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Newbie first set of chicks

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all. I have my first set of day old chicks coming next week. Finished setting up my brooder tonight. Have a few questions what kind of bedding do you recommend to get started and how high should my side walls be? When do they start hopping or flying around? Thank you all for your input.
post #2 of 7

Welcome and I'm fairly new to this also, but have raised 38 from chicks so far.


 You will find several opinions on how to do it, but what I did on my first 15 was used pine shavings and covered them with paper towels for a day or 2. Reason was I had read they may have trouble walking on the shavings alone for a day or 2.


 Second and third group I got....well I forgot about the paper towel thing and they all did good.

 The shavings, I only put just a layer more than covering the floor.


 I don't know if it is a big deal but I used a smaller watering device. Some put rocks or marbles in the water area so for the first few days you don't get drowning chick.


I also started out with a feeder like you have but found they like to site or roost on it and poop in the food. I bought a couple for the round ones and that stopped happening.


Boy, as far as flying or trying to fly.... if I remember right that, happens pretty quick.


I always kept my brooder mostly covered. 2 reasons for that. 1 was to keep them from flying out and the other was to help keep them warm.


 One of the biggest thing to keep an eye out for is the pasty butt. There are post on that also.


Lots of articles on the brooder and raising chicks in the search area at the top.


Good luck and enjoy!!

post #3 of 7

use more cardboard, it will do just fine. Remember with the heat that they should sit about 6 inches away when they have run out of energy and want to pile up together. too much heat they move far away or pant.


The only thing for the floor is that they can stand up. If they do, just cardboard or anything that takes your fancy. Mine always end up out in the yard before it is time to change the bedding. I just get a polystyrene box in the past and when you find yourself covering it so they cannot jump out, or covering the walls so they can't peck, then it's way past time they were out in the garden in an old fridge. You turn one on it's side and cut a hole in it. Great in all weather. Be careful not to put too much heat in it. Enough heat in the night equals too much in the day. If there are 6 chicks or more and no snow or ice, no heat is needed in the fridge.


Whatever I used in the house for the floor, like a towel, in a box, i move to the fridge and they consider that part ' home ' to roost in.


For floor, if it is too slippery and they can't stand up they get the curable condition spraddle legs ? or is it straddle ? Just so long as they stand or are able to grip and stand, they are ok.



post #4 of 7

yes, jumping is about a week or two.



I use plastic drink bottles for water and food, just cut a head sized hole in a few sides.  At first, you're trying to make them big enough for their little heads and small enough so that they cannot test the theory they always get about being a sponge that can absorb water by jumping into it. They also think they drink with their feet. Rookie mistake there, but they get the idea after the second day. Later you need another drink bottle with bigger holes because their heads get fat fast.

post #5 of 7

oh and when you have practiced on a few bottles you can cut off the top and invert another bottle, which is full and empties automatically into their food or water bowl. You need to tie up the top because they manage to knock them over.

post #6 of 7

I used a mix of sand and PDZ, then used a reptile scoop to scoop poop daily.

post #7 of 7

I'm hoping that you wanted some constructive criticism and are open to suggestions.  If you plan to use the heat lamp, move that waterer.  The water will get hot, trust me!  If you can, I would suggest nipple waterers.  Otherwise you are constantly cleaning poop and litter out of the water, and they will, at least once, dump that puppy over, leading to a total clean of the brooder.  And cardboard will soak that water up, so if you are going to use it I suggest putting a folded tarp under it. I start my chicks with vertical nipples right off the bat - they learn it quickly, can't get anything into the water, and any little drips under the nipples can be cleaned up with a spatula rather than having to take everything out and start over.  Then after a week or so, when I know they have the hang of it, I put in a container with horizontal nipples and put away the vertical setup.  You can hang the nipple waterer above the floor of the brooder, giving them more space. Some folks use a clean plastic milk jug with a couple of nipples screwed into it and hang that up.  For just a couple of chicks, I use an empty powered iced tea container.


Brand new chicks learning the vertical nipple bucket.


Horizontal nipple in a tea container for a single, injured chick.


Cardboard boxes and heat lamps scare the pee-wadding out of me.  Heat lamps heat absolutely everything around them - the walls, the floors, the brooder, the dust, the dander, food, water.....the heat lamp is an equal opportunity heater!  There are other options.


Many of us have chucked heat lamps entirely and have gone to the much more natural "Mama Heating Pad" system of raising chicks.  It's so simple and the chicks thrive.  No danger of fire from the heat lamp,and they experience natural day/night cycles.  They aren't eating 24/7. They feather out faster, and they are so much calmer. Here are a couple of links you might want to look at. 


Welcome to BYC and chicken keeping!  The Learning Center has tons of information for you, and all of us are always willing to answer questions!  Here is a link to take you to BYC's Learning Center.  But above all, relax.  There is no one right way to raise chicks.  You pick and choose what works for your situation and if it turns out less than satisfactory, you try something else.  If there was only one way to do this, this entire website could be read in half an hour!!

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