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Posted: 12/12/2015 1:21:03 PM EDT
I want 4-6 hens. Already bought a nice coop. But it's cold now so I was thinking off getting chicks then raising them in the unfinished part of the basement. Then garage then finally outside when they are old enough.
 I have seen online places to order chicks from is this a good option?
Thanks for any and all help
Link Posted: 12/12/2015 1:48:37 PM EDT
Most online places will have a 25-50 chick minimum.  They need the extra bodies for warmth during shipping.  I wouldn't even trust a place that'd ship you 4 or 5 at a time... most likely you'll end up with a box with 4-5 dead chicks.

If it were me I'd just wait till spring when it's less of a hassle, plus the farm/feed stores will have chicks you can buy on-site in small numbers.  Or, if you want a head start, find somebody local to sell you young (6 mos - 1 year) old laying hens.  Animal swap meets and Craigslist can be good sources for those.

Link Posted: 12/12/2015 3:10:08 PM EDT
Sounds like me, but I don't have a place to weather young chick, so I am holding off till spring. Tractor Supply usually has young chicks in early spring.
Link Posted: 12/12/2015 3:34:57 PM EDT
check craiglist or similar in your area for someone selling birds or giving birds away.  Happens all the time,  just ask enough smart question to know you're not buying someone's old non laying hens.  

Really I'd be looking for chickens less than 2 years old.
Link Posted: 12/12/2015 4:33:43 PM EDT
Thanks for the replies!
Link Posted: 12/12/2015 4:35:02 PM EDT
Find a local Tractor Supply. They sell Chicks and Ducklings.
Link Posted: 12/12/2015 4:45:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/12/2015 4:53:38 PM EDT by 50-140]
Bookmark this site: http://www.backyardchickens.com/




Every question you might have and a lot you haven't even thought about can be answered there.




The section labeled "Learning Center" there helped me a lot when I got my 4 day old chicks.
When I got my chicks rather than build something for them that would only be temporary I picked up a child's playpen for $5 at a second hand store, lined it with 3 mil plastic, added chips, food trough and water dispenser, hung a couple of heat lamps so I could adjust the heat.
ETA, a little more

Link Posted: 12/12/2015 8:48:57 PM EDT
You want a Hover Brooder (you can make it yourself, pretty cheap, google it, should pop right up)

but you don't really want them inside, we've done that, they make a hell of a mess, all their fluff and dust and such, the room will be covered, even after only a week.

you have to keep them pretty warm when they are real small.   split an order of 25 with one or two people and just break them up after 3 or 4 weeks (keep them all together when small)

Link Posted: 12/12/2015 8:50:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/15/2015 10:38:44 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
You want a Hover Brooder (you can make it yourself, pretty cheap, google it, should pop right up)

but you don't really want them inside, we've done that, they make a hell of a mess, all their fluff and dust and such, the room will be covered, even after only a week.

you have to keep them pretty warm when they are real small.   split an order of 25 with one or two people and just break them up after 3 or 4 weeks (keep them all together when small)

View Quote


Thanks for the replies. I agree about not having in the house but wife is dead set on getting some this winter. She even came home with a light and feed the other day. Looks like no stopping her now lol.
Link Posted: 12/15/2015 10:58:25 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History

When I got my chicks rather than build something for them that would only be temporary I picked up a child's playpen for $5 at a second hand store, lined it with 3 mil plastic, added chips, food trough and water dispenser, hung a couple of heat lamps so I could adjust the heat.
View Quote


Sort of did the same thing with a portable dog pen and clip on desk lamps...out in the garage.  Our chicks survived the Mississippi winter just fine like this last year.  YMMV with the Wisconsin winter.
Link Posted: 12/15/2015 11:35:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2015 2:59:55 PM EDT by godzillamax]
I've got a three stage system for new birds.
Stage 1 - When we get them as chicks from the fed/tack store in the spring they go into a large clear plastic tub (it's like 4'x 3') in the unfinished part of the basement. I built a chicken wire lid for it so the cats can't get in. I put a thermometer in it at the ground level so I know how high to hang the heated lamp (use a red bulb). The tub is lined with 3"-4" of pine shavings (don't use cedar shavings). Then on top of the shavings goes a layer of paper towels (makes clean-up easier and once the chicks are old enough that they won't choke on the shavings we remove the paper towels). Remember to build a small roost or two for them to play/sit on (I build mine out of poplar branches I pick up from around the yard). Also, if you put your waterer (don't use the plastic type, instead buy the small metal saucer type that a mason jar screws onto and use a clear glass mason jar with it) and food tray (for now if you only have a few birds use the small UFO looking one with 4-5 holes in it) up on a few 2"x4"s so they are low enough that the chicks can obtain food water from them, but up high enough that they can't kick shavings into them, you will be much happier (this is only relevant once you remove the paper towels).













