Bringing my first ever chicks home Saturday! * PICS ADDED *

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sarah Bella, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Sarah Bella

    Sarah Bella In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2007
    and it can't come soon enuff!! My friend raises chickens and invited me to place an order with her and we pick them up saturday. My chicks are bantam silkies, mixed colours, 10 chicks. There will be no whites as they sold out a while ago. mixed gender as well. I chose this breed as my starter chick because they are small, tame and flightless. I can only accommodate 4 hens in my yard and any extra hens will go to my friend to add to her flock. Any roosters will be .... i dunno yet, i don't want to think about it, i do know i can't keep any.

    I'm enlisting your help in creating a check list for things i must have for their homecoming since i've never ever done this before.

    I have:

    A box to bring them home in. 12" x 6"x4" lined with paper towel, 4 dime sized holes for fresh air

    A brooder (actually a 65 gallon aquarium)
    An overhead light in one corner for warmth
    a thermometer/humidity gauge
    food dish/water dish (mayonnaise jar lids) opposite ends of brooder to prevent wet moldy food)
    Paper towel to line the bottom of the brooder, no wood shavings, i feel i'm pressing my lick as it is keeping paper towel so close to a light.

    As for food i don't have any yet, my friend offered to split a bag of starter with me.

    My plan is to keep them inside during the night with lots of yard play time during the days when its warm. I don't like the idea of raising them in the house for 3-6 weeks but don't mind doing it for maybe a week or 2 tops if the weather doesn't co-operate.

    The hen house will be built by my husband, hopefully next weekend. They will be living in my veggie patch which is 10' x 10', and soon to be fenced in or contained in some way.

    Did i miss anything? Comments on any of my ideas? good, bad..??? The 4 hens that we keep will be pets and we just want them to have the best possible environment.

    Oh, one more thing. We live about 1km from a Canada goose breeding ground, geese never enter my yard, i've never seen a goose poop on my property ever, but they do fly overhead daily. And during migration they fly over in hundreds. Is there any thing i should be concerned about ?
    Last edited: May 2, 2007
  2. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    I don't have an answer about the geese, but I like to see that you are doing your homework before getting the peeps!
    I would hold off putting them outdoors for the first few days.
    Generally, you don't want them eating too much other than their starter, but I think that's just one opinion.
    I'm sure the more wise folks on this forum have better advice.
    Good luck with your peeps and welcome to BYC!
    Keep us posted.... [​IMG]
  3. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    I agree, good planning.

    Shavings and paper towels are not going to catch on fire unless they are very close to the element or the lamp gets knocked down into the brooder.

    The babies will try to jump out at a young age, so you might put a wire top over the aquarium. You could rest your light on top of it. If they are inside the house, you don't need a heat lamp. A regular light bulb will work. I would put shavings under the paper towels, but go with your gut.

    Yes, they need chick food until they start to lay. It has the nutrition baby chicks need. The layer food is for hens and has extra calcium for the eggs.

    The chicks will get into your water and feed if it is open and they will poop in it, so you will probably need to refill the bowls fairly often.

    You made a good choice with Silkies. They are so sweet. Be sure and post pictures of the little fluff balls when you get them.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens !
  4. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Oooh - it's so exciting!
    I only have one thing to add to the wonderful advice already given. If possible, you should try to get a waterer that is actually made for chicks. The water stays much cleaner, and they can't spill it. If you don't have a store near you that carries such items, you can make a home-made waterer. If you use the search button above, I know that somewhere on here I have seen a drawing of how to make one.
    I have multitudes of Canadian Geese going over my house in the fall; they've never caused trouble that I know of.
    You've done such great planning - that's the key to trouble-free chicken keeping!
  5. Sarah Bella

    Sarah Bella In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2007
    Thanx everyone for the wonderful advice!!

    Babies are home and happy *i hope*. All they do is sleep, peck, poop, and peep. *peep peep peep*

    It's been a wonderful experience for me and the children.

    I put shavings under the paper towel, it has helped.

