggs will give you 21 days leeway to build brooders coops ect. also plan for the unexpected if you typically don't have extra cash...... seems nothing ever is fool prof including weather, how many chicks and how fast they grow, I added a lot of extra time and money before I was done, that if I had planned for would have cost very little and not be a hurried project done out of need. like an extra brooder, lights waterer and feed pans, or knowing that 4 week old chicks are huge already and 22 of them will not fit in a 50 x 51x24 inch brooder, without alot of mess, stink, and pushiness...and or hurt chicks that must be separated because they are hurt or sick so also plan a small cage, tote or something for emergencies care........ arggggggg had I only known, also cost me 300 bucks for a 10x10 kennel used in my basement because mother nature was not at all co-operative last spring in March when my order was shipped it was below zero outside and it stayed cold well into May and they couldn't go out until June, when the coop and run could be completed. ( also plan on spending much more time building than you thought it would take, even with 2 people.......also know why ypou want chicks, if for eggs buy good egg layers if for meat buy chickens that make good meat, if for pets buy silkies, or houdans, tophats? cool chickens that don't lay alot or lay small eggs can be no fun if you plan on eating and selling eggs.
    I think thats all I can think of just now if I find some more I will post em. Kim
  5. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Songster

    Oct 4, 2011
    athens, wv
    1. always be ready to redo your coup cuz after its built you'll see something and say thats what i need. 2. chicks are tougher then the seem. 3. anytime u give them a treat make a sound like a whistle or what not then if you free range or they get loose u can whistle and they'll come running.

  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Good answers. Still one main thing I see a lot of folks don't consider is working with the chickens, and then having their own time. Some people are hung up on vacations. I'm not one of them so I'm not in the group. If you are, I would plan waaaaay ahead as to what you intend to do when that comes up.

    I've found having chickens is a lot like a dairy farm. With the cows you milk twice a day 365 days a year. No choice, that has to be done. Chickens have to be looked after.

    As was said, have the area you intend to keep the chickens ready and secure. Just takes plenty of planting.

    And always remember, there are critters that like chickens even when they ain't Southern fried. So has a very secure spot for you peace of mind, and their life.[​IMG]
  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Don't use chicken wire use half inch hardware cloth.Build a big coop.
  8. Shreenith

    Shreenith In the Brooder

    Jan 29, 2012
    Southern California
    Thank you everyone for your advice! This is what I've got so far: I found someone on Craigslist who will give me a chicken coop *free* (yay!). I just have to find a way to get it into the backyard (it's four feet by eight feet and my fence is small). I'm thinking of having an Egg Party, where people bring egg dishes and help me lift the darn thing inside!

    The coop has nesting boxes and roosts,but no bottom. I planned to lay out a tarp on the back porch (it's concrete) and set it in that so I don't have to worry about digging. We're a trio of nerdy grad school girls and not very carpentry-inclined!

    I was planning to get maybe three chickens--maybe up to five? Does anyone have a book they recommend? I'm just afraid I'll forget something. My mom has raised ducks and button quiail from eggs, but she made it seem so easy. Yee. It seems like getting chicks would be easier than eggs. But what do feed them? What weird supplies might I need? There's just so much to know!
  9. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    I suggest you ask your mother!!

  10. Shreenith

    Shreenith In the Brooder

    Jan 29, 2012
    Southern California
    I did! Lol. She basically said I shouldn't hatch them myself. Do you all think the concrete idea is a good one?

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