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Getting started with chickens?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I grew up with chickens and now have a few acres and want to get some for eggs.  how do I get started do I get them at Rural King and raise them up? If so how long before eggs?  What do I keep them in for protection while they are so little?  Just any info would be great.  I have no idea.  Growing up I just fed them/



post #2 of 11
I would start with checking out a book on raising chickens from your library. When they are little you will keep them inside in a box with a heat lamp. Good luck, chickens are a lot of fun!
post #3 of 11
There are so many great resources online:


I am a "chicken teacher" at the local college. Feel free to PM me with any questions!
post #4 of 11

I second Backyardchickens.com.  So much experience, and it is busy and bustling, especially this time of year, so that anything that comes up can get several responses in short time--a good thing for a first-time chicken parent!  Not a substitute for a good book, however.  Beyond the usual suggestions of Storey's (I also got a lot of info from Country Living Encyclopedia), I really love the 4-H Guide to Raising Chickens.  It gives a lot of good info and a lot is geared towards kids.


Our first year we bought our chicks from our friends who raised them until they were fully feathered and could do without a heat lamp.  Saved us a lot of stress!  Last year we raised chicks for the first time, and for several days I was a nervous wreck.  

post #5 of 11
We started meat chickens last year at home and I was nervous too. Peeps are so cute though. This year I found a great resource on Craigslist, a homeschooling mom who breeds and sells the pullerts. I got mine a few weeks before they started laying. I don't have a rooster and my girls are great - they're in the coop everyday before dark - I just close up the coop after I make sure they're all there (and say goodnight lol)
post #6 of 11
Oops, that's supposed to be 'pullets' bawk!
post #7 of 11

I've heard mixed reviews for getting chickens from craigslist-- incorrect sexing, incorrect breed, filthy birds.  I can't tell you how many threads on BYC (backyard chickens.com) begin "The lady swore up and down they were Black Copper Marans pullets!"  Or some version of that.  There are good people on craigslist, too, but a whole lot that are clueless.  I would hesitate to recommend it to a newbie looking for her first flock.  Though, you never know, and you could get it right the first time.  Do you feel lucky?  

post #8 of 11

I took a workshop at a local farm and it included a feeder, waterer, food, bedding, heat lamp, and three day old chicks.  It was a lot of work.  We kept them in a box in the shower in the extra bathroom.  You have to check the temperature a lot and keeping the box and water clean was definitely a project.  They transitioned outside when they were maybe two months old.  They are great and so much fun but next time I do it I will just buy them when they are a few months old and skip the stress.  I don't really care to have chicks in the house again.  The first few days home I checked their box a million times just to make sure they were still alive since they are such fragile little things.  

post #9 of 11

I second the Story Guide, although it is a little heavy for just getting started.  We checked it out of the library, started to read it, then just went ahead and ordered chicks when we were only a couple of pages in to it.  Then I got Chickens in Your Backyard, by Rick and Gail Luttmann before the chicks arrived.  It is a really simple and straightforward 'how to' book that got us started.  And after I had read through it a couple of times (it really is short and easy) and we had the chicks for a couple of days, I plunged back into the Story Guide... this time more equipped to comprehend Leonard Mercia's in-depth volume on poultry! 


We ordered chicks online so that we could get the breeds we were looking for.  But we also ended up adopting some from a friend and some off of Craigslist.  I also worked at the local farmer's market and there was a lady who raised all different sorts of birds to laying age for people to buy.  There were also people there who sold eggs who would sell hens who were two or more years old when their spring chicks began to lay.  I had friends who got some of these just to have eggs (and chicken experience) while their chicks were still inside in a box.


Good luck!  It's fun!

post #10 of 11
Sweet, yes I got lucky. She knew what she was doing. She breeds and keeps some, sells to the Amish here, others...my birds are very nice too - very social smile.gif most if them let my toddler pick them up. I think anyone buying from Craigslist should always be careful though smile.gif
post #11 of 11
We bought our chicks from a local farmer back in October and we've been getting eggs daily for 6 weeks or so. We kept them inside in an ice chest with no lid & a heat lamp on them for probably 4-6 weeks. I just put newspaper in the bottom & changed it at least twice a day. Otherwise they got stinky.

Good luck! They're so much fun, I'm really glad we got them. We have 2 Rhode Island reds, 1 polish crested and 1 white silkie.
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