Tour TBN’s Chicken Keeping Set-up

When raising chickens, discovering what works and what doesn’t is dictated entirely by individual circumstance. Chicken keepers have to consider space limitations, climate, purpose, and convenience. Most of us learn by trial and error, but the way I see it, that’s half the fun of raising chickens!
Here’s our set-up in the desert southwest. Suitable for mild winters, and temperatures reaching 115+ in summer.

Chicken Coop 600 111015

Brooder Room


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Cochin Chicks Trading Fluff for Feathers

Looks like another 2 weeks and the Cochin chicks will be ready to leave the brooder! They will be in a coop in plain sight of the existing flock for about 3 months, then set free to join the others. Sounds simple, unfortunately it’s not. We’ll see, my Silkies are very docile and have always accepted new birds with little confrontation. Fingers crossed!

Chicken Photo Gallery

Standard Breeds, Chicks, Bantams, Pullets, Hens, and Roos Too!

Supplemental Feeds… Before the First Egg

Hemp Seed as a Supplement

The rule of thumb is starter crumbles or pellets until the first egg. Young birds are often uninterested in table scraps, but there are a few other nutritious feed sources they will eat… and actually like. After the first 3 weeks it’s just fine to introduce a bit of grass, this is a good way to keep chicks busy, especially if they are beginning to peck each other. Just make sure to sprinkle grit around to help with digestion.

At about 4 months old, I introduce hemp seed and rolled oats just to add a little extra nutrients to my young pullets diet. For no particular reason other than they like chicken scratch, I add that too.  I don’t recommend adding this mix to their starter feed, they will only make a mess trying to pick out all the good stuff. I always feed supplements and treats in a separate hanging feeder.

Liquid supplements mixed in their feed is certainly a plus, and I do use them for my Silkies, but they definitely like hemp seed better and it’s a great source of protein containing a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. However, it should be feed sparingly because of the high fat content.

 

 

As a feeding guideline,  I feed four young pullets hemp seed, rolled oats, and scratch in these amounts…

2 heaping tablespoons of rolled oats per day
2 heaping tablespoons of scratch per day
2 tablespoons of hemp seed every other day.

Hemp Seed  is usually sold by the pound at feed stores that sell lose bulk feed, rolled oats too!

My pullets are now 7 months old and laying daily. This is the only flock I’ve supplemented with hemp seed and the first time I’ve had flawless perfect first eggs.

Silkie Bantam
Silkie Bantam Pullet

A New Option, Sexed Bantams

My Pet Chicken Corners the Market by Sexing Chicks, and the 15 Chick Minimum.

Anybody who has ever tried to buy sexed bantams found out quickly they’re almost always sold as a straight run, or not sexed.  Almost always, meaning every hatchery I know of, except My Pet Chicken. Nobody seems to know how they do it, and I don’t know if in fact their accuracy rate is even commendable, but I’m going to find out soon.  For the first time I was able to order less than the normal 15 chick minimum, and they’re sexed.  That’s right, the minimum order of shipped chicks from My Pet Chicken (in most cases) is only three. Of course I paid a $premium$ for my sexed Silkie Bantam day old chicks, but it seemed worth it. If it is to you too, visit My Pet Chicken for all the details.

When ordering my chicks I did take into consideration the margin of error associated with sexing, and of course, the shipping survival rate. I’ll have more Silkies than I want, if they all survive, and are pullets, two will be re-homed.

The brooder is ready and waiting for my new arrivals. It is averaging 100 degrees in the day, and 85 at night in the outbuilding where they will be living for the next 4 weeks. It should be quite easy to maintain a suitable living environment through the month of September. There is a window for natural light, air circulation, plumbing, electric, and lots of space for me to work play in.

 

The chicks will be moved to the coop between 4 and 5 weeks old, they will fair well in the mild temps of October until they are fully feathered at age 6-8 weeks. Sometime between now and then I’ll have the coop ready… not exactly chick worthy in it’s current state, but I’ll save that train wreck for another post.

♥ Five bearded & non bearded black Silkie Bantam chicks are expected to ship, Sept. 10th!