So after a long time of this idea in the back of my head I finally decided this is the year! We’re getting chickens – hooray!
Since I have no experience with chickens I’ve been doing tons of research about coops, breeds, raising chicks, etc. My first actual decision was on the coop. At first I thought we’d build our own since
we’re two DIY kinda people Eddie is really good at making things and I’m really good at back massages. But we actually found the perfect coop at Fluegals, a feed store in Hastings. It worked out to be more cost effective than buying the supplies and building it ourselves. Plus the color matches our house AND the owner’s father hand makes them (super cool). We did find cheaper mostly assembled ones online which were uber cute, but read a lot of negative reviews on them being cheaply made.
I called up Teri from Fleugals last week and put down a $50 deposit on my coop. He’ll be starting to build mine with a few customizations.
- Window will be on the right side
- Nesting boxes will be on the left
I wanted the window to face our road (I have some flower window box ideas forming…) and wanted to be able to access the nesting boxes without having to go into the run area (which will be built off of the front ramp side). At $500 I think it’s a great deal for a well built coop (and look at the REAL window!)
The little orange sign says it holds eight chickens. Which is perfect since we’ll only have about 4-6 to start with this year and see how it goes.
So, now that I’ve got the adult chickens coop in the works I needed to start figuring out how the whole raising chicks thing was going to happen. Again, had no idea so dug back into the internets.
Two great sites I found were http://www.backyardchickens.com and http://eggplantsupply.com. Eggplant Supply is an Urban Farm Supply store in St Paul. I think I’m actually going to get the chicks there as they have no minimum and I can get each a different breed.
So the word on the street is I have to figure out a brooder for the chicks. A protected, warm area for them to grow for 4-8 weeks. This is where they learn the basics of eating, drinking, socializing (cuz I need some happy people friendly chicks), and where they can grow their feathers.
I decided that the tub in the spare bathroom upstairs would be a pretty good spot as we never use it, no drafts, would be easy to clean, and we can keep the door closed – Sawyer and Rocky are fab play buddies, but not for baby chickies.
Okay, so that’s that. Got my supplies.
So I initially thought I was going to build my brooder out of a cardboard box. But after I put it together I just wasn’t feelin’ it. It was pretty flimsy and if we did have more than 4 chicks I didn’t think it was enough room. Guidelines say about 1 sq foot per chick.
So I opted for a large plastic tote we had in the garage. Rounded corners are also great as they prevent chicks from getting caught in the corners – poor chicks:(
We’re taking having a heat lamp in the house very seriously. Here Ed is securing a board that will suspend the heat-lamp.
As the chicks grow older we’ll need to change the height of the lamp so the area is cooler. For day-old chicks they need to have around 95 degree area. Each week it needs to be taken down by 5 degrees.
Now I fill the tote with bedding and start testing the temp to make sure we’re good to go at 95 degrees.
And lastly I put paper towels over all the bedding. With brand-new chicks they need to understand that bedding isn’t food. Once they get a grasp on that – probably after the first day or so – I’ll take out the paper towels.
The last thing left is to put hardware cloth over the top as an extra security precaution for the lamp and the chicks.
Ready for the chicks to move in!
Investment so far:
Deposit for Coop – $50
Brooder tote – free, already had!
Feeder – $4
Waterer – $3
Infared clear 250w bulb – $7
Heat lamp – $10
Medicated chick feed – $6
Vitamin/electrolytes – $2
Thermometer – $5
Pine bedding – $4
Total – $91