Spring is Here and So Are Baby Chicks!
Ever wanted to try your hand at raising hens? Tis the season, as the saying goes and now is the time! Most farm feed stores will have a variety of baby chicks to choose from, or purchase some eggs from a reputable hatchery and incubate and hatch them yourself! Just know there are no guarantees of a rooster showing up in the bunch. Here are some common questions from our readers:
1. What do I need to get started? You will need a brooder box (we use a giant plastic storage tub from Home Depot), shavings, a heat lamp, starter feed, a poultry waterer and feeder and some "sav-a-chick", electrolytes to put in their water.
2. Should I get chicks who are vaccinated for Marek's disease? It's a personal preference-we have an organically grown and fed flock and have not had any issues.
3. When should the chicks move outside to a chicken coop? Generally, the rule is when they are fully feathered, somewhere between 6-8 weeks.
4. How do you incubate chicks? You will want to order eggs from a reputable hatchery and have check our store for a reliable egg incubator. Hatching eggs takes approximately 21 days and it is a process for the babies to work themselves out of their shells, about 12-24 hours.
5. How to do manage predators? We have several chicken coops to choose from and they are all predator safe. If you want your chickens to free range some of the time we suggest placing the coop under a tree so there is some overhead coverage from aerial predators.
6. When can I expect my first egg? Somewhere around four to five months of age. They typically lay a lot more in the Spring and Fall and as the weather gets colder and the days shorter, the egg production slows down.
7. What do you do with all of that chicken poop? We use all of that chicken poop in our vegetable garden and it leads to healthy crops! It is one of the best fertilizers around but let it age for at least three-four months (six months is ideal). We have a garden bed next to our coop and throw it all into our compost pile. It's the best way to recycle all those amazing shavings, manure and even chicken feathers.
Questions? Email us, we love to talk chickens.