New to all of it HEEELLLLPPPP!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jeepgrl, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. jeepgrl

    jeepgrl In the Brooder

    Sep 5, 2014
    We have recently moved to a rural area, from the city. I am very anxious to get some chicks, for eggs. Any advice, as to when to get them and start our little chick family, and any advice for kids and chicks/chickens. Actually any advice period would be great!
    Thank you so much. I'm thinking about getting the road island red chicks.
  2. First a warm welcome to BYC. The folks here will help you in any way that can with suggestions, advice, commiseration, all sorts of things...including just fun conversation.

    I can't tell what part of the country (world) you are in but my first suggestion would be to locate a hatchery near you if you plan on ordering chicks to be shipped to you. The less distance they have to travel the better off both they and you will be. Check out a site like Murray McMurray who have a pull down on each chicken breed page the list things like expected egg laying ability, chance to go broody or not, large or small bird, temperament, etc. They also have a "chick selector" that may be helpful.

    RIR's are a great breed but don't put all your eggs in one basket as they say. You may find that you want an assortment of brown, white, tinted and green/blue eggs so you will want to get an assortment of breeds. Or you may find that you want all large breed chickens that do better in cold weather, that sort of thing.

    Be aware of a mysterious thing called "chicken math". You may find yourself with more birds than you think you want. I started off, when we bought this farm, thinking of maybe 5 hens for eggs for us. I now have 22 hens, 2 roosters, 24 ducks and three geese plus 7 dogs...go figure. Anyway, chicken math is a sneaky thing and will/can happen to you without you even knowing it. Plus, many hatcheries will include free chicks in your order if it is small and you end up with more than you planned anyway.

    Almost all hatcheries have a section on their web sites that deal with how to be prepared for new chicks and how to raise them. Be sure you read those and follow them very carefully.

    Feel free to post questions on BYC anytime you are not sure about something. Remember that the only dumb question is the one that did not get asked and that can lead to a real mess. So, remember, we are here for you 24/7/365.

    Best of luck on you chicken adventure. I am sure you are in for the ride of your life.
  3. FaithM

    FaithM In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2013
    Welcome to BYC!
    Chickens are really great for kids, as long as they're gentle with them as chicks! If you really want chicks right now, you could always order them from Murray McMurray, My Pet Chicken, or another hatchery near you. I'm not sure how many you want, but some hatcheries have a minimum order of I think 15 or 20 chicks. Rhode Island Reds are supposed to be good chickens! I only have bantams, but I would definitely have RIR's if I had standard sized chickens!
    My advice would be to get a bigger brooder than you think you need because they will grow out of the space quickly! Also, I like sand as chick bedding better than shavings because they like to kick shavings into their water, but sand settles to the bottom of the waterer!
    Have a section of the brooder with the heat lamp or heating plate (is that what it's called?), and another section where they can get away from the heat. Also put the food and water on the opposite side of the brooder from the heat lamp so that they don't always stay under the heat lamp or fall asleep and drown in the waterer.
    Also make sure to hold the chicks often. When they first get home and into the brooder though, you and your kids can just stick your hands in the brooder and stay still like that so that they get used to your hands. After they get used to your hands, they'll start to stand on your palm, then you can begin to lift them up slowly and if they get scared and jump off, start again just putting your hand in there.
    I just got my first chicks last spring, so all of the research I did is still fresh in my mind! I now have 6 healthy chickens that should begin laying any day now! :)
    Just ask if you need any more help!
  4. Just a word of caution about chicks and children. Especially very young children. Chicks are hardy but delicate and can be injured very easily when they are only a day or two old. A simple jump from a hand only a few feed off the ground and permanently injure or kill a day old chick.

    I do encourage interacting with your chicks early on and making sure they know they are safe around you and your family. I do this with all my birds and as a result they come to me when they see me, the call to me when they want something. My geese follow me around like little puppy dogs.

    But, if you plan on having the chickens for meat birds as well there can be issues with children bonding with them and then having to deal with why their favorite hen is on the table for dinner.

    So, use your judgement and move forward.

