Tips for new chicken keeper?

black_cat

I got a puppy!!!!
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May 21, 2020
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I've been on this site for a while, doing research and such, but......I'm actually getting chickens soon. I am a notorious worrier, so I'd like to hear people's tips for new chicken owners! Anything you would recommend having on hand or using, anything that you wish you had done when you started out, etc. It would be super helpful!
 

CoopintheWoods

Songster
Dec 27, 2016
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My biggest tip would be to spend time with your chicks when they are young. It makes a huge difference and you will have much friendlier birds later.

Additionally, don't get a straight run. I wanted to add to my flock a few years ago and ended up with 1 hen and 5 roosters.

As far as supplied to have on hand, Blu-kote and similar sprays are fantastic at keeping injured chickens from getting picked on. It's good to have some flea and tick shampoo as well. The type made for cats is often less toxic. While it is bad for chickens' feathers and skin, it is a very effective last resort for mite infestations. I've also found that diluting some and spraying it in coops and cages while washing them can help prevent mites later. Another thing to have around is baby aspirin. Injured adult chickens can take 1/2 of a baby aspirin per day for a few days to make a limp vanish.

Welcome to BYC, and have fun with your chickens! :frow
 

PioneerChicks

Naturalist
Sep 4, 2019
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I think one thing all chicken keepers recommend is getting a coop bigger than you think. It is often called "chicken math," or more specifically, "chicken addition". When I started, I did not know this and ended up just making more coops. Now I have three small coops to clean verses one big coop.

Another tip is study the breeds you plan on getting. If you want layers and pets I recommend Barred Plymouth Rocks, along with Rhode Island Reds. If your area is cold, you could try Buff Orpingtons (they lay very well in the winter and are one of the best family breeds), but the downside with this breed is they eat a lot.

If you are getting chicks then get more than you think you need both because they are addicting and you are likely to lose some.Go

One life-saving tip is to explore the articles on BYC.

Glad you are getting into chickens! If you have any questions feel free to ask! Wishing you the best of luck!
 

jreardon1918

Crowing
Jul 13, 2016
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We researched for over a year before diving in. I wish I knew then what I learned over the past 3 years. Having said that, Here are a few things I wish I had done. YMMV.
  1. You will learn a lot from this experience. So be ready to modify plans, coop, run, brooder.
  2. Coop first. (Function is more important than form. )
    Followed by the secure run unless you plan to free range.
  3. Brooder next. If you already have the coop, then brooding in the coop or run makes sense. For our second attempt we are brooding outside. 13 days in and they are thriving.
  4. MHP(Momma Heating Pad) has been much better for our 2nd brood, versus a heat lamp.
  5. After having the coop, run, heat source and assorted accessories, time to add Chicks.
Again, I have learned a lot. Will learn more. I will probably learn more reading this thread. ;)
 

black_cat

I got a puppy!!!!
Premium Feather Member
May 21, 2020
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Thank you everyone for the replies! These have all been super helpful. I've realized that I probably should have given a bit more information:
-I will be getting three barred rock laying hens (I wanted chicks but the family wanted to try full grown hens first, oh well!) from a farm in my area.
-I will not be building a coop, I have one picked out from the same farm. However, I do want to expand my flock in the future, and probably will build one then.
-I cannot free range my birds due to predators. However, I will give them some time outside their coop and run when I'm with them.
-I do not have a tractor supply near me (unless 3 hours away counts as near) so knowing about any medicines that can be purchased from other places would be great. In a pinch I can get stuff delivered, but it costs an arm and leg so I'd rather not.
 

black_cat

I got a puppy!!!!
Premium Feather Member
May 21, 2020
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54,714
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Connecticut

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