With Spring just around the corner, it’s time to get ready for new chicks on the farm. Our old laying flock is getting old and doesn’t produce as much as they used to, so it’s time to get another flock started.
Getting started with chickens is fun and easy. Chickens do not require much in terms of equipment or living conditions. In fact, you can be flexible with what you use and get pretty creative with your brooder and coop setups.
Here is a list of things I say you’ll need in the video:
1. Tub, Crate, Box, or whatever you will be using for a brooder. I use a Rubbermaid tub in the video, but you can use anything that will help contain the chicks and keep them safe.
2. Feeder and Waterer. These plastic ones are cheaper and can last a long time in your brooder. They are perfect for small birds and take up less room in your brooder than larger units. Here’s a tip: mixing Apple Cider Vinegar in the waterer will help promote good digestive health in the young birds. I keep a bottle in the brooder and mix in about a tablespoon each time I fill up the waterer.
3. Bedding. This helps with managing droppings from the young birds and makes it easier to clean up. I use pine shavings because they are good for managing the waste as well as providing a substrate that the small birds can easily manage.
4. Feed. We don’t use organic feed, but we do use locally source and milled grains from our local farmer’s Co-op with no added medication. Your local feed mills or co-ops may have similar options, and they may be able to work with you on specific mixes for what you want for your birds. If you are getting started, these can be good resources for what is available and works in your area.
5. Heat Lamp and Heat Bulb. This is one of the most important things for young birds. Young birds are very sensitive to the cold and if they are not kept warm enough they will die. For the first week of their lives, the brooder temperature should be 95 degrees. You can back it off about 5 degrees a week until they are out of the brooder.
Let me know what else you use in the comments. I’m excited to hear from any experienced chicken tenders on tips for people just starting out.