Am I on the right track?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by trailhound, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. trailhound

    trailhound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    I have a been a hen tender for about 5 years now but have never started with babies. I remembered this website from when I first got started with chickens, so of course, now I am back as I enter a new chicken experience.

    I am down to two hens and have moved from the city to the country and am ready to expand my flock. I have always wanted some tiny babies, and I think now is the time. I am a kindergarten teacher and would like to have my chicks at school for my kids to experience. Our classroom guniea pig just died (sob, sob), so I have a cage availble and I just got a classroom gecko that came with a warming light, but I would like to switch to a heating pad of sorts. To make a long story short, I have a cage and light, even extra bedding. I saw on this sight a set up for chicks that looks like all of the stuff I have, even the waterer with the red bottom. I just need to get the feeder.

    So here are my questions-

    Is the wire cage with deep plastic bottom and narrow spaces (chicks can't get stuck heads) between wires with heat lamp a good brooder? What is the preferred bedding for little ones?

    Will they be okay left alone for the night at school for a few weeks ( I figure they will stay until Easter), bringing them home for the weekend?

    I saw a post about buying chicks at TCS company and it sounds like this is a good option if they have the breeds availlble that I want? I have to check and see if they have them in yet, but I bet they do.

    Any other advice? I know I need to get them special chick food, possibly medicated? I also know I will need to keep them warm until they get real feathers 5-8 weeks?

    I would like to let my faithful silkie hatch some chicks to fulfill her broody destiny, but I think at this point buying already hatched chicks is the best options because I think it would be really cool to give my students the experience of 'Easter' chicks (I will keep the chickens ultimately).

    Thanks!
     
  2. mhoward92

    mhoward92 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 5, 2007
    -- Yes that sounds like it will work (keep in mind they will get bigger in the 3 weeks you are planning on keeping them there. Im not shure how big it is but they might grow out of it depending on how many you get. Bedding..... i use paper towels for the first few days then switch to COARSE pine bedding. I say coarse because they will try to eat the fine stuff.

    -- Yes they will deffinately need to be with you on the weekends but They will be ok over the night at school. (make shure you fill the feed and water before you leave) [​IMG]

    -- TCS Is fine, depending on what gender you want though. alot of supply stores sell straight run chicks (you dont know if its a male or female). But some seperate them in gender.

    -- Yes, medicated food is reccomended. Most of the chick starter is pre-medicated. I dont see Non-medicated feed on the market (at least were i live) much more. Yes they will need to stay warm. start the temp. at 90 degrees and decrease the temp. (by 5 degrees) for each week they get older. for example::: 1 week -- 90..........2 weeks -- 85......3 weeks -- 80

    My tips:: Check for pasty butt DAILY!!!
    Pasty butt is when their vent gets clogged and they cannot poop. they will die fast if this is not taken care of.

    Raise their food and water so they have to streach and reach it when you add their pine bedding. (this is so they dont get TONS of shavings in the water and food!!!)

    Other than that theres not much too it. just lots of feeding and cleaning

    --Hope this helps and good luck with your new "adventure"

    PS: the kids will love them!!!
     
  3. trailhound

    trailhound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Seems manageable. Now to find some chicks! Shouldn't be too hard, there seem to be several local options for me.
     
  4. SillyChick

    SillyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2007
    Welcome to BYC.com and to the feathery world of chickens! You and your students will have lots fun and experience! [​IMG]

    Looks like mhoward92 got it covered(great post!)! Be sure to play with them regularly so they will get used to being with humans, but try not play with them too much(especially with children) because it may stress them. When leaving them at night be sure that no predator(cats, racoons, mice) can enter. You can start giving them fun treats when they're a month old(it's very fun to watch them with treats). Hope you find chicks soon!

    Good luck and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
  5. lacyloo

    lacyloo Cooped Up

    May 26, 2007
    north florida
    good luck with your chickie andventure
     
  6. trailhound

    trailhound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    I got my chicks today! After an interesting and fun experience at a local poultry auction (very expensive!) I found some week old Golden Comets at a hardware/farm store. Having chicks in the living room is like instant spring, it sounds like the birds are singing outside the windows. Makes me feel better about the snow falling outside, lol.

    I seem to have them off to a good start, they seem happy and are getting settled in.

    Right now they all look a little different and are easy to tell apart because of stripes and color variations. When they are mature will they all look exactly alike or will I be able to tell them apart? I had one Golden Comet a few years ago and I remember that she was red, but she was the only one I had and all of my other hens were different colors.

    Thanks!
     
  7. trailhound

    trailhound Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Back for a question already- the only pine shavings I could find in a timely manner seem to have a combo of big and small pieces. My girls are lolling around luxuriating in the bedding having nice dust baths (and now the floor all around is covered in shavings, lol), but I think they may be eating some too. They are about 1 week old. I know it is not good for them to eat the bedding, should I give them a chance to get used to it (they were in a wire floored cage at the store, or take them off immediately. I don't know how much will be harmful, and I can't even say for sure if they are eating it or just playing.
    Thanks!
     
  8. Kaneke

    Kaneke Chillin' With My Peeps

    you might try the leg-band or painted-toenails ways of ID-ing the chicks, so the students can tell them apart too ... I'm sure they will want to name them
     
  9. Sherry

    Sherry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2007
    Southern WV
    They are fine on the pine shavings. They have alot of fun in them. Mine are 4 days old and living it up.
     
  10. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    MERRY LAND
    One thing I didnt read is you want them to be draftfree for the first couple weeks at least. start them at 90-95 degrees then lower the temp 5-7 degrees per week till fully feathered or outside air is same as what brooder temp should be.
    Exact temp is hard because each chick will need a little different, so have enough room for them to get away from head source if they are too warm. Use thier actions as much as the thermometers reading when adjusting temp, if all are huddled under lamp you need to lower lamp(raise temp), if all are away from lamp, you need to raise it(lower temp)
     

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