Updated: Mar 20
When our first batch of chickens arrived, it was a crazy day!!! We received a phone call at 5 a.m. from the post office to come get them. Kris quickly got up and and not even 30 minutes later we had two hundred of our Cornish Cross (broiler chickens) on the farm. What everyone needs to remember, chickens are by no means easy to raise. After they are born it is critical to check on them about every two hours. Their brooder needs to stay at a constant temperature of 90 degrees (this temp may vary depending on the breed of bird). This temperature needs to be consistent for the first week. Also, their water needs to be room temperature and if you ordered your chickens from a hatchery that required them to be shipped to you, it's a good idea to add electrolytes to their water.
Kris custom built our brooders for our meat chickens and for our egg layers used an old horse trough that was cleaned and sterilized. Our feed is from Bagdad Roller Mills feed company in Kentucky. Fertrell has helped us out tremendously by working with the feed company in making sure our feed is all organic and custom for our chickens.
Buying in bulk will definitely save you money, if you can do it! We saved when we bought our shavings in bulk from Tractor Supply. One thing we learned from this process is that whatever you can do to make life easier for you, do it. There are several type of feeders that you can choose from. We bought both the metal and plastic. The metal ones require you to slide the top all the way down before you can refill it. Over time, it becomes a real pain in butt. The red plastic ones are so much easier to work with. They latch on the sides and you just flip the top over and fill it up.
Do not handle the chickens too much when they first arrive. We only let mason hold one just long enough for a quick picture. After that, it was hands off. Baby chicks are easily stressed the first several weeks of life. So its better to be as hands off as you can. Obviously, if there are health issues or you see them get pasty-butt then you need to pick them up.