Do you guys have silkies? I only have silkies and they are beautiful but honestly, they are not very smart! Probably because they can't see anything! Just wondering if anyone has experience with them being good moms. I know they are excellent sitters but it's been seeming like the mom thing is a little challenging for them!
Originally Posted by fisherlady
We have all of our chicks on sand and in an unheated area. If they need a warm up they get under mama but they don't seem to spend a lot of time there because they would rather be exploring. We give them a mix of finch seeds, hulled sunflower seeds and a few meal worms. Sprinkle the mix out over the sand so mama can teach them how to scratch. We give them this 'peep seed mix' two or three times a day in addition to the feeder of chick starter which is always available. I think the scratching in sand helps keep their systems happy.
Ok, so I went to the pet store and bought the finch mix that had hulled sunflower seeds in it already. I tried to offer it by hand but they weren't going for it so I just sprinkled it around. I hope she gets her butt up!
Originally Posted by trailrider330
I always let my broodies decide when it's time for her and her chicks to join the flock. I generally keep them locked up for about a week. During the following week, I let them start to free-range a little while I stand guard, gradually increasing their time free-ranging while I decrease the amount of time I stand guard. Sometime between the 2nd and 3rd week, the broody generally leads the chicks into the main coop at dusk rather than back into the brooder. I take that as my sign that all is well and let them stay with their flockmates full-time from that point on. It has never caused a problem, even with multiple roosters.
Free ranging meaning totally outside the run?
Originally Posted by rooboo
My experiences have made me completely abandon the use of pine shavings in my brooder pens. A while back I was brooding a batch of bielfelder chicks in a small box with a paper table cloth on the floor, the chicks were doing great without any problems. I decided to move them to a larger pen, so I cleaned and prepped the pen and put a nice layer of pine shavings on the floor. When I put the chicks in the pen they immediately started scratching and picking through the nice new shavings, unfortunately what I apparently didn't know was that they were eating the shavings. Within 2 days I had chicks with pasty butt, and after a week I had no chicks. I always had concerns about the very small pieces of shavings, so I always tried to get the larger chips with less fines in them, but they always had a certain amount. I know you can screen them to get rid of the small stuff, but I figured, why screen them and have to throw half of them away. My solution was to just not put anything in the pen that could be harmful to the chicks. Since then, I use disposable banquet table cloths that are made of paper that's a little thicker than tissue paper and has a plastic backing. I usually leave that in there for about 2 weeks or until they have it shredded up pretty good. I use a shop vac to clean up a little bit in between. Once I remove what's left after a couple weeks I'll add dirt or sand and some DE,and even a little barn lime to keep the smell down and neutralize the soil. If they're not to crowded it usually stays pretty dry. I'll vacuum it out as needed when it gets to be more poop than soil. As long as it's dry they scratch and dust bathe till their little hearts are content. In the past I've had several cases of pasty butt and several losses, since I said no to pine shavings, I've had 1 and only 1 case of PB which cleared up after I cleaned it. I've only lost two chicks since then, and they were just not meant to be, they never made it out of the hatcher. How many chicks did I hatch, you ask. Almost 200!
So, to make a long story even longer, I believe that introducing the chicks to pine shavings after 2 weeks with the one batch was probably not a good idea, my bad. I know that many places and people recommend pine shavings, but my experience has me looking for alternatives. My suggestion to anyone using them would be to screen the chips so that there is nothing small enough for them to eat. Just my opinion and observations. I would be interested to hear of any other types of litter people have used with success.
This is very interesting. I normally only use pine shavings in the nest boxes and Koop clean straw bedding on the coop floor and brooders. But the Koop clean is expensive, so I opted to just throw a bunch of shavings down. I have a bunch of old sheets and I actually put a cotton sheet down first the the pine on top. So next time I clean it up I will just put a sheet down. Where do you buy the sand in bulk? I was thinking that the sand would act as grit and help break up anything they eat, which could be helping with digestion.
Originally Posted by Kimberly09
I have a broody australorp (well three actually lol). But I was thinking about using one of them to hatch out some of my guinea fowl eggs. But I had a few questions
How many guinea eggs should I put under an australorp? She is a big girl
Is it cruel if I don't let her keep any of the keets? Right now I am just hatching to sell. Mainly because I don't really have the extra space for more birds right now, the coop is pretty much at it's max with guinea and chickens. I want to get a larger coop in the future but it probably wont be until next spring.
I'm in the exact same position! So I only gave my broody 3 eggs to hatch and keep.
Originally Posted by fisherlady
Outside time depends on your set up and the weather, I allow many of our experienced hens out as soon as they want, but we watch closely to make sure all the chicks can keep up and that they all get back inside when she does...
An enclosed and chick proofed run and a nest area with no ramp allows outside time as soon as they can toddle, ramps, open areas with chick dangers means more observation time and generally an older age for free ranging (over a week or two)
Inclement weather can also cause a need for delay in the very young being out...as can large broods in colder weather, since the hen will have to really work to keep them all together for frequent warm ups.
I have an area of my run that I can screen off. There's no ramps or anything and it is covered. Should I move them there? The only problem is that I would have to move the mom and the babies out each morning and back each night. Would you recommend leaving them out there over night or still bringing them in at night? We're about 30 degrees at night.