Raising Baby Chicks Bought from the Chicken Feed Store

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The grass has finally turned green here in the Midwest. You can almost put those coveralls away until next winter.  We really can’t be sure about that until mid May around here! Another sure sign of spring is walking into your local Tractor Supply Company and hearing that faint chirping of those adorable baby chicks. I know you have been tempted to take a few of those sweet chicks home. So when it comes to raising baby chicks, what do you need and how does this all work?

This year we have decided to add to our flock.  Our coop is big enough for several more and we have really enjoyed the chickens we have.  Not only do they supply us and our family and friends with eggs, they entertain us daily.  So once again I prepared a brooder for our new arrivals.  So what is a chicken brooder?  It is simply a safe warm place for the chicks.  I use a large plastic storage container.  It will hold bags of horse feed when the chicks graduate. I attach a heat lamp to the top and use shavings as bedding. Manna Pro makes a great bedding called Fresh Flakes that works well for this. Remember that the chicks need a very warm environment in the first weeks. The recommended temperature is around 90 degrees.  They will also need a small feeder and a waterer.  For feed I have always used Manna Pro Medicated Chick Starter. My chicks have always done well with that feed. All the above is available at your local Tractor Supply Company.

So now you have their home ready.  How do you get them there?  My Tractor Supply Company is smart enough to know that little kids can’t keep their hands off of the chicks so they keep them visible but surrounded by a barrier to keep busy hands out.  The different breeds will be in different containers.  They will be clearly marked.  A very nice gentleman helped me by putting my selections in a small box that has holes in it and closes so my little treasures can get plenty of air and not escape in the car.  Around here we only want girls.  Sorry boys!  We are only interested in egg production and do not raise chickens for meat.  I prefer the anonymous chickens from the grocery store for that purpose.  If you only want chickens for eggs, be sure to get pullets.  Those are girls.  If the sign says straight runs then you could end up with all boys, all girls, or a mix of both.  In a few short weeks you will not be able to believe that you brought them all home in such a small box.  They grow fast!

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I went to two different Tractor Supply Company stores this year as the first one had mostly the breeds I already have and we want to try some different breeds this time.  We love the breeds we already have.  I just like the look of the different breeds.  Different chicken feed stores frequently have different breeds. This year we added Isa Browns, Golden Comets and sex linked black chicks.  We already have Rhode Island Reds, Leghorn Whites, Buff Orphingtons, and Barred Rocks. 

The chicks will stay in the brooder until they get too big for it.  That will not take long.  Then it will be time to introduce them to the rest of the flock.  I did a short introduction of one of the chicks to the big girls today.  Much to my surprise the big chickens seem terrified of the little one.  As soon as she started towards the big girls they all ran the other way and into the coop.  This may be interesting!

Kathy Sproules

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Chick Starter Medicated Crumbles front (1)Poultry - Fresh Flakes ft (1)corral

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Kathy Sproules

Kathy Sproules

Hello! My name is Kathy. I am a retired physician that now lives a much less stressful life on our 15 acre homestead just outside of Kansas City, Missouri. My husband and I share our life with horses, dogs, cats, chickens and bees. We have a large garden that provides lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We get honey from our bees and our chickens provide us not only eggs, but hours upon hours of entertainment as well. It all makes for a very peaceful life.

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