You read that right… We got chickens! Which you may already know this if you have been following along on Instagram, but in March we welcomed 10 baby chicks in to our home! What an adventure! A little back story… since we moved in 3 years ago we have slowing been evolving our backyard. It’s our version of a little homestead. We upgraded our garden, installed a rain barrel, added a work shed, and now a chicken coop! I love looking out the kitchen window in the morning, sipping my coffee and seeing all the things we’ve built!
Where we live we are pretty limited as to what we can have in our backyard. A dream of our family is to one day have a property large enough to support other animals: sheep, goats, pigs, etc. Think The Gentle Barn! For now, chickens and gosh we are in love!!
If you are local to Connecticut I will detail in this post where we got our chickens, our coop, local resources, etc.
Buying Chickens Locally
If you have walked in to a Tractor Supply recently you may have seen “Chick Days!” plastered just about everywhere. We chose not to utilize Tractor Supply and instead support a local feed shop: Mackey’s Grows. What I liked about utilizing them is I was able to pre-order the chicks that we wanted. With a place like Tractor Supply you are at the mercy of what they have available in-store that day. I filled out an order form at the beginning of January 2023. We received an email mid March that the chicks had arrived.
Having gone through this process, I would not utilize a feed shop again. Instead I would look to the local community for hatching chicks. There are a ton of Facebook groups “(STATE NAME) Backyard Chickens” or something similar. Mid Spring you will see a ton of posts regarding hatching chicks available. Towards the end of the season you may even see them for free!
In my opinion I would rather shop more local, and in the future I would be interested in hatching our own. It is also important to know that when buying (or hatching) chicks it is not always guaranteed you will get all hens. There is a high probability a rooster or two may be mixed in. It can be hard to tell with some breeds hen versus rooster until they are about 6-8 weeks of age. Depending on where you live you may not be allowed to keep a rooster (our town does not allow it) so you will need to plan to make arrangements for them. Another reason why a local chicken Facebook group is a great resource!
I am happy to report that we got all hens!!
Our Coop + Run
I spent way too much time searching for the perfect chicken coop. Hours of research, reading reviews, watching YouTube videos – you name it! I was worried about the coop being too small to support 10 chickens and not being study enough to last a long time. If I was going to spend a decent amount of money, I wanted it to last. Cue the Facebook group again! I found a guy who made coops by hand and sold them just over the border in Massachusetts. My husband rented a truck then his dad and him set off on a trip to bring it home. (Thank you again!!) It was perfect! We added our own touches and I am so happy with all the research I put in to find what worked for us!
We built our run ourselves, we had a limited space and I wanted it to run behind our garden and under our pine trees to provide protection from the weather, some shade and privacy. I think it’s in a great spot and the chickens seem to love it!
Meet Our Girls!
Did I name each one of our girls? Yes! Are some of the names Taylor Swift inspired? Absolutely! I am going to break down the breeds we got, the girls names, and egg colors. We got two of each breed.
Grey + White Easter Egger – Pearl and Poppy – Blue or Green Eggs
Orpington – Marigold and Peach – Light Brown Eggs
Welsummer – Dolly and Juliet – Dark Brown Eggs
Speckled Sussex – Cornelia and Dottie – Light Brown Eggs
Noir Maran – Betty and Bonnie – Dark Maroon Eggs
Our Must-Haves for Baby Chicks
There are so many wonderful resources online when it comes to raising baby chicks. I love Peach’s to Pearls: A First Time Guide to Raising Chickens. Raising chicks can be simple, but there is also a learning curve when it comes to heating, chick ailments, food, and nutrients. It’s unfortunate that some chicks don’t survive longer than a few days after hatching. Whether is be the stress of being shipped, transported to a new home, etc. We got so lucky that all 10 of our girls made it. I have one that I was worried about, but kept a close eye on and offered extra support.
We raised our chicks in our home, we first attempted the garage but I was unable to stabilize the temperature, so we quickly moved them inside. Our chicks lived in a 100 gallon stock tank, the sides were tall enough so they couldn’t jump out as they got bigger. We used pine shaving for bedding and I utilized this waterer and feeder. I also think Sav-A-Chick is crucial to put in their water during the first week! Additionally, chicks like to play! So I grabbed a mirror and these mini perches. It’s great for them to learn and stay entertained! Two very important items to not forget are a heat lamp and thermometer.
I hope this was helpful! I am no expert but always happy and willing to engage in some “chicken chatter”!