bedding not to use & how many chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by homesteadlizzy, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. homesteadlizzy

    homesteadlizzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2007
    I remember reading an article a couple years ago and it stressed what you should never use for your chicks' bedding because they would maybe eat it and it could be very harmful to them. Unfortunately I can't remember what it was...does anyone know what it might be, and also I will try researching it again. Also, I know you have to order a minimum number of chicks at some hatcheries, but I was wondering if anyone has input as to how many to start out with your very first time? 4 or 5 or so? I know your coop has to be prepared for the number so I am asking.

    Thank you all!!
     
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Cedar shavings are a bad idea in a brooder because of the strong aroma (it's an irritant). Some folks put paper towels over the bedding for a few days until very young chicks are eating their food but this isn't necessary with chicks that have already been started at the feed store.

    People choose how many based on all sorts of things. How many eggs they will need or how many chickens they can afford to house/feed or how many they needed to order as a minimum or how many different breeds they had to have... You never want a single chicken but beyond that, it's whatever you want. I would suggest making accommodations for more than you expect to have because you can't have too much space and you may find that you want more.
     
  3. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    BTW, we get 4-6 eggs per day from six hens but it dropped to zero when molting season hit. Now I know about freezing eggs in cube form in anticipation of such times.
     
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  4. homesteadlizzy

    homesteadlizzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your input! I am in Middle TN also... Do you use your birds for meat? If you do, do you butcher yourself? I hate to ask questions like that, but I was wondering if DIY is the only option when it gets to that point...
     
  5. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on how many chickens you can keep and whether or not you can have roosters. But, I think for the most part if you are outside of city limits then you probably are not restricted. It's worth checking into ahead of time just to be safe.

    Aside from that, in my opinion, taking care of 5 chickens is not much different than taking care of 20, with the possible exception of coop cleaning. Food costs are something to consider, but that also depends on whether your birds will be contained in a pen or allowed to free range.

    Possibly the most important thing to consider is how much room you have to house the birds safely. If you are in an area that has a high risk of predators (even city birds fall prey to 'pets'), then free ranging isn't really an option and you'll have to consider the costs involved in building a secure coop and pen for the amount of birds you want to keep.

    I'll second the opinion that cedar is not a good choice for bedding. In brooders, I've always used newspaper covered with paper towels (newspaper is too slick alone) for chicks. For adult birds in the coop, however, I use pine shavings, straw, and hay.

    And as a side note, if you do plan to have a rooster, I think the general rule is 1 rooster per 10-12 hens.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  6. homesteadlizzy

    homesteadlizzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I will check on the # allowed. Two of my neighbors have roos, so that is not an issue.
     
  7. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    You should visit the middle TN thread (look for the header Where am I?/Where are You!). I don't butcher nor do I desire to start. I appreciate the value of knowing the animal lived a good life before arriving at the table and my hat's off to those who keep a sustainable flock; I'm just not cut out for it. I know there are places that you bring caged birds and leave with your cooler full if that's what you want.
     
  8. homesteadlizzy

    homesteadlizzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, I will visit the thread! In the meantime, what do you do with all the chickens you "build up" over time.... I mean, how long do they live, and what do you do with them if you want new babies and can't have a really big flock? We are known for pet longevity - we had 3 dogs that lived to 14, a cat to 14, and our last pet is a 18 year old cat...

    Thanks!! Have a good day [​IMG]
     

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