chick advice please

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by OldMissionChick, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. OldMissionChick

    OldMissionChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So after much thought & reading up about chickens & ducks we are finally taking the next step. So my question is how do you make the best decision at the store? They are all so cute and I want them all. Do you choose the most alert & active? What should I look for to avoid? We are thinking 6-8 each of chickens and ducks. They will be 4H projects and for eggs. And what else do I need? Obviously food, grit, bedding & a heat source. Thanks for the advice :)
     
  2. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WELCOME TO BYC!

    Have you chosen a breed?

    When buying chicks or ducks, make sure they are running around and don't appear sick.
    Also check for curled toes, splayed legs, and pasty butt to avoid deformed and/or sick chicks.



    Some things you will need are......

    Brooder---Something to house the chicks in until they are big enough to move to the coop.(a large rubbermaid bucket will work fine)

    Chick starter---Provides all the necessary nutrients for the chicks at a young age.

    Heat source---Heat lamps are around $10 at TSC and are your best bet. (only buy lamps with ceramic sockets as plastic ones will melt)

    Bedding---Pine shavings, straw, hay, or shredded newspapers work the best.(don't use flat slick surfaces like newspaper as the chicks will get what is know as "splayed legs")

    Feeder and water fountain---any small dish can be used for these however, the ones specially designed for poultry use are best as the feeders are designed to reduce wasting feed and prevent the chicks from drowning.

    Marbles--depending on the water fountain you buy, you may need to place some marbles in the water as chicks fall asleep ANYWHERE and can and will frown by falling asleep in the water.

    Also, a book on raising poultry, Storey's Guide to Raising..." are THE BEST books when it comes to raising animals.
    They sell one "Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry" that covers chickens and ducks amongst others.

    Ducks--
    All the items listed above however, you will need to keep them separate from the chicks as they love water and will make a muddy mess of their bedding.




    Feel free to ask LOTS of questions as we are more than happy to help. :)
     
  3. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also...
    Grit is optional and chicks don't need it until they are older.
    And if thy have access to the outside then they will pick up rocks and eat them anyways.
     
  4. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As a matter of fact, chickens will eat ANYTHING they find. :)
     
  5. OldMissionChick

    OldMissionChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any breed that is cold hardy since we live in Northern Michigan. I really like Ameracana's but would like any variety that are good layers and will get along with each other.

    We have a small feeder that screws on to a mason jar and a watering container. I will need a large container to keep them in until we get the coop built, which is a whole new project. I was thinking about making/buying one of those waterers with the nipples, but not sure if that will work for ducks too.

    I have read many threads on here, other chicken websites and many library books including The Idiots Guide to Rasing Chickens.

    Pasty butt.. isn't that from poor diet and/or stress?
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Heartily second the advice to brood chicks and ducklings separate. Baby ducks are a huge, unbelievable mess and your chicks need a dry environment.
     
  7. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some popular breeds that are good layers, hardy, and are among the most docile..

    Any of the Plymouth Rock breed, Barred being the most popular of the varieties.
    Rhode Island Red
    Black Australorp
    Buff Orpington
    Easter Eggers
    Ameraucanas

    The last two breeds do not lay as well as the others but I think they tend to do better in the cold because of their smaller combs, as the ones with single combs are slightly more prone to frostbite.
    However, with good living conditions, you should be able to avoid frostbite altogether.


    The feeder and water container you have are perfect for chicks, although you will want to get something bigger as they get older.
    I've never used the nipple water system but I know people who do and they seem to like it.

    Pasty butt is usually caused by stress or lack of water. (which in turn increases stress)
    It usually only occurs the first week but you do need to watch out for it because if left untended, it can be fatal.

    P.S. There are WAY more breeds than the ones I listed, those are just the ones that came to mind. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  8. OldMissionChick

    OldMissionChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Michigan
    Thanks for all the tips! We plan on putting in larger feeders once we figure out the coop layout. And brooding separately since 12-16 birds might be a bit much for one box. I read somewhere that raising chickens is easy, it's over thinking that makes it complicated.
     
  9. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds good!
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I took these pictures of my day old chicks the day we brought them home - yesterday - and as you can see they have no problem using the nipple waterer! It took one all of about half a minute to figure out that when she pecked at that red thing with the shiny metal center water came out! The rest watched with interest and soon they knew just what to do, too. Water stays clean, bedding stays drier, no worries about them drowning, and when they graduate to outside they'll already be used to using what I have for the adults. Now, that said, this waterer has the vertical nipples. I use horizontal nipples outside. After they get a little stronger I have another container with horizontal ones I will switch out. I use this one exclusively for the little little chicks. This one will be cleaned and put away, ready for the next batch of chicks.

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