BRAND NEW TO THE HOBBY!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by aran, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. aran

    aran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    Hi everyone. My family and I decided to finally live the dream and bought a small 5acre hobby farm in upstate new york where we live. We have ordered a few lil chicks from ideal-poultry.com and are expecting them later this week.
    Ok...thats the good news...here is the bad news...i have NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My six year old son and I thought this would be a great adventure and I must admit I am probably more excited about this than he is! ( my wife although happy about it is not quite as enthused as I am about our latest family additions!!!!!!)

    So...i need you help:eek:

    I have an old 70gallon plastic fish tank that I wanted to use as a brooder (*we have 11chicks coming...10 girls and a boy...hopefully). I did some reading on the forum here and bought a 150watt heat lamp and an additional 100watt regular bulb for the other end of the tank. I have done a "dry run" tonight and after 35 mins the tank is only at 70degrees...is the tank just too big? do I need additional heat lamps? or bigger lamps? or should I resort to the time honoured cardboard box brooder?

    thanks in advance for the help and sorry for the basic questions,

    aran

    ps: my local shop has only one brand of food..dumar? i think? which is the best kind and do i need to add grits or anything to it??
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2007
  2. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Welcome to the addiction! And to BYC!!!

    First, chick starter is a complete feed so no, you don't need to add anything to it. However, once you fall under their spell and start giving them treats they will need grit. For now, the starter has enough grit in it for them.

    Your aquarium should be big enough for now and warm enough. Where are you placing the thermometer? How high are the heat sources above the tank? The best way I have ever found to judge the warmth of the brooder is the actions of the chicks. If they huddle under the heat and pile on top of each other or pile up in a corner, they are too cold. Lower the heat source or raise the wattage of the bulb. If they stay far away from the heat and stand/lay around with their beaks open and their wings out they are too hot, raise the light or use a smaller wattage bulb. Some folks go to Home Depot, or somewhere like it, and get a light dimmer which they plug into the wall and then plug the light into it. This way the heat is raised or lowered just with the turn of the dial. I've gotta get one. lol. Also keep in mind that as they grow they need less and less heat. It is important to keep the heat source at one end of your brooder so they can go to the other end to get away from the heat if they get too hot.

    Have you thought about a coop and run? If you go to BYC Home, the link is at the top of this page, and click on Coop Designs, you will find many great ideas!

    Welcome! And come back often!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2007
  3. aran

    aran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    thanks for the info. So the tank is 18 inches tall..the heat lamp is in the top at one end and the normal 75W bulb ( thought it was 100 but its just 75) is at the other end. The thermomether is near the bottom in the middle.

    The rheostat *( dimmer) is a great idea...I thought the tank would be big enough for the chicks but am worried about the heat...maybe a 250 watt bulb would do it.

    Me and the boy (my 6 year old) built what has to be the ugliest chicken run in history. It is 10x10feet x6feet tall. I made it very robust with fencing instead of chicken wire because i am in the country and we have fox/coyote/etc out here. The run is also totally enclosed from above with the same fencing material. I have yet to finish the coop part but I have some marine grade plywood and LOTS of nails:) Its this part of the coop I could do with some ideas for. I am not sure about the whole free range thing now even though we have the room...i just dont want the birds to get hurt. What are your thoughts on this?

    This is going to be GREAT!!!!!!!!! as long as i dont kill the lil buggars by not knowing what im doing. How hardy are these lil things?

    aran
     
  4. aran

    aran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    by the way what do chickens like for treats?!?!??!!?[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. Tambone

    Tambone New Egg

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    Apr 28, 2007
    North Carolina
    Hi! Loved your posts. [​IMG] I'm a newbie here too. Never in my life thought we'd have a chicken to call our own.

    My 2nd grader's class ordered eggs from somewhere and most have hatched now. I haven't the foggiest idea what kind they are. I'm told some have spots on their beaks and some not. [​IMG] I think we're going to bring one or two home next week so this should be interesting.

    We love animals in general but the closest critter we've had to a chicken is a Cockatiel and Parakeets. Must say I'm equally as excited as my daughter.

    Good luck to you and your son Aran!
     
