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1. It's true they are addictive. My plan was to only have 6 (the minimum you could buy from Tractor Supply) but I have ended the year with 20. when I bought the first batch, they didn't have the kind I really wanted... then I bought the second batch when I saw the kind that lays blue eggs... then three turned out to be roosters and one died so I needed more... Woops

2. Tractor supply chickens may not be what they say they are... I bought what I thought were all pullets, and ended up with 3 out of 20 being roosters. I ate the first two roosters because they were becoming aggressive. The youngest rooster is very polite so he has kept his head thus far. I also have done some research on the "Americauna" pullets I bought. Turns out they are not truly Americaunas, but something called easter eggers. They do produce blue or green eggs, but a true Americauna has no tail.

3. POULTRY NIPPLES, Oh my. You can get your chicks trained on these at 1-2 weeks of age. You just hit the "nip" with your finger and I would flick the water at them. They are curious and the sound draws their attention. No more spilled water! No more poopy water! Yay. For babies in a brooder, I put the nips on the bottom of a gallon iced tea container, and for grown ups I put two in the bottom of a bucket. This winter I used pipe heat tape to make sure my waterer never froze.

4. Deep Bedding is the bomb. What if I told you you never had to clean the coop (except once a year) and you will be making a bunch of compost in the process?? Plus every month or so just dump wood chips or straw in a pile and let the girls spread it out (they love scratching!). Deep bedding is so easy, it doesn't smell and hey, free compost!

So much more but those are the high points! I love raising Layers!
 

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I personally don't buy into the deep bedding method. Just seems so unsanitary with the gals walking around constantly stepping in their poop, which would seemingly transfer to the eggs when they get on the nest. It takes me around 10-15 minutes each day to clean the prior night's poop from the coop & the run that houses the coop, as well as give scratch & snacks. I'm just anal when it comes to such matters. When the horses spend time in their stalls, I always clean daily & get out each piece. In my mind, it is clean enough when I would lay down in it myself.

Not saying my way is better... just how I do it.
 

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I'll go with Redneck on this one. As a farm boy, knee high to a grass hopper, cleaning the coop was my job. We saved the bedding and put it in a pile for potato fertilizer (I think). Never had a problem with disease. When we sold the farm, the people who bought it (newbies) lost most of the layers we had because the just added bedding on top of the crappy stuff. SO...
 

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We have been keeping chickens for over twenty years now. It is really the wife's area of expertise, I'm mainly the builder/fixer guy.
For bedding in the laying boxes, we use hay. Since we also have horses, there is always hay around.
Our birds mainly roost on sticks, dowels, old broom handles, etc.

We have had excellent luck with using Meyer Hatchery, and Murray McMurray Hatchery. You pay a little extra per chick to get them sexed - you can order hens, or hens and a roster, for example. The birds ship when only a few days old, via the US postal service right to your door.
https://www.meyerhatchery.com/ For some reason the McMurray site won't open for me. https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/ Maybe it's only temporary.

The wife has also invested in incubators and the associated requirements to hatch our own right in the spare bedroom. She did that for a few years, but has gone back to buying them.

I assume you know about the Backyard Chickens website, and the Chicken Forum?
https://www.chickenforum.com/forums/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/
 
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