How to get started??

TLHloveschicks

Songster
Dec 21, 2018
117
282
132
Central Florida
I started my chicken experience last spring. Here is what I did to start:

  • Figure out how many chickens you are allowed to have, every where is different. I was allowed 6, I decided to start with 5....
  • Build coop/run, your chicks will need this pretty quickly after you get them. Don't forget to predator proof!Coop should be 4sqf/bird, run 10 sqf/bird.
  • Get your brooder set up.
Here is what I learned since starting chickens:

  • Glad I got 5 chicks as one turned out to be a boy, so I gave him away and I did re-home one of the girls that turned out to be a bully. So I am left with 3 girls
  • This is my first winter and the girls have been spending a lot of time in the coop due to rain and cold? Even though my coop is 4X4 I will probably build a bigger coop this spring/summer so they have more room
  • They ruined my chances of growing anything last spring so I will rein them in a bit this year
  • I will most likely get a few more chickens NEXT year to add to the flock
I've wanted chickens for ever so am very excited to have kept everyone happy and healthy for almost a year. Out of the 3 girls that I have now 2 were laying consistently until the light change and I expect the other to also lay starting this year-but who knows
I've attached some pictures of the girls dust bathing today.
Beautiful girls!! Thank you for sharing :)
View attachment 1646721 View attachment 1646720 View attachment 1646719 View attachment 1646718
 

KnightsMist

Chirping
Jan 18, 2019
42
141
77
Massachusetts
Thanks for all of the tips and support! Looks like there are several ways to accomplish my goals (once I settle on what exactly they are!).

When you get chicks, do you have to get multiples of the same breeds, or if you get several breeds at the same time as chicks, will they grow up together and like each other? Just wondering how possible it is (or isn't!) to have variety in a small flock.

I found out that most chicken permits in town are for 6-12 birds, and no roos allowed- boo :(

I will definitely share pix when the time comes- but unfortunately it is still a ways off..
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
37,836
59,161
1,312
central Wisconsin
Thanks for all of the tips and support! Looks like there are several ways to accomplish my goals (once I settle on what exactly they are!).

When you get chicks, do you have to get multiples of the same breeds, or if you get several breeds at the same time as chicks, will they grow up together and like each other? Just wondering how possible it is (or isn't!) to have variety in a small flock.

I found out that most chicken permits in town are for 6-12 birds, and no roos allowed- boo :(

I will definitely share pix when the time comes- but unfortunately it is still a ways off..
Grab one of every kind if you want, just avoid those that are too different like mixing crested and non-crested. I love my colorful flock. It also makes it easier to tell them apart.
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,017
1,972
213
Maine
Thanks for all of the tips and support! Looks like there are several ways to accomplish my goals (once I settle on what exactly they are!).

When you get chicks, do you have to get multiples of the same breeds, or if you get several breeds at the same time as chicks, will they grow up together and like each other? Just wondering how possible it is (or isn't!) to have variety in a small flock.

I found out that most chicken permits in town are for 6-12 birds, and no roos allowed- boo :(

I will definitely share pix when the time comes- but unfortunately it is still a ways off..
I have 1 Buff Orpington, 1 ISABrown, and 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes. The SLW were dropped into the coop back in late November. All were grown birds. BO and ISA were about 18 months and the SLW are really pullets 22-24 weeks now. The ISAB is the smallest bird but top of the pecking order. BO and ISAB were given to me in July or August. They grew up together. The 2 SLW grew up together. They all get along just like 2 year old kids. Squabbles but they all eat out of the same pan and snuggle up together at night. Looks funny to see Black, Orange , Black on the roost. You can get what you want at Cackle Hatchery on the net, minimum order 3 chicks. and you can mix and match. You do know that they will be shipped to your local PO. I love going into my post office to get mail and hear the peep peep. LOL
 

moniquem

Crowing
7 Years
Feb 3, 2013
680
1,520
282
washington
I started with 2 EE, 1 BA, 1 BR and 1 SS. The ones I still have are 1 EE, the BA and SS. I guess you should probably get ones that are the same size, apparently the big ones may pick on the small ones.

