HOMEGROWN

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"Getting Started With Chickens" A Q&A with beloved author of "Chick Days", Jenna Woginrich

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!

Tags: Chick, Days, Earth, Hatchling, Hen, Jenna, Mother, News, Poultry, Woginrich, More…birds, chickens

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Replies to This Discussion

We ordered 25 chicks from McMurray Hatchery - the rainbow layers.  So far we have only lost 3, which were in bad shape when they arrived.  Those first two weeks we kept them in a 50 gal water tub, moving to 2 - 50 gal tubs, then to a larger space.  It was amazing how they grew when warm, had room and were well watered and fed.  At 5 weeks old, they have graduated into the chicken house.  They have their hidey spots and I did give away two of my aggresive hens to avoid the pecking order.
Sounds like your chicks are thriving.  Six of my girls are outside, but we are expecting cooler weather this week-end (lows in the lower 40s) and I'm wondering if I should heat the coop or move them inside.  They are fully feathered, 2 each RHR, Wyandotte, and barred Plymouth Rocks.
We have had alternate days of 80's to lower 40's.  I make sure they have plenty of hay stuffed clothes baskets laid on their sides so they can huddle.  If I had the room inside I would have brought them in, but they have become acclimated to being where they are (wunnerful wunnerful).  My chicken house has the north and west walls blocked from wind.  This summer the west wall will come down.

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.

Chicks need to have an area that is warm and an area that is cool.  Perhaps you are putting too much heat in a round space.  Oval works better

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.

Hi--I'm new to this discussion, but not to chicken ranching--me being the chief chicken wrangler. I had an acquaintance, a quite ancient man, in N. Minnesota where I used to live, who taught me NOT to give medicated food to any baby chicks, or hens, at any time. His belief, and one I've adopted? Treat them naturally instead. Add 1/4 c. of apple cider vinegar per gallon of drinking water--use only this water for your poultry and they won't be developing illnesses from which you have to chemically treat them. 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!!
The dots don't even have to be red!! I did this with just a brown pen and it kept the chicks pretty happy and occupied!! lol

Gale Green said:
... 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!!
Whats up?  I have a barred rock hen that usually lays the best brown eggs in town.....now all of the sudden they are white. 
Well Okee Dokie John...............thanks for the input

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.!

 

-Kevin

Well, Thank you, Kevin!! I'm up for chicken talk ANY time!! There is also more in the Homegrown101 area of this ning group about chickens if you'd like to take a peek! (I happened to contribute it too! :) ) http://www.homegrown.org/forum/topics/chickens-101

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