New to BYC

aim0620

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
12
6
24
The building of our coop will start tomorrow..We are repurposing our wooden playset that my kids have outgrown. I have been researching as much as I can in the past few weeks getting ready to pick them out. We're going to try to start with three, even though most local stores only sell a minimum of 6. I don't think we're ready for that many. We're in NJ and the weather is not exactly spring-like yet and I really don't want to keep the baby chicks indoors for long as I don't have a lot of room in my house, so I was thinking about purchasing 1-2 month old chickens. this way we still have time to get to know them before they go out, have time to finish the coop and hopefully they'll stay warm enough..Any thoughts?
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,942
61,699
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

The choice is yours as to starting with older birds or chicks. I like chicks because you can bond with them easier and you know where they have been and how they have been cared for. However raising them inside can be rough what with all the dander and all. Older birds will be laying quicker and can go outside, but they sometimes require more work to tame them down.

Which ever way you go, I wish you all the best and may your chickens bring you great joy! Welcome to our flock!
 

chikenscratch

Songster
7 Years
Feb 27, 2012
1,678
104
206
NE Illinois/SE Wisconsin
The building of our coop will start tomorrow..We are repurposing our wooden playset that my kids have outgrown. I have been researching as much as I can in the past few weeks getting ready to pick them out. We're going to try to start with three, even though most local stores only sell a minimum of 6. I don't think we're ready for that many. We're in NJ and the weather is not exactly spring-like yet and I really don't want to keep the baby chicks indoors for long as I don't have a lot of room in my house, so I was thinking about purchasing 1-2 month old chickens. this way we still have time to get to know them before they go out, have time to finish the coop and hopefully they'll stay warm enough..Any thoughts?
Welcome to BYC!

Personally, I prefer to have a broody hen hatch and raise the chicks. The longer they are indoors, the dustier it gets. Having the hen raise them eliminates the need for heat, maintenance, supervising eating, and teaching them how to do everything. But in your case, I'd go with the chicks. The older ones have had a chance to be exposed to illnesses, mites, etc.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Good luck with the coop build! Like the posters above said there are +/- to both, chicks are really cute and fun to have and they tend to grow into tamer chickens if you work with them from the beginning, and you can often find chicks of breeds you can't find as older birds, but they are a lot more work and are more delicate...
With older birds, they don't tend to be as tame since they usually have not been treated like pets, but on the other hand getting eggs four or five months sooner with older birds is really nice, if you work with them, especially bribing them with food, they usually do come around and and become friendly.... You might check what is available in your area, check/post in your state thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/270925/find-your-states-thread and look at the BST forum if anything is available in your area that sounds like what you want www.backyardchickens.com/f/67/buy-sell-trade and your local Craigslist will often have hens for sale ...... If you find some birds don't be afraid to ask questions on BYC about what you are looking at, posting pictures might be a good idea if you can get them ahead of time (way too many people wind up buying young roosters)
 

sumi

Égalité
Staff member
Premium member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,157
25,173
1,302
Tipperary, Ireland
Welcome to BYC
Once the chicks are fully feathered (takes ± 7 weeks) they should be able to regulate their body temperature and can stay outside full time. A small number of chicks wouldn't make too much mess or work for you while they are in the brooder and would allow for you to bond with them while they grow up.
 

aim0620

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
12
6
24
Thank you all for your input..helpful indeed!! Still working on the coop and it's coming out GREAT. We don't have a lot of space here so I'm thinking we'll start with three and see how we do. I have a few friends who own in town and some have heat lamps(for their full grown hens) and some don't use them. The ones who do say they need the extra heat (we had a cold winter) and others say they need to acclimate to colder temps. We were thinking we'd install one for the really cold days/nights but maybe not use it all the time. i'm just concerned that if they get used to the extra warmth in the winter that if the power went out they might die.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,942
61,699
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you all for your input..helpful indeed!! Still working on the coop and it's coming out GREAT. We don't have a lot of space here so I'm thinking we'll start with three and see how we do. I have a few friends who own in town and some have heat lamps(for their full grown hens) and some don't use them. The ones who do say they need the extra heat (we had a cold winter) and others say they need to acclimate to colder temps. We were thinking we'd install one for the really cold days/nights but maybe not use it all the time. i'm just concerned that if they get used to the extra warmth in the winter that if the power went out they might die.
Chickens can acclimate to the coldest of temps in the winter and adding heat is not good for them. As long as they are in a draft free coop, with good ventilation in the ceiling or eaves of your coop so all the moisture from the pooping and breathing can escape, your birds can survive sub zero temps in the winter. And yes, birds kept under heat all winter, should the power go out, or the lamps burn out, the birds can freeze to death. Birds kept under heat all winter can not go out side at all during the cold, and get far more respiratory ailments than those birds that do not have heat. They should be able to get outside every day in the winter, no matter the temp. There may be a few nights that you might need to add heat...if the over night low is going to be -40 or something. But generally they can tolerate below zero temps just fine.

So just build your coop well with good venting and you won't need to heat or rarely add heat to your coop. Your birds will do so much better adjusting to the cold winters naturally. :)
 

redpennies15

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 30, 2014
180
12
91
Jasper, Texas
When I was first reading up on cold/heat tolerance, I came across a kind of "rule of thumb" that large-bodied chicken breeds handle cold better and smaller-bodied chickens handle heat better...sorry I can't be more specific. Now that I want to look at that thread again, I can't find it!

I think it's great that you're repurposing the playset for a chicken coop! And I think you'll find that 3-6 chickens are quite easy to handle. I've got 6 red sex links that are about 6 weeks old. They are anxious to join the older birds in my flock, but they really don't cause much trouble.

Since you're concerned about space in your house, it may be easier to start with young chicks in something like a rubbermaid tote box, No. 2 washtub, or indoor rabbit cage and move them outside when they are teenagers and no longer need the heat lamp.

Here are some photos when our hens/guineas were little!
Indoor Rabbit Cage
No. 2 Washtub

Good luck!
 
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