Raising Chickens…. Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!


First thing is first if you do not know anything about chickens, you first need to know what you big plans are for having chickens… Are you wanting to get chickens to raise and eat? Are you wanting chickens that are good layers? Are you wanting to get into the chicken business? Or maybe you are just wanting to get a few baby chicks for the heck of it or maybe you want to hatch some eggs and show your kids how it all works and enjoy raising them, holding them, feeding them and more….

As some of it may be over whelming to you for those of you who have never even seen a chicken in real life, or have lived in a city all your life, don’t worry…. You can do it! But you need to have some money to get started, check your local laws, and not be afraid to get a little dirty… in some cases really dirty because chickens do like to poop, they poop alot!

The first thing you need to think about is where you want to start, assuming you just would like to get a few baby chicks for the heck of it, you can do that…. But first we need to think about where we are gonna put these little dudes!

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Below I have made a check list of a few things you will need to consider before actually going and getting your baby chicks…

1. A large box with plenty of holes (so they can breathe, but not get out, of course)

2. A heat lamp to provide warmth for them

3. High protein chick starter feed

4. Feeder & something to keep water in

5. Some kind of bedding for them to lay in, and of course poop in

You will also need to consider where you will want to put them once they start to grow fast, after about the first month if they stay healthy and live, they will start to grow really fast! Some chickens can be full sized in 4 to 6 months!

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So, once you have your box, and heat lamp set up high enough to where they cannot get to it, but close enough to where it is giving them enough heat, then you can put your bedding in the bottom of the box, then get your water container and your food container and put them in the box close together, and leave one side of the box open so they can go to that side to just walk around, play, and sleep.

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Remember what I promised you, Chickens are messy and so are chicks, if they need to go it just comes out wherever they are standing!

One thing that is very important is that you make sure they have water and food 24/7
If they run short on food or water, death could be around the corner for your chicks, also get in the habit of giving them new water around 3 times a day even if there is still water there, dump it out, and give them fresh water, because they will get their food in it, their bedding in it, and they will also poop in it —- Silly Birds!

Now you remember I mentioned high quality high protein chick starter? Yes, to ensure that the chicks grow good and stay healthy, they will need a good amount of percentage of protein in their food. When you go to your local farm and home or pet store of some sort, you will see chicken feed, then you will see “Chick Starter” Which is what you want.

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Usually the bags will say somewhere in-between 15 and 21% protein, and that is what you want until the birds get around a month old then and growing good and being healthy, then you can buy large bags of chicken feed that is much cheaper, feed them table scraps, and so on.

I also talked about making sure you have feeders, your best bet is just to spend a few extra bucks and get a chick feeder and water container. like these below — download (2)

What can you use for your Chick bedding that is easy to clean up and great to use for chickens? It is called pine shavings and some folks call it “Fluff”

It comes in large bags that should last your quite awhile… Some Wal-marts even sell it, or you can ask around, if anyone know know cuts wood in the winter, when cutting wood with a chain saw the wood chips go everywhere and you can use those! Just tell them you will clean up their mess and take those wood chips out of their way for them!

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Now one of the most important things you need, the heat lamp! The chicks will need to have a heat lamp for up to a month to ensure they are warm! The first week of your chicks lives they should be in temps of around 80* F (but for the first 2 days they are left in the incubator at temps in the upper 90s

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This is a picture of a heat lamp you will need, and make sure you buy a “Heat Lamp Bulb” to go with it.

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After a while you may need to move the heat lamp further away and slowing ween them off of the heat lamp, taking off 5 degrees every week, by the time they are about 6 weeks old, they can go outside, assuming it is warm, or you can give them away or whatever you are wanting to do, but make sure you have this planned out because they will grow fast and start stinking and you will want to get them outside and have a nice coop for them and a large area for them to walk around in. A coop is a place where chickens can go inside shelter in the night to stay away from predators, stay warm, and get out of nasty weather, also usually where you keep their water and feed once they go outside.

Once you have all of that and have them set up and see they are staying warm, there is not much else to do besides make sure their bedding stays clean, make sure they always have clean and fresh food and water, and also you will notice if they are cold or hot, the closer they are to the heat lamp the colder they are, when they are starting to not need the heat lamp they will stay further and further away from it.

Over all chicks can be fun to raise, hatch, and to some of us, great food to eat!

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When it comes to choosing what kind of chickens you want that depends greatly on what you plan to do with the chickens, if you are just wanting eggs you will just want like a black sex-link or a rhode island red hen, if you are wanting a breed that grows fast and gets very large, you will want some called something like fry pan chickens that grow fast, get fat, and are great to eat!

If you are just looking to have fun, then have fun and choose any kind of chickens you want when you go to pick them out!

I Wish you luck!

 

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