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Total noob!!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Well, hello, I'm Sam. After months (8 to be exact) of talking the husband into it we got our first babies today. It was a last minute thing since I honestly thought I had another year of talking him into it. Haha! But I'm excited. We just went and picked four random backyard mixes from a newer local farmer. (BEAUTIFUL farm, free range chickens and a variety of happy grass fed, free animals). If any turn out to be roosters we'll contact them since we can only have four hens in our city (boooo). They have all sorts of birds on their farm and they incubated all of these so no telling what breed or possible mix yet I guess, if ever. I don't really care. I hadn't narrowed down breeds at all. If any issues come up we'll deal with them as they come! I'm wondering if the little grey one I picked isn't going to be a rooster though.


We are aiming for pets/egg layers. We won't be breeding them or anything else.



So we have the four of them in a 30 gallon tote with paper towels topped with pine shavings. My husband is going to cut the top out of the lid and put a screen over it so we can close them in for safety (three little kids, two cats, two dogs!!). I hadn't bought anything yet and tractor supply is closed today so I stuck a heating pad on medium (with the cover and a thin cloth diaper over it) underneath the tote. I velcroed 4 little tube feeders (meant for a bird cage) to the inside for their food and water. They all seemed to figure that out quickly.


I'm ALL ears for any advice, tips, things to watch for, and anything else we should do or change. :)


post #2 of 5

Check out this thread for tips on brooding with a heating pad. It's a long thread, but the essential info is in the first few pages. Many of us find using a heating pad superior to a heat lamp, especially with the reduced risk of fire.

The one with the yellow dot on its head will probably turn out to be a barred rock/barred rock mix, which are lovely egg producers.
post #3 of 5

You're definitely on the right track with the heating pad. But for it to be as effective as it can be, you need to think of it as a substitute for a broody hen.


That means the chicks need some warm source under which to warm their little backs and to actually have direct contact with their backs to the source, at least during the heat intensive first week.


A wire frame of flexible, but sturdy, weight supporting mesh, such as field fencing, is ideal. But an old wire wrack from a small barbecue or refrigerator will work propped on supports so the front part is around four inches high, tapering down in the rear. And set it in "high" for this first week. That usually produces the right temp when the chicks press their backs against it.


Be mindful of loose material where a chick can squeeze into and suffocate. Secure all such traps with bungie cords or duct tape.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much!


I will go get into the garage and see what I can come up with the heating pad idea. We have a space heater across the room (office) which reads the overall temp in the space for us and we can set it overnight to maintain a specific temperature. We have that keeping the room an even overall temp as well so we don't have any big fluctuations where they are at all. Weather here has been super random. Yesterday it was 40s and cold. Today is getting up into the 60s. Then the heating pad is under about 1/3 of the bottom right now set on medium or high.


I'm home all day with the kids so I can peak in on them often and adjust based on their behavior right now. They seem comfy so far. They'll eat up and just plop into a snooze wherever they are at. The little yellow one likes to sprawl out. It's hilarious.


Here are more pictures including of the tubes I mentioned! There's a fourth tube as well. Super easy and they can't get their feet or poop into them at all right now. We'll get a bigger feeder soon, of course, but these were an easy grab since all the feed stores were closed yesterday.



They all ready have their names so fingers crossed we have lady birds and no roosters! We're totally attached. Top left is Rose Tyler. Top right is Miss Marvel Cupcake. Bottom left is Hedwig. Bottom right is Princess Buttercup.




post #5 of 5
Excellent names. Those tube feeders are cute and a smart temporary fix!
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