By now the seed catalogs and emails are flurrying in. Gardens will soon be planted. Buds on trees will awaken. The earth will thaw and the soil will become ripe for planting. It seems too early, but it is time to order baby chicks. Ordering early in the season, not only guarantees you the best selection, but it also helps to guarantee your preferred week of delivery. In the past, some breeds have sold out for the season as early as March! Breed selections should be based on climate, egg color, temperament of the chicken and their housing needs. The decision is never easy and if you ask anyone who has kept chickens, I think they will agree, that keeping chickens can become addictive! My Pet Chicken has a great breed selector tool to help you stay focused. If you are embarking on the adventure of keeping chicks for the first time, you might want to check out our five part series on starting out. Remember, the early bird gets the worm, pick of chicks and best supplies!
Spring "Chicklist" for New Chicken Owners:
1. Research local laws about keeping chickens.
2. Select and order chicks. A good idea is to have 10 square feet per chicken of livable space in the coop and run combined.
3. Order at least 4 chickens. They live in flocks and are happiest when there are at least 3 chickens in a family. Ordering a minimum of four helps you to account for chicks that may perish during transit and an accidental rooster.
4. Determine if you would like a straight run or have your chicken's sexed.
3. Determine whether or not to vaccinate them against Marek's Disease. We did.
4. Create your brooder and be sure your lamp is working.
5. Purchase food (medicated vs. non-medicated), feeders, waterers and chick grit.
6. Begin to plan for your chickens' permanent coop and run.
7. Plan for dealing with chicken waste. We compost their waste.
8. Determine if you will free range or keep your chickens confined. This can affect their space requirements
9. Pick up a resource book. I recommend Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens (3rd Ed.).
Spring "Chicklist" for Seasoned Chicken Owners:
1. Research and order chicks and determine if you will vaccinate them at the hatchery.
2. Recreate your brooder and repair and replace any missing pieces or parts.
3. Purchase chick feed and chick grit.
4. Determine a plan for flock integration.
5. Try something new this year; plant a garden for your chickens, revamp part of your coop or run, start composting, decorate the coop and run or place some seating near the coop to watch "chicken t.v."
6. Read and expand your chicken resources library.
Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.
~Frank Lloyd Wright
Manna Pro begins Chick Days on February 1st. Be sure to follow our newest sponsor on Facebook for promotions, coupons and rebates. Tell them Tilly sent you!
Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest