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Practice chicks?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello, I have a silly question. I have an order in at Sandhill (yeah!) it's expected after the end of April and will be our first batch of chicks ever. I think I should grab a couple local day old chicks to practice on first don't you? I've never brooded chicks before and I'm not sure I want the first time to be on my ultra rare chicks that took forever to get a hold of. Is that crazy? If I get vaccinated chicks for the test group and they are only 6 weeks older they should all get along okay once the younger batch is all feathered out?
I'm too excited to wait until the end of April. It's probably This or I may accidentally buy a pair of piglets. So happy to be getting settled into our new farm!
Is there a compelling reason NOT to get a half dozen or so test chicks? Thanks

Eager to get started on our Homesteading Journey!

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Eager to get started on our Homesteading Journey!

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post #2 of 6

I advise patience, and use this time before the end of April to read all the most popular threads on raising baby chicks. There's a wealth of knowledge and experience in these threads, and you'll learn far more in a much shorter time frame than you would on a "practice set" of chicks.

 

I once decided to add three more chicks to a batch of six-week old chicks and they did not "get along" okay. When chicks are that much older and larger, the older ones will pick on the new ones. When raising baby chicks, you need to keep them as close together in size and age as possible.

 

My rule of thumb is not to add any new chicks after the first batch is three weeks old. Even then, those three-week olds will be quadruple the size of the just hatched ones, chicks doubling in size each week.

post #3 of 6

I'm sure you will hear opinions from both side of the fence on any of your questions.

 I was new last summer, and never really new about this site to ask questions and did good by following what the hatchery suggested to do. Started off with 15 then bought 3 more and then another 20. All are doing well except one that was killed by a hawk. 

 

 Warmth is key in the beginning other than the common water food thing. Water though you want to make it so they won't accidentally drown.

 Watch the chicks and if they are all huddled up they could be cold. If they are away from the heat lamp or what ever you may use chances are they are to warm.

 

 As far as mixing the difference in age thing. Many different ideas on that and they all worked for someone but it might not work for everyone. I've asked a couple times because I am going through that right now introducing 3 into 14. I was told keep an eye on them and as long as they don't get to beat up to bad by the pecking order, let it play out.

 

 Really don't know what to say about weather you should or should not do this practice thing. It never even entered my mind when I decided to get into raising chickens. Sorry.

 

I went for egg layers and have 6 different breeds. All did well, and all in the coop now. Separated with a fence between the first 17 and the newer 20.

 

So much on this site to read. So many different opinions to choose from. Pick one or combine a couple and try it out. But read, read, read!

post #4 of 6
Get some Cornish cross and toss them in the freezer when the new ones arrive.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I've done as much reading as humanly possible so that part is taken care of, Cornish crosses are a good idea. I forgot how fast they can be ready. I would have at least 11 weeks before the other chicks are ready to leave the brooder. Excellent idea!! I'll keep everyone updated on how it all goes. Thank you

Eager to get started on our Homesteading Journey!

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Eager to get started on our Homesteading Journey!

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post #6 of 6
I’d have never thought of Cornish X for practice. They are different from other chickens the way they grow and even in some behaviors, but they grow so fast they’ll force you to have the outside facilities ready. As long as you can butcher them and you have freezer space it’s not a bad idea.

In general I suggest you try to keep it as simple as you can until you get some experience. A lot of us integrate different aged chickens all the time, often without any drama, but sometimes chicks end up dead for some people. There is a learning curve associated with chickens. Don’t try integrating the first year if you can avoid it. Get your facilities and management techniques down in your first year.

I once had a one week old chick get itself trapped inside a grow-out pen of 8 week olds where Mama could not get through the fence to protect it. They killed it. Most of the time I don’t see any drama at all but most of the time is not all the time.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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