Our chicks are all grown! We have about 30 laying hens at the moment, plus a laying turkey. We also discovered recently that out of our batch of 30 chicks we received, 3 are roosters. It took awhile to notice, but at about 3.5-4 months old we noticed they were larger than the others and had very distinct characteristics. Once they finally "cock-a-doodle-doo'ed" it was confirmed. There is always the possibility of receiving males, but you just take the chances. Last year we ended up with 3 roosters, but gave them to a friend. We are going to hang on to these guys for awhile and try to incubate some eggs. We sure do love our little funny farm.
We typically go to Tractor Supply to purchase new chicks every Spring. Since we are down about 25 chickens so far this year, we really wanted to go ahead and get some so we could start growing them now rather than later. We found a place to order from online - Hoover's Hatchery via Tractor Supply. They arrived this morning, which was less than a week since their order date! We have 30 of the cutest baby chicks and the girls are so in love.
If you are thinking about purchasing chicks as first-timer, here are some of the things you will need for the beginning stages:
1. Large tote, container or small coop - We live in GA and typically don't get the coldest winters, but right now it is pretty cold so we are keeping the babes inside for in a large Rubbermaid tote for now.
2. Heat lamp - You can find one on Amazon, at Tractor Supply or a local feed and seed store for relatively cheap. Don't forget the light bulb!
3. Shavings - For the container or coop, so the babies stay nice and cozy.
4. Small water feeder and food feeder - We have used an actual feeder in the past, but currently we have a Tupperware container in their box and that works just fine. Just make sure they can reach the food.
5. Chick Starter Food - there are many options. This is what we currently use.
You will want to keep the chicks separated from older chickens for quite some time. They tend to peck them and run them over. We will keep these babies inside and under a heat lamp for a couple of weeks. They can go outside at 4-5 weeks, but we will keep an eye on the weather here. When it seems appropriate we will move them to our smaller chicken coop outside and continue using the heat lamp. We will also keep them separate from the adult chickens for just a little longer. According to my research [google], it is recommended to keep them separate for about 18 weeks and to introduce only a few chicks at a time to the adults.