Anything else ?


10 Years
Jan 16, 2010
My babies are hatching in 12 days, and I am getting final details ready for them. I am getting a dozen black australorps from Meyer on March 15th and I am so excited, but also a bit nervous, since I have never had chicks before, the flock I have now were foster chickens,already laying when they got here. So heres what I have. Anything else I need, or any advise is greatly appreciated.

big cardboard box (dryer size) to use for a brooder and a old window frame with chicken wire stapled to it for a lid to keep the chickies in and the kitty out
*note- they are going into my laundry room, which has a closing door, so the kitty shouldnt get in there in the first place but to be safe we have the lid, and I may need to put them in a plastic storage tote the first week b/c the laundry room is not heated and gets chilly, so the light might need to be closer to them since the box is a bit on the tall side and I dont want them to get cold and die or huddle up and squash each other

Silver dome-type clamp light ( i still need the light bulb and have intentions of getting one from the hardware/farm store by the weekend

paper towels - so their legs dont splay, and newspaper for the floor of the brooder box to make poop clean-up easy

2 disposable pie tins - 1 for food and one for h2o. I will give them a better h2o apparatus when they get a bit bigger, and I am confident they are smart and strong enough not to drown in it

marbles for the water dish so it doesnt get spilled/tipped and to help with possibility drowning

medicated chick starter feed

the only thing I dont have that I know of (besides a light bulb) is a thermometer for the box. I should prob get one, I guess. also I want to know what to look for as far as this pasty butt I hear about, and remedies for it if we have that prob. And I want opinions about electrolites for chick water - necessary? Also do I need chick grit? Or is it mixed in with the feed already? How old do they need to be before I can give treats like grapes or spinach? if theres anything else I can think of, I'll post it. Thanks BYCers!
One thing - they are definitely not smart enough to not drown in the pie tin. Chicks run all over each other, knock each other down, etc, and you will have babies in the water. This could kill them if you don't dry them off fast enough. I would definitely invest in a chick waterer. A feeder wouldn't be a bad idea either, as they will stand and poop in the food.

Wood shavings for the brooder wouldn't be a bad idea either, but it's up to you.

You don't really need a thermometer. If they are huddled under the light, they are too cold and you need to move the lamp closer. If they run away from the light and are never underneath it, it's too close and you can move it further away.
I didnt think about WET chicks, just thought about drowning, and that was what the marbles were for, to put into the dish so there was water avail, but not deep enough to drown in. Maybe I will get a waterer. Grandma Jake, my friends grandmother who has been doing the chicken thing for decades and who is old as the hills (she looks like granny from the bev. hillbillies), told me to do the pie tin with marbles in it, and save myself the $10. She uses cardboard egg carton for her chick feeder, and cuts it in half lengthwise and staples it to the wall of the brooder so it doesnt tip. I didnt want to do that tho b/c it seemed like cardboard is not real sanitary and cleanable, so i figured a pie tin would work for that too. I guess its only $15 or $20.....I should just suck it up and spend it.

EDIT: i will get some wood shavings after a week or so, when they know whats food, and where to find it, and they are less tempted to try eating some wood.
Last edited:
I think the pie tin with marbles will work fine - sounds like they won't be able to get any wetter in it than in a commercial chick waterer. Sounds like you are all set up and thinking about all the right things. One thing I found with my chicks is that they filled the feeder/waterer with pine shavings faster than I could empty them [wry smile]. To solve this, I took two tuna cans and a scrap piece of wood and created a "bridge" for the food/water. The chicks could reach to eat and drink but didn't throw as many shavings into it. As they grew, I used taller and taller cans. By the time they were four weeks old, I was using 15oz cans (the size that hold corn, beans, peas etc).

I know you said you aren't using pine shavings right away, but you might consider it. I found that they liked to create little nests in the shavings and took "dust bathes" in them as well. I suspect that the pine shavings and ability to nest in them helped keep them warmer than being on newspaper covered in paper towels. I covered the pine shavings with paper towel for the first day or two after I noticed them trying to eat the shavings. Once they knew the food was only in the feeder, I removed the paper towels and they didn't try to eat the shavings any more.
Some optional stuff you might want to have on hand in case a chick is struggling or needs an extra boost, I consider it my "weak chick" first aid kit...

Poly-Vi-Sol children's vitamins WITHOUT IRON (I use this the first couple days and sporadically afterwards to give all the chicks a boost, not just the weak ones)
Apple Cider Vinegar (good for any animal's water)
Plain yogurt
Chicken-friendly electrolyte/vitamin powder (available at feed stores, can't remember the brand I usually get)
Ok...pine shavings. Check
And great idea...can bridge

How much do they eat? like, tablespoon? or cup. How long will 5# of chick feed last 12 chicks? do i give them food avail all the time? or should i take it away at night time?

How about grit?
Last edited:
My chicks eat around 2 tablespoons each, a day. I have 8, a little over a week old. My 5 pound bag should last another month or so. You won't need grit until you start adding treats like insects, veggies, etc. I wouldn't give them treats until they are a week old. And by then it's best to only offer boiled egg and plain yogurt till 2 weeks. Good luck!
Not long, I'm afraid. I bought a 50lb bag and only had half as many chicks. I can't remember how long it took to go through it but I was surprised that it didn't last longer than it did. They grow at a phenomenal rate. One time I got 30 chicks in at once but was only keeping a few (combined orders for several people). Initially all 30 fit in my brooder and had tons of room. By four weeks old, the four I had remaining were cramped.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom