Getting Chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chasiekitten12, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. chasiekitten12

    chasiekitten12 Chirping

    Aug 19, 2014
    Hi I am getting chickens in January for eggs and pets. I have been on here for 5 or 6 months and love it! We are getting 6 hens no roosters. We are getting them young (1 or 2 days old) and are super happy! [​IMG] I would love some more info on their early life but take any on anything that has to do with chicks/chickens. We are building our coop (a 5x5 25 square feet we go by the 4 square feet per chicken in the coop and will have a little space left over) and will have a run of 5x10 plus the under the coop is part of the run so 75 square feet so over 12 feet per chicken in the run. Love any advice! Thanks in advance! [​IMG]
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    This is a wonderful hobby. I have enjoyed it for years. You are started out right, with looking at the space. Space + chicken math causes most of the problems!

    Good Luck
  3. alangrg3

    alangrg3 In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2014
    Rogersville, AL
    Good luck. Chicken math was part of our down fall at our last house, we had intended on staying in Missouri for a long time but then life changes and so we picked up our roots and are moving on. I built our last coop based on a simple plan, that my DW agreed to, essentially the plan was to keep 2 - 3 chickens per year once we started, since there is just the two of us. So first year we would have 2 or 3 hens, second year 4 - 5, third 6-7 that way we kept our flock fresh and younger. Well by the end of the first year we had 10 hens and by mid summer of year two another 5, with one rooster. The coop we had built was big enough to keep them all as they only slept in there, we had a 20' x 20' run, and let them free range almost everyday as well. Now that we are moving on the next coop will be easily expandable as I am simply starting out with a 20 x 30 carport which will allow us to separate hens, birds raised only for the freezer, and rabbits. Hopefully we will have plenty of room for chicken math with that.

    I am sure you have read plenty of posts on here regarding chick care but some things we have found to be true. We have kept ours in the garage when until they feather out during late spring. Our first chicks we picked up though was in January so we kept them in the garage almost 6 weeks with the last couple of weeks slowly exposing them to the cold to encourage more feather growth. Keep them warm, dry, fed, and watered. The first day offer them warm water and dip their beaks, let them go and ensure they drink (once you get their beak wet they should tilt their head back and consume the water). Red heat lamps discourages picking on others especially if they get an injury. Check them all for pasty butt - its easy to recognize - there will be a lot of poop crusted on their back side. It is usually easy to remedy - and must be remedied if you want the chick to live - get a bowl of warm water and put its butt in the water then slowly work the crusty's off, then dry the young lady off so she doesn't get cold and so the others won't pick on her wet feathers. We have found that the chicks we handle the most learn to like us more, are much more friendly and like to be picked up. You may loose some - not all chicks are going to make it - that being said out of all of the chicks that we had the last couple of years we only lost 1 and it really was a runt and we probably should not have taken it.

    As much as I want to raise our hens completely "organic" I do cheap at the beginning by feeding them the medicated starter feed for the first couple of weeks to alleviate illnesses. With those starter feeds as well you do not need to introduce grit to them as it is built into the feed.

    The litter you use the first couple of weeks is important as well - do no use newspaper as they will develop leg problems - we only use pine shavings (not cedar - it is harmful to chickens from what I've read on here) but I am sure there are other acceptable litters available.

    Clean Food, Clean Water, Warm and Dry.

    Good Luck...
  4. BriardChickens

    BriardChickens Songster

    Jul 9, 2014
    Northern Alberta
    Built bigger then you need is my advice. We only started with 6 chicks this summer. The original plan was to get 3 or 4, yet somehow I left the farm with 6. Hubby built the cutest little tractor perfect for 6 chickens. Well one rooster died so I got another 5 hens......[​IMG] They all moved into a larger coop with a much bigger run. I am currently planning the next flock expansion which might make the set up too small again.

    Once chicken math takes over... anyway... built bigger if you can afford it and have the room for it.
  5. aldarita

    aldarita Songster

    Aug 2, 2012
    Brenham TX
    Two and a half years ago we were just going to have 6 hens for eggs and pets, built their coop (8x4) and a run. Now we have 4 coops (one is a bachelor pad for roosters and another is the brooder-grower pen) we have 17 hens and pullets, 2 beautiful roosters and already placed a chick order for spring. Yeah, chicken math is something else !!!!
    You will have lots of fun raising those little fuss balls, it is such an enjoyment to watch them grow.
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    If you are shipping chicks in Jan, they will add extra chicks to the box for warmth. Expect 100% extra roosters.
  7. Where are you getting your birds? I ask because chicks shipped during the colder months typically will ship with a large number of "packing peanuts" which are all male chicks included for free to keep the birds you paid for warm enough to survive the shipping. So, unless you have purchased insurance from the hatchery to insure safe arrival of a small order you can expect some roosters that you will have to deal with eventually.

    As for care, if you have been following these threads and reading what the various hatcheries have on their websites about new chick care you should be more than prepared. Of all the chicks, ducks and geese that I have ordered over the past year I have only lost 3 due to shipping stress and they would probably not have made it anyway as they were the runts of the hatch.

    Be prepared to be totally overcome by their cuteness. There is nothing as cute or charming as a day old chick. However, they do grow a lot faster than you might think. There is a period of their growth, around 4-6 weeks usually, when they look part chick and part chicken and very much like a young prehistoric creature. But, even that is endearing.

    Best of luck to you and please always feel free to seek answers, ask questions no matter how small from the folks here at BYC. I have learned pretty much everything that I know about the care of my birds from this site. It has been the light at the end of my tunnel many times.
  8. chasiekitten12

    chasiekitten12 Chirping

    Aug 19, 2014
    We are NOT shipping. We are picking them up from a local hatchery. Thanks for all the info! Any more would be appreciated too!

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