New to Chickens? Q & A

Thinking about getting chickens?

You have come to the right place. Wardle Feed, “Denver’s oldest feed store,” is a one-stop-shop for all your poultry needs. Live animals, food, health products, treats, equipment, coops, classes, and chicken swaps give you all the options needed to get going with and maintain your flock!

Here are some commonly asked questions from those considering poultry:

Should I raise backyard chickens?

There are a lot of good reasons to. Raising chickens is a great joy and is extremely easy if done correctly. Get fresh eggs, teach your children to take care of farm animals, be in control of how they are treated and decide what they eat or don’t eat.

It is difficult to raise chickens?

No! You will be pleasantly surprised to hear that with some maintenance, raising chickens really is a breeze.

Is it legal for me to have chickens?

Most cities in the Denver-metro area have allowed a certain number of hens. Most cities do not allow roosters. Before you buy, call your city or county or check online to verify that you can own chickens and what that maximum number is.

Should I buy babies or adults?

There’s no right answer to this but there are some things to think about. There are benefits to both. Babies will need to be warm and indoors for 8-10 weeks and if held regularly, they will probably learn to be social and friendly. Baby chicks are cheaper per bird.

Adults or pullets can go straight to the coop, no need to brood. Just be careful when introducing to your established flock as there is a pecking order with poultry and may see new chickens as a threat, potentially pecking or harming your new birds. Techniques can be used to safely introduce new chickens to your flock. Adult birds are more expensive per bird.

We sell both chicks and adult poultry.

When should I buy my chickens?

We sell chicks from February to Labor Day. The reason you want to buy no later than around Labor Day is so that they are fully feathered by the time the cold weather hits.

We try to stock young hens (pullets) year ’round.

Where does Wardle Feed get their chickens?

We get all of our poultry from Fulenwider Farm right here in Hudson, Colorado. Fulenwider has a large, local, well kept, and state of the art chicken farm. They practice humane treatment of all their animals. They are fanatics about protecting their flocks from disease so no tours are allowed at their facilities. This is to guarantee that no outside germs are transferred to their birds which could sicken or kill flocks. Their chicks are vaccinated and consistently checked for illness.

What happens if my chicks die or I end up with a rooster?

Due to the nature of poultry, a small percentage of baby chicks simply won’t make it. It is very common to lose a chick or two during your brooding process. Unfortunately, we cannot replace chicks that pass away. In order to avoid ending up with fewer birds than you want, it may be a good idea to purchase one or two more chicks than you expect to raise.

What breed should I buy?

There are lots of breeds to choose from, each with different colors and dispositions. Most are very good layers, with a few exceptions. Wardle Feed sells many different breeds throughout the year but availability depends on what has recently hatched at the Fulenwider incubators. Stop by to see what is in stock.

You may find if fun to get a few different breeds to give you some variety in your flock and possibly some different colored eggs (blue, green, brown, white, pink, chocolate). Most breeds will get along together, especially if raised as chicks.

What equipment will I need and how much will it cost?

You will be surprised at how little it costs to get started with and maintain your flock. For example, if you decide to buy four baby chicks and have no equipment or supplies, you will spend around $50-70 to get started.

Click here for a list of equipment needed.

Once your chickens are old enough to move outside, you will need to start thinking bigger. They will need a bigger waterer and feeder, they cost slightly more than chick supplies. If you decide to buy a coop, budget roughly $299-$599 for a solid, sturdy coop. We sell quality coops, just make sure that it is large enough to house the number of chicks you are purchasing. Keep in mind that chicks are small but get big quick! Ask one our employees to verify the number of chickens that will fit in our coops, as they vary in size.

When and how many eggs will I get?

At around 6 months you should start getting pullet eggs, which are slightly smaller than what they will be when your chickens are full grown. Expect on average to get around 5 eggs per chicken per week. Your chickens are eventually “molt” once a year. During this time they will stop laying eggs to grow new feathers. When their molt is complete, they will start laying eggs again.

Do I need a rooster to get eggs?

No, a rooster is only needed if you want fertilized eggs. This will allow you to hatch your own chicks (keep in mind more equipment and steps are needed to hatch chicks). Hens are bred to lay eggs and will do so for at least two years before their egg production starts to drop off. Typically a hen’s egg production peaks at two years and slows for a few years until it stops completely.

What about predators?

Foxes, coyotes, eagles, hawks and raccoons are known to eat chickens. Even some dogs, including yours, will attack your chickens. To avoid this, take precautions. Make sure your chickens roost at night in a sturdy, enclosed coop. Also make sure to have chicken wire completely surrounding your run, including on the bottom. All of the coops we sell are built by Fulenwider Farm and completely safe against predators.

What about winter time?

Chickens are comfortable in cooler weather, such as 40-50 degrees. Most breeds are cold hardy in freezing temperatures but it is important that they are able to get out of the weather. This means that they must have an enclosed but ventilated coop that they are able to access which will keep them out of the rain, snow, and wind.

Make sure that there are no cold drafts into their coop as this could be detrimental to their health. Also consider buying a water de-icer so that you aren’t breaking ice all winter long!

As far as food goes, continue to feed them normally but add some scratch or cracked corn to give them some added body heat.

How much will it cost to feed my flock?

Use a quality feed. We carry organic and non-organic products in 10-50 lb bags. It varies depending on how many chickens you have, but 4-6 chickens will eat about 50 lbs of feed a month.

Occasionally they may need oyster shells which supplies them with needed calcium if their eggs are soft and poultry grit to help them with digestion. These products will cost you less than $10 a piece.

Adding treats such as scratch, corn, flax seed, mealworms, hemp seed, vegetables, and supplement pellets will keep them happy and healthy. These products are typically very affordable.

How do I learn more about raising chickens?

Wardle Feed offers classes taught by an expert at Fulenwider Farm. This class covers absolutely everything you will need to know about raising poultry from chicks to adults. Questions encouraged!

Click here for class schedule.

Call us anytime and our friendly, knowledgeable staff will answer your questions.

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