I can’t believe I haven’t written about our 4 hens aka “The Girls“.
March marks one year that we’ve had our little backyard flock. We got them as sweet little chicks….. their fluffy little bodies were so cute. The kids carried them around the house and played with them all the time! I suppose that is why they are so tame now, as adults!
This info is what worked for us and our chickens in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area. Keeping chickens varies by climate and personal preferences, so do some local research before you get your chicks.
So, let’s start the week with the cute factor… Chicks! This is so much fun. You can order Chicks through feed stores or google it online and find fancy ones that can get shipped to your house. Order a few extra as it is common to lose one. We had 8 and lost one. We chose to keep 4 and gave the extra 3 to a friend with a farm. You might be able to contact a local farm to get a few chicks too.
The kids did great being very gentle with the babies….
A place to keep your Peeps :: Here is a photo of our chick incubator. Daddo built it out of an extra large tote and some chicken wire, the little cage was made from that shelving you can take apart…. it has clips to put it together. This was done to ensure no little viewers would burn themselves on it. Unless your house is 70 or above, (ours is not!) you need to keep the heat lamp on all day & night until they have some real feathers.
They would spend hours looking at “the peeps”.
Food, Water & Bedding :: You can borrow or buy special containers to feed your chicks. They will dump over anything else…. They need fresh water daily. They usually need food daily too. We always kept ours full. They will sleep on a 3 inch layer or sawdust and you sprinkle fresh sawdust over it daily to keep it clean and smelling fresh. You change the sawdust out once a week. We dumped ours right into our compost.
The Roost :: You can make your own roost like the one pictured here, it’s just a stick screwed onto pieces of scrap wood. The chicks like to sleep on it and it will ensure that they roost in their outside coop when they move outside.
Roosting at about 3 weeks.
A few More Basics :: Baby chicks only cost about $2-$3 each. It costs only a few dollars a month to feed them. They eat “chick starter” until they lay their first eggs and then you switch them to “laying mash”. Chick starter food comes in medicated and non-medicated formulas, we chose to use non-medicated for our chicks. They need to live inside until they have feathers or until it’s warm (65-70 degrees) We got our chicks in late March and they lived inside until early May.
Miss 6 with “Chinese Pecks”, a rooster we gave to our friends.
Rules, Rules Rules :: Check with your city clerk to make sure you can keep chickens in your city. If you can’t consider starting a group to get the law changed. This recently happened in Duluth, Minnesota.
A great website : My Pet Chicken
Stop by tomorrow for Part 2, “Different Breeds”