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Starting with chicks?

(7 Posts)
Chooks Wed 28-Jul-10 10:14:34

Never had chickens before, hoping to have some by the end of the year. Just wondering if it's possible to get them when they are chicks? If it is, what sort of equipment do I need? Do I need experience? Grateful for any info!

Thank you!

thegoodishlife Wed 28-Jul-10 11:19:36

Yes, you can get chicks from a day old. Try doing a google search for "chicks for sale" in your area, or if that isn't lucky then try some local farms.

If you're getting chicks <4wks old, you'll need a brooder. Again, have a look on google or even ebay. They need to stay inside for the first 4 weeks of their life, please don't leave them outside in a run. They'll also need chick crumb, a water feeder and some sawdust/straw/newspaper.

From 4-5 weeks they can go outside, but keep them seperate from older hens until they are fully grown, or lay their first egg.

If you need anymore advice I can't recommend the Omlet Forums enough - I learnt everything I know from there

Hope this helps!

Chooks Wed 28-Jul-10 22:03:40

Thank you for replying!

So what would we need to keep them in before they go outside? Also, how long before they start to lay?

Do you think having not had chickens before it might be better to start with older hens, or is having them from chicks quite straight forward?

Will check out Omlet forums, thanks (will have to try to resist getting addited, as happens with most forums!! grin)

bramblebooks Wed 28-Jul-10 22:51:34

It might be better to start with point of lay hens. Unless you get certain breeds of chicks there's no way of telling the sex and you might end up with no girls.
Omlet is a fab site and there's much to find out on there.

thegoodishlife Thu 29-Jul-10 08:13:01

A few weeks ago I would have said chicks were easy - then we got some and yes I would recommend getting POL hens first!! After that, if you still want chicks, you can always borrow someone's cockerell or get some fertalised eggs to put under your hen. It's not an exact science and doesn't always guarantee chicks if you buy them, but it's worth a try

For the chicks you'll need a brooder, you'll find alot of already made ones online but ours are thriving in a large cardboard box with newspaper, an old wooly scarf, a feeder with chick crumb, a water feeder, a heat mat and a desk lamp - cost a grand total of £10

Chooks Thu 29-Jul-10 08:35:57

Thank you, I didn't think about the sex thing! Think I will take your advice and go for hens first, thats a great idea about fertalised eggs, be fantastic for the kids to see smile

LittleB Thu 29-Jul-10 15:16:38

We got hens 18mths ago, they're lovely and this summer one went broody so we got some fertile eggs under her and now she has 3 chicks. They are gorgeous and having seen them with their surrogate mum looking after them I'll never raise any in an incubator. The mum teaches them to eat and drink, keeps them warm and generally does all the hard work. Ours are outside, away from the other hens. They're in a dog kennel with a run on the front and we let them free range around the garden a couple of times a day - with us watching them closely. Mum calls them over whenever she finds food and gives them earwigs and things. (they have chick crumb too) Its so lovely seeing them learn from her, they've just learnt to dust bath and its very sweet. They're a week old today! If I were you I'd get hens first, then add to your brood with some fertile eggs next summer.

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