Spring Fever “Chicklist”

January 25, 2012
new chicken checklist
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! Today, I’m sharing my new chicken checklist with you.

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
 


Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

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Melissa

Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.

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9 thoughts on “Spring Fever “Chicklist””

  1. This will be the first time I've raised chickens since I was a kid (and really then, my job was to collect the eggs. We had around 60 chickens). Really excited!

    Reply
  2. I am happy to do a post on flock integration. I have done it twice now; once with adult birds and the second time with chicks. It can be done, but I have learned there are definitely ways to make it easier.

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  3. I don't know that we'll be adding chicks this year as we're still getting used to our current flock. These (as usual) are all great tips and ideas. Thanks for the suggestions on the books too.

    I'm curious– about imprinting and wrote a post recently, some of my commentors have differing opinions. I'm inviting you to read my post and the next days as well–to give you an idea of my dilemma … thanks in advance.

    Pat
    http://corninmycoffee-pot.blogspot.com/2012/01/strange-goings-on.html

    Reply
  4. In your opinion, is it better to give medicated chick starter to chicks? I think I used medicated the first time around, but it's been a while. We plan on getting 4 new chicks in the spring to join our 6 ladies. And how does your Feathers do with our COLD New England winters? My youngest wants a Silkie.

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    • I had all of my chicks vaccinated. I also feed them organically, so no medicated feed. If you do not medicate the feed, be sure to keep the shavings in the brooder dry and do not allow them to get wet and very dirty. Keep the feeders and waterers very clean too. Hygiene is key when using non-medicated feed.
      The Silkies do FABULOUS in the cold weather. They do not do too well when it rains as their feathers are more prone to getting wet. As long as they have a nice dry place for cover on nasty days, I think they are a wonderful addition to a flock. I would recommend getting at least 3 to keep each other company. They do tend to "stick" together as a breed.

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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.