Basement Silkie chicks until Spring --any ideas?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bantyshanty, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I've got a basement area about 20 x 12, and I've got 5 7-week-old silkies in a pen until spring.
    I've got 9 more week-old chicks that will be down there in two weeks. I've never had adult chickens (of my own) before, and apparently the winters in Western PA get cold & stay cold here for several months (unlike Denver, which we moved from this past year).

    I've got some questions, like how much space banams need for exercise. I had 5 in 5 sq ft until they were weeks. Then the 2 roos started fighting. Now the 5 --3 hens, 2 roos--are in 16 sq ft, and they only use a quarter of their pen space --down a foot in use. I use dog exercise pen modular panels and washer-dryer plastic leak- trays with DE & wood chips.

    Exactly how tall & long does an average Silkie Hen get? And a Silkie roo? Can someone with "average" ones measure theirs & get back to me? I haven't found this info anywhere.

    We've got two coops built, but they're solid reclaimed wood plank, no insulation (good ventilation). If the night time temps don't get above 30 here until April 15 and the daytime temps might be 30-45 until April 15, When can I put the Nov. 1 hatch silkies into their coop? Maybe at the end of Feb when they're 4 month old? It will still be 20s at night and 20s to 30s in the day.

    When do they start eating vegetables or fruits?
    Every time I put in a melon slice, an apple core, a banana, a nice crisp lettuce leaf, my fave hen apple looks at me like I've offered her poop, and the others wont touch it either. At 7 weeks, the only thing they'll eat besides ground layer developer feed is cooked millet. If I add raisins or berries to it, they won't touch it. Is this normal?

    I also had one chick hatch (of 6 eggs) who was 1 1/2 inches at hatching. When my week-olds hatched, they were slightly bigger than her
    Will my tiny --healthy-- 2 week old chick be as big as the other silkies when she's grown, or will she be a tiny hen? The breeder hasn't gotten back to me on this thus I ask for random opinions.

    Am I nutty to keep 14 chickens in my basement for the winter? I don't see that I have a choice now. We spend time with them every morning & evening & they seem happy with halogen light in the day & infrared ceramic at night, and forays into the living room in a cage on sunny afternoons. I can't give them real sunlight every day. Will this hurt them? My DH thinks they'll get sick without atural daylight every day. I change their litter every other day. The smell doesn't bother me but they stay healthier. They didn't make "dust" until I started putting DE under their aspen shavings & with their bathing sand.

    I also can't hang laundry on the drying racks in the basement.... It's got linoleum on the floor, but it wasn't a very nice basement to begin with. We were going to tear out the walls & ceiling & redo it next summer anyway.

    Thanks for any info anyone can share!
  2. farmin'chick

    farmin'chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    Rocky Mount VA
    Sorry, can't help....LOL....ALL my silkies live in the house! Not even in the basement. Seriously, though, it sounds like you have plenty of room for them. They seem to thrive on natural light, but it hasn't seemed to hurt mine when they don't have much. You don't want to put them outside until you "harden them off" like you would plants...either make heat available for them at night or get them accustomed to the ambient temperature. They need to be fully feathered.

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