Picking out my Chicks!

Black Tailed White Japanese Bantam

1st choice: Black-tailed White Japanese Bantams

I’ve never had bantams before, thought this year I might see if I can locate a few Japanese bantams.  My Pet Chicken carries them, but they are out of stock. 😦

Bantams aren’t anything special other than for their size, they are small, about half the size of a chicken.  Japanese bantams aren’t easy to find, but lately, they have been advertised on Craigslist by a private party about 30 miles from here. They most likely won’t be sexed, but I’m positive re-homing roosters of this breed will be a breeze.

delaware hen
DELAWARE

If I don’t find my pretty bantams of choice, I’m choosing the Delaware. They are available Sept. 30th from My Pet Chicken, but hopefully I can find them local, shipping is pretty spendy!

I’ve chosen this breed because I may try to hatch fertile eggs. The Delaware is a setter, and hopefully at least one of these ladies would like to be a foster mommy.

The brooder is ready, but the coop for young pullets? Well… it’s gone, I sold it, ha ha! Better get busy!

Preparing for Baby Chicks

A Detailed Check List of Everything You’ll Need

Before you bring home your baby chicks prepare an area to keep them. Maybe a garage, shed, or anyplace where the chicks are protected from inclement weather or drafts.

Many chicken keepers of a small flock may even keep chicks in the house for the first week or so.

The Basics

• A Brooder
This is simply a container worthy of containing the chicks for the first 4-6 weeks. The sides should be about 12 to 15 inches high, the taller the brooder is, the less likely you’re going to have a problem with chicks escaping when they become more active. Brooder Ideas

• Thermometer
This is important to monitor the temperature in the brooder. Any outdoor type that is easy to read is sufficient.

• Brooder Lamp (and something dependable to hang it from)
The hanging type will allow you better control of temperature. You’ll want the ease of lowering or raising the lamp for more or less heat. Most feed stores carry both brooder lamp and bulb. Although the bulb color of choice by chicken keepers is a controversial one, I prefer, and recommend the RED bulb.

• Feeder & Drinker
Choose both that are made for chicks, they are designed not only for their convenience, but safety too.

• Bedding
Shavings are usually the bedding of choice after a week or two.
Shredded paper is suitable too!

• Feed
Most commonly called Chick Starter feed. They’re going to be on this food for the next 5-6 months or their point of lay, so don’t be afraid to buy a 50lb bag. It won’t be the last bag you buy!

The Extras to Make caring for your Chicks Easier…

• Paper Towels
Many chicken keepers like to use paper towels for the bottom of the brooder the first week or two.  I don’t, and all is fine… your choice.

• Trash Can (2)
A convenient way to make cleaning less of a chore. Keep it handy by the brooder.
It’s nice to keep your feed in one too, bagged feed can be a big mess to clean up if it falls over. Metal trash cans are best for feed.

• Bucket
To dump out the drinker waste, rather than refilling the whole waterer ten times a day.

• Extra brooder bulb in case one fails.

• Small brooder (a box is ok) set-up in case you have to isolate or doctor a chick.

 

It’s a little work but there is reward…

tbnranch.com
FARM FRESH EGGS

Preparing for Baby Chicks

Decisions, Decisions…

The brooder is all set up and now it’s time to decide what kind of chicks to order. October is the best time to start day old chicks here in Phoenix.  Hopefully the breeds I’m interested in will be available.  You’d think 3 months advance notice would be sufficient time for a hatchery to ship my breed preferences, but most likely, it still boils down to LUCK.

Hatcheries don’t make it easy for the little guy, they only ship minimum orders of 15 birds and most all the fancy breeds and bantams (miniature chickens) are a straight run, not sexed.  Urban chicken keepers who have city codes banning roosters avoid straight run chicks because chances are good they’ll have unwanted roosters to re-home. Feed stores sell sexed chicks, but they are rarely the fancy type such as Silkies or the Crested varieties.

I bought a straight run from Murray McMurray Hatchery a few years ago, out of 15 chicks 9 were roosters! After spending 5 months of worrying about who was a hen and who was a rooster, I ended up with only two fancy pullets on my wish list… all six roosters went on CraigsList. I didn’t learn my lesson and again bought 12 non-standard variety chicks from a private party… half turned out to be roosters.

I can however, be guaranteed all pullets (hens, females) if I order standard breed chicks,  the minimum of 15 chicks still applies. But wanting just a small flock, I’ll be able to easily sell the unwanted female chicks.  So, there are decisions to make, the breeds I pick must be marketable, and marketable means good layers of large eggs.  Good egg layers are not what fancy chickens are known for, they are often considered exhibition birds, and only fair layers of small eggs. Fancy roosters are not in demand at all, and will most likely be looking for a home with many others in the same situation.

So I must decide, do I play it safe and buy standard breed sexed chicks, or take a gamble on fancy chicks and hope I don’t get stuck with a bunch of roosters who’ll be hard to re-home. I’d like to raise Polish and Silkie Bantams, those two breeds are at the top of my wish list… both sold in a straight run only.  And, both fair layers of small white eggs.

 

 

 

If I Play it Safe…

I can order all standard bred ladies, my chicks of choice are Delawares.

This breed was founded in the state of Delaware from an original Barred Rock and New Hampshire cross. The Delaware is considered a heavy breed which lays a nice size brown egg.  Cute babies!

But, this is what I really want,  the Silkie Bantam: Fair layer, small white eggs.

It’s either or, I won’t split the order and buy both Delawares and the Bantams…. however, if I order the Silkie Bantams,  I’ll probably mix the order with  7 White or Golden Polish Crested, for resale purposes.

Golden Polish Crested