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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > March/April 2019 > Had I ONLY Known!

Had I ONLY Known!

People share what they wish they had known before getting chickens and the mistakes they hope they can save you from making.

Keeping chickens might be one of the most enjoyable things you ever do, but you also will make some mistakes. In fact, we probably all would have done certain things differently had we known better. Whether you’re a decades-long chicken-keeper or a relative newbie, there’s always more to discover. In this article, chicken lovers admit their regrets and share some sage wisdom on chicken-keeping.

Starting Out

Sandra Bontempo of FreeRange SkinCare (, a brand of natural skin care products made with free-range, pastured eggs, recommends building the coop before buying your birds. She bought her six Brahma chicks five months before the coop was ready and kept them in a plastic storage bin in the living room.

“By the end of the five months, the birds were bigger than the bin and were ready to explore the house,” she says. “This is how I learned about their empathic abilities and gained a better understanding of how individual they truly are. It is also why I started giving them bubble baths once a week and learned how much they love the hair dryer.”

Julie Wininger of California has kept chickens for a decade and offers some other chick tips. “Tending to baby chicks means heat lamps until the little ones have their feathers over fluff,” she says. “But, if you check around local feed stores, you can find chickens already with feathers. They might cost a bit more, but you’ll save on that heat-lamp electric bill. And you are much more likely to know for sure whether they are hens versus roosters.”

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