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Written by Carole

The eggs are chirping, the eggs are chirping! No pipping as yet but we are getting closer to hatch day. And with the day looming closer I have to be prepared for what I am going to do with these cute little baby chickens I am helping to bring to life.

One of the first things I do when preparing for baby chicks, no matter if I purchased or hatched them, I get my brooder ready. Now my brooder is probably not like most and mainly due to where I live. Living in Florida allows me the luxury to not worry about insulation from the cold as much as it would if I lived further north.

Brooder cage

Brooder cage

My brooder is essentially a cage with a light for heat and surrounded by cardboard for insulation. This cage is inside a building. During the daytime I open the door so sunlight comes in and they can sun themselves. It is so cute watching them spread their wings to soak up the sun and warmth. If it is a rainy day like yesterday and below normal temperatures, I keep the door shut to keep them from the wind and rain of the weather.

Building for Baby Chick Brooder

Building for Baby Chick Brooder

At present I do not have a heater inside the building but with tonights temperatures reaching down into the 20′s I will probably put an electric heater in their for added warmth.

See the cage over to the right in the picture (with the tarp behind it), that is the next stage for baby chicks at my house. Usually at about four weeks I move them to the outside but still under shelter. This cage is two sided so if I have a large amount (say 25 or more) then I will split them up; but normally I start them all on one side of the cage until they start crowding themselves. I bought this cage at the chicken auction for $20. You can’t beat the size or the price.

2nd stage of housing baby chicks

2nd stage of housing baby chicks

You will note there is still a heat lamp to ensure they stay warm. At this stage I had it too low because the chicks were not laying under it but over to the side near the feeder. Since then I have raised it.  Pictured is a few of the 25 Rhode Island Red chicks I bought a couple of weeks ago. These chicks were varying ages so some were more developed than others. I am guessing their age just due to the size and feather development.

The area this cage is kept in is where I also store my food in metal trash cans and the other chickens in my flocks have open access to it. The baby chicks get lots of attention from me and the other chickens. There is lighting overhead if needed and the tarp helps to protect them from the wind. I have never lost a baby chick due to cold in either location so I am quite satisfied with my set up.

Another cage I use more for giving them an opportunity to feed on grass is this one…

baby chick cage

baby chick cage

Baby chicks that go into this cage are normally at least five to six weeks old. I use it to take give them an opportunity to be out in the yard with no fear of a predator getting them. They are able to scratch the ground and pull grass through the openings. This cage helps me to have more time to handle them and the birds are more friendly.

I have kept a mother hen and her baby in it before when I was short on space. The baby chick did get out but was easy to catch since they normally will not go far from the mother hen. Not a good situation though if I hadn’t been around so often.

I also use this cage to start the integration process of moving the 12 week old pullets/cockerels into one of the chicken flocks. I have two flocks of chickens at the moment and as I start raising different chicken breeds I will probably have more. Anyway, I place the 12 week olds into a chicken coop and leave them in the cage within the coop about a week before allowing them to leave the cage. By that time the main flock has seen them and have become acquainted. The pecking order starts after the 12 week olds start running loose in the coop.

Into the Chicken coop

Into the Chicken coop

Now they have made it into their new home and it will take a few days for them to settle in and become comfortable with the other members of the flock. When I first integrated my Black Star pullets into the chicken coop it was all one area. Since then my husband has separated it down the center. The pullets were not able to eat due to the hens being very dominent over the food, water and area. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago and now we free range these pullets along with the other members of this chicken coop and the door remains open.

There are so many different ways to raise chickens. A lot of people use chicken tractors and I have one of those and use it with some of my baby chickens. One thing I do not like about mine is it doesn’t allow me free access to handle them and is also very hard to move due to the weight. This is a default on our part due to building it incorrectly.  This spring I plan on building one of the Catawba Coops. They claim it is fully detailed with correct measurements, details, etc. Everything I read has convinced me even a computer nerd like myself can build these chicken tractors. Surely I can following directions. We will see.

One thing I forgot to mention through this whole blog post is that I use these same cages for a brooding mother hen and her baby chicks. It’s not just for incubator hatched or purchased baby chicks. Also remember, this works for me because I live in a warm weather state. The process would change greatly if I lived somewhere it is cold. I am thankful for the warmth! It makes it easy to raise animals.

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35 Responses to “Raising Baby Chickens in Florida”

  1. We are located in North Florida Archer area, if you are interested in chicken coops you have to check out our website we have some really cool looking chicken coops. We just added a chicken coop tractor to house 12-15 hens. Good luck with the chickens, we enjoy picking up our fresh eggs in the mornings.

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    PAMM Reply:

    AM INTERESTED IN BUYING A MALE AND FEMALE. DO YOU HAVE ANY TO SELL SOON?

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  2. do you sell chickens

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    Carole Reply:

    Mary, Yes occasionally I have chickens for sale so if you are looking for some check with me. I live in Florida and do not ship.

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    Maggie Reply:

    please send me info, I would like to buy some chickens and where do you live?

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    Mary Thomasson Reply:

    I do sell chickens and turkeys in the St Pete area.

