The folks at Renfrows will gladly help you get started off right with your new chicks. We have all the supplies and advice that you will need. Please feel free to ask questions. We will do all we can to make sure you will find pleasure in your new project.
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Chicks arrive weekly for April and part of May; we publish the tentative delivery schedule on our website by February each year, we call this our “Chick Report”. The day-old chicks usually arrive before we open on Friday mornings and we have a line at the door when we open the doors at 8am. All chicks are first-come, first-served, and there will be enough to satisfy everyone’s needs before the season ends.
We order all females, unless otherwise noted on our calendar. Female day-old chicks are called “pullets.” If the breed has the words “straight run” beside the, this means there is no reliable way for the hatchery to distinguish the two sexes and you have a 50/50 shot at getting a hen. We typically receive 5 to 7 breeds per week and receive most breeds multiple times during our chick season.
The hatching business is not an exact science but hatchery is usually very accurate on ship dates and sex of the pullets.
Chicks can be raised safely in various housing environments. The primary requirements are that they stay warm, dry and out of drafts. They do best in a heatable (and cleanable…chicks create dust) space when they are very young. A recycling bin works well for the first week or two. Once they start jumping and flying, they do well in a container the size of a dog crate.
Chicks over six weeks of age can use outdoor runs or pens in mild weather, but still need shelter from the weather and predators such as rats, cats, dogs, and hawks.
Chicks need approximately 0.8 sq. ft. of floor space per bird until six weeks of age. Increase this to 1.0-2.0 sq. ft. from 6-20 weeks, as they grow depending on size of breed, outdoor run availability, temperature, etc.
Their home must be clean and dry. Place 1″ of litter on the floor. Common beddings are pine or cedar shavings, straw or even mulched leaves. Since these very young chicks do not have a mother to show them what to eat, avoid wood shavings during their first week as that can plug up the chicks. Instead, use a towel or crumpled newspaper until they learn to distinguish food from non-food in their space.
*Download our full guide on raising chickens! In the full guide you’ll discover tips on:
- Flock Size
- Necessary Equipment Needed
- Proper feed for your chickens
- Housing for Grown Hens
- Sanitation & Regulations