9 Week Old Birds

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Family_Guy, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. Family_Guy

    Family_Guy New Egg

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    Sep 1, 2011
    Well thanks to everyone who welcomed me to the site again. I decided to go with some cross chickens I found on c-list. They are Americanus, Road Island Reds, Barnavelder, 6 are redish and 4 are the black with white spots. We got them home and put them in the outside pen, man did they go nuts picking at the ground and scratching. I left them there all afternoon and they seemed to get more comfortable as they were spreading out and not all huddled up. So I put them away at night and closed up the access to the outside pen. The next morning I opened the outside acess and they still have not made there way back outside. Should I put them outside in the pen? How often and how much should I feed ten chicks?? I got chicken starter/Grower and they seem to love it. Someone said somthing on here about leaving the light on for 14 hours a day to get them laying sooner can someone elaborate? Should I have any worries about my children handling them?? It has been getting down to about 50 degrees at night do they need to have a heat light on them at night? When should I start free ranging them where they will come back in the pen at night? Sorry for all the questions but I really want these girls to turn out and be healthy. Can anyone tell me when I will be able to tell the sex? And lastly what would be good treats to give birds this young?

    Thanks Again to Everyone!!
     
  2. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old did you say they were?
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    So I put them away at night and closed up the access to the outside pen. The next morning I opened the outside acess and they still have not made there way back outside. Should I put them outside in the pen?

    You can. Or you can just wait until they put themselves out. Eventually one will work up the nerve and the rest soon follow. Personally, I'd close the door and leave them locked in the coop for about a week so they get used to it being home. That way, when you do give them access to outside, they will automatically go back in the coop at night on thier own at bedtime. Alternatively, you can just put them in the coop toward night and they will still eventually get that message. Both approaches work and neither method hurts them.

    How often and how much should I feed ten chicks?? I got chicken starter/Grower and they seem to love it.

    I keep food and water available all day, letting them eat when they want to. Chickens do not eat like dogs, eating one or two big meals a day. Chickens eat throughout the day.

    Someone said somthing on here about leaving the light on for 14 hours a day to get them laying sooner can someone elaborate?

    Sorry. This answer will be a bit long.

    It is not to get them laying sooner, though if you are in the northern hemisphere, it might have that effect this time of year. Chickens normally stop laying and molt when the days get shorter in the fall. Instead of using the protein they eat to lay eggs at a bad time of year to hatch eggs and raise chicks, they use that protein to grow new feathers. You don't need to worry about yours going through an adult molt this year. They will go through a couple of juvenile molts as they outgrow their feathers but that is due to age and growth, not length of day.

    Commercial operations keep the length of light fairly short, maybe 9 hours a day, to keep them from starting to lay real early when the eggs are not that big or regular. Then, when the pullets get to be old enough for the eggs to be commercial, I think around 23 or 24 weeks old, they increase the length of light to 14 hours a day, which usually triggers a majority to start to lay. Those are specially bred hens that might start to lay around 16 to 18 weeks if the light were not controlled and they matured in the summer. Yours probably will not start to lay that young, though I suspect you will probably see a few eggs by Christmas, even if you do not increase the light. I find that once they start laying, pullets in their first winter usually do not molt but continue laying regardless of the length of day, but hens a year or more old always molt when the days get shorter.

    The key is the length of the simulated day. If you provide artificial light when they are adults, they may not molt and will probably continue to lay during the fall and winter. Commercial operations have hit on 14 hours as the optimum length of light for their operations, but they control the light 24/7. How far from the equator they are is irrelevent. If you live far enough north or south where the length of day greatly exceeds 14 hours, that may not be long enough to stop a molt and keep them laying. But for most of us, 14 hours is enough.

    Should I have any worries about my children handling them??

    Like any pet or animal, they can have certain bacteria on them, Salmonella being the main one people talk about. The risk of catching something is not tremendously high, but there is a risk. If you and the kids keep your hands away from your face and wash them with soap and water after handling the chicks, they risk is tremendously reduced, same as after petting a dog, especially an outdoor dog.

    It has been getting down to about 50 degrees at night do they need to have a heat light on them at night?

    At nine weeks age, no. They have been fully feathered out for four or five weeks. As long as the coop they are in is well ventilated and draft free, they will enjoy that weather. That down coat they wear will keep them quite comfortable.

    When should I start free ranging them where they will come back in the pen at night?

    I suggest keeping them locked in the coop or coop and run for at least a week. Once they go from the run to the coop to sleep on their own, you can free range them and they will go to the coop on their own at bedtime. They may or may not leave the run on their own at first, but eventually they will build up their nerve and try it. I suggest when you start letting them out, the first time you let them out about an hour before their bedtime. That way you can stay out with them and observe. It will help build your confidence up about them free ranging, plus your assistance may be necessary. Mine always want desperately to get back to the coop, but they have no concept of gate. If they are on the opposite side of the run from the gate, they will just pace the fence, desperately trying to get through to go to bed. It probably has to do with my configuration, but I almost always have to help one or two find the gate their first night or two. After that, they are fine and most of them get it the first try, but there are always a few.

    Can anyone tell me when I will be able to tell the sex?

    Somne can be harder than others, but at nine weeks with those breeds, you should be able to get a pretty good guess. Due to spammers and such, you can't post pictures on here until you have a set number of posts, so go greet a bunch of new people, then post some pictures. There are plenty of folks on here that will help you with sexing them, and occasionally most of us agree. As I said, some can be harder than others.

    How to post pictures/avatar
    http://www.theeasygarden.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=26838

    And lastly what would be good treats to give birds this young?

    As long as they have grit (and if thy have access to the ground, they should get their own grit) they can eat about anything you can eat. There are some exceptions, but not many. This chart gives you some suggestions. Notice toward the bottom that there are some things not to give them. But read it closely. Green potato peels are dangerous to them, and you too. But regular potato peels are fine. Uncooked beans are dangerous, but cooked beans are fine. Apple seeds and most other fruit seeds contain cyanide, but there is not enough in one seed to hurt them. There is no harm in them eating an apple, including the seeds. But if you make apple butter or applesauce and have a bunch of apple seeds, don't let them have those. Don't feed them treats in excess.

    Treats Chart
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-Treats_Chart

    Hope this helps a bit. Good luck and welcome to the adventure.
     
  4. Family_Guy

    Family_Guy New Egg

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    Thank You very much for the replies. I think I will just keep them on the inside of the coop for now since they are not crazy about outside right now anyway then in a week we will start taking them out in the run and maybe out in the yard if I feel comfortable. I have a wife and three kidas that fall in love with animals so the last thing I want to explain is how one of our newest family members got hit on the highway. IF they are gonna be in the coop for a week do they have to have grit?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If you feed them anything other than commercial feed, they pretty much need grit. Boiled egg yolks, yogurt, stuff like that they do not need it, but anything hard or tough they do. Any kind of green vegetation is considered tough.

    You've got several options. Get some small gravel and sand from a gravel road or driveway or maybe a creek or river bed. Cut a piece of turf and put that in the coop. They will rip that apart, enjoy the grass and anything else they find in it, and get grit. Or give them some coarse sand, like construction sand.

    You should be able to buy grit at the feed store if you want to. At 9 weeks, they should be able to pick out grit the right size from pullet grit. They really don't need chick grit at that age.
     

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