Baby Chicks 101 (BEFORE You Buy)

Chickens are one of the easiest animals to raise. If you have successfully raised a human or a puppy raising these feathered friends will be a breeze! Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Things to think about before purchasing your chicks!

  • What will they be used for? Eggs, meat or both? This is very important – different breeds of chickens are good for different things. If you want a cute bird to cuddle with that gives you some eggs you may consider Silkie chickens. They are fluffy and friendly but lay very small eggs and only about 100-150 per year. If you want specific colors of eggs that will lead you to different breeds as well. There are many options for duel-purpose and meat chickens too. Just make sure you can actually follow through with butchering them.
  • Can you even have chickens at your house? If you are on farmland you won’t have to worry about this but anywhere that is not on a dirt road, double check with your zoning department. We live on one acre that is very much on-grid and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we can have up to 15 chickens ! There are stipulations though, no roosters .  Make sure you know what you are/ are not allowed to do.
  • If you have neighbors, go and chat with them. Even if it is perfectly legal, it is still respectful to go and talk with your neighbors about your chicken plans. This will help avoid any feuds or cop calls because of your chickens.
  • How many chickens do you want? Then plan for double…! We wanted 3 or 4 chickens originally . We ended up with 11. Chicken math is a real thing so make sure you stick to your guns or plan for a few more. This will include getting a big enough brooder, the correct amount of feeders /water stands and having a big enough coop for when they are ready to be outside.
  • Housing- what are they going to be in? What are the predators you need to watch for? Chickens need space for roosting, nesting and wandering. They also need to be protected for animals that will eat them. In our area we have opossums and hawks/birds.
  • How old are you buying these birds? Make sure you have lights and the right set up for young birds (they need to be warmed with a light until fully feathered and your weather permits). If you are getting adult birds, who is selling them to you and why? Are they trying to get rid of birds that no longer lay or have major attitude problems? The last thing you want are mean birds that attack you and don’t lay eggs!
  • Are you ordering online? If so, do they have a minimum order that you can meet (usually 10-15)? Are you going to be around when they ship and ready to pick up right away ? Chicks are good for maybe 3 days being shipped before they start having a lot of trouble. Once they arrive at the post office you need to be ready to go and get them!
  • Medicated chick starter or non? Many people prefer non-medicated feed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Make sure you do your research so you can make an informed decision.
  • Preparing kids. If you have kids, you will want to prepare them for the chicks arrival. Stressing chicks out by having screaming kids who are squeezing them is no good. Considering reading a chick book to them and giving them step by step instructions on how they should behave around their new chickens.
  • Pets- if your chicks are going to be inside and you have pets make sure they are protected. Some dogs / cats will eat your chicks and are sneakier than you might think!

 

Here are some starter items that you might be interested in that you can purchase from Amazon!

Feed + Water Set

Heat Lamp w/ Clamp

Heat Lamp Bulb (Red)

Chicken Starter (Food)

Meal Worms

Do you have anything to add to this list? We would love to know!

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