    Also, and this is very important with young children, the issue of hygiene. Chickens, as cute as they are, can carry/do carry some bacteria's that can be very dangerous. Make absolutely certain the your children know they the MUST wash their hands with soap and water after handling the chicks. Not to stick their fingers in their mouth or rub their eyes before they have washed up. I keep hand sanitizer every where I might come in contact with chickens and/or eggs just to be on the safe side. Better to err on the side of caution.
  5. jeepgrl

    jeepgrl In the Brooder

    Sep 5, 2014
    Thank you everyone for such great advice! I am very excited about doing this. I have a 2 year old and 4 year old, they are VERY excited as well. We probably won't get them until spring so that we don't have to worry about winter until they are nice and big. I know its a "newbie" question, but is the difference in the egg colors? I have been wondering this for a while, I have had several people tell me I want chickens that lay brown eggs, why?
  6. JessicaThistle

    JessicaThistle Songster

    Mar 27, 2014
    I got my first chickens this last spring and I absolutely love it! As crazy as this sounds, I think they were the missing link for me. They are hilarious and provide great stress reduction. I got my chicks at two local feed stores. I have Barred Rock, Buff Orpingtons, Easter Eggers (sold to me as Araucana) and Silkies. The Barred Rock and Orpingtons lay light brown to almost pink eggs. The Easter Eggers add some super beautiful light green and blue eggs and the Silkies lay a cream egg. All of my chickens are friendly and social because we have hand raised them with lots of interaction and touch. I can pet and hold every one of my chickens.

    Now for the advice: read every thread that you can muster on this forum over the winter to prepare yourself. I have noticed some people buy their chicks and come here freaking out that they don't know what to do. Arm yourself with the information before you get your chicks so it isn't a foreign situation. Study the breeds pages to find the right breeds for you.

    When you go to a feed store and look at the bins, pullets are sexed to be girls and the straight run bin is mixed pullets and roosters with a heavy emphasis on roosters. On your first go round, I would personally stay away from the straight run bin unless you are prepared for and can have roosters. I share this because this is something that I didn't know until I arrived at the feed store.

    The last piece of advice I have at the moment is that if you have any question about anything chicken related, post it! Everyone here on BYC is a wealth of information!
  7. The only real difference in eggs colors is the color of the shell. And egg is an egg is an egg. Duck eggs and goose eggs are different but all chicken eggs are essentially the same with the exception of size and color of the shell. White egg layers include Leghorns, Andalusians, Buttercups, Fayoumis, Hollands, Hamburgs and several others. For brown eggs you have Rhode Island Reds, Orpingtons, Javas, Faverolles, Cochins, Rocks, Wyandottes and others to choose from. If you want colored eggs (blues, greens, pinks, tinted, etc.) then you have Dorkings, Cubalayas, Sumatras, Ameraucanas etc. You might want to mix your flock and get an assortment. This can be fun for the kids (the whole green eggs and ham thing) and is just plain pretty to look at. Also you will want to consider the weather where you live. Some breeds do really well in warm weather and not in cold and vice-a-versa. Then there are some that seem to do well no matter what the temp is. Some hens will lay an egg every few days and some will lay an egg pretty much every day come rain or, how many eggs do you hope to get? All very important things to consider when deciding what to get.

    Read the breed sections of BYC...they will help a lot...and include the kids in the process. It will be a real learning experience for them.
    1 person likes this.
  8. jeepgrl

    jeepgrl In the Brooder

    Sep 5, 2014
    Thank you everyone for your amazing help and advice!

    This past Sunday, we decided to get them. I found a woman on craiglist that does it in her backyard. We ended up getting 2 RIR (1 week old), and 2 silver laced Wyandotte (3 weeks old), all females. My 2 girls were so excited! We stopped at the feed store on our way home and got a heat lamp, bedding, food, and feeder. We are currently using a rubbermaid tote with a screen on top of it. I have been trying to hold them or stick my hand in and touch them 3-4 times a day to get them used to being handled. They are doing quite well so far. We are looking to start working on our coop this weekend. I can't wait. It's fun doing all of the research and trying to figure out what we want to do for ours!

    SOOOOO....What are your favorite features about your chicken coops?!
  9. Nice combo of breeds...they will provide you with plenty of eggs and entertainment as you go forward. As for the coop. Make sure the roosts are higher than the nest boxes. Nest boxes should be 12-18 inches above the floor level. You can hold off for a while on prepping the nest boxes for laying to discourage them using them to sleep in. Eventually you may want to put a fake egg in each box so they can figure out what they are for. Depending on the weather there you may be able to move them to the coop in the next 3-4 weeks, you want the lowest temp outside to match the warmest temp they have in their brooder but try to avoid too much heat. Food and water of the for in the coop there are many opinions about that. I put water in the coop for my girls but not food overnight. Make sure the coop and run area are as predator proof as you can make them.

    Your Wyandottes may start to lay in about 16 or 17 weeks...the RIRs will be a little after that in about 19 weeks. Winter weather may slow the laying process so don't be to concerned if it takes longer.

    The tote is fine for now but they are going to grow a lot faster than you think so plan for that in constructing the coop and when it will be done.

    Good luck, enjoy your birds, they are a real pleasure and treasure.
  10. jeepgrl

    jeepgrl In the Brooder

    Sep 5, 2014
    That is some awesome information! Thank you so much! My husband and I are in the process of planning it now, so hopefully it will be done in time ha ha!

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