Advice for the total novice?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sharone, May 2, 2008.

  1. sharone

    sharone In the Brooder

    May 2, 2008
    I realize that chickens are tough little birds and traditionally we just threw them some grain and they grew and laid eggs. However, I am wanting to raise and keep 2-3 pet chickens in my city back yard, and I am a total novice. (i already checked and this is allowed in my city.)

    I am kind of overwhelmed in looking at the supplies available. So, what do I REALLY need? I am thinking of my daughter born a year ago.....I did not need half of the stuff that everyone said a baby needed and I quickly eBayed most of it. Are chicks the same, or do I really need all of this special stuff? Thanks for the advice! Sharon
  2. raindrop

    raindrop Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    You need:
    A warm area to brood chicks (see brooder thread)
    Food dish (for babies and another for grown chickens)
    Waterer (again, having 2 sizes is helpful)
    Shavings as bedding
    Heat lamp to keep brooder warm
    Chick starter (medicated or not, lots of threads on this to search for)

    Most people move the chicks to the coop at 4-6 weeks it seems. So you need:
    A secure coop (what secure means will vary depending on predators in your area) with attached run (not absolutely necessary but chickens like fresh air and sunshine!)
    in the coop you need a roost, nest box and bedding.
    Food/water in the coop.
    Switch to layer pellets (or crumble) at 18 weeks.

    Have fun and welcome to BYC!
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    It is the same....[​IMG]

    They need a warm place (a heat lamp)
    a feeder when babies and one as adults
    waterer same as feeders
    Pine shavings for bedding...Do NOT use cedar
    Chick starter

    When they get all their feathers about 6 weeks or so, they need a secure, predator proof coop to sleep in at night and a secure place to range during the day...either free range is you are there or a covered run.

    Love, affection and care. [​IMG]

    Good luck to you.
  4. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    keep them around 90-95*F. They could die if they get to cold. make sure they have a chick starter food, between 18-20% 20% is what I use. Make sure the brooding area for the baby chicks is big enough for 1/2-1 square foot per bird. Depending on how your chicks arrived, like if they had a hard trip you may need to put quick-chik or terymicen in the water. For bedding use wood shavings. use pine NOT CEDAR!!! good luck abd have fun!!
  5. Frizzledhen

    Frizzledhen Spear Gunnin' Coons

    Feb 17, 2007
    Don't forget the camera! [​IMG]
    Welcome to BYC.
  6. yotetrapper

    yotetrapper Songster

    May 3, 2007
    North Central MS
    I noticed every one of you mentioned pine shavings. Am I the only one that uses newspaper?
  7. zumachicks

    zumachicks In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2008
    i used newspaper for my first batch and it was fine...they grew just the same [​IMG] although, this second time around, i am using shavings and they seem to be a bit more my humble opinion.
  8. olivesmom

    olivesmom In the Brooder

    May 2, 2008

    I started yesterday on this webpage under diarrhea. I spent many other hours yesterday on the web reasearching our three new babies ... Roxy, Rocco and my Olive. I am totally in love ...

    We live in Phoenix 10 minutes from downtown but we have this great neighborhood with horses that look over my backyard wall. Goats and Donkeys three doors down and though it is the city I knew when we moved here I wanted chickens. When my husband announced on my way home the other day that we were stopping for chicken I knew we needed to learn more but the minute I saw them I was in love ...

    So, here is my question ...

    We have never raised chicken before. The chick my son chose is tiny. It has feather on the feet the same as the one my husband chose but it is much smaller. They had his in a different area and said it would not get as big. Olve (my chicken) has some feathers. I am worried that Roxy is so small ... should I care for her differently?

    I do plan to call the feed store today to find out exactly how old they are. The information we were given seems incorrect. They told us the chicks needed to be atleast 80 degrees which from what I have read would make them 3 weeks old BUT only Olive has feathers and only on her wings ... they also said that they could live outside in our finch cage (I can walk in it so it is big enough) but it seems too cold for them at night (55) even with the lamp I can't image it staying warm enough. I have them in the bath at night now but I am worried about the feet spreading problem.

    My final question. We started with only three to see how things go. We plan to bet more ... Maybe 7 to 10. From reading it seems like maybe it will be hard to add chicks to older chickens? Also, how much room would they need? How big of a coop?


    Olive's Mom
  9. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    [​IMG] A lot of answers can be found by using the search option. That is the best place to start. Your little one is maybe a cochin bantam. They will not get as big as a standard chicken and could possibly get beat up by larger chickens just for being a batam. Time will tell. Maybe if they are raised together they will be ok. Other folks here will have better answers to that.

    You could put something along the sides of the cage, without completely covering it, to allow for air circulation but helping to avoid direct drafts. This would also help keep some of the heat in the cage.

    As far as temps.... if they are huddling up tight right under the light, they are probably too cold and if they are as far as they can get away from it, then they are too hot. Allow them space enough to find a comfortable spot and they should be ok. Someone else will be able to tell you if 55 with a lamp is too cold. They can get sick very quickly if exposed to drafts. So you may want to cover them or bring them inside until they feather out more.

    They say 4 sq feet per chicken, less for bantams... but also some say 2 sq feet... so you know, you want them to have enough room to not be overcrowded as this could lead to health issues.... but you also want it to be a comfortable size coop to allow them to keep warm in the cold. Venilation is very important. Check out the coop design link for more info on coops and space for chickens.

    Good luck!

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