Well, the chicks have arrived. I went down to the feed store because they had told me they were getting the chicks in this week. So, I went down there and picked out 2 nice Araucanas. They are a nice, mellow breed that lay blue and green eggs. We already have 2 of them, so I thought I would try and stick with the same breed. I had picked up 2 from a neighbor, 1 Barred Rock and 1 Rhode Island Red. We had some serious roommate issues and those 2 left us for another family.
So, I figured if I was going to do this again, I might as well share. Here goes. First off, chicks do not need much. They need to be warm and cozy, eat and drink, poo and sleep. To provide this, you will need some supplies.
This is what I used:
1. Good sized box
2. Clamp light (60w-150w)
3. Mason Jar Feeder
5. Roosting Stick
6. Piece of wood to set feeder and waterer on.
7. Pine shavings
8. A little newspaper
You can use any kind of box. I have used plastic tubs, but this time I went with the cardboard. This one is probably overkill for only 2 chicks, but I like them to have plenty of room
It is a little tricky getting the feeder full and then putting a full Mason jar on the top, but any spilled food will be found by the chicks and it gives them something to scratch for
This is a simple watering system. Put fresh water in the top part, screw on the bottom part, turn right side up and put it in the box. It's a good idea to check it everyday for debris. You can get the feeder and waterer at any feed store / Pet store.
OK, let's get to the setup:
I put some newspaper on the bottom of the box to help keep it dry.
I put this piece of wood in here to keep the food and water up off the floor of the warm box. This will also help to stabilize the containers.
Now, I cover the floor of the box with Pine shavings. This gives the chicks something to scratch in and it keeps them dry. You should change it out when it gets dirty. I would say, change it in a week, or 4 days, but it all depends on the size of your warm box and how many chicks you have.
Now get your food and water containers full and placed where you want them. Make sure your light is clamped into position and on. You want to keep the box warm (like 90 degrees warm). Just like Mama. I keep a layer of chicken wire on top of the box, not because the chicks can get out, but to keep things from falling in (a cat for example).
Step 5 (my favorite step):
Add chicks. Here are our new additions. You can place the roost stick anywhere you want to as long as they have a place to get up and sit on they will love it.
Here are a couple of close ups of the girls.
That should get you started with backyard chickens. Part 2 will discuss the ways I use my chickens to help out in the garden and in the refrigerator. See y'all next time.