Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by tiggirl, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. tiggirl

    tiggirl Just Hatched

    Sep 5, 2016
    Toms River, NJ
    Hi everyone. My name is Melissa. Just recently, we started thinking about beginning to raise chickens. I have a few friends that have done it and I want to get all the information possible to be successful before I jump in. Id love the eggs and I know my youngest would thrive from the experience. I'm not sure the right way to go about it so I'd like to get all the help I can, like, when is the right season to begin? We live in NJ. When to get the babies, and do you urease them after they are hatched or purchase the eggs and incubate? I'm seeing that there are so many different opinions when googling so I decided to join the forum and ask for help. Thank you all.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC. Click on the 'Learning Center' at the top of the page. Then search the forums, question away, plan and you will be set to go in the spring.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    One of the really big problems on this forum and in raising chickens is that there is no one way to do practically anything. There are so many different ways to go about it that any time someone tells you to do something a certain way someone else will tell you to do it another way. They are both right, they pretty much all work. One of your challenges when trying to decide what advice to take is to try to find someone with your general goals or conditions so their response actually applies to you. If someone is raising a bunch of chickens free range with meat as a primary goal and you will have a few hens for eggs in a small enclosure in suburbia, their advice may not really apply to you.

    Another problem with people starting out is that they don’t have to experience to even know what they really want, at least in detail. That’s not just a rookie problem either, experienced people sometimes change their minds on what they want. I know I have. One thing that helps me is to write down what your goals are, why do you want chickens. You need to stay flexible too because some of that will probably change once you get them and experience them. Like any good journey there are a few unexpected curves in the road.

    Why do you want chickens? Pets, eggs, meat, to show, bug control, to breed, eye candy, education for youngsters, some combination of these or something else. This might help you decide flock make-up or breeds. If you are going to hatch your eggs you need a rooster, otherwise you don’t need one but might want one anyway. How big of a flock do you want? All kinds of questions but this might help you firm up a few things in your mind.

    There are many ways to start a flock. You can buy older birds, point of lay pullets for example. At least this way you can be sure of sex. That might be important to you. You can get an incubator and fertile eggs and hatch your own. The fertile eggs can be purchased online from other people, from a hatchery, or you can get some from your neighbors. You don’t know how many will hatch or what sex they will be though. If you do this, you need a plan to handle the cockerels.

    You can order day-old chicks from a hatchery, often they’ll sex them for you, but there is a chance you can still get a cockerel. You can usually pick up some chicks at a nearby feed store. Different feed stores have different bins that you can get chicks from, possibly sorted by breed color, or sex. Often these are just available in the spring. You may be able to get chicks from your neighbors but they will probably be unsexed.

    I’m sure I’m missing some options, there are so many variations off of these basic options. People use all of them.

    Some of us hatch and raise chicks year-around, but for many the easiest time to raise chicks is in the spring when it has started to warm up. Some of us brood chicks outside, even in the dead of winter. There are a few challenges to that, especially if you don’t have much experience. If you brood in the house the outside weather is less important. For you starting out, I’d think springtime.

    One of my suggestions is to go to the Learning Center at the top of this page and read articles that catch your interest. There is a lot of good information up there but remember, that is just one person’s opinion. You are likely to get conflicting advice from someone else with different goals or experiences. Flexibility really does help.

    Another good thing to do is become an active member of this forum. Read different posts and ask questions. If you start a thread, put enough specific information in the thread title to attract the attention of the people you want. A thread titled “looking if chicks in NJ” might get you better readers than one titled “looking for chicks”. Never be afraid to ask any question, we all have to start somewhere.

    It can be a fun journey but it is also a commitment. After all you are taking in living animals. I wish you luck!
    2 people like this.
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Howdy from Kansas, Melissa, and :welcome. Pleased you joined our flock. I think Ridgerunner said it well. Best of luck to you!
  6. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

    Apr 24, 2016
  7. tiggirl

    tiggirl Just Hatched

    Sep 5, 2016
    Toms River, NJ
    Thank you everyone. I plan on doing a ton of research. First and foremost I need to find out if I need permits in my area, and then I need to invest in the set up of everything that's needed to properly raise them. I want to be ready by Spring. I'm sure you'll see me on here with many questions as our journey continues.
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to BYC
  9. tiggirl

    tiggirl Just Hatched

    Sep 5, 2016
    Toms River, NJ
    Hi everyone. So we are beginning our journey right now. We are researching and planning our coop first. I've had a lot of help on here which is awesome. Combining that with YouTube videos and I think we have a good grasp. A few questions still and I'm sure I'll have many more once we actuality get the chicks.
    Can anyone help with knowledge of what concerns we should have? I'm looking for the friendliest and most affectionate, as we want them not only for eggs, but for pets and I have children. And also I've read up on viruses and vaccinations that are necessary?
  10. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Just read up on everything you can.

    Lots of people like to ask what the best breed is. There really isn't any one best breed. Most of the common breeds make good pets and layers. How friendly they are will depend largely on how much you handle them. The "friendly" breeds just require a lot less handling than the "flighty" breeds to make them calm and friendly. Any of the common backyard breeds available from hatcheries will be good layers. Personally my favorites for pet/layers are Black Sex Links, Red Sex Links, New Hampshires, Barred Rocks, Delawares, Wyandottes, Sussex, Brahmas, Cochins, and Easter Eggers.

    Don't get straight run (unsexed) chicks unless you are very comfortable butchering excess cockerels.

    Vaccinations are certainly recommended. The typical one is Marek's, sometimes Cocci is given as well. Marek's may not be necessary in all cases (it's largely a location-based concern) but it's not going to hurt them, and may even save their lives.

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