There isn't anything much cuter than a new born baby chick ...and raising chicks is a great deal of fun! Imagine a little fluff ball that fits in your hand and melts your heart. Raising your own chicks requires a little effort and planning, but is something most people can do successfully, without investing huge sums of money. And it's fun!
Before You Bring Chicks Home
Find out what your cities ordinances are concerning raising chickens in your yard. Some laws are loose (like where I live, we can have as many chickens and even roosters as we want), others much more strict (you can only have 2 or 3 hens, no roosters).
They also might have something to say about the potential chicken coop, as in how far away it has to be from your neighbors house or from the front curb of your property (for example, my coop has to be 100 yards from the neighbors house and 70 yards from the front curb).
Don't forget to check with your HOA if you're in one. I've heard many people say their city will allow chickens, but their HOA rules prohibit them. It's a lot easier to check before you invest your time, energy and heart into keeping chickens. Although I've heard people talk about raising chicks on the sly, I've also heard stories of people getting fined for breaking the rules, so don't neglect this important part of your homework.
Picking the Perfect Chick
Once you find out you can actually raise chickens, next, you need to decide what breed(s) of chicks you want. Will you be primarily raising chickens for eggs? If so, go for chickens that are known to be good layers. If you have a preference of the colors of eggs they lay, that also factors into the kinds of chicks you'll want to buy.
Will they be around children? Picking a breed that's known for it's gentleness Will they be pets or birds you use for show? Then maybe their looks are most important to you. If you live in extreme hot or cold regions, picking chicks that are hearty in the winter or tolerant of heat is a good idea as well.
Preparing for Chicks
Raising your own chicks means that for the first 6 to 8 weeks of their lives, they'll need to live with you. Yep, that's right. They'll become your temporary indoor pets! They'll need to live in a 'brooder' that you set up for them that has a heat lamp to help keep them warm. Find out how to set up a brooder for chicks here.
Once you've done your homework, set up your brooder, collected your supplies and brought your chicks home, prepare to have your life altered. So many people I've talked to report that they watch less TV now that they have their chickens, because they're so entertaining to watch. Or that they spend more time outside. Or that caring for the chickens brings peace and calm to their otherwise hectic world.
Whatever the results, they're usually great. And most people that start raising their own chicks become outstanding advocates for a 'chicken in every yard.' It's addicting! And so much fun!
Here's more information on taking care of new chicks to help you navigate these first precious days and weeks at a new chicken owner.
Are you worried about whether or not you should start your flock with baby chicks or older birds?
Find out more information on what kind of chickens to buy.
Find out more information on keeping chickens.