Stage 2
- When the chicks outgrow the plastic tub brooder I move them into a larger wooden crate brooder I assembled out of scrap wood. I used 1"x"1s to make a box frame, then 1/4 board for the sides and bottom (drill some holes in the sides for ventilation). I use the same chicken wire/wood framed lid that I used on the plastic brooder. By now you will need to build some larger roosts. Repeat everything in step 1 (sans the paper towels, by now you no longer use them). You can use the same waterer, but upgrade the feeder to one of the long metal troughs (why? because the top slides off easily making it easy to clean the chicken droppings out of it thus reducing how much feed you will waste).
Stage 3 - Move the birds to a larger home outside. There are two schools of thought here. Many people will just move the pullets into their main coop, others into a temporary coop. If this is your first flock moving them directly to the main coop will be fine. But if you have existing birds in the main coop you may want to consider a temporary coop until the pullets are larger. I built a 10'x5''x5' temp coop out of PVC piping and chicken wire. When the chicks have outgrown the second brooder, but are still too small to introduce into the coop with the mature birds, we assemble the temp coop (it's comprised of 5 panels that go together with straps) and put it in a corner of the barn. This has three advantages. First it gets the chickens out of the basement. Second it gives them a safe place to grow more before they are introduced to the flocks. And third it enables us to put them in it out on the lawn so the existing chickens can see them and get antiquated.
Final thoughts. With just a few layers don't expect many eggs, especially during the the fall/winter months. During the spring/summer you can expect a little less than an egg a day from each bird. But during the winter that will drop down to about one egg every 3-4 days. This is because the primary determiner of egg production is light. Less daylight in the fall/winter equals less eggs. For example, I have 12 layers, and during the summer was getting ~10 eggs per day. Now, its 2-3 eggs per day. There is a way to counteract this. Add a light source (light bulb) to the coop. But beware, it will exhaust your birds' egg laying capabilities much sooner (i.e. expect maybe 2 years of production versus 3-4 without artificial lighting during the fall/winter). Also, if you plan to free range your birds (i.e. let them roam your property), and if you live near woods, then without your diligent supervision and presence you will lose some to foxes. I lost 4 layers in one day during a one hour span of time when I went in to make lunch for my kids (I knew there was a fox and her two nearly full grown pups near - so it was my fault).
As someone mentioned Backyardchickens.com is to chicken enthusiast what AR15.com is to gun enthusiasts. Lastly, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book Chick Days. Its a great beginner's book on raising backyard chickens.    
 
Link Posted: 12/15/2015 1:23:06 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By grabagear:


Thanks for the replies. I agree about not having in the house but wife is dead set on getting some this winter. She even came home with a light and feed the other day. Looks like no stopping her now lol.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By grabagear:
Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
You want a Hover Brooder (you can make it yourself, pretty cheap, google it, should pop right up)

but you don't really want them inside, we've done that, they make a hell of a mess, all their fluff and dust and such, the room will be covered, even after only a week.

you have to keep them pretty warm when they are real small.   split an order of 25 with one or two people and just break them up after 3 or 4 weeks (keep them all together when small)



Thanks for the replies. I agree about not having in the house but wife is dead set on getting some this winter. She even came home with a light and feed the other day. Looks like no stopping her now lol.


Sounds like your wife is being unreasonable, no offense.

Poultry are filthy critters, no way in hell I would bring that into my home.
Link Posted: 12/15/2015 2:09:12 PM EDT
I have 5 bantam hens & a chicken tractor....easy peasy n no mess to deal with.  Started them early spring in a incubator.  then to a plastic tote with a light. I designes an A frame type tractor I can move every day with an egg loft.
Link Posted: 12/16/2015 3:00:42 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By godzillamax:
I've got a three stage system for new birds.

Stage 1 - When we get them as chicks from the fed/tack store in the spring they go into a large clear plastic tub (it's like 4'x 3') in the unfinished part of the basement. I built a chicken wire lid for it so the cats can't get in. I put a thermometer in it at the ground level so I know how high to hang the heated lamp (use a red bulb). The tub is lined with 3"-4" of pine shavings (don't use cedar shavings). Then on top of the shavings goes a layer of paper towels (makes clean-up easier and once the chicks are old enough that they won't choke on the shavings we remove the paper towels). Remember to build a small roost or two for them to play/sit on (I build mine out of poplar branches I pick up from around the yard). Also, if you put your waterer (don't use the plastic type, instead buy the small metal saucer type that a mason jar screws onto and use a clear glass mason jar with it) and food tray (for now if you only have a few birds use the small UFO looking one with 4-5 holes in it) up on a few 2"x4"s so they are low enough that the chicks can obtain food water from them, but up high enough that they can't kick shavings into them, you will be much happier (this is only relevant once you remove the paper towels).

