Sunday, March 13, 2011

Raising Chickens: Part I-Raising Chicks

Like I have mentioned in my first post we have quite a few chickens and we have had our fair of raising chicks this past summer. We weren't really prepared for raising chicks like we should have been when we brought our first batch home. First off we really don't have a good place to raise them in a ventilated, draft free area.
We don't have a garage or a barn we have we we calll a "mini barn" which is a large shed. However I felt there's not enough ventilation or natural light in mini barn because there's no windows so I thought why not do it in the extra bathroom's tub. Well that's what we did and it worked. Since we were raising them inside it was harder to regulate the temperature when the air conditioning would kick on in the heat of the summer but we managed. Another point is we would purchase too many chicks at once. At one point we came home with 30 or so but with saying that not all 30 would make it outside to our transition coop because of causalities. There were quite a few, unfortunately I believe, that died due to being trampled or smothered. We get the chicks from the farm auction every Saturday in my town; it's very convenient if you really know what to look for. More to come on that later. So bottom line if you haven't raised chickens before ask yourself these questions. By no means am I an expert but these are few things that come to mind:
1. Do you have a place or room the chicks can be put that is draft free, away from other animals bothering them and easy to get to monitor the temperature?
2. Do you have enough room for the amount of chicks you are going to buy and room for them to grow into? If you have a large area and you have very young chicks you can board it off until they grow into the space. A space guideline is
1/4 sq. foot per bird from day old to 1 month
1/2 sq. foot per bird from 1-2 months
1 sq. foot per bird from 2-3 months
2 sq. feet per bird from 3-4 months
4 sq. feet per bird from 4 months to adult

3. Thermometer to accurately measure temperature? You start at 90 degrees and then each week the temp is reduced by 5 degrees until you reach the average outside temperature or 70 degrees.
4. Heat Lamp with either red or white bulbs. I like the red on all the time and turn on an overhead light to give them a little white light to really see in the dark.
5. Water and smaller chick feeder

Raising chicks is fun but does require more attention than adult chickens.  


  1. MY husband and I moved from Northern B.C. to Nova Scotia and ended up living on 16 acres. Last year we put in a lovely big vegetable garden which did well but the bugs were a problem. Friends told us to get chickens and they would help by feeding on all the pests. To make a long story short we ordered 8 chicks from the farmers co-op and they arive in May . Thanks for any help on raising chickens and building o coop as we are new to this.

  2. Your welcome Anne. Chickens are great to use in the garden though we only used our after everything was harvested. We has a lot of rot down her in Michigan so there alot of extra veggies left over. Good Luck with the chicks!!!

  3. I've been raising chickens for a few years. I love my girls. We also go by what works and doesn't work and have revamped our chicken area a few times. Our Amish friends brood their chicks in a plastic pool in their mudroom and use a propane heater to keep them warm. We have brooded ours in the garage and the chicken shed and use heat lamps. We get ours in early spring and they start to lay around the end of August.
    I think your blog is neat. We are also trying our hand at homesteading. I raise laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, rabbits, meat goats and dairy goats and a steer I bought on the side of the road. I plant a large garden and swap with other farmers or friends with extras. We have 3.5 acres and it seems to working well for us. Small enough to manage and large enough to feed everybody!

  4. I think homesteading is also about trial and error and what works for you may not work for someone else. It helps that we all share ideas. Thanks for visiting!!!


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