Hello! My friend told me this website is amazing for advice on rearing chicks/chickens, so I was hoping for some help on some key issues when bringing my girls home. Although there is plenty of guidance out there, some of it is a bit conflicting so I was hoping for some wisdom of experience :-)
I'm bringing home 2 chicks from my schools recent hatchlings (9 hatched yesterday, and 1 today!). We have had to separate the 10th arrival, as the others were pecking her and she was bleeding a little. We think she is going to make it, and I am quite keen to take this little girl home as one of my two as I fear she will be attacked with the rest of the brood who are quite a bit bigger than her,and substantially stronger. Is this misguided?
If not, I thought maybe it best to introduce one of the smaller girl chicks back into her separate brooder once she is healed up, and observe to see if they get along? Then perhaps this would be the pair to bring home? (any advice welcome!)
They will be two weeks old when I bring them home, so I need to buy/make a brooder. I read 2 square feet each is a nice amount of space for the following 3ish weeks until they are old enough to start going in their coop & pen. Is this enough space, and how much heat should I be supplying for them in this period? (Is a 250w bulb suffice or should I get something that is a heat lamp?)
When the hens are home in these three weeks, I'd like to take them outside (I have boarded up all corners/gaps around the perimeter and wiill be supervising throughout!) if it is sunny, will they be ready?
I have a garden with bordering beds, one of which is in the shade under a tree (the ground is quite bare). I have read that shavings can get very dusty and this is unpleasant for the hens - and that coarse sand can be very pleasant for them as they can sort of dust bath in it (is that right?!) and also rake the poop out with a kitty scooper and hopefully dry it out for compost for the vegetable patches. Is sand actually OK for 5-6 weeks+ chicks? Or should I start with shavings and change when they are fully grown or something like that?!
Thanks in advance for ALL and any advice that can be offered!
When she is healed up I would get her a friend that's a bit younger. A docile breed like orpingtons. I keep mine on large flake shavings. They love it. I also use a heat lamp just from your local farm supply. They are kept in a rabbit cage with towels wrapped around the outside. Just to keep drafts out. My girls are 7 weeks and are officially outside. It gets low 60s here at night. Three week old chicks should have around 80 degrees all day. Hope the little one gets better soon. Good luck.