Stage 2
- When the chicks outgrow the plastic tub brooder I move them into a larger wooden crate brooder I assembled out of scrap wood. I used 1"x"1s to make a box frame, then 1/4 board for the sides and bottom (drill some holes in the sides for ventilation). I use the same chicken wire/wood framed lid that I used on the plastic brooder. By now you will need to build some larger roosts. Repeat everything in step 1 (sans the paper towels, by now you no longer use them). You can use the same waterer, but upgrade the feeder to one of the long metal troughs (why? because the top slides off easily making it easy to clean the chicken droppings out of it thus reducing how much feed you will waste).

Stage 3 - Move the birds to a larger home outside. There are two schools of thought here. Many people will just move the pullets into their main coop, others into a temporary coop. If this is your first flock moving them directly to the main coop will be fine. But if you have existing birds in the main coop you may want to consider a temporary coop until the pullets are larger. I built a 10'x5''x5' temp coop out of PVC piping and chicken wire. When the chicks have outgrown the second brooder, but are still too small to introduce into the coop with the mature birds, we assemble the temp coop (it's comprised of 5 panels that go together with straps) and put it in a corner of the barn. This has three advantages. First it gets the chickens out of the basement. Second it gives them a safe place to grow more before they are introduced to the flocks. And third it enables us to put them in it out on the lawn so the existing chickens can see them and get antiquated.

Final thoughts. With just a few layers don't expect many eggs, especially during the the fall/winter months. During the spring/summer you can expect a little less than an egg a day from each bird. But during the winter that will drop down to about one egg every 3-4 days. This is because the primary determiner of egg production is light. Less daylight in the fall/winter equals less eggs. For example, I have 12 layers, and during the summer was getting ~10 eggs per day. Now, its 2-3 eggs per day. There is a way to counteract this. Add a light source (light bulb) to the coop. But beware, it will exhaust your birds' egg laying capabilities much sooner (i.e. expect maybe 2 years of production versus 3-4 without artificial lighting during the fall/winter). Also, if you plan to free range your birds (i.e. let them roam your property), and if you live near woods, then without your diligent supervision and presence you will lose some to foxes. I lost 4 layers in one day during a one hour span of time when I went in to make lunch for my kids (I knew there was a fox and her two nearly full grown pups near - so it was my fault).

As someone mentioned Backyardchickens.com is to chicken enthusiast what AR15.com is to gun enthusiasts. Lastly, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book Chick Days. Its a great beginner's book on raising backyard chickens.    

 
View Quote


Thanks for all the info!!!
Link Posted: 12/17/2015 8:26:46 AM EDT
Unless you have a local hatchery or live in a warm climate, good luck getting any chicks this time of year. Most companies won't ship chicks from November-February due to cold temps. I already checked that out: our plan was to have our next round of chicks ready to lay by spring but I missed the boat on getting them ordered in time and now I can't get them shipped unless I buy a full flat (100 chicks).
Link Posted: 12/18/2015 2:06:53 AM EDT
Check out the Facebook farm sites local to your area, also Craigslist. Small hobby farms that sometimes have chicks this time of year that are there by "accident". Won't get much choice of breed though.



I would advise waiting until spring. I like barred rocks. I do give artificial light in the winter to keep about 75% production all winter: we need the eggs. A chicken only has so many eggs to give, so while you do "burn them out", you are still getting the eggs out of them, just all sooner than drawing it out. Only caveat is that if you free range in summer, you loose that free food source in winter. Decisions, decisions.




You also have to make the choice of getting modern hybrid egg production birds or heritage breeds. I am trying to get a self-sustaining flock (short of a hybrid program I am working on for meat birds), so its heritage for me for my hens.
Link Posted: 12/20/2015 8:23:11 AM EDT
Check local Facebook and Craigslist adds. In my area people are hatching all year and you can readily get chicks of heritage breeds year round.

We had a flock of Buff Orpingtons and Silver Laced Wyandottes and had no problems with disease or infighting. I'm a firm believer in an open air coop and a deep bedding system. My experience is that if you have a chicken house smell, you're going to have chicken house problems. Diatomaceous Earth was used around the border to keep ants and bugs down and out.