  6. michellerene

    michellerene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2007
    Graham, WA
    You might want to pick up a 150 watt infared heat bulb-- the red kind. You might also want to put something on the open top of the tank to help keep the heat in. I have a plastic dog dish tray on covering the top of mine where the big open space is-- seems to be staying nice & warm in there & the babies are happy. GL! [​IMG]
     
  7. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Aran

    So the tank is 18 inches tall..the heat lamp is in the top at one end and the normal 75W bulb ( thought it was 100 but its just 75) is at the other end. The thermomether is near the bottom in the middle.

    Yes, you might have a problem with heat. How many chicks are you getting? Problem is, yes, they need the heat from the heat lamp at one end with a way to raise or lower the heat, but they need a place to get away from it like the other end. But there you have the light. They need the light during the day unless (all this is assuming they're in the house) they are in a brightly lit area. But not in direct sunlight, of course. In your situation I'm thinking that a floor lamp that's way above the tank could supply the needed light without the heat. Like I said, you'll just have to keep an eye on the chicks and see how they behave. (Ain't this fun???)

    If you go to the top of this page and click on BYC Home, you'll find a Coop Design page that can give you lits of ideas that will help you fit your coop into your yard and situation.

    As for treats, don't give them unless the chicks have a supply of grit. I like playsand or even yard dirt, or should I say my chicks like it. [​IMG] Once they have grit for a day or two try pieces of cornbread, fruit like grapes or pieces of tomato. It's so funny to watch one grab a piece and run for it's life cheeping loudly all the while. I love it!

    Tambone

    I think we're going to bring one or two home next week

    Congratulations! There's nothing like baby chicks! But remember, chickens are flock animals, that means they are the happiest when they're not alone. My opinion is to never get less than 2. But 3 or even 4 would be best (or more, of course!) incase something were to happen to 1 or 2. That way no one is ever alone. Alone is sad when you're a chicken.....

    Welcome to the addiction!!!​
     
  8. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    A couple thoughts for you....

    If you have trouble getting them temp up in the brooder (and for new wee ones 70 is too low) and dont want to up the wattage in bulbs, you can use a small little space heater and put it near the brooder. It will help raise the over all temp. Or, you could turn your heat up, but being spring and all you might not want to do that, unless (like here) its still cold where you are. Otherwise, go up to a 250 watt heat bulb and that should do it. Or, put another 150 in the other lamp at the other end and see if that does the trick.

    Also, double check your thermometer by letting it reach room temp, then placing it in a cup of ice water. Fill a cup with ice first, then add water. Put the thermometer in the middle of the cup so it surrounded by the ice. Check it after 2-3 minutes. If it reads 32 degrees then it is right on. If not, then it is off, and you should get a new one. This is called Ice Calibration (I used to work in food service! lol).

    What is the temp in your house? I keep my house at around 65 and even with a low wattage bulb, the temp in the brooder would be over 70 degrees. My guess is your thermometer is off and its warmer than you think in the brooder, but you'll want to gt it right before they come next week. You need to hit 95, but Im sure you already know that since you know that 70 is too cold. [​IMG]

    As far as hardy, they are pretty hardy in my experience. I have yet to "kill" one and I'm still a 'newbie' too. [​IMG] You should do fine! And you are in the right place to ask questions! People here will cram information right down your crop....er..throat wether you want it or not! lol [​IMG]
     
  9. aran

    aran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    Man this is great..thanks for all the help guys/gals. Im from New Zealand having moved here 3 years ago for work so this whole cold winter/spring thing is new to me!
    The tank is in the garage up on a table. I can move it into the house if that would be better. We keep our house at 60-65 at most since that is about 15C and thats pretty much the temp at home in NZ throughout the winter and noone uses central heat at home.

    I will try the infra red light and try a 250 watt one and see what that does for the temp.

    I have covered the top of the tank with a thick blanket so hopefully this works.

    Man this is so exciting !! i cant wait til thursday:)
     
  10. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    974
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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    I would bet if you moved it the house, and you keep your house (like I do) at about 65, with the 150 you have you might be able to hit 95. Before buying more bulbs, try just moving it first. [​IMG]
     

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