The first installment in the HOMEGROWN Bookshelf series comes from Storey Publishing author and beloved blogger (and farmer!) Jenna Woginrich. Jenna’s new book, “Chick Days: Raising Chickens from Hatchlings to Laying Hens” is a charming and comprehensive primer for anyone interested in keeping chickens (that’s a lot of us).
Read “Getting Started With Chickens”, then pipe in here with your thoughts and questions. Jenna will be answering your questions for the rest of April – ask her anything chicken-related!
EXCLUSIVE OFFER TO HOMEGROWN MEMBERS, FARM AID FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS: Get 10% off of your very own copy of “Chick Days” by buying at the Mother Earth News Bookstore and Farm Aid will receive 5% of the proceeds of each sale. Use promotional code: MMEENB3S. Yay! Another way to help Farm Aid!
My husband and I are new to raising chickens, at least in the last two decades. We grew up with families who raised chickens, but are on our own now. We just got 20 chicks and are having trouble keeping the temperature of their box consistent. They are in a 50 gallon drum that's been cut in half in our garage. There is a heat lamp above it on one side. The outdoors temperature has varied a lot lately (80's one day and 40's the next night. Does anyone have ideas for how to get a more consistent temperature for the chicks? Even though they are in the garage, the container temperature can vary from 75-120 if not carefully watched.
We have connected both halves of a 50 gal. drum together to make an oval. One side has a heat lamp and the other is cooler. We can't get the temperature to stay relatively consistent throughout the day. It can be anywhere from 70 to 120 degrees on the warm side. We've tried adjusting the lamp and partially covering the top to keep heat in. Tonight we are trying making the sides of the enclosure higher to reduce any draft that might be caused by temperatures dropping into the 40s or 30s tonight.
... And, with all baby chicks in brooders, use a bit of red nail polish and paint several dots about eye level to the chicks. They'll peck at these and leave each other alone! If you raise them to hens, they won't have the tendencies to peck each other if you keep them well supplied with red dots throughout your chicken enclosure. I took the old Minnesotan's advice, seeing as how he raised multiple kinds of birds, always had a large showing at the county fair, brought home ribbons and trophies, and had the healthiest cluckers you could ever imagine! Productive, too!!
While I've been a member of this group, I have commented maybe only once or twice. I can tell you that reading all this great info. has really helped me determine whether or not to raise chickens in this sub-urban setting. I see they are a lot of work. But I think the joy of our kids learning how to raise laying hens will outweigh the work involved. A reward if you will.
Mrs. Whetzel, I may hit you from time to time for tip sand insight as I have read your blog and know you know your stuff.
Thanks for all the great info.!