I received product from RentACoop to facilitate this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
It’s SPRING time! (Finally those of us from Minnesota are saying.) And along with the change of seasons comes April showers, May flowers, and CHICKENS! Many people choose to get baby chicks or chickens at this time of year. So if you’re thinking of starting this adventure, there are a few things you should know.
Thinking About Getting Chickens?
We decided to jump on the chicken bandwagon two years ago. Honestly, we didn’t really know very much about having chickens at the time. However, we live in the country, on a farm, and wanted our own eggs. So those were enough reasons to convince us it was time to take the leap. While we live in the country, some cities do allow their residents to own chickens too. Just check at your local city hall as to what the requirements and restrictions are for your area.
Here’s What You Need To Know!
Once you’ve made the decision, you now need to decide if you want to order baby chicks or look for a local seller who has slightly bigger chickens. We personally decided to get a few of each.
1. Chickens Need A Safe Place
Something you’ll want to make sure you have ready before you go to pick up your chickens is a safe place. For chicks, this may be as simple as a plastic pen in the garage so you can keep a close eye on them. However, since chicks grow fast, many people choose to have a chicken coop from the start.
Since we ended up with both chickens and chicks, we utilized both of these options. I bought a plastic ‘baby’ pen off a garage sale where we kept the chicks and we moved the chickens that were a few months old immediately into our coop.
And most recently, we created a new chicken coop inside our old maternity pen in our barn. This will make caring for our chickens in the winter much easier.
2. You Don’t Actually Need A Rooster To Get (Eating) Eggs
Some people get confused on this. However you don’t need a rooster to get eggs to eat. Chickens will lay those no matter what. The rooster’s job is to fertilize the eggs so without a rooster, you’d never be able to hatch chicks. We ended up getting a rooster in our batch of chicks and even though we could have exchanged him for a hen, we kept him. Although we just eat all our eggs and don’t incubate.
3. Laying Hens Do Well For A Couple Of Years
As hens age, their laying production decreases. So even though hens may live for up to 10+ years, they do continually decrease laying until they stop altogether. Their prime laying time is generally between 2 and 3 years of age.
You’ll Need Nesting Boxes
Unless you want your chickens laying all over the ground (hint…you DON’T!), you’ll want to get some nesting boxes for your coop. RentACoop is releasing a brand new triple box style that should be out on their website soon, but they also have a single option too.
What’s really great about their nesting boxes is that they have a roll-out design so you’ll never have to worry about dirty, cracked, or pecked eggs again! You just lift up the handle on the front to reveal the box where eggs roll.
4. Expect Molting
Something that we learned after getting chickens is that they don’t lay year round. Even the best layers, who average an egg a day, go through what is called ‘molting’. This tends to happen in the fall. The shorter days mean that chickens aren’t getting the 14 hours of daylight needed to stimulate their ovaries. So don’t be surprised if you might not see eggs again until spring.
5. Chickens Are Prey To Many Animals
Because chickens can’t fly, they are extremely vulnerable to all kinds of predators. From fox, raccoons, coyotes, hawks, and more, you’ll need to be sure to keep them safe. Even the family dog will sometimes kill your chickens. So you have to be aware that chickens should have a secure, enclosed pen for daytime or a dedicated guardian animal if you want to free range them.
6. Food And Water
Chickens need to have fresh water and adequate food available. They need to have access to their food and water at all times when they’re awake. But once they return to roost at night, they sleep soundly and won’t get up to eat or drink. So you could put it away if it’s kept outdoors and you’re worried about rain ruining the food.
My Favorite Chicken Waterer
We originally had the typical waterer that had a rim around the edge and the water flowed by gravity. But you know what? It was ALWAYS filthy! We could clean it daily and the chickens still kicked dirt, feed, and sawdust into that rim of water. So when I discovered RentACoop’s 5 Gallon Waterer, I was super excited.
For the cleanest chicken water without having to clean it yourself, this waterer is for you! Smartly designed, it’s impossible for chickens to kick up anything into this ingeniously designed waterer. Featuring horizontal nipples that help keep the ground and bedding from getting wet, the chickens lightly press against the little metal watering nipple to get fresh water.
Our chickens only took a day or so to figure these out. We just released a little water at each one and showed to our chickens. They quickly realized what to do. Designed for easy use and filling, each 5 gallon waterer lasts 4 hens more than 10 days! Plus, it comes with a no-roost cap to keep chickens from sitting on top.
This waterer is absolutely AMAZING!
Unless you are 100% free-ranging your chickens and know they are getting enough grit, you’ll want to offer feed. And this RentACoop Chicken Feeder is a great solution.
This feeder holds up to 20 pounds of pellets, crumbles, or grain. And I love that it can be used inside or outside of the coop. Or both! The handle makes for easy transporting.
It comes with No-Roost cap, which is to prevent chickens roosting. So now every time you need to life the lid of your feeder to refill, it will be spotless.
Have A Perch In Your Coop
Chickens prefer to be up high off the ground when they sleep. So you’ll want to have a perch for your hens to be able to utilize at night. (Also, sleeping on the ground or chicken coop floor can leave your chickens more susceptible to pathogens, bacteria and external parasites.)
Well, that’s the basics on what you need to know if you want to get chickens. So tell me, do you plan to get chickens? Or do you already have some? Either way, be sure to head over and check out what RentACoop all has to offer.
Connect With RentACoop
Win It: RentACoop is generously offering one of our lucky readers their very own Feeder and Waterer (just like the ones I featured). This giveaway is open to the US only. For your chance to win, enter the Giveaway Tools below. Good luck!
I’m a city girl turned country by my awesome husband and we have three busy boys and two darling daughters. I love spending time with my family, reading Karen Kingsbury novels, and catching up with friends while our kiddos have play dates. I’m blessed beyond measure and can’t wait to see what God has in store.
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