1st timer

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lil farm girl, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. lil farm girl

    lil farm girl New Egg

    8
    0
    9
    Mar 19, 2015
    NW Ohio
    Hello!
    We will have chicks (ordered 32) for the VERY FIRST TIME EVER in a few weeks. Is love to have a breakdown by week (or whatever increments you'd like) what they need/I need to do. I've seen several threads but would love to have the info in 1 place.
    Thanks so much in advance.
    We are excited!!!!!
     
  2. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Stuck back in the 40s Premium Member

    11,319
    2,322
    396
    Mar 3, 2015
    Virginia
    Be sure to take and share pictures of them [​IMG]! If you have any questions or worries just say so and well will try to help!
     
  3. lil farm girl

    lil farm girl New Egg

    8
    0
    9
    Mar 19, 2015
    NW Ohio
    Thx! I will. Right now I'm trying to decide on a brooder & where to keep it. The coop is almost done. I think that we might get a box and put then out there. We haven't put their door in yet so there really shouldn't be any drafts. We still have a few weeks. We are so excited!
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,538
    2,473
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    For 32 chicks you'd be best off just using the coop itself as a brooder. That many chicks will occupy TWICE the space every week, they grow that quickly, doubling in size each week.

    Chicks do not need to be in a confined space to keep warm as most people automatically think. As long as you supply a heat source for them, they will regulate their individual body temperatures by moving in and out of the heat zone. They do not need to be kept at a constant temperature like so many McDonald's burger patties.

    If you had adult chickens already living in the coop, then you'd need another protected area for the chicks, but this first time is a cinch. You won't even need to bother with a cumbersome brooder in the house. The chicks will grow up in the coop and by age two or three weeks, will already be going in and out of the coop to play in the run on nice days. (It would help us advise you if you'd fill out your profile info and let us know where you live.)

    All you need to do is establish the heat source in the coop, calibrate it so the zone on the floor under it is 85 to 95F. Lower that temp each week until four weeks it's around 70F.
     
  5. lil farm girl

    lil farm girl New Egg

    8
    0
    9
    Mar 19, 2015
    NW Ohio
    We are in nw ohio (I did update my profile).
    Thanks so much for the input! we were originally going to use the coop as the brooder and then I saw that most people use boxes. I'm so excited that we can just use the coop! We have to heat lamps. I am planning on putting a thermometer out there a couple of days beforehand to see what the temps are. THANK YOU!!
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,538
    2,473
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Well then, good! Ohio ought to be getting spring temps just about the time the chicks want to go out and play.

    When you test your coop for temperature, you only need to be concerned with the temperature at floor level directly beneath the heat lamps. It may be hard to fathom, but the rest of the coop can be quite cool just as long as there aren't any drafts.

    The ease of having the coop free to brood chicks in is a luxury not quickly forgotten when you have to struggle with the integration of chicks into a coop full of adult chickens. Therefore, many of us "chicken math victims", have a permanent setup with a dedicated coop space and grow-out pen for chicks to avoid that particular hassle. You might want to give some thought to that aspect of your future flock now while you are still in the construction phase.
     
  7. lil farm girl

    lil farm girl New Egg

    8
    0
    9
    Mar 19, 2015
    NW Ohio
    Can you explain this for me? Do you have any picts? I haven't even thought about this. :/
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,538
    2,473
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It's a complex concept born of frustration, anxiety and paranoia! When you get your next batch of chicks, say in two years when you wish to refresh the laying or meat stock, you will face the problem of integrating smalls with the bigs. The bigs will thrash the smalls unless they have a safe place to run to. There's also the issue of protecting their feed and water because the pecking order competition will cause the smalls to eat less than they need for growth and health until they grow to equal size. So the food needs to be kept in the safe area where the smalls aren't kept from it. This safe area can be a rather small temporary haven in a corner of the run or a fenced section of the run. Small portals are constructed into all sides of this chick safe pen that are 5" x 7" so only the chicks fit, and the bigs can't follow them.

    On top of that, you will face having to integrate them into the coop for sleeping purposes. This is even more frustrating and crazy. The big problem is getting the chicks to learn to go into the coop at night when they've been growing up elsewhere, such as a brooder box in the house. So a dedicated portion of the coop with its own entrance into the "grow-out/safe pen" is a god-send. Then you will still have the same luxury you will be enjoying this first time, not having to have the chicks (and you) endure the ruthless bullying when you transfer them from the brooder.

    There are all sorts of coop/run designs to accommodate a grow-out pen. I happen to have built an extra coop at one point when I had three belligerent roosters and wanted a bachelor quarters to keep the hens from being constantly harassed. Oh, oh. That's another problem you will be confronted with. Sorry.

    Anyway, I was smart enough to build numerous entrances in that new coop so when the last roo died, I converted part of it into a chick coop and fenced off an area of the run adjoining it so it could be a chick grow-out pen. When the chicks reach adult size, the gate between it and the rest of the run is opened and all the chickens then have access.

    I betcha thought this chicken biz was simple, huh?
     
  9. lil farm girl

    lil farm girl New Egg

    8
    0
    9
    Mar 19, 2015
    NW Ohio
    We had chickens growing up (love fresh eggs) but that was 25+ years ago and I was a kid so it didn't matter much. I did my chores, had a few favorites and that's about it. I know that we had several coops, & that when the "meat chickens" came, they got the smaller coop.
    I am so looking forward to this adventure. ... & fresh eggs later this year.
    Thank you so much for the advise! Now I am thinking about adding on already lol
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,538
    2,473
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    They don't call it "chicken math" for nothing! It strikes fast and furious when you are least expecting it! Here you are, your first chicks EVER haven't even arrived yet, and chicken math has already claimed you as its victim!

    Devilish and insidious. We all extend to you our most sincere sympathy.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by