How to Raise Baby Chickens at Home in Your Backyard

Hey y'all. It's Jennifer, the DIY animal doctor here, and it's a nice sunny morning here on the farm. And today I want to talk about starting your own chickens on your own farm and just kind of like basic stuff about, uh, getting them ready to get out in a chicken coop to be more sustainable, after egg incubator. So about a month ago, I went to my local farm supply store and got some little pullets. I actually got some Rhode Island reds previously. We had a bunch of buff Orpingtons. I actually only have one girl left from that original chicken, um, bunch. Uh, she's about five years old and she's still laying, but, um, she's not laying as much. And so I figured with everything that's going on, you know, in the world today and trying to be more sustainable about getting some more pullets. So I picked up four of those. We did lose one. It happened sometimes. Um, she was actually the run, but we have three and they're doing really good. They've almost got their adult feathers in all the way and they can almost fly. So I just wanted to talk, uh, you know, really quick about pretty much just the things that it takes to get started with chickens and getting them all ready and getting them out in the coop. The first thing that you're going to need of course, is your pilots. You need to decide what kind of breed a chicken do you want to get already have buff Orpingtons I have one girl left and so the Rhode Island do good with the buff Orpington so you just, you can do your research about which breed is going to be best for what you want to do. If you want to lay eggs or you want to have them. For me, we're doing eggs here. So I decided to get Rhode Island reds. They do very well with the buffing Tim's, I've had them together in the past. I've had a bunch of different breeds, but these two briefs tend to do really well together and they both tend to be really good egg layers. So the first thing you need to do is get your chickens. Chevy's going after them right now. Chevy knock it off. So here's our little girls. Um, you can see they're getting their, their adult feathers in. You need to make sure you have a place that you can seek them out of the cold, especially if it's, you know, the beginning of spring. So I just usually keep them in my barn over where my horses are in the garage and like a plastic bin like this. And you always need to have a heat lamp Chevy. You need to have a heat lamp on them because if they do get cold, you can lose them that way to the cold. Um, and if you know, you have animals that you want to keep out of there, like this dog that's trying to go after them or um, they're starting to fly. You want to make sure you have some type of covering that you can keep over them. And I just use this old, it's like an old, a crazy thing and I just put that over there and you literally, all you need is like a little water container and something for their food. And literally it's just what I got was the chick starter grower feed by do more at tractor supply and you just want to make sure that, you know, you change their water every day and you know, make sure they have enough food and clean out their bedding and everything every once in a wall. And that's pretty much it. Um, keep the heat lamp on and these guys are about a month old now and you can see they're starting to get their adult feathers in. Um, if you want them more friendly, make sure you handle them more often, pick them up, whatever. Just be careful with your kids because you know, chickens can carry salmonella. I think kind of poultry can. Um, but that's about it as far as getting them ready inside to transfer them over to the coop. So we're walking out to the chicken coop right now. My son's taken a nap, but we just have like the link, the link fencing. Um, it works really well. It keeps all the animals out and we have netting on top. They put, it keeps the Hawks out and stuff like that. But here's miss Bellina over here. And hopefully you don't have dog like that that makes your ears want to ring because he gets really excited about chickens. So here's Belina, she's my last buff or Finkton from the last batch of chickens we had about five or six years ago. We had about 10 of them. We had two roosters, but we lost some, you know, from free ranging and from Hawks and hours and animals and stuff like that. So we decided to put them in here with this, this netting on top to keep the other animals out. And I like to keep the, I guess you call them brush and weeds in here a little bit high cause I think it offers a protection to them from other animals. Um, but this is a coop. I mean it's nothing crazy. I built it by myself. Um, it was really easy to build just from scrap materials that I had around here. You know, you can see the window on the side. I don't know. It took about a weekend to raise. My chicken coop is really dirty right now, so I'm not going to show you inside of it, but I think people tend to make it more difficult than it really is. Keeping chickens in your backyard and it really doesn't have to be difficult at all. Um, yeah, so you can see literally what they live in. So I just want to make a note guys, when you're getting ready to actually transition your checks over to the coop, you want to make sure that you start turning your heat lamp off for several hours during the day and just slowly, progressively just leave it off for more time. Um, do it within reason though. You know, if it's really cold out, you should still be leaving the lamp on. But if it's like a nice day like it is today is like 65 degrees, there's no reason to have the heat lamp on. Same thing at night. Just progressively turn the heat lamp off so they get used to having the heat lamp off for longer before you transition them over to the coop. Hey guys. So I finally got the chicks out into the chicken coop area with my bigger chicken and I kind of just wanted to show you my set up here. I'm getting them out there here before they're actually really too big, getting them acclimated to the weather and such. And I'll just show you my setup really quick. So this is where I have them right now. I got them out of the plastic tub out of the garage. And pretty much what I did is I just acclimated them to not having the heat lamp on. And I progressively, um, you know, increase that until where they didn't need the heat lamp, um, all day for pretty much all week, even throughout the night, even when it was colder temperatures. And you can see they're almost playing here and they've got their full adult feathers. But I literally just use an old horse trough for water that we have. And the bottom of it is, um, it doesn't have a bottom. And so this way they're protected from happen out of this chain link fence where my other chicken is right now and they're protected from predators. And then, you know, I just laid a couple of these plastic lids over the top in case it ranks. It rained last night and they did just fine. So it doesn't have to be complicated. It can be simple. You know, I highly advocate for reusing things that you already have on your homes that are your farm. If you don't have to spend extra money and can invest it somewhere else. But they're doing really good. And I just wanted to show you my setup. No, I did actually clean up my chicken coop the other day and I figured I would give you a real quick look of what my cup coop looks like inside. It's nothing fancy. I've made it myself and I'm with materials that I already had here on our farm. And just give you a quick idea of how easy having chickens can be in your backyard and how much money it doesn't have to cost. Alright, so here's the assignment, checking cube. I cleaned it out, it's a little bit dirty, but it's looking pretty clean. So I just use all the wood from stuff that I already had here from old projects. And you can see here, this is just like, you know, the area where the chickens can go up in Bruce and get off the ground. And then I've got some laying boxes and these are just all old eight cartons or those carton things that you can get at your gross grocery store. You can see this as the old Coleman cart, but these things work really great, um, for, for roosting boxes and for laying boxes. And literally, this is all it is gaze. But here's an idea. I've got some windows in here. Um, and then I barely just use some plywood to make a door, um, and put a little hole in the bottom of it. This has been here since I've lived here pretty much eight years, almost nine years now. And this does the job for all the chickens that we've ever had. We've had a good many of them. And um, yep. So starting chickens, it doesn't have to be complicated. It can be. It doesn't have to be expensive. Having chickens in your backyard or on your farm doesn't have to be expensive. It can be easy, simple, and not cost an incredible lot of money on, give you fresh eggs for you to eat.

by Miriam Rolling – poultry farmer