Baby chick questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KYchickadee, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. KYchickadee

    KYchickadee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Should they be given Oyster shells?

    Will it hurt if I give chick grit that is of a different brand from their feed (i.e. Purina chick starter crumbles and Dumor chick grit)?

    Should I mix the grit in with the crumbles, or give it separately? If separately, what should I give it in?

    Should I/am I able to give vaccines myself or should I leave well enough alone?

    Should I give them any electrolytes or supplements?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    There is grit in baby chick food, so if they don't get enough from foraging on the ground, you can wait til the come off chick feed. Don'[t mix grit or oyster shell in with feed. Offer separately so they can decide whether and how much they want. You can give some vaccines but not many people do, unless they have a large number and give it to all of them. The most popular ones must be done as day old chicks or even in the shell, which I assume is Marek's and cocci. Both can be given for you by some hatcheries if ordered. But vaccines is a large, changing field, so if you really want the skinny, do your own research. field.

    Some people give small quantities of electrolytes and vitamins;minerals whentheir shipped chicks arrive and for a couple of days, but many others don't, and the chicks do just fine. Unless they aare severely stressed it may be a waste of money. You can add a slosh of Gatorade or a spoon of sugar to their water for the first day, which will give part of these things, and give them a bit of a boost. Certainly, healthy chicks asnd mture chickens don't need routine electrolytes or vitamins if they are given standard feed.

    Of course, nutrition is a complex field, and I'm sure those who know it best will tell you that you can provide a healthier diet by mixing components or special ordering than just buying standard feeds, and I certainly wouldn't argue with then. However, standard feeds do have added vitamins and minerals, and are meant to provide a balanced diet. Electrolytes are something to be given during illness, not provided routinely to a healthy animal, or person for that matter.

    You can read and learn plenty more on these subjects in our Learning center and on our forum. Good luck with your chicks!
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Judy, there is not any grit in chick feed. I’ve seen that so much on here that I e-mailed Purina with that question several years back. The feed is ground fine enough that the chick does not need grit with it. Digestive juices will break down the crumbles without needing any grit.

    Should they be given Oyster shells?

    Not until they are laying. Laying hens need extra calcium for their egg shells, but excessive calcium can damage a growing chick’s internal organs and possibly skeletons. Most chicks will not eat enough oyster shell offered on the side to do themselves any damage. That’s a standard way to feed a mixed age flock where some are laying and some are too young to have the extra calcium, feed a Starter, Grower, or Flock Raiser with around 1% calcium and offer oyster shell on the side. The ones that need it for the egg shells normally eat it and the ones that don’t need it don’t eat enough to harm themselves. If yours are all under laying age, I would not even offer oyster shells. It won’t help them and could possibly harm them.

    Will it hurt if I give chick grit that is of a different brand from their feed (i.e. Purina chick starter crumbles and Dumor chick grit)?


    Chick grit is tiny pieces of granite made from the waste at a granite quarry. They sift it through screens to get the right size. There is no difference in brands. Purina makes Dumor anyway.

    I don’t feed mine any purchased chick grit. Grit is just small pieces of rock they use to grind food up in their gizzard if it needs to be ground up. Chickens don’t have teeth so they use their gizzard to chew their food and use the grit in place of teeth for hard bits. If they are on the ground, you will see them pecking the ground a lot. Part of that is them finding their own grit. If you want, you can just give them a coarse sand as grit. Don’t use a real fine sand like sugar sand but one with larger pieces. I just take dirt and give that to them. They will find grit in it.

    If all they eat is the purchased chick feed, they don‘t need grit. It has already been ground up. But if you feed them anything else, grit is a good idea.

    Should I mix the grit in with the crumbles, or give it separately? If separately, what should I give it in?

    Some people mix grit in with the feed and some offer it separately. Both work. Personally I like to keep it separated and offer it in a small bowl when they are babies in the brooder. When they hit the ground, they find their own grit.

    Should I/am I able to give vaccines myself or should I leave well enough alone?

    Which vaccines are you talking about? As Judy said, most hatcheries will do that for you with some vaccines for an extra cost and some need to be given before you get them. Some people do vaccinate their own chicks. Many don’t. Whether or not you vaccinate is a personal decision. Your experiences may make that a requirement for certain diseases, but I have never vaccinated a chicken and have never had a problem. Others have different experiences and vaccinate regularly for certain things.

