HI, I am a new member. I am wanting to get some chicks but have never raised chickens before and need to know where to start. I do have a chicken coop and run (although it needs a little work) Any advice for a newbie?
Welcome to BYC!!!!
Okay, so you will get a TON of great information here! I too, just started raising chickens this year. I got a lot of questions answered here, and I also bought the book "Storeys guide to raising chickens" There are many, many books out there, but I found that coming onto BYC was easier than reading all those chapters to try to narrow down each question I had. You can do a search on here to find answers, or just post a question, trust me, you will get your answers. I started this spring, bought both meat birds and egg layers and have had good success!!!!
Start by reading all you can about raising chickens. Leaning section on this site is great and read as much of the postings as possible, especially all the top sections of the forum. Then decide what kind you want and how many. I ordered my first from McMurray Hatcheries. IF they are for eggs, pets, and food then hatchery birds are great. IF you want to show only go with breeders since they breed to the standard on which they will be judged. If you have specific questions, just post and someone will answer. Good luck! You will become addicted to chickens so get ready.
I'm new to chickens myself. I did a LOT of reading, both on here and books from the library (Storey's Guide... and others). Got my first chicks a few weeks ago. How handy that you already have the basic coop!!
! You've gotten some good suggestions on where to start reading up, but if you want the nitty gritty, here you go.
1. Basic things you need to raise chicks: somewhere to keep them safe and indoors for the next 6 weeks (a large dog crate, wading pool with screen over the top, a big cardboard box, etc) a feeder and waterer that they can't step in or drown in, a heat lamp or other heat source (I use my plug-in space heater), litter/bedding (pine shavings, shredded newspapers, straw, etc), and chick starter (feed). Then, get chicks!
2. The chicks will need to be inside for at least six weeks, until they get adult feathers. Then they can be moved into your run.
3. Once they get to that point, or once they eat up their chick starter, you can switch to feeding them pullet developer or even adult food. They will also appreciate bugs, greens, veggie/fruit peelings, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
4. They will start to lay somewhere around 5 months old, but this depends on the breed, the weather, the food, etc.
This is the place - I searched all over, but 90% of the info I needed was from this site. I also started in spring, and first used the site to design my run and coop. Then I moved on to the raising chicks section, read all the posts and looked for info on brooding, feeding, etc. Now, I mostly look in the section on egg laying and genetics.
Long story short, I built my coop, picked my breeds, raised my chicks, and now about 1/2 are laying, and I never lost a single one!
I did read the posts for about 2 months before I got the chicks - I think that helped.
good luck - have fun!
Oh, and for just basic big brown eggs and frequent laying, you can't beat those Barred Rocks!
LOL, you make me laugh. I have been reading lots on this site and will make a trip to the library for some books. I have raised lots of animals in the past so think we can handle chickens as well
we'll see how it goes.
Not sure what you mean by this but we have a coop (an enclosed building) and a run (covered with chicken wire, sides and top so nothing can get in)