12-day old chick questions


In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2020
Lowell, AR
New chick dad with a couple questions.

I got 18 chicks last tuesday. they were hatched on monday 6/1. I've kept them in a spare bedroom in a 4'x3' dog cage with paper towels on the floor. I've been changing the paper towels three times a day for the first week and two times a day this week. They are eating and drinking a ton, which means pooping a ton. I've got a brooder plate designed for 15 chicks and they love being under it. I've got bantam cochin and standard polish, so I have the brooder plate with higher legs on the front and shorter. I also have a space heater in the room and I keep it about 75 all the time. I have the vents to the room closed so our air conditioning doesn't blow in there. They all seem to get along pretty good. What I would think is kind of normal pecking at each other every once in a while. Lots of running back and forth and trying to jump/fly. I have a webcam on them so I check it periodically thoughout the day.

1. Many times when I check almost all of them are huddled back under, near, or on top of the brooder plate. It's not for hours at a time. Usually a few of them are out running back and forth. When they are under it they are laying down nicely and appear happy. I plan on this weekend moving their cage out to a storage barn, which is pretty secure and stays a nice temperature all day long. Should I be noticing them spending less and less time out from under the brooder, or will they still continue to go back there even if the room is warm?

2. I tried this week to switch to using bedding vs. paper towles. I had purchased a block of industrial hemp and as soon as I spread a nice layer - about 2" deep they went nuts appearing to peck and eat it, scratch it about, etc. I left the bedding there, but for this week have been layering paper towels on top. When I move them to the storage barn I plan to not use paper towels at all. I figure they won't eat so much of it as to fill up, but is there any concern there about them scratching and picking it. will that calm down if I let them access it all the time. Right now a few of them will work all day and pick up the corner of the paper towels to get to the bedding.

appreciate any comments.

here are some example of a normal day when I look in on them. IMG_1673.PNG IMG_1680.PNG
Last edited:


Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
California's Redwood Coast
appreciate any comments.
They're bored... Add in a clod of dirt with grass and all.. let them go at it, unless your under quarantine for Marek's vaccine. The soil will contain small pebbles that will act as grit. Maybe do the dirt clod a little bit before opening up the paper towels... for future reference, paper towels are removed after about 3-ish days here... or as soon as all have been seen eating regular feed.

You could even hang a polka dotted picture on the walls.. give them something to peck at and investigate... they have little curious sponge minds right now trying to learn about the world around them. They need to be scratching and pecking at all kinds of stuff... painted paper towel or tp cardboard roll, some marbles, children's toys.. whatever ya got!

The dirt clod will also give them a small dose of exposure to whatever is in your yard.. helping them build immunity before going out full time.

I shape cones out of cut down cereal boxes and tape to the top of my feed/water to stop poop from getting inside when they try to perch on top,

Usually by this age, in this season... my chicks are making trip outdoors already.. in fenced area, with a cardboard box for huddling if needed. My local weather almost NEVER reaches 65+ degrees here on the coast and so are often out on sunny 50 degree days...

Your room should not need to be heated in addition to the heat plate. Chicks actually do fine with access to colder areas.. where they might cool off or run around.. and tuck back under when they need to warm up... Just for reference... my 5 day old chicks are under the plate in my 55 degree room. Many folks use them in much colder locations without any issue.. just getting the plate to the right height.

FWIW.. chicks raised by a broody hen... utilize both her top and underneath.. They may not need to be fully warmed but still enjoy the warm feet. So cute to see chicks ride their mum around the yard! :love
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom