It's baby chick time here at our house! Last year around this time we picked up 10 little girls to begin our very own Backyard Flock! Raising chickens has been on our minds for quite awhile. Being that we live in-town, there isn't a lot we can do to farm out our property, but what we can--we will! And we are allowed to have up to 10 chickens as long as there aren't any noisy roosters in the bunch! We did a lot of research before starting the process.
The website that was most helpful to us was http://www.backyardchickens.com/.
I encourage you to visit the site if you are interested in starting your own. Here are some of the things that we had to figure out when we were getting ready ...
We researched the different breeds and decided on Golden Sex Link because they do well in cold weather and are consistent egg layers. Plus my hubby really wanted to have brown eggs and these girls can do that! Some are even speckled, which is kinda cool looking.
We had to gather supplies -- we picked out a container for them to live in [brooder box]. We decided to use a large tub. We clipped a heat lamp above the tub at the height that allowed us to keep the tub at the right temperature. We used an outdoor thermometer to help keep things regulated. We found a waterer that attaches to a canning jar (which you know I have tons of!) and were able to borrow this chick feeder from my brother-in-law and sister. The chicks live on top of (2-inch deep) pine shavings to keep them warm and relatively clean.
The baby chicks need to live indoors for at least 2 months before they can begin to be transitioned outside. As they grew we attached a screen on top of the tub to keep them from getting out. The lamp was moved higher and higher as they grew and didn't need the temperature as hot. Every day we checked their water and food. We gave our chicks a starter feed that is made in the hatchery we purchased them from. We like their feed because the medicine they add is herbal instead of artificial.
Here is a good summary of what you need to know when raising chicks for the first time!
Next time -- Raising Teenage Chickens!