Mothering Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

· Registered
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in a city, and upon investigating the laws I discovered I can have up to thirty chickens! I'm so excited! I know nothing however. If someone could point me in the right direction, I would really appreciate. When is the best time to get chickens?

· Registered
4,378 Posts

Is there a feed store nearby? THey usually know where to get them, locally. You'll also need the feed store so you can buy straw for bedding and feed.

If you want to order, I have had great luck with They have deals on assortments of 25. They send a few extra to make up for 'shipping losses' but I didn't have any and wound up with 29 chicks.

Most people get their chicks in the spring, but I'm going to get some soon. Where you live has it's effects. Baby chicks can't take the cold, so if you live in a cold place and don't have electricity in the coop, you have to keep them in your house. I've done it, don't recommend it.

It takes them a few months, figure 3 to get enough feathers to be able to go without any heat if you live in a chilly place. (I'm in mass, winter is coming here.)

SInce you're in the city, I'd try to start with 5 or so. In 5 months they'll be laying 30 or so eggs a week!

THere are loads of great books at the library. But I'll give you the qucik rundown here.

They need a coop, a simple place to live, with boxes, old apple crates are great, for nesting in. Put straw in the boxses and on the floor. You'll need to decide if you're yard is secure enough to let them run loose (and how you feel about poop!) or if you need to cage them, somehow.

THe feed store can sell you a waterer, (For 30 hens you'd need two. )THe bottoms are about $3, you can use 1/2 gallon mason jar for the top, or buy tops for another $3 each.

Jeez, I keep thinking of more and I'm tired!
: There's a ton of info onlline, but I like library books better. There are books with just pictures of coops!

· Registered
138 Posts
Glad to hear your great news. Like the pp, I think starting with chicks, rather than buying full grown chickens, is the way to go. We've also used Murray McMurray hatcheries, but with mixed success- sometimes the shipping really does bad things to the chicks. Feed stores will tend to have chicks only in the spring, which, probably is the best time to start them. The feed stores can be a good option, because they don't have to be shipped to you- just make sure that they are 1) a laying breed and 2) not "straight run" (=chicks haven't been sexed; you do not need roosters unless you want fertile eggs, otherwise they are more trouble than they are worth and probably better left for later) .

I like the Storey's guides for raising animals- A Guide to Raising Chickens: Care, Feeding, Facilities (Storey Animal Handbook). I would recommend you take this winter to read, buy/ build equipment and plan on getting chicks next spring, feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions.

· Registered
176 Posts
You probably know about a lot of this but I love to talk about just how easy it is!

When my family first started out with chickens, we bought 6 "pullet" Rhode Island Reds. They were apparently half-bantam (smaller) but their eggs were delicious, and of course smaller chickens take up less room & need less food.

Pullets are teenage hens - all their feathers have grown in but they don't lay eggs yet. They were young enough that we could kind of tame them, without having to worry about collecting the eggs at first.
We also didn't have to take any special care of them in the way you would chickens. In my city there are a lot of cats and meat-eating birds so friends who have reared chickens outside have often lost more than half of what they started with!

Rhode Island Reds are (in my experience) a very social and nice breed of chicken. Their size made them great for free-ranging on our inner-city block.
They also layed a LOT of eggs - in their prime they layed at least once a day, every day. I've been told since that it's impossible (psh), but two of them actually laid TWICE a day for a while! We had so many eggs hehe.

Eventually we had enough chickens that we would walk up and down our street once a week selling eggs - we had a lot of single pensioners who appreciated a visit just as much as a fresh egg, and a lot of young families who liked the all-natural-ness of it!

One problem is that they get broody (want to have babies) a LOT. We solved this by getting some fertilised bantam eggs for them from a nearby farm & letting them hatch the chickens - then we didn't have to do all the work of caring for chicks but still got to have lots of chickies running round. This was cheap too, we drove out to the farm & I think he charged us $4 an egg or something!

The only problems we had with free-ranging them were 1. the first few weeks we had to keep them confined to their little coop so they learnt it was where they had to sleep (this felt cruel!), and 2. they liked to fly over our fence and explore the neighbouring yards (we had their wings clipped at first and then they forgot they could do this!) and also to squeeze through other fences to greener pastures.

Their droppings make great fertiliser when mixed with your compost. We gave some to our garden-enthusiast neighbours and also my grandma as we couldn't use it all!

We bought their feed in HUGE bulk, first we gave them pellets and then later "laying mash" seed mix, and it wasn't very expensive. As well as this, we gave them extra nutrition by having a large concrete cylinder that they could hop up into, and using it as an open compost bin that they could pick through. Of course, they ate grass, worms, insects and lizards as well!

We locked them into their coop every evening after dark, when they roosted, & let them out again in the morning when we fed them. This was a great job for my brother from a very young age!

Ok long post
... I really think pullets are the way to go if you can get them, it really cut out a lot of the work of raising hens.
Make sure you have a good fence and a nice safe place for them to sleep and lay, that you can also confine them to!

Have fun!

· Registered
981 Posts
We are comming up on county/state fair time and you can often find pullets/chicks/chickens for sale at the poultry barns. Last year I saw trios of pullets for about $15-$30. Pullets would be hardy enough to make it through a cold winter and old enough to start laying with style in the early Spring. Plus, if you bought pullets you wouldn't have to deal with the problem of what to do with the cockerels. You can also pick the exibitors for housing, breed and care info.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.