First year with chickens!


5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
Decatur, Illinois
Hello, I am a newbie to all of this! I moved from Chicago not long ago and ended up in the country. And what better to do with a new farmhouse and 5 acres? Get chicks! (and I, oops, got two turkeys too because they were just so sweet and I have worked with turkeys before. I told my DH after I got home...) So any advice is well welcome. I am working on the coop while the chicks grow up a little and get ready for outside. Any advice on coop must have/have nots? I may not be able to have electricity in the coop for a couple of months. Problems arising from that? I have done a lot of research but nothing like hearing from the folks that do it all themselves. Oh, one more thing... is it terrible killing and eating the first one? I am worried. BJ (DH) says he wouldn't have a problem doing it, but I just don't know! You spend time with them and love them and talk to them, and then...
Thanks all! Anni

Welcome to BYC!

Good luck with the coop build! The best advice I can give you is build bigger than you think you need. Not only will the chickens appreciate more space, but eventually you want more birds! Make sure to incorporate good venting in the eaves or ceiling. They say about 1 square foot per bird. You will want the birds to roost low to the floor in quiet air. All the moisture from the pooping and breathing will rise up and out these vents instead of falling back down as water or frost, making the birds very cold or frost bitten. You can tack an old towel on the roost bar late this coming fall to help keep the feet warm. Warm feet mean warmer birds.

Electricity is needed for fans in the summer or heat lamps in the winter. If you don't have any electricity this summer and need to run fans, you can always string up an extension cord for temp power.

If you run into any issues during your build, you can stop by our Coop Construction Forums and ask questions there for help...

If you need any tips and hints on raising your new chicks, stop by our learning center for lots of good reads on all the aspects of keeping poultry....

Great to have you aboard and welcome to our flock!
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! TwoCrows gave you some nice links and advice to get you started, there are also quite a few threads on the idea of what I would change if I did my coop over, ie here is a long one and here is a thread with a lot of winterizing tips that you may want to prepare for with those Illinois winters And it is always fun to check out your state thread for chicken keeping neighbors

You might like to check out the Meat Birds section With processing and eating your first birds, if you always keep it in your mind what they are destined for, are prepared ahead of time for it, don't make real pets out of them etc, it may be quite sad, but it isn't really terrible, it is more like you accept the idea that this is what the birds are there for ... one thing I do like is starting with a real meat bird or two, cornish cross types, those tend to be so extreme in their growth and size that they really "have" to be butchered as the kindest thing for them when they hit size, you don't tend to get as attached to birds you have such a short time and have the temperaments and looks they do.
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan

The only time I have found electricity really necessary is for water in the winter.

Yes it is hard killing them, but it can be necessary and you do get more used to it.
Good luck with your poultry raising adventures, and I hope you find everything you need to know. Don't forget to take a look at BYC's very useful learning center (If you haven't already)! The learning center as well as the forum should answer your questions! There is always something new to learn! Glad to have you here! See you around with the flock.
Kelsie brought up some good points in regard to 'processing,'. If you put that in the search box, I think a lot of threads will pop up.

In some areas farmers run "processing" classes or workshops explaining every step. From what I have heard, not everybody actively participates - some decide they will hire someone to do the deed. Others may repeat the class and become more comfortable with the act.

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