Raising chickens is such a rewarding experience, especially once you are able to enjoy fresh eggs straight from your own backyard! All you need is a little time, work and knowledge!
What sets us apart here at Dambly’s when it comes to offering chicks is the variety we offer, and that we provide you with chicks that are sexed (this means that the chicks we sell you are female--90% accuracy--which is what you need in order to get eggs!). This year we have already brought in over a dozen different varieties, and in May we are expecting even more. We even have a Guide to Backyard Chickens to help you know what to expect.
Baby chicks start out their first few weeks of life inside in a brooder, an enclosure that serves as the chicks' home until they are ready to be moved to the coop. This could be a rubbermaid tub or corral on concrete floor. Prepare the brooder by covering the floor with newspaper. Carefully position a heat bulb starting at a foot above the body level of the chicks in order to maintain about 90-95 degrees. After a week, the temperature should drop down to 85-90 degrees, and subsequent weeks should drop 5 degrees per week. Each week you will need to raise the heat light, this helps the temperature in the brooder to adjust and eventually become similar to the outdoors. We recommend using a thermometer to monitor the temperature weekly for the chicks health. Chicks follow their instincts and will find their perfect temperature in the brooder. If it’s too hot under the bulb chicks will move away from the heat; if too cool they’ll move closer. Give chicks space to move about. Baby chicks huddle together when they’re cold, which can cause smothering or suffocation, so check your chicks regularly to be sure they are comfortable. Raise the height of the lights as they grow, because their need for artificial heat will diminish as they grow feathers. Clean, fresh water is the most important thing to give your chicks, and adding electrolytes and probiotics to their water is important for both hydration and digestion. Make sure it is always available and that the waterers are clean. Chick starter grower rations are available in medicated, unmedicated and organic formulas. Don’t worry, we are here to guide you and help you get started!
In about 6 weeks, depending on the outside temperature, your chicks will be ready to move into their coop. Your chicks will begin to resemble adult birds, developing the feathers they need to regulate their body temperature; however, the overnight low should be no lower than 50 degrees. For the first few weeks in the coop you may need to consider bringing the birds back inside at night or in bad weather.
One thing we know from experience is that no store bought egg can compare to the fresh taste of an egg you get right from your own backyard in the morning. In addition to the taste you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly where your food is coming from.
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