How to Start your Backyard Flock

Leggett Town and Country offers live chicks from the end of February until May each year. To learn about current and future breed availability, give us a call at 434-797-9300.


Prepare a warm place for your chicks about 48 hours before they arrive. You'll need a draft-free brooder pen with shavings and a brooder lamp to keep your chicks warm. Do not keep chickens inside of your home or in places where food is prepared.

  • Brooder Pen: Make sure your pen features a sound structure with walls at least 18-inches tall. Then, you may need to prepare a screen to cover the pen so that your chicks don't get out and nothing else gets in. You'll want to set the pen up in a garage or other protected outdoor space.

  • Brooder Lamp: The brooder lamp should attach over one side or in the center of the pen. This allows the chicks to choose when to be under the lamp or escape the heat. The lamp should be roughly 20" above the shavings.

  • Shavings for Bedding: 3 - 4 inches of absorbent wood shavings should be placed in the bottom of the pen. The shavings will catch and absorb their droppings. Remove wet shavings, especially around waterers, daily. Do not use cedar shavings or other bedding with strong scents.

  • Lighting: Provide 18 - 22 hours of light in the first week, then reduce to roughly 16 hours.

  • Feeder: Keep chick feed inside of a metal or plastic feeder. Clean egg cartons filled with feed may also be used. Be sure to provide 4 linear inches of space for each chick.

  • Waterer: A one gallon waterer is sufficient for up to 50 chicks. Always have fresh water available that is free of chick droppings. Do not place waterer under brooder lamp.


You'll need a few supplies to get started with your backyard flock. All of these supplies can be found in Leggett Town and Country's pet department. If you have questions about the supply list, be sure to give us a call at 434-797-9300.

  • Shavings - to place at the bottom of your pen

  • Purina Medicated Start and Grow Feed - do not feed guineas medicated feed

  • Probiotics and Electrolytes - powder to add into their water

  • Waterer - to offer a steady supply of water

  • Feeder - to keep food in a centralized area

  • Thermometer

  • Brooder lamp and bulb


When choosing the best breed of chickens for your backyard flock, decide what you want out of your flock. You may want them as pets, layers or meat birds.

Backyard Pets

  • Silkies

  • Speckled Sussex

  • Wyandotte

  • Australorp

  • Buff Orpington

  • Rhode Island Red

Best Egg Layers

  • White Leghorns

  • Rhode Island Red

  • Americana

  • Golden Laced Wyandotte

  • Buff Orpington

  • Australorp

Excellent Meat Birds

  • White Cornish Cross X

  • Jersey Giant