If google sent you here, there’s a good chance you are thinking about raising chickens.
Hopefully, reading about our chicken raising project will inspire you to start your own AND help you avoid the problems we encountered as chicken newbies.
We Started Raising Chickens
We just started raising chickens and as a homeschool mom, I began looking for ways to make this a homeschool project. My girls will tell you that anything can be a homeschool project, if you get to learn something new or practice a skill (just another homeschool benefit).
Our family has talked about raising chickens for several years, but it just didn’t fit with our schedule.
This year we are home more and my husband offered to take us chick shopping.
Raising Chickens: Our First Problem
Chicks at the farm store are adorable!
Our girls quickly chose their favorites. Six fluffy little chicks that would lay eggs, do well in the winter, and get rather large.
We also purchased:
- A heat lamp (dome & bulb)
- Large bag of Chick starter feed
- A brick of pine shavings for bedding
- Electrolytes to put in their water the first few days
- A chick water dish (screws onto quart jar)
- A chick feeder
What did we forget?
A place for them to live!
Raising Chicks: Their First Home
The cardboard box from the farm store was way too small and we didn’t have a chicken coop yet. So we emptied a large Rubbermaid storage tote and created our chick brooder.
This worked for almost two weeks. Did you know chicks learn to jump and fly rather quickly?
Next we built a cover with wire chicken mesh and scrap wood. This worked for the next two weeks.
Raising Chicks: Researching Coops
Do some research before you bring your chicks home.
They grow quickly and you will not want them in your home for long.
While they do have a smell, it is the dust from all the wing flapping that bothers me most. If you have allergies like we do, a heated, secure area in a garage or barn would be better.
Coop Research: How much space do chickens need?
We learned that this depends on the size of your chickens and if they will be inside the coop for extended time (like winter???).
If you’re just starting (like us), get some expert information from Raising Chickens 101.
Coop Research: Purchase or Build Your Own?
Six large hens and cold, snowy winters….they won’t have enough space in the coops for sale at our farm store.
Option two? Does Amazon sell chicken coops?
They sure do! The review were mixed and we had the general impression that the coops would not last long. No way do we want to buy another coop every other year.
So now what???
Could we build one? While apprehensive about this, building our own would give our chickens the most space and it would be a strong, durable coop.
Coop Research: Building Plans
YouTube was a great resource. We watched several people build coops and show the features they liked best.
One coop caught our eye, so we followed the link to the plans on Etsy. The reviews by first time builders were very encouraging! “Let’s build a Coop!”
Our Chicken Coop
The building process and progress…almost finished!!!!
Thank you Grandpa for your expert advice! And for finding us some metal for the roof.
This was our first large building project. We definitely appreciated Grandpa’s voice of experience.
If you use these plans, you may need to do some adjustments. Our lumberyard didn’t have 2 x 3 lumber, so we used 2 x 4’s. That meant needing to adjust some measurements.
Raising Chickens: Homeschool Lessons
Here are some of the activities and lessons we are learning with our chicken project. Curiosity leads us to even more learning!
- Determining initial cost
- Weighing and measuring the chicks. They grow rapidly!
- Responsibility-who feeds, waters, cleans and interacts with the chicks. What time or how often? What happens if we aren’t responsible?
- Coop Building—measuring, using tools, planning ahead, working together, cleaning up, making mistakes, asking for help, trying again, patience, following directions, painting, keeping track of materials—purchasing, not wasting, total cost, cost of labor (time spent).
- Continued Care of Chicks, Hens, and someday eggs
- Hens or roosters?
- Are the chicks warm enough?
- Problem solving: How do we get this super heavy coop out of our garage?
- Health & Hygiene: Wash your hands after touching chickens. Why?
Raising Chickens is an Awesome Homeschool Project!
While it hasn’t been easy, because of our initial mistakes (no housing for chicks except indoors). Our whole family has learned more than we ever wanted to know about chickens. And we are still learning!
So if you are looking for a “hands-on” homeschool project, give chicks a try. You’ll be amazed at the lessons that take place as part of daily life (no need to schedule).
Chickens make tons of dust and they are stinky. Keeping them inside will result in lots of dust and a large clean-up project.
Wishing you the best on your project and homeschool journey!
Not ready for a chicken project? How about a butterfly project?