"I think true happiness can only be found in the wanton indulgence of animals" - Hobbes A clean coop with white builder's sand and pine shavings & an outdoor run of dirt & grass if possible.
A portable coop can be put around the yard if you have hawks.
We've made them from PVC (90 side out for corners) and 1/2" X 1/2" hardware cloth (wire) and a framed door.5 square feet each for bantams10 square feet each for large birds A nest box, they will share.
A complete feed, Game Bird Layena 20% or Manna Pro egg maker 18%If you are planning to raise stronger chicks you need the extra protein. Chicks need 24% and adult Silkies need about 20% protein.
They also have a 30% Manna Pro Game bird show bird feed that you can feed to the chicks if 25% is not available. Southern States has 21% Super Breeder and other good feed.
Organic grain recipe for organic eggs for healthier chickens and people! $$ unless you get it by the truckload or are near an organic health food store in bulk Corn, 2 parts whole or cracked Wheat, 3 or 4 parts Oats, 1 part Sunflower seeds, 1 part hulled, 2 parts shelled Green Lentils, 1 part Split Peas, 1 part Barley, 1 part Millet, 1 part Flax, 1 part Seaweed or Kelp Meal, ½ part, Supplements: (optional)Powdered Organic Garlic, health and parasites Diatomaceous Earth, food grade, for parasites/minerals Chick starter supplement (Mc Murray)Red cell for horses, cap full per gallon or other vitamins Oyster shell, tough shell or calcium chips - Offer layers free choice Granite gravel and grit - Offer chicks for digestion WATER…
FRESH everydaywith (opt): Apple Cider Vinegar (to keep bacteria down)One sliced clove of garlic per gallon if no powdered available Greens or grass or alfalfa hay or kelp meal Some sunlight for Vitamin A (good for coop to get sunlight part of day)Yogurt (live organic) or probiotics, once a week if possible (opt)can mix with oats or lentils & peas to soften them.
Or Incubate eggs at 99 ½ to 100 degrees, judge temp by length of hatch.(21 days to hatch) Hatch in a clean incubator Humidity 50% or more and then 65% or more at hatch time.
Use an oblong plastic tub or cage, careful that their feet won't go through the bottom wire and get stuck 1/2" X 1/2" or cover solid.When chicks first hatch, I put them in a long plastic tub on paper towels with a red colored flood light over one end of the tub. The first couple days I put it in a peanut butter jar cap with a rock in it to keep them from walking in it.I dip their beaks in the water gently as soon as they hatch. The first couple days of life I grind up the chick starter if I’m feeding bantams.They will usually peep and taste the water and drink it. Some will not eat right away, but usually start eating by the end of the first 24 hours of life.Always make sure your newly hatched babies know where the water is! They say chicks can go without food for a couple days, but if you aren’t shipping them there is no need to put them under that stress. On the 5th week they can go outside with heat lamps if it’s cold and clean shavings if the weather is ok.Feed Chick Starter around 20% – 24% until they are 8 weeks. At 8 weeks they are usually fully feathered and can go outside without a lamp if the weather is OK.Also have granite gravel and grit for them at all times. Feed them Grower at 20 to 24% until they are about 6 to 7 months.When they start laying eggs you should switch them to Layena at about 18 %.If you plan to hatch chicks, mix with Game Bird starter or layena to raise the protein for stronger chicks.Or you can feed them other protein to boost the percentage, such as cooked egg.Always offer oyster shell free choice to laying hens.