Bought 6 chicks last Friday, I'm a first time owner & need some help!

ambermarie

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
39
0
32
Mount Holly, NC
Hi, well seen a sign that said 'Chicks are in'....well so I was interested, so on Friday the 5th, I went in...I bought a wire rabbit cage, starter food that they were on, a waterer, and food thing, and 6 chicks. I know the red colored ones I got were Rhode Island Reds, I remember the sign & her telling me...but I got 2 black & white chicks, and 2 yellow chicks...which I have no idea what they are...but I tried calling the feed store & the number isn't working for me. Anyways, I brought the litle guys home, they all have feathers except the yellow ones, only have a couple feathers. I set-up their cage & everything, and they are doing really good. I gave them some shredded cheddar cheese, and shredded carrots, they loved them...and egg yolk. I did some research to see what they could have. Meanwhile, me & my mom set-up a 12'x12' enclosure outside...its not whicken wire, the more expensive heavy duty stuff for rabbits...so we dug post holes in the hard dirt/gravel, and got that set-up. We have a coop coming on Wednesday, very nice, holds 6 chickens and has doors & ramps, etc. Anyways, I have no idea how old these guys are, but I'll wait until they are bigger to put them outside, even though its really hot here. Were less then 30mins from Charlotte, NC. Well, firstly I have NO idea what everyone is talking about 'scratch' and 'layers', and all that...what foods will they need when older, why do you have to have playsand or whatever, or do you? What is the oyster shell for? Corn? I just don't know anything really about what to feed them. Also the area we set-up the enclosure is grass...should we remove the grass, make it dirt, or just put pine shavings down, or what? I really need help! We handle our chicks everyday, so they won't be scared. We love them to death, and we just want them to be happy & healthy. Their cage is next to a window, and I opened the curtain, so they get heat/sunlight during the day, but they pretty much keep each other warm...oh and another thing...the black/white chicks are a little bigger then the rest, and keep like 'poking' the little yellow ones on the heads...is this okay? Will the yellow ones be fine? Thanks everyone for help, and hopefully I didn't post this in the wrong section!
 

TXmom

Songster
11 Years
Dec 3, 2008
1,505
12
161
Sealy, TX (West Houston area)
Welcome from Texas!

Sounds like you are doing good so far. I'm no expert, but I'll try to answer some of your questions.

The grass in their run area is fine. They will scratch around in it, eat it, catch bugs, etc. Those are all normal healthy chicken behaviors.
They will probably eat all the grass eventually and you'll be left with dirt there.

What exactly are they eating now? There are different types of chick starter and grower and I don't know all the different ones. I use Purina Start and Grow, and I kept them on it until just a week ago, and they are starting to lay eggs now. Then I switched them to Layer feed...which has extra calcium in it to help them make strong egg shells.

Grit is important to give them to digest their food. Since you are giving them treats (food other than chick starter), you need to give them grit. You can purchase "Chick Grit" or Parakeet or Cockatiel grit. It is the consistency of sand.
Scratch is a mix of cracked corn and grains and is just a treat for them...like candy.
Oyster shell is given to laying hens for extra calcium.
 

TXmom

Songster
11 Years
Dec 3, 2008
1,505
12
161
Sealy, TX (West Houston area)
Oh, and the breeds...without pics, we will just be guessing. You said the red ones are Rhode Island Reds...yep, sounds right. The black and white ones, I'm guessing, are probably Barred Rocks. Are they mostly black, with white on the head? And the yellow ones will be white when they get their feathers...maybe Leghorns...

If you post pics, some experts around here will probably be able to tell you more accurately.
 

tampitt

Songster
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
130
0
109
Dallas
Hi from Texas. We got our chicks on the 4th of June.

There are many helpful links and information under "Learning Center". The "Raising Chicks 101" is a great first stop.

McMurray's Hatchery http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/index.html has lots of chick pics, since they may not look anything at all like grown ups while they are little.

You might also check with your local library for poultry books.
 

ambermarie

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
39
0
32
Mount Holly, NC
Thanks so much! I appreciate the help! I think your right about the lil black/white ones, I think they are Barred Rock, but I'll keep trying to call the feed store, or maybe stop by tomorrow & see what they are...anyway, I guess you HAVE to have the grit? I feel so bad, wish I knew that, because they haven't had any since I got them. I'm out of town now, my mom is taking care of them, I'll get some from the feed store, and bring it home with me on Friday, when I get back. All our cameras are still packed somewhere, we just moved, and have boxes everywhere....as soon as I find a camera & uploader, I'll upload some pics! Thanks again...Any other info is greatly appreciated!
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
539
448
South Georgia
Relax. All they need for a few weeks is chick feed, heat and water. Well, bedding (pine/wood shavings or wood pellets) as well. They do NOT need grit now. A LITTLE egg yolk and cheese is OK but I would hold off on the carrots for a while. Plain live culture yogurt is also very good right now.

Chicks need heat. The window might do it during the day, depending how old they are, but I would check on them at night. It is normal for them to cuddle up next to each other. But watch for them piling on top of one another. This means they are too cold, and they can suffocate the ones on the bottom. Just set up a desk or floor lamp or something so it shines into the brooder, then watch how they react after an hour or so. If they all gather as far from the lamp as they can, they are too warm.

When you post pics, we will be able to guess age, and can then tell you what temp they need to be at. Chances are they are about a week old, though, so the temp on the floor of the brooder should be about 85 degrees. If they are in a warm enough spot in your house, and there are no drafts there, they might even be OK without a lamp.
 

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