1. Do I need to give 1.5 week old chicks grit? 2. What can I do to make my chicks less bored.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Nicholas Dean, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. Nicholas Dean

    Nicholas Dean In the Brooder

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    1. they are pushing two weeks old at this point. (rhode island reds) I haven't given them any grit and they seem fine. Can I make my own grit/can they find it themselves?

    2. They seem bored in the brooder. I want to give them something to do. (I'd be bored out of my mind if I were in there so I want to treat them how I would want to be treated)

    (one more thing) 3. They are about two weeks old the brooder is about 1.75 feet tall. Can they escape (I've seen many of them fly a few inches up already)?
     
  2. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    If you are only feeding them starer crumbles they don't need grit. If you are feeding them ANYTHING else, then they would benefit from CHICK grit.

    You can buy a 5 lb (which is a LOT) bag at feed/hardware/country stores for $5 or $6 - OR! You can dig them up a little box of dirt from their future run area (the grit will be the rock particles bigger than grains of sand - do make sure there is some of that. Or drop $6 at the hardware store). If you haven't given them a dirt box yet I'd highly recommend it because it's both a great health/hygiene benefit, and it will help address your next question! :)

    You got it! I'm surprised they're not being more feisty :) The dirt box (with grit!) if it has insects and bits of weeds and grass in there... they will go bananas for it! They'll even play keep away games with what they find in the dirt! Hilarious! And kinda magical...

    Do you have roosting bars for them to perch on?

    We alleviated boredom with a "dangerous" choice; in the daytime (while we were ACTIVELY watching them) we'd take the lid off the daytime play brooder so they could perch and roost on the rim while we did afternoon/evening chores and did the dinner thing. They appreciated the scenery so much that they really didn't cause constant escape problems. There were a few days we just had to lid them up, for sure. but only 3 or 4. And they were in our living room for the better part of two months. Which leads to your next question...

    ...but first I'll say we tried mirrors and cat toys for entertainment, they didn't care for them one bit. I did NOT try a chicken swing and later learned that almost every adult chicken that enjoys a chicken swing, had one offered and played on it as a young chick. If I could do it over I'd definitely try to devise a safe, fun chick swing. On to the next!

    Our first flier (her name's Amelia, hehe) had a vertical leap of 10 inches on her first day. Her bigger sister (both are barred rocks) was always the master escape artist, though. She flew onto the rim of our brooder (the same as yours? 20 inches tall?) in the first few days. All of them could get out in the second week. I think by weeks 3 and 4 they could fly four or five feet easily!

    So most assuredly they will be escaping. I'm a little surprised they haven't already!

    Again ours really just loved roosting and snoozing on the brooder rim for a long time. We let them know they were not allowed on the floor (or on anything else) outside the brooder. They would hope in the brooder to play and eat, etc. But the rest of the time they (mostly) just snoozed or watched us from the top of the brooder.

    But they WILL escape. Make sure you have a clamped or heavy "lid" on top of the brooder that keeps them in whenever you're not actively watching them. I made one out of wood scraps and hardware cloth that worked very nicely. I'll add that pic in a few minutes....
     
  3. ArborChicks

    ArborChicks Chirping

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    1) All I know is they sell chick grit that says to start offering at 2 weeks of age. Whether that is actually recommended I do not know.

    2) Mine love having some sticks running across my brooder to run under, jump onto, peck at. They also like the 4x4 "stump" I put in, and I switched to sawdust so they could scratch around.

    3) I have no idea...sorry.
     
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  4. Nicholas Dean

    Nicholas Dean In the Brooder

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    thank you so much! i didn't expect such a detailed answer! I think i am going to lay some chicken wire over the top now that i know they can get out. getting out would probably be the last thing any of my chicks do because if they get out, they have a dog waiting for them. I've been training him to not worry about them whenever they make a lot of noise (he's pretty much good on that part). Yet when he gets in contact with one he tries his hardest to get it. (One time he actually got one in his mouth. I'm not sure why he didn't kill it. He just... dropped it.) Bird was perfectly fine too. Dogs are weird. Anyway, thank you very much!
     
  5. ArborChicks

    ArborChicks Chirping

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    I knew a Rottweiler who loved birds. She would vanish in the woods and reappear with baby chicks that fell out of their nests, then she would drop them at our feet. A slobbery, completely unharmed mess with a very satisfied look like "here you are, now it's your problem".

    I second Dogs are weird!
     
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  6. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    No worries, happy to help! But, yikes!! Gotta keep the birds safe!

    Chicken wire can work. Please make sure it's clean and the edges can't be hit by chickens (or anyone/thing else in the area.) They are likely to bump into it if they get excited without paying attention to what's over their head... so I made one that was weighty, but safe. And just used stuff I had laying around. I've found chicken wire limited in usefulness and hardware cloth to be invaluable. So that's what I used in my lid...

    Here's a pic of the brooder lid made out of scraps (lumber and HW cloth) to contain the hooligans... except our alpha, Charley, already escaped! :love
    Charley - First Escape Artist.jpg

    And when I found that pic I realized they had a lot of fun playing on the mini roosts I made out of I think 1/2" dowel (this is between 1 and 2 weeks of age). Here Charley is queen of the roost while her little sister, Amelia, paces in front.
    Charley and Amelia.jpg

    I later had to upgrade to 1" dowel roosts in the brooder because they grow FAST. After about 4-5 weeks we almost never kept them inside during the day. They had a chicken tractor (play area) for those times. The brooder was mostly for sleeping (and emergency weather conditions).
     
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  7. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    :gig:lau:love
     
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  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    1. they are pushing two weeks old at this point. (rhode island reds) I haven't given them any grit and they seem fine. Can I make my own grit/can they find it themselves?

    Everyone views chick grit differently - personally I do provide grit free choice the first week along with a plug of sod (see below)

    2. They seem bored in the brooder. I want to give them something to do. (I'd be bored out of my mind if I were in there so I want to treat them how I would want to be treated)
    (one more thing) 3. They are about two weeks old the brooder is about 1.75 feet tall. Can they escape (I've seen many of them fly a few inches up already

    Yes, they will be out of 1.75 tall box very soon. Do you have your coop ready? How are you brooding them - with a lamp or heating pad?
    You can also provide them with a perch - but if your box is only 1.75ft tall, they will be flying out.

    Chick boredom buster, for me anyway, ties back into your question #1 a pan or tub of dirt - if they are inside, they will make a mess though.
    I use a mixture of ash, "fresh dirt" and sifted dirt from my runs - then top it with a couple of plugs of grass, dandelion, etc. I do sprinkle in some chick grit too. Chicks love it for digging, dust bathing - they are also exposed to pathogens they will encounter from my adults and what's in the soil. I transition to a bigger tub as they grow, but usually they will be let out into the grow out run before that. I also like to trim little "treats" for them - favorite thing right now are those tiny little seeds from Broccoli - I "shave" about a tablespoon off and sprinkle it in the grow out pen - they spend a lot of time digging for those.
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  9. sawilliams

    sawilliams Songster

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    Chick grit before any treat or feed other then chick starter.

    Are they bored or cramped? Sometimes space issues lead to boredom activities.

    Ideas... A roosting bar just a 1x1 board on short legs, sometime to jump up on. A pan of dirt (with grit mixed in preferably). A small box for places to hide. Once you start grit you can also hang veggies cabbage is a good one probably just a leaf or 2 at a time
     
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  10. thewatsonfarm

    thewatsonfarm Songster

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    What a great idea! I love the dirt mixture with plugs of grass and the broccoli "seeds" -- my girls will be delighted! Thanks for sharing!
     
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