Six weeks ago I brought home a square cardboard box that peeped and made scratching sounds all the way. Six fuzzy little babies went into the metal tank with heat lamp low, the feeder full and the little water font ready. They were scared, but healthy, and they would be well cared for.
Then they grew. And grew. And grew. So fast - I can not believe how fast even though this is my third year raising chicks.
They have now graduated to the baby gate enclosure in the basement since they have just about outgrown the metal tank. And the little water font was just not cutting it. Between their constant racing around the tank and their jumping about every time I enter the room, the water font was constantly full of shavings and dust and stray food crumbles.
Now they have plenty of room to do whatever it is that they do when I am not watching them. And they have also moved up to the big water font which is much easier to keep clean. I do have both the food and water dispensers elevated - sitting on overturned terra cotta plant pot saucer plates. I found this helps greatly - from the day I bring them home - in keeping things a little more organized and tidy.
When I bought them, they were from the 'mixed pullets' tank at Tractor Supply. The man grabbed me six and I asked for a variety. I think I got three different types - two very light, with a few black spots, two light brown with some dark mixed in and two dark brown with some black. I am so anxious to see what they look like as adults, and to see what kind of eggs I get.
When they are ready, and when the temperature cooperates, they will move outdoors to the chicken tractor, then to the segregated section of the main coop, and then, one night, they will be integrated into the flock. Hopefully with good results.