I really like the BA. A large chicken tolerates heat and cold well and is a good layer with a good temperament. I can say the same thing about my EE. The SS is super sweet, large and tolerates heat and cold but she has yet to lay an egg. I think they are slow to mature. I also think she may have some neurological issues as she turns her head when looking at you in an odd way and sometimes she runs a little helter skelter...I don't mind the non-laying as she really is a pet, they all kind of are.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
23,935
13,466
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
You could start like I did with American Dominiques. Find a reputable breeder and purchase a small number of pullets already in lay. Before getting birds, make certain your housing is in place. Keep birds for a year or so to work out general care methods. Then get a quality rooster of same breed and produce some hatching eggs to generate replacements. I would use a breed that is capable of being broody. Learn rooster keeping and chick rearing after you have the basics. To be thinking long-term, select a heritage breed.

You have to be skilled to properly keep the games, strive for that, then you will have real fun.
 

Ribh

Crossing the Road
Dec 18, 2018
5,916
41,989
967
Island, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
My Coop
My Coop
Keep to the same general size & temperament to avoid squabbles to start with. Some here have had trouble with Barred Rocks being overly dominant. I haven't but I keep them with black Australorps which are slightly bigger & have a very even temperament. Mixing more exotic birds with funny bits [ie topknots or muffs, or feathered legs] with standards is possible but can be problematic so I wouldn't start by mixing those. If you want meat & egg birds you will want to be looking @ larger standard breeds so be sure of your purpose before you buy. It helps when you see that one irresistible bird that you just know you shouldn't succumb to... :lol:
 

Acre4Me

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,420
7,346
517
Western Ohio
Thanks for all of the tips and support! Looks like there are several ways to accomplish my goals (once I settle on what exactly they are!).

When you get chicks, do you have to get multiples of the same breeds, or if you get several breeds at the same time as chicks, will they grow up together and like each other? Just wondering how possible it is (or isn't!) to have variety in a small flock.

I found out that most chicken permits in town are for 6-12 birds, and no roos allowed- boo :(

I will definitely share pix when the time comes- but unfortunately it is still a ways off..
Figure out where the coop and run will be, get that prepared. Chickens grow fast!

In your intro thread you indicate you are in MA and your family has a farm. Will you have the chickens on the farm or will you be having the chickens elsewhere? If on the farm, are you still restricted to 6-12 birds (no males)?

You can also buy started pullets, which are past the chick age and closer to laying age. They are more expensive, but you get females (no sexing mistakes) and don't have to wait 4-6 months for that first egg. If you look at hatcheries, you will find that many do offer started pullets, and usually you can mix and match.

You can also buy chick "assortments" - some hatcheries will offer assortments of "white layers", "brown layers", "colorful layers" (like blue or green eggs), or "rare breeds". Then it is a bit of a mystery as to what breed you got, but that would be fun to figure out and gives you a selection of breeds to try and can raise them from chicks.
 

TomZilla43

Songster
Apr 23, 2017
333
1,055
212
White House, TN
Hi Knights, :welcome. Glad you could join us:). Like others have said lots of options and considerations, one thing is where are you? One fairly serious consideration to the breeds that you may choose is the climate in your area. Certain breeds do much better in cold or warm environments. You can list your general location in your profile and that helps folks give you more specific advice in regards to your specific needs. Anyhoo very best of luck with your chooks I hope all goes splendidly
 

KnightsMist

Chirping
Jan 18, 2019
42
141
77
Massachusetts
I'm in Massachusetts, so we get cold and snowy winters- will definitely be looking at cold hardy breeds. The breeds I am most interested in right now are the Buff Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Black Astralorps, Barred Rocks, RIRs, and EEs. I won't necessarily get all of those (at least initially) but those are the ones I'm thinking about right now. I love the Polish chickens (and I'm half Polish so I feel like I need a couple!! :lol:) but I've already seen that they can get picked on by other breeds. So those are my thoughts. I'm looking for eggs for my family and some to sell on a very small scale (friends/family/neighbors) to help cover costs of feed etc.
 

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