    Should I give them any electrolytes or supplements?

    I can’t answer that any better than Judy did. Great answer.
     
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  4. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, I was going to lend a hand and answer questions but I can't add anything that the two experts above haven't added except - don't overthink what you do with your chickens. Our first batch, I think we all worry if we are doing things correct. Just like raising kids, there is a wide range on how to do it "right".

    #1 rule on chickens - ENJOY them. Keep learning and asking questions. You will do fine.

    Welcome to BYC![​IMG]
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Excellent post from Ridgerunner, as usual. And another myth wiped out, too! Thank you for that.
     
  6. KYchickadee

    KYchickadee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just to verify, as long as I'm feeding crumbles, I don't need to offer grit to the chicks?
     
  7. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is correct. We didn't offer our new flock grit until they were 10 weeks old and we changed them from chick starter crumbles to grower pellets. They all did fine.
     
  8. KYchickadee

    KYchickadee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So... We went to see my cousin's chickens. I said all along I wanted Silkies, but mom thought they were ugly. Well, that was before mom met Luna, a white Silkie that my cousin has. I found a buff Silkie pullet that is literally within 10 minutes of our home for $15. She is 4 months old and already outside. We don't have any other chickens. Can I get another pullet around the same age and just put them together since it's neutral territory? Would it also need to be a bantam? There's dominiques around that age for sale about 30 minutes away.
     
  9. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    You should be careful about mixing crested birds (fluffy heads) with those who are non-crested or have not been raised with them. I found out the hard way that sometimes non-rested will fixate on the crest and peck them until they bleed. This can be especially dangerous with a silkie who has a crested skull. It can work, I have silkies and Houdans in with other non-crested breeds but they have been raised together.

    Anytime you put strange birds together there is a chance of "disagreement". Start by putting them in an area where they can see each other, but not touch each other. Do that for a while, up to a couple weeks depending on their reactions. If they kind of ignore each other and don't fight through the cages you are probably okay but still give them a few days to get to know each other. Most times birds will adjust, but occasionally you will have birds who just don't get along. Kind of like some people. [​IMG] Good luck!

    Normally when people bring new birds into a flock they quarantine them for 30 days to be sure they are healthy and are not bringing any illnesses with them. Since they are your starter birds, I am not sure what folks might suggest as far as observing for illnesses. Maybe someone else will chime in.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quarantine is a really complicated subject. SpeckledHen just posted about an experienced breeder that got a rooster from another experienced breeder, when through a rigid quarantine, and still lost her flock. Some people mix chickens from chicken swaps all the time without quarantine and don’t have any serious problems. There is another active thread where quarantine probably saved someone’s flock. Quarantine is a powerful tool but it is not fool-proof.

    One thing to consider is whether the chickens are coming from a closed flock or one where they have recently been exposed to new chickens. A closed flock is where you do not expose your chickens to other chickens so they are not introduced to new diseases. If they are from a closed flock and the person keeping them would recognize a disease if they saw it, they have essentially been quarantined. It’s still possible the flock has a disease but has a flock immunity but quarantine is not likely to help you there. If you show chickens or bring in new chickens you do not have a closed flock, though I do get hatching eggs from other people and day old chicks form an established hatchery and consider my flock pretty closed.

    I don’t know the age of the chickens you are planning to get or what your facilities look like. Since diseases can be spread from them drinking from the same water container, eating each other’s poop (which they will do), or just dander and dust flying through the air, a proper quarantine requires facilities most of us don’t have and requires specific procedures like changing shoes between flocks and not spreading disease through common feed or water buckets. If you are not getting day old chicks from an established hatchery age doesn’t matter. Chicks from another flock are just as likely to be infected as adults. But if you try to mix different aged chickens before they are all mature, age can make a big difference in how well they get along.

    I don’t think you have any real experience with chickens, but if you get chickens from another flock, look at the flock, not just the ones you are getting. If you see any chickens just standing around fluffed up and looking quite lethargic, run. Do not get any chickens from them and clean your shoes before you walk around on your property. If they look healthy and since it is your starter flock, I probably would not quarantine them but that’s not an easy call.
     

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