    As for the waterer, within half an hour of being home the little stinkers had totally polluted their mayo jar lid with poop and food. they are messy little things!!! It was easy to correct this as i have spent hours researching on this site. my fix: upgraded to a peanut butter jar lid and put it on top of the mayo lid to give it some height. now the babies get one or two bits of food in their from mad scratching, but they don't poop in it.

    Here's what i ended up with: 2 reds (Amber & Ginger), 3 blues and 5 bearded blacks. I was very happy to get the beardeds as i wasn't expecting them. My only rule was we couldnt name them until we were down to the 4 girls we are keeping. I got them when the kids were gone for the weekend and when they got back i had names for all the ones i could easily identify, and my daughter ,14, keeps warning me not to get attached lol. Who's the mom here?

    My son who is 9 asked me if i knew how to sex them and i said no. he promptly told me i could squeeze them ever so gently and watch them poop, i should be able to look at their bums when they poop and tell if they are boys or girls. I have to say i was a little stunned that he knew this information. I asked where he learned that and he told me Mike on Dirty jobs had to sex chicks once. lol. The things they learn watching TV.

    I'll take some pics of my little peckers in a while. they are waaaaay cute!!
  6. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Hi and welcome to the forum! Good job on asking questions before the peeps came home.
    I saw that "Dirty Jobs", too! It was interesting to say the least. Unfortunatly, with Silkies, you usually can't tell for sure what they are until they either crow or lay and egg.
    You'll probably need to keep them in the house for at least 6 weeks, depending on how your weather is. I agree with not taking them outside for the first week or two.
    Buying a food and waterer made for chickens will cut down on the shavings/poo/food in everything but there is no way to keep it completely clean. Chickens like to perch on high spots, scratch and fling stuff all over the place. As they get a little older, they will start running, playing and jumping around which makes it even harder to keep everything clean!
    Congrats on the new chickies!
  7. michellerene

    michellerene Songster

    Apr 23, 2007
    Graham, WA
    You're planning to keep them in your garden on a permanent basis? Keep in mind that they will eat everything as it sprouts out of the ground! Chickens are great for clean up duty at the beginning or the end of the growing season, but they will wreak havok on your veggies!
  8. Sarah Bella

    Sarah Bella In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2007
    I was just going to fence off my veggie patch to keep the dog out and let the chickens do their thing because the patch hasnt been fruitful (unless you count the weeds), i figured a season of chickens would do it good and i would start over with the veggies next year. But, after looking thru the tractors gallery and showing my husband he has kindly offered to build me something portable so the chickens can hang out wherever they are needed this year, and for years to come.

    Will still have to come up with something closer to the house for the winter, but i have all summer to think about that [​IMG]

    Still haven't got around to taking pics ...
  9. Sarah Bella

    Sarah Bella In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2007
    I moved my chicks outside for today to see how that works out. They were in a 10 gal tank since saturday and i moved them into the 65 gal tank on my back deck with the same heat source they had in the house. I don't have the heat on right now, the chickies seem really content to bask in the sun. This is also their first time on shavings without paper towel on top and they seem to be enjoying digging around. I have one red chick that has poofier hair then any of the others, and it dug itself a little pit and is sitting there so content while the other peepers are playing and jumping.. I know it's far to early to tell their gender at one week, but this one just looks like a little red hen in a nest.

    The tank is painted on 3 sides and the transparent side sees indirect sunlight as it sits under the apple tree. Inside is an opaque vented plastic tunnel only open at one end, its like a cave, they can hide in or jump up on. This also makes for a toasty sleeping spot as it is so confined. The rest of the tank is covered with chips and they have LOTS of room to run, jump, bounce, stretch their wings and legs and just be chickens.

    im off to finally get some pictures taken.

    The heat source, you can see the outside of the cave in the back.

    Two poofy haired chicks

    Here are a bunch of chicks, you can see the cave in the backgound
    Last edited: May 2, 2007
  10. Sarah Bella

    Sarah Bella In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2007
    Here is a black (bearded), blue and my two reds.


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