Are you ready? Have your supplies? Did you study up?
Theirs a lot to think about when it come to chickens , Believe me I’m learning fast!
I’m that new chicken mom readying , reading and asking a lot of questions!
First of all decide where are you getting your chicks? Ordering chicks, hatching some yourself or getting older chickens.
Then where are they going to live? Do you have a coop already or are you building one or buying a kit OR Revamping one ?
So now we have to decide what kind of chickens we want ; Laying Hens or Meat chickens, But for me it’s going to be Laying Hens plus they are a good first animal for your new homestead and if you’re an Urban Homesteader that’s about all you can have!
Things to buy before you have those babies are a must and if your new to this adventure as I’m then I will tell you it’s a whole different world unlike dogs, Cats, and such! I’ve never seen so much Chicken stuff in my life! I was in heaven! food, toys, water- containers , feeders, vitamins, worm meal, aprons, boots, signs and much more! Chickens have become a big Trend! Makes me wonder what animal is next? But that’s ok with me I Love animals and I would have more on this urban homestead if I could!
Did you know chickens are attracted to red and when their peeps the red feeders and water containers great for the little ones and don’t forget to show a few how to drink by sticking their beaks into the water bowl and the rest will follow.
It’s a good idea to purchase some electrolytes to add in their water if you notice their getting sick or preventive care my friend has some good info for that!
Don’t forget their feed starting out , they need Chick feed with the vitamins and Antibiotics this will help give them a good start in life. Now you can’t let the babies loose yet you have to keep them in a warm safe environment until their old enough to be out in the coop on their own, So think of them as toddlers and watch over those peeps and protect them! After all your their mommy now!
That brings us to a container and heat lamp for warmth and containment. Some use totes, wood boxes, empty swimming pools but just remember keep them safe and where you can check on them frequently!
Oh and they do pee and poop so you will want to put some straw, shaved wood chips or such in the bottom of their containers plus it will add to their warmth. You will have to change it occasionally but you got this! After all you’re the mom the head clucker of the coop! Speaking of poop theirs this thing they may get that’s called “Pastey Butt” on their little rectum that gets crusty like with poop and you will need to wash it off gently or they can’t 💩 another mom job!
It’s a good idea to also purchase chicken powder for lice and such to have on hand along with bedding, feed, scratch and some grit. A big must is to protect them from predators with fencing and netting plus around the coop where smaller predators can dig under if your coop sits on the ground or low to ground a good idea is put metal up against the coop or chicken wire.
So what kind of chickens do you want?? With over 200 varieties theirs a lot to think about huh!
You Should include your climate, egg production, and breed temperaments. You can combine all breeds they will eventually establish a pecking order.
Did you know Hens can produce eggs without a Rooster?? You only need a Rooster if your hatching your own eggs!
Check their water and clean /refill as needed: Keep it clean a lot of straw, poop and shavings can mess it up. Use soap and water and a little bleach to sanitize them.
Feed Chickens: You can schedule feed them or Free feed them with a large feeder.
Collect Eggs: Check daily it minimizes cracks and keeps the eggs cleaner. Check twice a day will keep them clean and prevent them from eating them also. Keep their nesting boxes clean and change out monthly.
Watch and Observe them: Spend time with your chicks to check on their health such as bright eyes, active, smooth feathers and not being picked at from other chicks.
Every six Months: Clean and sanitize coop. Wash it down with one part bleach to 10 part water plus adding diatomaceous earth (DE) in the coop will cut down on mites and keep those hens healthier. (safe for them to eat).
Don’t forget Winter prepare for that also! Heaters for water, light to keep the hens laying and a place to roost.
So there are a few basics for you to get started or maybe excite your interest in chickens and there is always books and internet to gain more knowledge plus I will be keeping you posted once my babies get here!