When we start raising chickens again down the line, we'll be going the same route with a larger open air coop.
Link Posted: 12/21/2015 5:53:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2015 5:58:00 PM EDT by jchewie1]
Originally Posted By grabagear:
I want 4-6 hens. Already bought a nice coop. But it's cold now so I was thinking off getting chicks then raising them in the unfinished part of the basement. Then garage then finally outside when they are old enough.
 I have seen online places to order chicks from is this a good option?
Thanks for any and all help
View Quote



That's exactly how I have done it.  Inside for the first week or two, then garage in a larger box or cage with a heat lamp, then outside to their own run, then with the other chickens when they are near the same size and can peck back and defend themselves.  You'll know when its time to move them to the next step, they outgrow whatever you are keeping them in, make a mess, and start to stink.

I have purchased them online.  The post office will call at 6:30 or 7 and say your package is here and it is cheeping.  You go down there before it's opened, knock on the back door, and the lady hollers to her friends, "put them all back, he's here for his birds!"


If you are in Wisconsin I would not start them until spring.  April give or take a month depending on where you are at.
Link Posted: 12/21/2015 9:11:54 PM EDT
An old baby play pen works good for chicks. Yard sales are good places to find. Good air circulation, they can see out, etc.
Link Posted: 12/22/2015 4:23:05 AM EDT
This is our brooder setup.  4' stock tank, lid is two plywood half-moons (hinged in the middle) with hardware cloth stapled to the underside.  Light is a clamp-on heat lamp, zip-tied to a metal feed pan with a hole cut in the bottom.

Link Posted: 12/22/2015 4:32:11 AM EDT

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By midmo:


This is our brooder setup.  4' stock tank, lid is two plywood half-moons (hinged in the middle) with hardware cloth stapled to the underside.  Light is a clamp-on heat lamp, zip-tied to a metal feed pan with a hole cut in the bottom.



http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/af227/mid_mo/mid_mo/brooder_zpsmnoizthk.jpg
View Quote




 
We use a similar setup, except for our tank is more of rectangle. After they get a bit bigger, we remove the top, turn it on its side and place it into a chain link pen outside. Works great as a make shift coop until they are ready for the real deal.
Link Posted: 12/22/2015 5:55:56 PM EDT
Get the idiot's guide to chickens...worth every penny
Link Posted: 12/22/2015 7:12:08 PM EDT
Thanks for all the replies! Just ordered some chicks from purely poultry they will be here next week. Had to order 20 though. I'm splitting the order with my neighbor.  I have just about everything set up and tomorrow I should have 2 books on the subject.
Wife wants Easter eggers but they where sold out for a month. Went with  black australorps because they where recommended as good egg layers and good pets.
Link Posted: 12/22/2015 10:39:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/22/2015 10:40:22 PM EDT by Kitties-with-Sigs]
Link Posted: 12/30/2015 6:52:10 AM EDT
Well since they won't ship just 5/6 chicks this time of year I had to order 25 lol  got them yesterday they are all eating and drinking and doing good. Only problem is the lady on the phone talked me into black australorps. When they arrived they where all different looking. Turns out they sent me their quick ship mix package! All female but apparently according to them I have a mix of isa browns and madison chicks.
Oh well hopefully they turn out to be good birds.
Thanks for all the help
Link Posted: 12/30/2015 11:00:05 AM EDT
Got pics?  



I like some variation in the flock.  We had a mix of breeds when we started out.  The wife unit has since insisted we concentrate on Rhode Island Reds.  They are good birds, but the same brown color is boring.



This spring we will add some Barred Rocks.      

Link Posted: 12/30/2015 11:57:05 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By grabagear:
Well since they won't ship just 5/6 chicks this time of year I had to order 25 lol  got them yesterday they are all eating and drinking and doing good. Only problem is the lady on the phone talked me into black australorps. When they arrived they where all different looking. Turns out they sent me their quick ship mix package! All female but apparently according to them I have a mix of isa browns and madison chicks.
Oh well hopefully they turn out to be good birds.
Thanks for all the help
View Quote


Who did you order them from?
Link Posted: 12/30/2015 1:58:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/30/2015 2:00:08 PM EDT by Kitties-with-Sigs]
Link Posted: 12/30/2015 8:58:08 PM EDT
Ordered from purely poultry because they based out of Wisconsin I asked if I could just pick them up but they said no store front.
They all eating and drinking great. Eat out of our hands.
There is one who is mostly white I'm anxious to see how she looks when grown. Some look like little chipmunks the way the stripes are on their backs.


Link Posted: 12/30/2015 10:00:01 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/31/2015 2:41:47 AM EDT
Make sure you introduce them to chicken nipples for water asap.



Cute chicks!
Link Posted: 12/31/2015 8:15:12 AM EDT
Good looking chicks!  Now watch how fast they grow!
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