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Housing our Chicks when they were still little.

We started with 12 egg laying chickens, or chicks, that were a few weeks old.  We picked them out from our local farm supply store, Theisen's.  We chose 6 Americanas and 6 Buff Orpingtons.  If you have a coop ready to go and only have your new chicks, and don't have to integrate them into a group of older chickens, then they could go into the coop sooner.  We started our chicks in a portable dog kennel in the kitchen area and used a light with a clamp that could be hooked onto it, to keep them warm. 

Baby chicks in kennel

While they were very small, we had to add barriers around the bottom half of the kennel, otherwise, they could get through the holes.  The kennel came with a plastic piece on the bottom that slid out, making it easier to clean out.  You will need to clean it out often since they poop a lot!  I found that wood shaving bedding worked the best for us. We tried newspaper, but  I didn't like it.  When they got a little bigger, we made a space out in a corner of the garage.  Again, we put a light over them at night.  Spring is usually when the local supply store sells chicks, so it's starting to warm up by then. 

I would let them out to run around the yard during the day when I could be there to watch them.  Our yard is fenced in and has an electric wire around the bottom to help keep our dog in and other animals out, but we had to watch out for other predators like hawks and owls.  While they were small our dog and cat had time to get used to them too.  The dog will eventually help with deterring yard predators as they learn to be companions, but do be careful not to leave them alone together until the chickens are older and you are sure the dog won't harm them either.  We made that mistake early on and lost our first chicken to our dog.  She was our favorite little chick too, we called her 'Big Eyes' because she would turn her head to look at us, and was very curious about what we were doing all the time.  My husband didn't believe our dog did it until I caught him carrying another girl out of the coop.  We disciplined him immediately and we never caught him again.  That chicken was OK, that time.  It's an adjustment for the whole family, especially the pets. 

Our kitty Twix was young too, so he sort of grew up with them.  Yes, that is him keeping an eye on the little ones.