The First 60 Days
Whether you buy your chicks online or at your local feed store, prepare for the first 30 days with your new chicks by constructing a young chick brooder in your garage or other enclosed and protected area.
Using something as simple as a sturdy cardboard box or a small animal cage, line the floor with pine shavings and set up a 100 watt bulb pointed in one corner to create an area that’s about 90 to 100 degrees for the first week. You’ll then decrease the temperature 5 degrees per week for two months, or until they grow their feathers.
Once feathered out you’ll want to move your adult hens into their new coop. It’s best to move the birds at night if possible, as they will generally be calmer and will go right to sleep in their new place and wake up in the morning already feeling at home.
A typical hen will start to lay eggs at about 6 months of age. The eggs will start out small, then get increasingly larger. During the first year of laying, the hen (if she is a good egg producer) will lay one egg, almost every day.
Note that during the bird’s lifetime–typically in 2 to 5 years–they will stop laying in the late fall/ winter months and start again in the early spring. However, you can encourage egg laying through the colder months by keeping a light on, inside the chicken coop.
Do you have chickens at home? Leave a comment below and share some advice.