It’s chick season! But, before you rush out and purchase half a dozen, day-old chick from D&B Supply, here is a list that will help you get a better start with your flock.

  1. Purchase “sexed” chicks to start. Avoid “straight run.” If you do this, you likely will not have to re-home a rooster once they mature.
  2. Keep baby chicks secluded and warm. Follow temperature guidelines in my book “The Backyard Chicken Fight” or D&B Supply can provide the guidelines.Thelma_Louise
  3. Make certain your chicks start to learn to roost early. This can begin as early as 2-3 weeks of age, by providing them a small roost in their brooder box.
  4. When the pullets (young hens) have “feathered out” and are ready for the coop, make certain the hen house is secure from predators.Louise-in-coop
  5. A chicken coop should be well ventilated but also provide your chickens protection from the wind.
  6. Give your girls a wide roost. A 2×4, oriented on the 4” side, is the perfect roost for laying hens who are cooped in cold climates. Their breast feathers will fully cover their feet, thus avoiding frostbite in winter.
  7. Do not allow chickens to overnight (sleep) in nest boxes. If you find them in the nest boxes, remove them and set them on the roost. Also, keep your nest boxes clean. Eggs are clean when they are laid. If your nest boxes are clean, so too will be your eggs.
  8. Make certain your hens can take a bath! This could be in a dry area under a tree or you can provide them with a tub that is protected from the rain and is filled with dry, airy dirt.Dirt-Bath
  9. Gather your eggs in a timely fashion. Eggs that are left in the coop become fair game to curious hens. Once a hen starts to peck and eat eggs, it’s difficult to break the habit.eggs
  10. Practice good hygiene when it comes to handling live poultry. Use designated coop shoes and outerwear. Always, wash your hands after handling your chicks and/or hens.