Chickens: A Rebel With A Cause – I Finally Did It!

rebel chicks

It’s funny when you tell a sales associate that you need a heat lamp for chicks in your garage!  The young guy said, “like chickens?”  I guess I look like the kind of guy that would have the “other chicks” in my garage!  Yep!  A wild party with some chicks and a heat lamp!

It’s funny that you have to explain stuff like this to people, especially around where I live.  The area has changed greatly in the last 20 years, but there are still enough high school students in FFA to have the local True Value Hardware sell all types of feed and animal supplies!

Well, I jumped the gun a little….let me take you back…

Every year, the 1st grade Science teachers teach the life cycle of a chicken.  In fact, every grade level covers a life cycle of something: butterfly – 2nd, frog – 3rd, mealworm – 4th (I’m going to get the leftovers and start my own little colony for chicken treats).  But 1st and 2nd grade do something cool, they actually let the students see the life cycle in front of their eyes.

Chicken Incubator in the 1st Grade Classroom.

Chicken Incubator in the 1st Grade Classroom.  These never hatched!

Recently hatched... The one in the middle didn't make it.

Recently hatched… The one in the middle didn’t make it.

Every year when the eggs come to 1st grade, I start to imagine what it would look like to have chickens in the backyard and fresh eggs every day.  Every year I tend to make excuses on why I shouldn’t take them home: the HOA, the neighbors, the dog, the size of the yard….  This year I didn’t make excuses.  1st grade hatched 8 chicks.  1 died and a substitute teacher asked if she could have 2 of them.  I took 5 home.

Chicks in the cage in my garage.

Chicks in the cage in my garage.

The suckers grow fast.  Because it is cold outside, and they should still have a warm environment, I’m keeping them inside the garage.  The cage that I borrowed from the school was getting a little tight, so I decided to make a bigger temporary shelter until they are able to go out into the cold…

Here are a few pics of my little project.

I had the idea to make some panels with 1×1 pieces and chicken wire, but I decided against it.  I figured I could use the setup below for other reasons if I ever needed.  I had a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood cut into 2 – 2′ x 2′ and 2 – 2′ x 6′.

Plenty of room in this 2 x 6.

Plenty of room in this 2 x 6.

I decided to use plastic ties to hold the pieces of wood together for easy tear down.  I can always use the wood for other things if I need to.

Wood is held together with plastic ties.

Wood is held together with plastic ties.

I purchased a bale of hay to put down.  I put down about 6 inches and decided to walk on it a little since it just seemed so high.  But, surprisingly, the chicks trample it down pretty good.  I put the bale of hay in a contractor size trash bag first so it wouldn’t fly all around my garage. 😉

Hay for deep litter... Gotta keep the smell down.

Hay for deep litter… Gotta keep the smell down.

I purchased a feeder that I attached to the board above so it could hang.  I also have a waterer that is not shown.  The heat lamp has a serious bulb – 275 watts.  It could go up to 300 watts if I wanted.

Feeder and Heat Lamp

Feeder and Heat Lamp

I turned on the heat lamp and put the chicks in.  I “borrowed” my wife’s Southern Living thermometer (don’t tell her – I’ve since replaced it) to make sure it was warm enough.

Nice and toasty.

Nice and toasty.


I took a pic of the chicks new home against the cage.  It’s a big difference.

New and Old Chick Home

New and Old Chick Home


This is what they look like now.

Recent pic

Recent pic

When they are old enough, they will move to this chicken coop that I picked up a while back.  The business that I got it from is no longer in business.  But, it went up with no problems.  Dad actually surprised me one day and put it together while I was at work.  I want to stain the outside before I move it to its spot in the yard.

Future home

Future home


That side panel comes off so that I can easily get to the eggs.  I also plan on attaching a run, the length of the back fence and attaching it with a little door that I can operate with a string to let them come in and out.  That might be when I use the 1′ x 1’s.  I’m not sure yet.

I don’t know what breed they are.  I called our Science Resource Center, who purchases the eggs and gets them to the school.  They told me that the eggs are a “breeder’s mix.”  So whatever that is….  I guess they are probably some hybrid mix of some sort.

Anyway, so far so good.  I’m glad I’ve made the jump to backyard garage chickens.  I can’t wait to see some eggs.  Hopefully I don’t get any roosters.  Any ideas on getting rid of a rooster?

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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