Total Newbie and the 4H project

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LadyLisa, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. LadyLisa

    LadyLisa Chirping

    Mar 23, 2013
    I live in Al and my 4H is having a "chick chain" event where your child gets 24 day old chicks to raise for 21 weeks. In September your child auctions off the 5 best chickens and gets to keep the rest. I am afraid that that is too many chickens for a someone who knows nothing about raising them and from what I've seen online, coops for more than 5 or so chickens are very expensive.I'm looking for advice from anyone who has raised 24 baby chickens... is this crazy? Are there people who might buy 14 4 month old chickens in September if we can only afford a 5 chicken coop?

  2. mattsinger

    mattsinger Songster

    Mar 9, 2013
    Davison, MI
    Pre-built coops can get expensive quick. Its not to bad to build one on the cheap and still have it look good...although it really depends on your amount of free time and your skill. I think the easiest way with 24 chicks would be to convert a small storage shed with nesting boxes and roosting spots. I have never had more that 10 at a time so I'm not an expert when it comes to 24.....
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    There are some great articles on chick raising in the Learning Center that I think you will find helpful.
    To save money you can build a coop to house your chickens once they've outgrown the brooder and if you are still concerned about the cost you can look into building it from recycled materials. I've seen some lovely coops build from pallets! Type "recycled" into the search bar above and read through the threads for inspiration. Also have a look around the Coops section for coop plans and designs.
  4. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Songster

    Nov 12, 2009
    Central Ohio
    I'm not sure what the poultry market is like in AL but I certainly wouldn't worry too much about 're-homing' your extras at 4 months old. If they are production breeds especially (those whose main purpose is to lay eggs, i.e. large fowl, not bantams) the pullets (females under a year old) would be very desirable. They begin egg laying on average at 24-30 weeks, and you and your child would have done the more difficult work of raising the babies, heatlamps, brooder, 4 months they are pretty much ready to go and will start laying in the next couple of months. You should be able to sell them without trouble (of course that all depends again, on what breeds,etc...and what the going rate is for pullets at "point of lay"). If you end up with some cockerals (young roosters), you'd most likely have to give them away...

    Re. coops--since you would only be keeping five hens (unless the infamous chicken math kicks in and you all get hooked!) you certainly would not need a huge coop. The chickens don't care where they live, you simply need a safe environment for them with fresh water and food. I would investigate a way to make a temporary, larger area (estimate about 4 square feet per bird) about 8'x10' maybe using free pallets or the corner of a garage with a secure run outside, then invest your time and funds in a more permanent structure for the ones you keep. Economical is one thing...flimsy and unsafe is another. And make sure you don't use 'chicken wire' with the idea it will protect the chickens. The only thing chicken wire keeps fenced are the chickens--any predator can tear it down, bite through it, used for dividing inside a coop or something like that.

    That sounds like a pretty cool project though--my dd has been involved for over five years now with chicken projects, both production and meat birds--wonderful learning experience and the 4-H books are invaluable, along with BYC of course! Good luck!
  5. LadyLisa

    LadyLisa Chirping

    Mar 23, 2013
    Thanks for the replies! We're not handy at all at my house which is why I was looking at prefab. I like the idea of using the garage for the chicken horde and buying a smaller structure for the "keepers" I feel almost sure we could assemble a good sized tractor at least.
    They are supposed to be all girl chicks.
  6. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    All girls will be easy (or at least much easier) to find homes for, especially if they are of the age they will be about to lay.
    Do they have to raise all 24 or can they rehome some (or not take the full 24)? I can't imagine 24 chicks. 6 was enough and I'm happy to be at 3 - they have plenty of space and I'm not cleaning up after them all the time.
    And if I had to have 24 in the house. Oh my! I got those girls out on the patio as soon as those freezing nights passed.
  7. LadyLisa

    LadyLisa Chirping

    Mar 23, 2013
    TLWR I asked if we could halve the batch and only take 12 or so and the answer was no. Am I crazy or are the birds in your avatar ducks?

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