Baby chicks have "skinned knee" type abrasions.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chickeneer, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. chickeneer

    chickeneer Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2008
    Hello all,
    This is my first post and my first adventure with raising chickens! I would appreciate any help me with a few questions. I have 11 chicks, 2 weeks old.

    1. Two of my baby chicks died at 1 week old. They were apparently healthy, and I have no idea what happened. Specifically, what can I do or look for to protect the rest of my new brood?

    2. My 11 remaining chicks are in a brooder with a wire floor. Today, while transferring them for a little scratch time on the ground, I noticed that most of them have mild abrasions, not really open areas, but kind of callousy and skinned, on the bottoms of their feet. I assume it is from the wire floor. Should I change the floor? Do something else?

    3. I am planning to give most of my chickens to my dad, who lives 8 hours away, for Christmas. The chicks will be almost 3 months old by then. What is the best way to transport them for an 8 hour drive?

    My story: my kids and I decided to hatch eggs as a lark. We read info online and on this site and decided to give it a go. We built an incubator with stuff around the garage, spending almost no money, and ended up hatching 15 eggs! This was the most exciting success for us!! 2 did not survive long after hatching and now 2 more have died. I don't know what kind of chickens we have, and I am figuring it all out as I go. I am hoping to keep 2-3 hens and give the rest to Dad. The chicks are growing very fast! I graduated them to a brooder outside with a heat lamp, and they seem much happier than when in the indoor plastic bin. I feed them chick feed (nothing else) and put an automatic dog waterer in the brooder. The chicks waste a lot of feed! I am still not sure what to use for flooring so that the poop falls through but the feed doesn't. It doesn't seem right that the chicks would just scratch around and eat feed right among the poop! I would love to hear how you all manage keeping the brooder and the water and feed clean for these messy babies. My next step is to build a coop. Again, I am confused about the flooring. Should it be wire? plywood? Some portions of each? Also, does the food and water get placed in the run area or the enclosed coop area? Thank you. I am a complete neophyte, have never done anything like this and do appreciate your helpful comments throughout this forum.
  2. farmergal

    farmergal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    If the wire mesh floor is hurting the little ones' feet, try using pine shavings on top of a solid floor. You won't have to clean it too often -- as long as they don't get it wet, you can just keep adding more pine shavings, using the "deep litter method" (which you can search for on this site, and come up with a ton of info). It's pretty cheap this way: You can usually get a giant bag of pine shavings for $7 at a feed store. And the chicks will enjoy dust bathing and scratching in the pine! Mine love it. I wouldn't recommend doing part plywood and part wire, tho... all the litter and food will fall through the wire anyway. (I had this as part of my coop design, and I regret it!)

    Water -- try putting it up on a piece of wood (2x4 or 2x6) so they won't poop or kick as much stuff into it.

    Food -- For a while I was feeding my chicks out of troughs, but when they get big enough, they just constantly tip it over and make a big mess (and, of course, fill it with litter). Now I am using a cardboard box from Mason jars I bought (so it's a few inches tall, a sort of half-box, open on the top), and this seems to be working really well. For the first time with chicks I seem to have NO food waste! I just put the feed in it, and they climb in and peck, then hop out when they're done. They don't poop much in it, and I refill it a couple of times a day so I can dump out any poop that does end up in it. (And I haven't yet found a feeder that chickens CAN'T poop in, anyway.) Mine are 5 weeks old, so you might try a slightly shorter box that they can easily get into and out of.

    My biggest chickens use a 5-gallon bucket filled with feed that sits in a big plastic plate (the kind you put beneath potted plants). Holes are drilled at the bottom of the bucket so that feed automatically comes out. This works pretty well, and is mostly poop-free... mostly.

    Have no idea why your little ones died... sorry for your loss : (

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