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Best pointers for beginners?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cityturncountry, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. cityturncountry

    cityturncountry Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2015
    Hey guys. I finally took the leap and got my chicks today from a local feed store. 3 Buff Orpington and 3 Barred Plymouth Rock. I already love them, but with everything I've read I still feel like I'm going to fail. I have them in a huge cardboard box with puppy pads and paper towels. I'm using a 250 watt red heat lamp which is about a foot and a half or two feet above them. Dumbo me forgot a thermometer at the feed store so I will run and get it tomorrow, but they are qiet (aside from little tiny peeps) so I'm guessing that means they are at least warm!
    Is it normal for them to lay down and sleep? I'm always checking their breathing, I'm so paranoid. Also, I decided not to get medicated starter feed since they have adequate space but how much should I change the paper towels? They've already pooped several times and I feel like changing it with each poop, I just don't want them to get that awful disease (don't know spelling but coccidis?) By the way we are switching to bedding in a week, I just wanted to do the paper towel thing for the first week.
    How much handling is too much? I have a 5 year old and 2 year old who are so excited but I told them to let the chicks get used to their environment for the first 24 hours. How often do you let them roam around? When should I bring them outside first? So many questions!
     
  2. N F C

    N F C Home in WY Premium Member

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  3. cityturncountry

    cityturncountry Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2015
    Also I've looked all over the internet and can't find a true answer, a few of my chicks have their wing feathers all plucked out, what does this mean? Stress from shipment? The local hatchery is 2 hours away and that's where my local feed store gets them. They were hatched on Monday, shipped on Tuesday and they arrived around 4 pm. I had them held at the feed store for me until 8pm when I picked them up. They held them in a small box together which I did not approve of but it's done and over with.
     
  4. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Look at the skin and see if the feathers are just poking out. Where there feathers in the box?

    I don't know if a chick can actually manage to eat feathers, so I can't rule out feather picking.

    If they are huddling close together under the lamp all the time, they are cold. If they wander around and sleep not huddled under it, they are warm enough. If they are staying as far from it as they can and sleeping apart, you need to raise it a bit.

    I found with my first chick batch that paying attention to them was far more reliable than the temperature reading. The temperature reading was good only for setting up the brooder, making sure it could reach and hold a temperature. That also applied when they moved into a larger container.
     
  5. cityturncountry

    cityturncountry Out Of The Brooder

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    No feathers in the box but I can see the bones on the tips of their wings and don't remember seeing them like that when they first came home.
     
  6. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Florida
    There is no bone. That is how the new feathers grow in. They are encased in a hard tube that tapers to a point. That case gets dry and breaks apart. They help it when they preen. They pinch that shell and work the segments off. It creates a ton of dust and little specks on the floor of their enclosure when they get a bit older.
    :)
    I'll see if I can get a picture.
     
  7. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2011
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  8. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2011
    Central Florida
  9. cityturncountry

    cityturncountry Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2015
    Is it normal for chicks to have some runny poop? It probably looks a lot more runny than it is because of the paper towels.
    The pictures of those hens look like my chicks wings and I didn't think that was normal for chicks because only a few are missing their wing feathers.
     
  10. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Poop can vary during the day. Until you recognize what is normal that chart can help. Even when you know what is normal, it will help narrow illnesses when it is abnormal. It helped me know when my new chicks got cocci, as I'd never seen cocci poop.

    Color and texture and moisture are come into play. I can't tell you any more without a photo of the poop.

    Some chicks might be slightly older than others. Stop worrying about those feathers! Seems perfectly normal. ;)

    Restrict handling for now. Those chicks have been very stressed with all the moving they have been through. Let them settle in. Make sure the kids wash their hands VERY well before and after holding the chicks. Don't breathe on them.
     

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