Peep, peep, peep, That's what we wake up to every morning for the last couple weeks. I kind of enjoy it. Our little chickies are growing fast like all children and almost have all their feathers. Super D is going to be building them an outside home in the next week or so!
But to break this up a bit I thought I'd give you all a little info on chickens. Since I am by NO means a chicken expert I am linking to helpful sites I've found. If your wanting to raise chickens these may get you started.
Let's start with some basic terms. These are words I had to learn what they meant...
Bantam- These are smaller breeds than the "standard" chickens.
Broody - Broody hens can be recognized by their behaviour. They sit firmly over the eggs, and when people approach or try to remove the eggs, threaten the person by erecting their feathers, emitting a characteristic sound like clo-clo-clo and will peck aggressively. When broody, hens often temporarily cease eating or reduce their feed consumption is when a hen is wanting to mother a brood or group of chicks. A broody hen will lay more eggs but want to sit on the nest to hatch them. Some breeds have a higher tendency to go broody than others. Sometimes you want them to go broody so they will raise chicks for you.
We ordered our chicks from Murray McMurray. We picked Buff Orpingtons which will lay brown eggs and are good layers in the winter. They also make good meat birds. I highly suggest researching the breed you want as there are so many and they have so many different traits. Some are better layers than others, some are raised primarily for meat, and some are pretty good for both. Buff Orpingtons are a popular classic. Murray McMurray also includes a rare chick in orders from them (see them for details). I believe our uniquely colored one is an Ameraucana. This site has a chart that tells of 60 different breeds of chickens. Chicken breeds Chart
I really liked this site for a very general overview on keeping chickens Urban Chickens.
Although all these sites recommend against using newspaper as flooring that is what we did. It is what we had available that was easily changeable. We kept our chicks warm by setting up space for them next to the woodstove. While it has cooled off some at night we have been diligent in keeping the fire stocked so it rarely dropped below 75. That only at night. This may have contributed to us losing some of our chicks as they can't handle cold when they are very young. But we have done our best with what we have and are happy with the 15 chicks we have. Get a chick feeder as they go through feed and water so fast. We fill ours at least twice a day. They must always have water. We noticed that when one goes empty they make more noise just like children.
Now that your getting chickens you will need a coop. Or a place to keep them outside. From my research I have learned there are 100 ways to raise chickens. Even Super D and I have different ideas on how to keep our chickens. Alas, Super D has more experience than I do so I have to go with his judgment and we will work towards new ideas as we get the hang of it. Right now we bought a big bag of feed for our chickens but eventually we would like to make our own feed and have our chickens scavenging for much of their food themselves. We would like free range chickens for the most part but at the same time we don't want chickens all over our porch, picnic table, chairs, ect. So we will set up some boundaries for them. As where the chickens go you will have chicken poop. I hope this gets you started in information on chickens if your wanting to keep them and I will continue to update as I learn.
If you have questions about chickens or any thing else we are doing please don't hesitate to ask. I will try to answer them or at least point you in the right direction :)