I mentioned the other day that MashupDad had picked up a couple of new baby chicks on a trip to Big R this weekend. In his words: “Since we already had a lot of stuff, growing the flock is a lot cheep-er than starting from scratch.” This brings us to six total, as we were down to four birds after the loss of Nuggets this past winter.
And on a side note: Since it’s so close to Easter, a Big R employee apparently questioned him on his intentions towards these chicks. People tend to buy baby chicks for the holiday since they are so little and cute, but then don’t know what to do with them when they end up being not so little and cute any more — which happens super quickly with chickens. (You can see photos here from a couple of years ago showing the progression from baby chick to pullet in just about a month.) Pick up chicks only when you’re ready to commit to the whole backyard chickens venture.
What your baby chicks will need
We use a standard bird feeder (a three pound bird feeder from Walmart) to hold the chick starter food, and a chick waterer for water. It’s important to keep the chicks separated from your grown birds for a while until they are bigger and their feathers have grown in, so we have a separate little enclosure next to the chicken coop where we just lay down straw for them (we don’t use wood shavings or anything like that). You’ll need to raise the feeder and waterer up gradually off the ground as the chicks grow bigger, but can use the same ones until they’re ready to move in with the full-grown chickens.
You can see Foghorn above giving the new arrivals the evil eye, and you know the term “pecking order?” Yeah, that’s literal when it comes to chickens.
Mr. 10 got the honor of naming the baby chicks this time, so please welcome Miss Winky and Miss Peepers to the flock! They’re joining Mabel II, Red, Foghorn, and Mrs. Cheepers.
On this trip:
- Chick starter food: 2 bags @ $5.99 each. This should last long enough to get both chicks to the point where they can start eating regular chicken feed.
- Laced Wyandotte chick $2.79
- Black Jersey Giant chick, $2.79
- Heat lamp, $2.19. (In the past we have just used high wattage regular light bulbs, but we’d always end up having to run two or three and they’d keep burning out.)
On this trip, MashupDad also got a bale of hay for the chicken coop and then did the spring coop cleanout. (Not specifically related to the chicks, but another $5.99 towards the ongoing costs of owning backyard chickens!) Ever hear the term “free as in kittens?” Baby chicks themselves are super cheap, but there are ongoing costs to raising and keeping them. 🙂
More on backyard chickens?
Follow all of the posts about our backyard chicken adventures here!