Q: Where did you get your chickens?
A: A variety of places. It really depends on if you want chicks to start, pullets, or already laying hens. I got Lucy who was 2 years old from someone giving her away on Facebook. I got Beulah and Ethel from a feed store (they were 12 weeks old pullets). I got Opal from being dumped in a city park. I have four, 6 week old pullets being mailed to me the end if this month.
Q: What do you think would be the best course of action for a guy new to raising chickens?
A: I wouldn’t recommend chicks, that’s a lot of work. I’d recommend pullets that are 10+ weeks old so they can go straight outside or already laying hens (5+ months old). If they are 6-10ish weeks, they have to stay inside until they get all their adult feathers. And chicks until 6 weeks require heating and a lot of extra work. However, the choice is really up to you.
Q: How many chickens?
A: The number of chickens depends on the size of your coop and run, the ordinances of your municipality, and your desired level of care you can provide and afford. It is recommended to have 4 square feet of space in the coop for each chicken, 1 foot of roosting space for chicken in the coop, and 8-10 square feet of space in the run per chicken.
Q: How much are chickens to buy?
A: Price usually depends on color if eggs and age of the bird. Birds that lay brown and white eggs are usually $25-$40 each. Birds that lay colored eggs (pink, blue, green, purple) are usually $40+.
Q: How much do chickens cost to raise?
A: It really depends on the level of food and care you are providing. Organic food is more expensive than standard food. If you are providing snacks like mealworms or scratch feed, those will be extra costs. You should also provide grit and oyster shells for your hens, which are about $10-$15 per bag and these last a long time. Straw is typically no more than $15-$20 per bale. If you use mulch or sand in the run, that will cost extra. These are all variable costs. One time costs will be the coop, the waterer, heated waterer, feeder, and the chickens.
Q: Does egg color have any bearing on egg production?
A: Nope. You’ll want to Google the breeds for their yearly egg production. People just like getting the colored eggs, because they are pretty. Some breeds lay as few as 100-150 eggs per year and some breeds lay as many as 250+ eggs per year.
Q: Do you have a rooster?
A: I do not have a rooster, because they are not allowed in St. Louis City. You should check the ordinances of your municipality before getting a rooster.
Q: How do your dogs deal with the chickens?
A: Mine dogs have never minded them. Archibald used to even lick them (not like licking them to be lunch). I’d do an easy transition if you’re worried, or only let them out in the yard if the dogs aren’t out. You can also leash them for first few times until they get used to the birds.