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Peep Peep Peep….Chicks!

Spring is right around the corner which means chick season is too! In northeast Florida chick sales skyrocket at local feed stores between the months of March and August, mostly because of the Spring and Easter season. Learn all you need to know before you pick up your chicks here!

First Things First

Always check with local city/county ordinances before deciding to get chickens! Some cities, like Jacksonville, require residents to get permits and some cities do not allow chickens at all!

Three baby chicks.

Breed Selection

Before you step out and purchase your new chicks, make sure you know what kind of chicks they are! Just like dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals different chicken breeds have different personalities and are used for different things. Don’t go out to pick up a Chihuahua and bring home a Great Dane! Some breeds you might consider:

Egg Laying Breeds:

  • Golden Comet
  • Rhode Island Red
  • White Leghorn
  • Sussex
  • Plymouth
  • Ancona
  • Barnevelder
  • Hamburg
  • Marans
  • Buff Orpington

Meat Breeds:

  • Cornish Cross
  • Jersey Giant
  • Black Giant
  • Delaware
  • Dorking
  • Buckeye

Always do your research on what the breeds main purpose is (egg laying or meat) and what some common personality traits are before you purchase your chicks!

Chick in box

Brooder Box

Once you get your chickens they will need somewhere to live. A brooder box is a small enclosure (about 1/2 sq ft per chick) that will house the chicks for approximately 9-10 weeks. Make sure that the brooder box has food, water, and a heat source!  Chicks need to stay warm during the first few weeks of life, or until their feathers come in. Follow the chart below for temperature suggestions based on age of chicks:

Chart depicting different temperatures

Here are some brooder box ideas:

Rubbermaid brooder box

wood brooder box

cardboard brooder box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Coop

As chicks age and get bigger you will need to move them to their permanent outdoor housing. Make sure to follow any rules your city/county has in place regarding building size and durability. You chickens will need about 3 sq ft a piece to comfortably move around. Free ranging is an option for some but make sure you keep an eye on those predators! Your chicken coop should include feed, water, nest boxes, and a roost. Your coops main goal is to protect your chickens from predators and weather, make sure it does this well!

Where to Get Chicks?

Check your local feed stores who might be selling chicks, shop around for prices as well as different breeds. You could order chicks online as well from the following hatcheries, but be aware you often have to purchase 10 or more chicks to have them delivered.

There are many, many sources for purchasing chickens and related goods. Always check for reputation, breeds, and prices. Online or local breeders are the easiest way to find some of the more uncommon/rare breeds while feed stores will have the more common breeds.

Questions?

I’d be happy to get you started with raising chickens! Shoot me an email with any questions you may have!

Alicia Halbritter

aliciah1221@ufl.edu

4H kid with chicks.  Source: Smather's Archives.