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Brooder Life Question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by riseforms, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. riseforms

    riseforms New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Hello -

    I have posted one other time here (Thanks for the advice, made a larger run for the coop we are building based on advice here.. added 4 ft in length and probably will add even more before winter)

    Our 12 Rhode Island Red chicks are 1 week old today. We moved them to a larger brooder. The one we were borrowing was too small. We made one out of cardboard.

    We are also using a red hanging lamp now (before it was two 60 watt clear bulbs protected in coffee cans, wooden box, plexi glass lid with vent holes to adjust for temp.

    Anyway in this new box, the whole box isn't one temp and there is a LOT more room (and now pine shavings instead of wire floor..put paper towels down as they were trying to eat the chips not being used to them). Directly under the light (which has a screen between it and the box.. plus light is secured two ways to ceiling (paranoid). I also put a small roost bar in it (stick going width wise.. that is over near the light).

    I have a few questions/concerns:

    1.) They seem to rather eat the start feed that fell when putting the feeder in (put cardboard under feeder for level and to separate from shavings).. I presume they'll go to the feeder when they need to?

    2.) The temp is 90.8 under the red light.. Yet the chicks are all mashed into a far corner near the feed (on top of the cardboard that the feeder is on top of)... The temp seems right but I worry that they may be too cold? Not peeping loudly, in fact they are sleeping at the moment except for a couple scratching in the wood chips, pecking their new walls... Should I be worried?

    3.) Even if the temp is fine, is it fine for them to sleep so close? No worry of suffocation, etc?

    4.) Do I have to introduce them to the roost bar or will they go to it when they are ready? Wings feathers are coming in and they are starting to fly a bit (Man they grow fast!)

    Thanks for the questions! It's funny. The new box is much larger yet they are all huddled into an area smaller than the old one... (maybe it's because I keep popping over to check [​IMG] )
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Yeah, they'll go to the feeder when they need it. Chickens like to hunt and peck for their feed.
    If the chicks are huddling under the light they are too cold. As far away from the lamp as the can get (and sometimes panting and holding their little wings out) and they are too hot. You want to see them scattered out here and there, some under the light maybe and some not. Yes, they like to pile up to sleep.
    I had a pile up once when they got scared by the lawn mower, but we're talking five layers of chicks.
    They'll soon get used to a roost and then even that won't be enough. They'll want to try their flying skills everywhere.
     
  3. riseforms

    riseforms New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Thanks!

    I guess I should leave it as is (they are huddled up near their food, as far as possible from the lamp but they are sleeping). I should check it out in the morning and see what they do. I am afraid to go to bed with them potentially too cold. If they huddle when they sleep normally then that is just what is going on here, I think..
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Here's what chicks look like when they are resting comfortably:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. riseforms

    riseforms New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Perfect! Then ours appear happy. Even sleeping in the food like yours. Thanks for the peace of mind [​IMG]

    Felt bad earlier.. Was watching them and made a loud noise. I wasn't trying to startle them just get them to move a sec while I changed a paper towel.

    All 12 instantly either ran hopped or tried to fly away and then INSTANTLY cot down real low and completely froze, one eye up. Same pose and completely frozen. I have been trying to get them used to us so they would be somewhat friendly as hens free ranging. not a great start [​IMG]

    Anyway thanks for the pic. I feel much better.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Heat lamps can burn houses down; you aren't being paranoid there, IMHO. Doing fine.

    It is natural for them to eat off the ground. Good idea to have something like cardboard under the feeder; lets them peck for the feed and reduces waste. They will learn to look for food in the feeder pretty soon.

    My 9 week olds peck on the coop walls all the time. Just their way of exploring their world. Did the same thing in the brooder. Not to worry. Very good that the new brooder is not all one temp. Lets them choose how warm they want it. They are much better than we are at figuring out what temp they need.

    Suffocation happens if they pile on top of each other. It is normal for them to cuddle up next to each other. The danger sign is the piling, not the cuddling. Most of my 9 week olds roost now, but some still cuddle on the floor of the coop.

    They often like to jump and play on roosts when they are young, but don't usually really roost til much later. At one week, they mostly want to cuddle and huddle. Don't worry unless you see piling. If they can move around, toward or away from the heat, and choose their temp, you have a good setup. And it sounds like you do.

    I'd say, relax and enjoy!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2009
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    My 12 little ones are a week old this weekend. Some started hatching a week ago last night, last one came out on Monday. They are all used to each other... I guess it's too hot under the light because they pile in the middle between the light and the end of the brooder.

    Got them out of the box in the kitchen today, no they are on the back patio... in 3 or 4 weeks, they'll be grazing the north lawn.

    They are just so cute now with their little feathers poking out everywhere!
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I don't agree; great start is just what it was. That's just what you want free ranging chickens to do. They were alerted for a predator. Pretty good training exercise, I think. And in time, they will learn you are not a predator! Nothing wrong, meanwhile, with their developing their instincts to respond to predators, right?
     

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