The Phaserl


Everything You Need to Know About Raising Baby Chicks on a Budget

by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

Baby chicks…they’re adorable, fluffy, and incredibly delicate!  Despite their fragility, they’re actually pretty simple to raise. If you have some outdoor space and live in an area where it’s allowed, fresh eggs and meat (if you’re interested in that) can easily be yours!

This week’s self-reliance strategies are all about getting started with baby chicks.

I don’t have 20 years of experience with baby chickens, but I’m now on my 4th batch of them.  Each new batch has been more successful than the one before.  Just like any other new skill, it works best if you simply find a reliable guide, plunge in, and learn “on the job.”  Below, we’ll talk about how to get started on the most adorable hobby around. Trust me – anyone can do this! This article is long, but it contains basically everything you need to know to get started raising baby chicks.

Before you start

We’ve all read about the war on self-reliance. It seems like feeding yourself is becoming increasingly illegal. People are forced to rip out thriving front-yard vegetable gardens, raw milk is illegal in many states, and some states require an “egg handler’s license” before you can sell, give away, or otherwise distribute fresh eggs. We’ve come a long way from the days when being self-reliant was seen as your patriotic duty.

Uncle Sam Expects You to Keep Chickens

Because of this, if you live in an urban or suburban area, be sure to check the bylaws before bringing your birds home. Often, you can find information on this forum about your town’s specific chicken bylaws.

It would be irresponsible to recommend breaking the law, of course. *coughs* I’ve heard that although chickens aren’t exactly stealth animals, sometimes if you pay protection in eggs, neighbors will look the other way as long as there are no roosters crowing at 4 am or hens enjoying their rosebushes as an afternoon snack. Discretion is the better part of valor, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare.

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6 comments to Everything You Need to Know About Raising Baby Chicks on a Budget

  • SweetHomeChicago

    We’ve had 3 batches of chicks in our backyard garden. We’ve raised Esa Browns, Easter Eggers, and Rhode Island Reds. All good layers. Esa Browns are egg laying machines an egg a day for about two years. Then production falls off. Easter Eggers lay blue eggs every other day. Rhode Island Reds are about every other day too. Six birds = average 4 eggs a day. Neighbors are ok with the hens. The eggs are incredible! Orange yolks, very nutritious, and the hens cruise the veggie garden freely twice a day. We protect them in a pvc constructed pen (think pup tent) that is moved daily to a new spot. This protects them from the hawks. Our hens keep insect populations down in the garden–fertilizing as they go. We’ve converted the old kids playset into the chicken condo as the neighbor calls it. We get free spent grain from the local brewery and after a day of airing they go to it with gusto! We supplement with grain pellets, peelings/scraps from the kitchen, diatenaeous earth, powdered calcium, powdered oyster shells, and they’re all healthy and happy. Chickens are fun to watch too!

  • Joel

    My wife and I started raising chickens last year. I promised her it was only for the eggs and not the meat…lol.. we get attached to animals quickly, plus we have two young kids. Last year in May, the first batch was 5 New Hampshire Reds. This February, we got 6 Silver Laced Wyandottes. They are absolutely great outdoor animals. They eat everything – especially the bugs. The Silvers are still too young. The Reds started laying eggs in November. Since then we get an average of 4-5 eggs PER DAY. I also started gardening for veggies this year for the first time. Oh, and I’ve been stacking gold, silver and lead as well.

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    I was watching TV garden show (P. Allen Smith), doing a 1/2 hour on Chickens. There is a “treadle feeder” that allows access, only when a chicken steps on it, door opens at chicken-head height, perfect to prevent RODENTS from eating it.

    Did some READING on QUIET FOWL, and learned that just about the ONLY choice, would be for a breed of QUAIL (some kind of “Jumbo” breed, BIG enough to decent eggs,, birds grow up to 1.5 pounds each, and NOT NOISY. A bit HARDER to care for, but I like the idea of QUIET FOWL.)

    As for them keeping the bugs consumed? Love that Idea too. If I attempt to raise some fowl, I’d like to try putting them into my chicken wired garden area, and also put a wire ROOF over it, to stop winged or jumping predators from getting in. I’ve got a perfect 40×40 area, just need to put a screened top on it.

    I ruled out Guinea fowl because of the noise. Also hate ROOSTERS for the same reason. (I often need a mid-day nap, and noisy birds would soon be on the BBQ grill.)

    I do love the fabulous flavor of DUCK eggs (domestic ducks, kept away from lakes or ponds.)
    But when a group of ducks starts to quack, it sounds like inmates at the Loony bin on acid while watching cartoons. (I had about a dozen ducks back in the 80’s.), then I tried it with chickens. That’s why I may try the largest Quail next time.


    CED, watch out for those BIG SNAKES in FL. I hear that they have a insatiable appetite
    for ALL of your fine feathered friends!!!

    • Craig Escaped Detroit

      I forgot about the snakes. We have plenty of predator BIRDS (owls, hawks, etc).

      I’ve not seen “big” snakes around MY place, but I know they gotta be out there somewhere.

      I have seen a few “black snakes”, these are THIN, but up to 4ft long. No thicker than a garden hose, and mostly smaller. THey love mice.

      Corn snakes around here too. The ONLY diamond-back I’ve seen in 5 years, was a “road kill” out on the highway. Snakes are VERY good TREE CLIMBERS. Earlier this year, I “spooked” a black-racer, and it ran up a tree, but stopped when he ran out of branches to climb.

      I’ve heard of rattle snakes getting 15-25ft up in the trees. now THAT’s something that would freak me out.

      My next door neighbor’s home (an OLDER mobile home), some (non venomous) followed the scent of mice up into the walls, and fell down from the ceiling vent onto the head & shoulders of the wife. She REALLY freaked. Hahaha.. yep, ANYBODY would freak out. And this happened in their bedroom. Needless to say, the very next day, the husband was sent on a big job of fixing every wall & floor gap to prevent any further incursions.

      I should do a similar job on my own trailer. I’m sure there are some PLUMBING or wiring gaps where animals can get up into my walls. Just about EVERY house on earth has some of those gaps.

    • Joel

      CED – I came very, very close to getting ducks to add to my chicken flock.. They are so cute. Good thing I did some research on them peckers.. Ducks, apparently, are a lot tougher to take care of.. From the research I did, the best way I can summarize taking care of ducks is being married to a needy and emotional basket case woman who craps her pants all over the place and shows affection by biting you.

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