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Meet our New Flock!

Boy howdy does it feel good to have chickens peeping away in the coop again!

For those who may have missed it, we moved from New York to Tennessee a year and a half ago and we decided to leave our chicken flock back at our old house and not bring them with us. Moving that far away, traveling with all those birds, and figuring out what to do with them during the week we were living in a hotel while waiting to close on our house was just too much.

Thankfully, the family that bought our house was more than happy to inherit the chickens as well, so they’re still living their best life in the home they’ve always known, and didn’t have to deal with the stress of travel and relocation.

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I’m at peace with our decision to leave our chickens behind, but it definitely felt like a piece of me was missing for this last year and a half.

So for Christmas this year, my husband gifted me a whole new flock of chickens! He picked them out and they arrived on April 1st.

He ordered a big mix of chickens from Meyer Hatchery, including 8 dominiques, which is my favorite breed ever. The rest were a sort of “grab bag” that Meyer offers called Overhatch day old chicks. This is where the hatchery will send you an assortment of chicks that they select, at a discount because they’re unclaimed chicks that need homes.

The breeds are a surprise, which is really pretty fun!

I love the assortment we got from our overhatch order. The only thing I don’t love is that they don’t tell you what breeds you’re getting. A few of ours were very easy to identify, like the Polish, and Rhode Island Reds, but others are still a mystery to me. I’m hoping as they grow up I’ll be able to figure out what breeds we have.

I’m thrilled that we have such a wide variety, some of our babies have feathered feet, some are very interesting colors, and they have striking personalities, something I hope doesn’t cause conflicts in the flock!

But either way, these babies are loved and will have a great home with us here on the mountain.

We’re in the process of dividing our big shed into two parts so the chickens can have half of it, and we’re building an outdoor run for them too. Things are coming together for their new home, and I’m so thrilled!

Anyway, here are some fun baby pictures of a few of the members of our flock!

Baby Chick Supplies We Love

For those who are curious or need advice on chicken supplies, here’s what we bought for our chickens this time around.


We have always used a large rabbit cage for our chicken brooder. We tried the rubbermaid bin system once and had SO much drama that I changed my ways.

What’s really nice about using a cage for the brooder is it keeps the chickens safe in so many different ways. The wire cage keeps the chickens from escaping the brooder when they learn to fly. It also protects them in case the clamp on the heat lamp fails, the lamp can’t fall into the brooder.

Thirdly, it keeps them safe from outside elements, such as a curious cat and dog, and a toddler that just wants to squeeze all the baby chickens.

I also really like how easy it is to clean the rabbit cage, I used a dust pan and just scooped out the dirty pine shavings and replaced with new shavings once a week. Easy!

We bought two of these extra large cages for our little flock because we got 24 chicks. Two of these cages was just BARELY big enough to house 24 chicks for 6 weeks. They really would have been more comfortable if we had a third cage but we literally didn’t have space for a third cage in our home, and luckily we were able to get them out to the coop when they turned 6 weeks.

This particular cage has it’s own pros and cons. I really prefer to go with a brand like Midwest or Living World, but their cages weren’t big enough for the number of chicks we had coming, so we bought these Ferplast cages from Amazon.

The good about this brooder:

These Ferplast cages are enormous. So big that we started off putting all 24 chicks into just one cage and they still had SO much space. We split them into two cages when they were two weeks old.

The cage is also made from pretty high quality materials. Sturdy plastic and strong wire. With the exception of the clips to hold the wire cage together, which I’ll go over below, the rest of the cage is good quality.

I do feel that we got our money’s worth with these cages, and at the end of brooding the chicks, they’re still in great shape and can be used again in the future for more chicks or other critters, so the investment is a good one.

The bad about this brooder:

These were a total, huge, giant pain to build. The directions weren’t really clear and some pieces were so similar looking it was just very frustrating. It took me an hour and a lot of swearing to put the first one together.

If you’re going to buy this cage, the best advice I can give is to really put some muscle into pushing and pulling the bottom pieces together until they make a loud “click,” otherwise the wire cage won’t fit onto the bottom properly. You may even need two people to pull the pieces together. It took me way too long to figure this out!

Another big downside to these is that the connectors that hold the cage together are awful. I couldn’t get them to stay on at all, they kept popping off at the slightest movement and I worried this would put the chicks at risk. So I ditched all the connectors and bought zip ties to connect all the wire caging together. It worked great and was an easy, cheap fix.

Packaging and shipping of the cages was also pretty bad. There was basically no padding for the cage in the box. I got lucky that both of my cages were in good shape when they arrived, but I could see these getting damaged easily.

Also keep in mind, this cage is really meant for guinea pigs or rabbits, it comes with a lot of things you don’t really need like a feeding loft and water bottles.

Chick feeders and water founts

Since I knew we’d have two brooders for this flock, I decided to try out two different sets of feeders and water founts to see which is better. Here’s what I found!

The good:

Roosty’s water founts and feeders are excellent!

This water fount was excellent. I love that it has little feet on the bottom that extend to two different heights, that keeps out most of the pine shavings and waste in the water. This one didn’t leak and firmly locked after filling. We never had a single spill. The only thing I wish is that it was bigger, with 12 chicks drinking from it, I had to re-fill it 2-3 times per day, which was a pain, but also, hey, more time petting chicks is great!

This feeder continues to be the gold standard for baby chicks. It worked great for our babies for most of their time in the brooder, but as they got to be 4-6 weeks old, I found them kicking shavings into it a lot, and as they got more rambunctious, they were tipping it over pretty frequently, but to me that was just a sign they’d outgrown it and it was time for a big feeder.

The bad:

This water fount and feeder were NO good.

I can’t even describe how much I dislike both of these, but I will say, they’re going straight into the recycle bin now that my chicks have outgrown them.

The water fount is made by Farm Tuff, I bought it at Tractor Supply. The two pieces of the water fount do not securely lock together, so I had the whole thing spill into my brooder three times, a very frustrating experience at 6 in the morning, before even a sip of coffee!

This feeder is terrible too. I don’t know why it has so many great reviews on Amazon.

The chicks constantly kicked pine shavings into it and tipped it over, so it’s either emptying all over the floor of the brooder or it’s full of shavings. As the chicks got older they also managed to break it. Don’t waste your money on this one!

I’m glad to be back to chicken keeping and back to blogging about raising chickens. I hope this list helps you if you’re adding chicks to your homestead this year, too!

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