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Where to Start?!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Limemagg13, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Limemagg13

    Limemagg13 In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2015
    New Jersey
    I want to raise chickens, but I've never had experience with them. For the past week I have been researching what and how to raise chickens (from right after hatching, I don't want to incubate them). I already know that having chickens in my area is legal. But I seem to be running in circles and I'm not making any progress! There is just so much that has to be done prior to the chicks' arrival (I already picked out the breed of chickens I want to raise and I'm planning on buying them from a local farm sometime in April). I have already planned out how to make the brooder and I have somewhat of an idea for the coop but that's really it. What other materials are necessary besides the basics (feeder, waterer, bedding, etc.)? How big does the nesting box need to be if I have a large sized chicken? How do I clean the coop? I'm so determined to raise chickens but I'm inexperienced which makes me frustrated, which was why I was so happy to find a website like this! I really need the break-down on raising them. Any tips?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015

  2. jk47

    jk47 Songster

    Apr 17, 2013
    nesting boxes don't be any thing fancy I use milk crates with pine shaving in it and if you have a large coop you just have to do more cleaning
    and if you have a couple of dirt areas grow in one and let the other one sit so you can bury the manure in to it. try spreading some sweet pdz on the ground before adding bedding it will make the bedding last longer and for the part with hens you just need a safe place for them to live feeders and waterters. do have everything ready for your chicks
  3. Limemagg13

    Limemagg13 In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2015
    New Jersey
    Thank you so much! This helped a lot.
  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Start with the biggest, most important thing of all - a coop and run. It takes probably longer than the chicks will be in your brooder to design and build the infrastructure required to raise chickens. If you start with the small things first, you'll find yourself with half grown chickens in your house and a growing urgency to get them OUT! (Most chicks are ready to move into a coop at age five or six weeks.)

    Who needs that kind of stress? Take your time, research coop and run designs, decide how many chickens you feel comfortable beginning with, and dream about how many and what breeds you would love to end up with some day in the future. Then design the coop and run to accommodate your future flock, and maybe then some, since practically every one of us has ended up with more than we thought we'd have.

    If you begin a complex project in the middle or the end, instead of logically at the beginning, you'll set yourself up for needless stress and problems. This is probably the funnest, most fulfilling thing you'll ever attempt. The process should be as enjoyable as the goals.
  6. RaskyKat

    RaskyKat In the Brooder

    Jan 24, 2015
    Start with the coop. Here is a nice synopsis on the coop & run requirements:
    NaturalChickenKeeping.blogspot/2013/04/how-much-coop-and-run-space-do-i-need.html . Get that out of the way & the rest will fall into place.
  7. iawoodchip

    iawoodchip Songster

    Jun 22, 2014
    Cedar Rapids, Ia. area
    Took me two year of reading BYC blog post to make it happen. And glad it did. There are so many details you need to have in place before the commitment
    City codes. If any, How many birds, and will chicken math prevail? Baby chicks? Which breeds/? How will you brood them? How big will you coop be? ( 4 foot per chicken minimum) Are you ready? Free range or protected in a enclosure. Wild animal protection. Harvesting meat, culling, and health care. These are just a few of the questions you'll be encountering. The folks on BYC want you to have a great experience, but keep in mind. Like myself we are not all as experienced as some of the senior members of this group. One of my best life experiences. Just my opinion.

  8. RonC

    RonC Songster

    Feb 28, 2012
    Enjoy your new adventure and don't get stressed out about it. Coop/run is a good place to start. Think of four square feet per bird in the coop as a minimum. Ten square feet each in the run. Some are more aggressive than others so more room is better. Commercial growers use a lot less space than those recommendations but you want happy chickens. A cardboard box can be used for a brooder. About one to one and a half square feet each in the brooder will work till they are ready to go to the coop/run. Opinions on grit will vary but it's cheap so I say go for it. They do make a finer grit for chicks. Chick starter till the are about to start laying then switch to adult food. Don't buy a small bag of starter, get a bag big enough to last. It's cheaper. I prefer pellets when they get larger, less waste. Keep reading posts other put on here about different topics even if they seem unnecessary right now.
  9. SusanPC

    SusanPC Chirping

    Feb 28, 2014
    Southwest Florida
    Definitely don't stress out or over think it. I got chickens a year ago to try something new without a lot of pressure. Having housing, food, water, and heat when they are chicks are the most important basics. Chicks and chickens are very self sufficient. I started with a simple how-to book from Lowe's. It's called Chick Days and another called Chickens for the Backyard Homesteader. If you are handy, a lot of issues can be addressed as you go. If I can do this anyone can! I'm loving having my 4 girls and added 5 chicks this month when my Buff Orpington went broody. Enjoy the adventure! It's amazing to raise and keep chickens.

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