Where do I put the three chicks my daughter brought home from school??


11 Years
Oct 10, 2008
We know nothing about chickens. She brought home three black Americana chickens that were hatched in her ag science class.

We have been reading a lot online but I just want someone to tell me straight out what to do. We live about 5 miles out of town but it is a neighborhood. We have about 3 acres - 2 of which are woods. We have two dogs, a cat, a bird, fish, etc. There are bobcats in the woods and dogs roam around here all of the time.

First of all, what do we do while they are still small? They are 3 weeks old. DH built a small crate in the basement with a top. How long can they stay in there? At what point can/should we put them outside? We are looking at different plans for our pen/coop but nothing will probably be built for about another month. We both work fulltime and the next two weekends dh has to work Saturday and Sunday as well.

We were thinking about buying a chain link dog kennel with a top for as temporary housing while we build something. What do y'all think of that idea?

We are excited and looking forward to the experience but we jumped into this pretty quickly and didn't have time to plan anything.

Thanks for your help.
That's what I did, but you will still have to wrap it on all sides & top with hardware mesh or VERY small gap of some other type of wire. Raccoons and opossums can and DO reach right through chain link AND regular size poultry wire and kill chickens (or kittens, or anything else that happens to be held captive in a place the critter can get its little hands in). My older guys have been in this same set up for 2 years; I wrapped the sides with heavy duty tarps in winter and will have to put up real roof decking because the tarp catches water and sags WAY down into the coop. Gotta remedy that; otherwise, it works ok in the winter and GREAT in the summer. I take the tarps almost completely down, just leaving a few feet attached to block high winds that may come from T-storms. I may stack hay bales around the outside this year or put up solid panels I can remove again when summer comes back next year. Hope you do ok with your new chickies!
First... Welcome to BYC!!! Wow, that's a great way to start with chickens.
I'm glad you have three as they are very social and need the company of another chicken or more.

I suggest you use the search function at the top of the page and type in 'brooder', you will get pages of great reading that will answer all your questions.

To start with you should be feeding them "Starter" or "Starter/Grower" feed, in a feeder that is always filled. They should have fresh, clean water, also available 24/7.

A good bedding is pine shavings, don't use newspaper as it's too slippery.

I've had chicks in the living room until they were almost 10 weeks old... I don't encourage that though... they do make a mess with the dust that coats everything. But, it's been done.

I didn't see where you live, at 3 weeks old the temperature in their brooder should be about 80 degrees, you can lower it each week by 5 degrees until they are fully feathered out or it's about 70 degrees.

Have lots of fun. We'd sure love to see pictures!
Where are you (not specifically)? Some other members might live in you r state and give you some heads up for winter care/ summer care.

Read, read, read through posts. I'd start with brooder information and move thru to coop building. that'll give you some ideas you can use to house them.

you'll need chicken feed. You can order it online or get it at a local feed store. If you can't find one in your area, ask lawn and garden stores and pet stores if they will special order you some. Purina (the cat and dog food company) has a line of chicken food. Course, you dont' hae to use that brand, there are several.

The chain link dog kennel with a top idea is fantastic. They are sturdy and really help a lot. Get some hardware cloth though to run along the permieter too though on the bottom to keep smaller things...mice, squirrels, snakes, etc from coming in through the mesh of the chain link. When you add that dig down a little and bury it somewhat too to prevent digging critters from getting in...raccoons, dogs, etc etc. the hardware cloth *should* stop them. There's all kinds of information on that here.

Good luck and enjoy!!!
Here is another great referance book, Gail Damerow's 'Storey's Guide to Chickens' is an excellent guide, as well as this web site. Some people use dog crates initially until something more substantial can be either bought or built. Do a search. There are several threads concerning this subject.
My husband wanted some chickens. He brought home several chicks in a box with a 5lb bag if chick starter. Now I had these 2 day old chicks and had to makeshift a temporary brooder. Well I succeded and now have lovely hens. My girls are precious. Here is a picture of my new brood. they are 3 days old in the picture.


Here are my big girls when they were 5 weeks old.


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