Buying ChicksTwo weeks ago today we took home our four baby chicks who were only a few days old. Before bringing them home I did a lot of research on chickens, and there is a lot to learn. We wanted chickens that were good egg layers and friendly with children. The kids were so excited to pick the chicks out so we went to a local nursery to pick them up for $5-$7 each. You can get chicks straight from the hatchery for much less but we wanted the experience of picking them out and we live near to the nursery so the drive home wouldn't add stress. We brought home a Rhode Island Red because of their exceptional egg laying ability. We also have a Golden Wyandotte, a Cochin, and a Barred Rock.
|3 day old chicks|
|2 week old chicks|
It's only been two weeks but chickens don't require a lot of preparation. We bought a coop on Facebook Garage Sale. We bought feed with high protein, a feeder, a heat lamp, a water feeder, and cedar chips. We started with a regular size tote but the water feeder kept tipping over. It literally was insane because every time I checked on them the water was empty and the entire tote was soaked. They needed more space so my husband dumped out his jumbo hunting tote and it became their new home. It has worked great the past week. They have more room to play and the water doesn't get tipped over.
Things to Look Out For
A few days after we brought the chicks home I noticed the little Rhode Island Red Shaking. He didn't look good. I picked him up and noticed a dark clump stuck to his butt. Little chicks can get pasty butt from stress or the cold. The first week we had them the weather was cold. They need to be kept warm (90 degrees). The chicks were kept in an insulated garage with a heat lamp, but the stress and cold may have contributed to pasty but. I brought him in a kept running warm water on his bottom until it came off. Then I blow dried him and used a q-tip to dab olive oil on his bottom. I also put a few drops of apple cider vinegar in their water. I'm not sure where I heard to do this, but it worked. He seems to be doing much better.
Now it is becoming warmer and at two weeks old we are enjoying bringing them outside to play. We are trying to introduce the dogs to them at a distance but have not brought them too close. One barks at them and licks his lips which makes us a tad nervous. I cleaned the coop with bleach water a few days ago and painted it. Soon I plan to move the chicks to the coop with straw when it warms up.
Why You Should Get Chicks
Chicks are so much fun, and such a good experience for the kids. They have already provided our family with so much happiness. Taking care of our chicks is one of my new favorite outdoor activities. Once you experience it you will know why.