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    colette Reply:

    Hi, I just saw this post. I am looking for chickens that are about 4 to 6 months old. Only females that will lay eggs. Here is a list for what breeds I am interested in.

    Star, Barred Rock, RIR, Wyandotte, White Silkie, Easter eggers.

    Do you have any of these? My family live in St. Pete and I grew up there.

    Thanks
    Colette

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    Julie Reply:

    Hi Mary,
    I live in Tampa and have 8 various breed, 2 month old chicks. We have built a coop with an attached run. The run is completely inclosed (wire) including the floor. Do I need to close them in the coop @ night? I want to put the food and water in the run, as it has a cover.
    Also, should I have any worries about heat? They will have shade.
    Thanks,
    Julie (new chick mom)

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    Anita Reply:

    I have chicken pets for free..looking for good homes for them…We live in Brandon, and we’re moving this weekend….we have six Rhodes.
    awashmorrow@yahoo.com

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  3. where in FL do you live? I am in St pete

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  4. Mary, I live in Dunedin and thinking about backyard chickens, 4 to 6 max, but am a novice. What do you suggest as a start?

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  5. I am getting four baby chicks. when should I move them into a real chicken coop?

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  6. I have thirty six chickens.My hens have suddenly stopped laying.I too live in Florida.Whyy would they stop.I only get about eight eggs right now.

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    Beth Reply:

    Hello Lynda –
    My HOA does not allow chickens. Where abouts do you live?
    Do you sell your eggs by chance?

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    Lynda Lee Reply:

    Yes I sell eggs. My chickens have started to lay again! I live in Palmetto. I also sell duck,Turkey and Goose eggs.

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    mr powers Reply:

    I know that your chickens started laying again. However if this happens again you need to feed them feed with oyster shell or ground up oyster shell by it self if chickens are free range. All chickens that lay eggs go through this and will stop laying for 1-2 months because of the time of year it is and there calcium is low.Because in fall/winter the normal grasses/vegetation that they get this vitamins from are not there at this time of year, so you have to feed them oyster shell to put back calcium because eggshells are only hard because of this. But if you live were it stays warm then this cycle can get out of wack. The chickens will start/stop laying many times a year howerver oyster shell puts the calcium level back up and they will start laying and lay year round. Hope this helps

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  7. Do you have any sumatra chickens?

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    Carole Reply:

    Sorry Sandy…I only carry large fowl Brahmas now.

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  8. Hi, I live in Florida and have about 30 chickens.

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  9. I am looking to get some baby chicks and/or fertile eggs to incubate at the summer camp where I work. Does anyone currently have any chicks for sale? Looking to get them asap.

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  10. Would love to have you join us on Facebook….We are Chicken Swap of Florida.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/176629375738884/

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  11. I have six girls that I need to find homes for, TODAY! OR ASAP. We’re moving and cannot take with us. These girls are 1 year old and are laying eggs…I raised them from babies….2Red / 2 Whites / 1 Black….with a brother baby rooster, just about to cluckoutloud! Please help me find loving homes for these pets. We live in Brandon,FL,just 15 miles East of Tampa.. awashmorrow@yahoo.com

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  12. Yes I would like to buy chickens ready to lay brown eggs please reply

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  13. I have a beautiful 6 month old Wyandotte rooster that I am looking to place in a good home. He is friendly and will eat seed and bread from your hands, but he does not liked to be picked up. He just started crowing a month ago and started mating with our hens three weeks ago. The good thing is that he is not rough with the hens like some roosters are. Please let me know ASAP if you are looking for rooster.

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    Raymond Cepko Reply:

    Oh! I live in St Petersburg.

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  14. I’m looking to expand a chicken flock, but have very little money. Anyone have some free chickens around the Citrus County area? I could trade some work for them, as I am an all-around handyman(person) with lots of outside work experience.

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    LINDA Reply:

    I LIVE IN CITRUS COUNTY ALSO WE ARE TRYING TO START WITH NEW CHICKS COUNTRY FEED AND SUPPLY ON GROVER CLEVELAND BLVD IN HOMOSASSA HAS SOME BABIES FOR 4.00 AND LAYING FOR 7.00

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    Michelle Reply:

    Do you know which breed are the chicks and laying? I don’t want to get a ‘maybe’. I need good layers.

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    Carole Reply:

    Good layers are buff orps, rhode island reds, barred rocks, and loads of others but if I was buying for egg laying it would be one of those three. Oh yeah, sex-links of any color are good also.

  15. I am looking for Silkie chickens for sale in the Tampa area

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  16. Martins farm in largo had silkies when I was there last week. Really cute little chicks. They had Mohawks lol! They have a facebook page that you can find or they have ads on Tampa bay craigslist.

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  17. looking for wheaton marrans hen for sale . alsohave a young male peacock for sale or trade call and well talk god bless 352-210-4508

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  18. I am looking for fertilized chicken eggs to hatch for a science project. Do you have any for sale and if so, where are you located?

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    Carole Reply:

    Right now we have no roosters running with our hens so no hatching eggs. Thanks for checking!

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  19. I am looking for 6 baby, female, barred rocks. Do you know where I can find them?
    Thanks for your help!

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