can a newbie do right by chicks?


11 Years
Apr 27, 2008
Durant, Iowa
Okay, I know that none of the rest of you were born knowing how to raise chicks either, and I am sure that I'll get lots of great advice and help from this board--so is it totally crazy for someone who has only had chickens for a couple months to order chicks from a hatchery?

I just have it in my head that I have to get some silkies, and haven't had much luck finding them anywhere close to where I am. I read some pretty positive reviews about Ideal, and it just so happens that they have two more shipping dates for silkie chicks--and they have both the blue and red, which are two colors I'm really jazzed by.

I understand that I'm not going to get show quality birds from a hatchery, and that is completely fine by me. I just want healthy chicks that I can raise to have around the farm, and hopefully have some pullets who might want to grow up and be broody for me.

Also, these are straight run, so what do I do with a bunch of silkie roos that I'll inevitably end up with? Are silkies edible? (I'm guessing the more important question is can I actually eat a silkie that I've raised from a chick.) Do they taste like other chickens? Do they even finish out big enough to bother with butchering?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Sure you can raise some chicks!!! and silkie roo is a delicacy in some asian communities. Some people have posted that they get up to $20 a bird to established clientele. Look up the section on raising chicks here and just read till your eyes bleed, lol. There is SO MUCH good info on here that I bet you will do fine. It isn't too hard. Dry, no drafts, a heat lamp, 95 degrees under it at hatching, drop it by five degrees a week. Keep their water fresh and food available. Clean up the poop. That's about it for starters. Good luck, and DO post pics!
Why not? I started with chickens by getting eggs from some potentially difficult to hatch breeds and a $40 still air incubator. I had a very low hatch rate my first time and nearer to 50% my second time. I didn't lose a single chick and didn't lose a chicken until a miniature pinscher hunted down my bantams and injured several of my standards. That was my crash course in raising chickens and I didn't lose any from my own errors. Only others stupidity in dumping their animals out in the country expecting them not to cause problems.

I generally feed bantam or young roos to the dogs because you don't get much meat off them. If you want to expend the effort though you can definitely get something from them and they should taste quite good. They would probably be close to the amount of meat you'd get when butchering quail and require at least one if not multiple whole chickens per person for a meal or lots of side dishes.
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I started with 3 hens and I have had a 100% hatch rate so far 12 out of 12. I have a Hova-bator forced air for the incubator and an LG for a hatcher. I am picking up a set of Kuhl's brand incubator and hatcher on Saturday, then I'll be able to hatch hundreds.

Mine are broody right now, except my splash hen, but could ship you eggs when they start laying again.

I have several blue's right now and will be selling some of them when they are old enough to ship. I think it's safe to ship around 4-6 weeks old if you don't ship them at day olds.

I'll have whites available next year. I also have White Showgirls next year. My whites and showgirls are out of show quality stock.

Where are you located? I never knew there was another Durant, other then where I live, which is Durant, Oklahoma.

There's nothing wrong with ordering from a hatchery, you'll love them just the same

Let us know what colors you get, and be sure to post pics.......................
ooooh You are in Durant, IA. About 30mins from me. I'm off highway 6 near west liberty.

Personally I would not order chicks this time of year. I would definitely not order to have them delivered in a month or 2. They will freeze with our coming weather. Chicks need to stay 95F and they don't usually ship them with heat. They ship them with lots of extra chicks to use body heat. Your odds of getting a few dead chicks is very high and you could potentially get a whole box of dead chicks. Many of the hatcheries up here are not shipping out much. Ideal is in texas so they don't notice winter.
Ordering now either you will have tons of extra roosters to deal with or you will get dead chicks from lack of heat. Possibly both. Orschelns in Muscatine sometimes gets an order of chicks this time of year from Estes hatchery. You can call them up and see what they are getting. They only get bantams in as a mixed lot but silkies are easy to pick out. Also keep an eye on craigslist. There are several people that hatch out a variety of breeds and sell them locally. I got sebrights and guinea fowl that way. Both within a 20min drive of me.

The only thing I would order to be shipped this time of year is eggs. They ship great in this weather up until we start to get temps below freezing.
You got yours in a day because MPC is also on the east coast. The suggested minimum from them to eastern Iowa is 10 bantams or 8 standards unless you live in the quad cities since the rest of us are so far from a major city with an airport. *laughs about using the words "major city" in Iowa* Your best bet if you want to order now would actually be mcmurray. They are only 3hours away. You would get them overnight. Heck I'd drive that far to pick them up if I really wanted live chicks this time of year.
The problem is like I said hatcheries up here aren't shipping out much. You'd have to call them and see if they are even selling silkies this late in the year or only assorted bantam packages.
So, I'm brand new to chickens too.

I'd say (being one myself, with seemingly happy/spoiled chickens) a newbie can do just fine by chicks. They're not hard, a little water, some crumbles, a treat every now and then, and a clean, warm place to sleep is all they want. My first birds were from Cackle back in August. New ones from Ideal tomorrow, but that's another story

Just keep visiting BYC, asking questions, and trust your judgment.

I'm personally not brave enough to attempt eggs yet myself.

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