! Pleased you joined us! The best place for the beginning chicken keeper is the Learning Center link below - it is chock full of the knowledge you need to raise a healthy and happy flock! Good luck and enjoy the journey!
- Always make your coop twice as large as you "think" you'll need. There's this thing called "chicken math" where two chickens turns to five, which multiples to ten and then to fifty. You will always end up with many more chickens than you had planned for.
- Buy them as chicks and raise them from there. You'll always know their history and they should be much more docile and friendly.
- Ferment their feed. It is healthier for them and they ultimately eat less by dry weight. You can start the chicks out on the fermented feed immediately.
- Start a mealworm colony and/or black soldier fly composter for extra treats and protein. The mealworms are far easier since you can raise them inside using a glass aquarium, but the soldier flies are healthier. They will require a soldier fly composter.
- Use the deep litter method in your coop. It will minimize your daily chores, add beneficial microbes to your coop that will help keep out disease, give your girls something to peck and scratch through, and ultimately give you fertilizer at the end of the year. It's extremely easy to do.
- Figure out a way to use poultry nipples to supply water to your coop. They will completely eliminate the mess you deal with from poop in your watering bucket, dirty or stagnant water, and wet coop flooring. There are a variety of designs. You can check out Chicken Fountains for some pretty nice pre-built versions. If you build your own, make sure to get high-quality ones. I have used the Poly/Stainless Steel 360 Degree Poultry Nipples and the Push-In Style Poultry Waterer Nipples from QCSupply. They've been excellent to deal with.
Umm, that should get you started. Birchen Marans and New Hampshires are probably my two favorite breeds so far, although I can hardly wait for my Black Copper Marans to start laying their chocolate brown eggs. Those are my three favorite out of my flock so far.