For a long time we have considered and known we would eventually have chickens on our land. There are many reasons to own chickens if you have a larger garden. I will discuss that below, but setting up what they need is even easier than you may think. I was very worried about the necessary supplies for a brooder that we would need, but after doing it myself I learned it is extremely easy and simple. Chicks need very little and caring for them is even simpler.
First of all, why would you even consider getting chickens?
- If you have a garden they extremely helpful in fertilizing the garden. They both can spread compost for you but also their poop when cured properly is a wonderful addition to compost. Their bedding and poop when mixed together makes for great brown matter to offset kitchen scraps.
- They offer eggs if you choose laying hens. These can be enjoyed yourself, sold, or shared with friends and family. You will become a very popular person if you have extra eggs.
- They are very fun to have around. The care and needs of chicken are quite simple and they can be left with proper food and water for short periods of time, but they are wonderful outdoor animals to add to any home.
- They remove bugs and pests. If you don’t want things like ticks or other pests around, chickens are extremely helpful as they deeply enjoy eating them.
That said if you get chickens you can get them a couple ways:
- Order them online. We looked for a company located within a short distance of us and used MyPetChicken.com because they are located in Ohio so not far from us.
- You can hatch your own eggs that you either order or receive from a friend who has chickens.
- You can get them from a small local feed store.
- You can get chicks from local farmers.
The main thing to know is if you order chicks they can survive roughly 72 hours on the yolk they consumed when they broke out of their shell so it is completely safe to order them online.
Now on to what you need in supplies to bring your chicks home and take care of them till they move to a coop.
- You need a brooder aka a space where they have room to move, eat, sleep, roost, and grow till they are ready to sleep in their coop full time. This needs to be big enough to handle them as they grow and keep them protected. A stock tank or large storage tote works great especially for the first 2 weeks. But then you will want something with a fenced top to keep them from flying out in a few weeks.
- A water feeder. Make sure you place rocks in it to keep them from diving in to it and drowning in the first few weeks
- High Protein chick starter is necessary. Check with your local feed store on the brands they suggest if you plan to feed them organically. They need this to develop properly.
- Pine shaving in flake size. Buy a large amount as you will add fresh bedding every few days they older and more they poop
- A feeder and jar. You want one they cannot scratch in as they will kick all the feed out of it.
- Some rocks or other things they can wander and play on.
- A Heat lamp with a 250 bulb in it.
- Something to securely hold the heat lamp and raise it as well.
- A digital thermometer to read the temperature but use a chart like this to figure out if the temp is right for your chicks.
To setup your brooder you just make sure the feed and water are not being heated and that the spot they are sleeping is where the heat lamp is open to them. They need space to get away from the heat as well just in case it gets too warm for them.
That is really all you need to set it up. It is all dependent on your chicks and how many you have as well. They are quite simple and just about as easy to care for as a house cat is. Not much more complicated. The main thing to watch out for is pasty butt, which you can read about here.
If you want more about Brooder You can our IGTV about it below.
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A lot of you had questions about our chicks and how we set up the borders. I am not an expert but here is everything I did to setup our little space for our chickens. I also wrote a whole post on the blog about what we did as well. If you have questions ask below and I will answer ORRRR the more qualified chicken owners we have here can as well. Once again I am always learning right along with you all.