Thinking about adding chickens to your family? Great idea! Before you go rushing to the store and looking at the baby chicks there are some things you need first. The upfront cost doesn’t have to be a lot, but they have a few necessities that must be met.
First and foremost, your chickens need somewhere to live. Having a safe place for them, mostly just during the dark hours, is super important. Chickens have so many predators so keeping them away from harm is number one.
You can buy premade coops from places like Atwoods or Tractor Supply. They can get fairly expensive depending on how big of one you get. I would suggest building one. Much cheaper and just as effective. Chickens only need 4 square feet per bird in the coop, so you don’t need a huge one to fit a decent amount of birds.
In their coop they need nesting boxes. This is where they will lay their eggs. Having a soft bedding for them to lay on like pine shavings will encourage them to lay in that designated area so you can easily find them.
Chickens are omnivores, so they eat plant and animal products. They need protein, grit, and calcium in their diet. Store bought chicken feed contains of all three of these. They are great foragers as well. We let ours free range so they can eat bugs and whatever else they can find. Chicks on the other hand do not eat the same thing as grown birds. They need chick starter. It’s higher in nutrients and vitamins that will help they grow into good egg layers.
Just like any animal, your chickens will need water. There are tons of types of chicken waterers on the market. From ones that hang to automatic waterers. Keeping it clean and readily available is the goal.
Space to Roam
Chickens need 10 square feet of space per bird to roam about outdoors. You can have a fenced of yard for them or you can let them roam free in your pasture if you have one. We prefer letting them free range just because we feel like their quality of life is so much better, but I understand not everyone can do that. As long as you give them that 10 square feet, they will be happy.
It’s pretty easy to get setup and ready for chicks in a short amount of time. You can find everything you need at one store. They are just like any other pet and give you the responsibility of taking care of them and proving them everything they need.
They are fairly low maintenance and especially once they are grown, they don’t long to tend to. So, if you are ready for that kind of responsibility and can provide those things listed above, you’re ready to go chick shopping!