Are you thinking about raising chickens? As you prepare, one of the most important things to consider is how and where you will house your chickens. Here is a helpful article from Purina Mills on preparing your backyard for chickens.

“Raising chickens is a great experience for the whole family. One of the primary requirements is providing housing that is comfortable for your backyard flock. Young chicks can be raised in a variety of structures, but the area should be warm, dry and ventilated, but not drafty. Also make sure it is easy to clean.

Warming:

  • Small numbers of chicks can be warmed adequately with heat lamps placed about 20 inches above the litter surface.
  • Bigger groups of birds in a large room, such as a shed or a garage, should have a supplemental heat source such as a brooder stove.
  • Before you bring them home:
    • Several days in advance, thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooder house and any equipment the chicks will use. Doing this in advance will allow everything to dry completely.
    • Dampness is a mortal enemy to chicks, resulting in chilling and encouraging disease such as coccidiosis (parasite infection).
      When the premises are dry, place 4 to 6 inches of dry litter material (wood shavings or a commercial litter) on the floor.

Feeders and Waterers

It’s important to ensure your chicks have access to fresh feed and water. Positioning the feeders and waterers along the edges of the comfort zone will:

  • Keep the water and feed from being overheated
  • Help keep water and feed cleaner (chicks milling and sleeping under the warmth source often scatter bedding and feces)
  • Encourage the chicks to move around and get exercise”

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