Getting Chickens on the Homestead
Getting Chickens on The Homestead

Getting Chickens on the Homestead – Homesteading Journey

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Are you thinking about getting chickens? Learn about our journey here at Homestead Wishing when we first got chickens, the mistakes we made, and how you can raise chickens too!

So we weren’t really ready to get chickens. I mean…we really wanted them, but we weren’t ready! Here’s the story of our journey and after that I’ll discuss with you how you can avoid the mistakes I made, and how you can do it better!

Our Journey of Getting Chickens

We finally got chickens. It took way longer than I wanted it too. Yet still, I wasn’t yet ready for them. It wasn’t for a lack of research. I’ve done plenty of that! We just didn’t have everything we needed for them. Getting chickens on the homestead was a little bit of a struggle, but all that ends well…

Someone ended up not wanting their chickens anymore and gave them to us spur of the moment kind of thing… So before I had any supplies or a chicken coop ready, we had chickens.

I went and bought almost all of the essentials that they need. I bought food pellets, a feeder, waterer, oyster shell, grit, and bedding. Check out my second post on chickens Raccoon in the chicken coop!

Getting Chickens Start-up Costs

All that cost about $100. It was a stretch to pull that money out of our budget. There simply was not enough money to buy a chicken coop. We made a makeshift coop for our chickens. You can check it out in the YouTube video above.

So the heat is on to get a coop and fast. Let me tell you the story of how we got these chickens. My husband’s co-worker decided he has too many chickens and wanted to thin them out a little. He knew we wanted to have chickens sometime soon. So one day he shows up at work with 3 chickens in a cage for my husband to take home. My husband called me to let me know, he would be bringing them home that evening. Oh, talk about frantic! What will they eat, where will they sleep thoughts run through my brain, like crazy!

I went to Tractor Supply, to get what I could with what little money we have. The chickens came home and we let them out of the cage while we scavenged our property for items that could be used for a makeshift chicken pen.

We found an old frame that was used to hold ladders in the back of a pickup truck. There was also some fencing that was laying around. We grabbed it and rolled it around the frame. We placed this under the carport, to cover it during the weather. We thought that we wouldn’t need a roof on the actual pen since the fencing and frame was pretty tall. We thought we were done until we went inside and heard some noises. One of the chickens flew up, and climbed up the fence and got out. This girl is feisty! So we had to put something over the top to ensure they stayed inside.

Rookie mistake right? I found an old tent rain shield to use to cover up the top. We knew this was temporary and we would be lucky if we didn’t lose some chickens. Three days later, we received three more chickens. The first week or so this set up worked pretty well. I went on vacation for about a week. My husband stayed home holding down the fort and taking care of the chickens.

On my way home, my van broke down, when we were halfway home. My husband came to my rescue. Thank goodness! Long story short I got home but only after staying a night in a hotel. Since no one was home to make sure the chickens got put away in the pen, they decided to roost on top of this makeshift coop.

When we got home, we couldn’t figure out if we should just leave them to roost comfortably or try and put them in the pen. After trying to get them in the pen unsuccessfully, we left them to roost. We ended up losing 3 chickens to predators. So after that, we decided to go out there at nighttime when they can’t see very well to nab them and put them in the coop.

Here’s a picture of their perfect eggs! Aren’t they precious? Maybe I am biased!

My husband was really upset. He really bonded with the chickens while I was gone. His favorite chicken was taken! I am sad but also realistic. I knew we would lose some going into this.

So where we are right now. We have to place the birds in the coop by hand every night when it gets dark. I really wish to find a coop that they will love and WILLINGLY go into at night! I want them to be comfortable, and happy!

Update:

Eventually, we got our first coop. Then, we built 2 coops. You can see them all on our chicken coop tours page!

We’ve had chickens for years now, and I have a ton of experience with the chickens. We even have ducks now too!

Avoiding Mistakes

I wrote an entire post on this! I think it’s obvious the biggest mistake we made was getting chickens before we had any supplies for them. It’s extremely difficult worrying about where they will sleep, what they will eat. It was a stressful time, and could have been totally avoided!

Check out the other 4 Mistakes New Chicken Keepers Make

While you’re at it, if you’re super new to this, maybe you’ll want to know What Do Chickens Eat and what they shouldn’t! Plus, it’s important to know how to deal with escape artists, you can learn more about that at Can Chickens Fly?

Raising Baby Chicks

So…funny story. A while after we got our first chickens, we ended up getting a few more. #chickenmath right?

We actually got a rooster. This is where I warn you to religiously gather eggs on a daily basis or ELSE! Another thing you don’t want to be unprepared for is baby chicks! Which, of course we were.

So we scrambled again to prepared to raise baby chicks. We had to buy waterers and feeders and chick feed. We had to get a Heat lamp and learn how long baby chicks need a heat lamp. I had to learn how to take care of them. It’s a little different than taking care of adult chickens.

Are you getting chickens on your homestead? I would love to hear about your chicken adventures! Please share the story of when you first got chickens in the comments! Also, check out Things To Consider Before Getting Chickens by The Cape Coop.

More Chicken Posts

 

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18 thoughts on “Getting Chickens on the Homestead – Homesteading Journey”

  1. That’s a really good investment, you can go a long way with getting those chickens! The eggs are lovely and I’m not just saying that. I hope you finally get a coop!

    1. Mine don’t seem to eat much of it either. I just want to make sure they have enough calcium to make good strong egg shells. I am not sure they even mess with the grit much either. They forage for most of the day, so they probably find enough on their own. I just want to make sure I provide enough for them to be healthy just in case! Thank you for stopping by Anna!

  2. So I don’t know if you have a coop by now, since thise was from 2016. But there are companies that purchase merchandise by the pallets. Most companies will freely give you only pallets or sell them for like .50 per pallet. Even large companies like home Depot will do this. I would call som panes in your area and see if they could sell you a few. You can break them down and build a coop from this. It would be a start anyway.

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