chick timeline questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by vthomeschoolmom, May 28, 2010.

  1. vthomeschoolmom

    vthomeschoolmom New Egg

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    May 27, 2010
    My children and I recently received our chicks. We have 2 adorable little week old chicks that are loving their "brooder." (Cardboard box.) I have read up on the booklet that came with and on the internet. The resources talk about WHAT to do but not when. Some of the things I would like to know:

    - One of the books said that the chicks should be allowed to play outdoors to peck and scratch in the yard. Is this correct? Given that they are supposed to be kept at a certain temperature, this seems incorrect for now. AT what point can we cordon off some small space in the yard for supervised outside time?

    - The book said they should be "played with" to socialize them. They aren't that keen on being handled. They don't hate it. But when we had to move them to a different box to empty and replace their shavings, they weren't overly pleased. (Note that these are layers and not meat birds).


    For now, the plan is to leave them where they are, keep them clean, fed and watered and at the correct temperature. But I am not sure at what point they will begin to need more.

    Sorry for being such a novice. This 2 chick test run is great! The kids love them. Hopefully we can have a larger flock down the road!

    S
     
  2. JPinVT

    JPinVT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2010
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    On a very warm, sunny, non-windy day, you can bring the chicks out in an enclosed area (I used my dog crate with cardboard taped around the bottom so their little bodies couldn't escape out). I'd wait at least a week though (I think I waited 2-3 myself), and don't leave them out for long. Just watch how they're behaving - they'll huddle together and shiver if they're cold or scared.

    You can handle them from day 1. You're right - they don't like it at first, but this is the only way that they'll learn to! Just make sure you don't stress them out - if you pick one up and it doesn't calm down in a couple of seconds, just put it back down. Some chicks just won't like it, but others will, especially as they get older. I found it best to put a little bit of their feed in the palm of my hand and hang my hand down in their brooder - they eventually will hop right up there and start eating. Now my almost-5-week-old chicks come running when they see my hand!
     
  3. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2009
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    Great info from JPinVT, I just wanted to add that if you can put yourself in the "chick's shoes" for a moment, a hand several times your size reaching down trying to grab you would be terrifying. I have found (and this works great for kids and will likely be more manageable because you only have two) that if you can work out a way to have a brooder that you can actually sit in with the chicks, they tend to be quicker to warm up to you. You are then in their comfort space versus the other way around and aren't just seen as a huge hand trying to grab them from above. I tried this method this time around and I now have eight 3 1/2 month old lap chickens.
     
  4. vthomeschoolmom

    vthomeschoolmom New Egg

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    May 27, 2010
    Thanks, folks!
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicks do not need a constant, specific temperature. Chicks raised by a hen go out in quite chilly temperatures, but ask to go back under their momma hen to warm up by peeping loudly. The hen then will plop herself down on the ground and her chicks will snuggle under her.

    If you're raising chicks artificially, you can let them out in the yard (in a pen of some kind, makes it easier for you and safer for them), but you'll need to take the place of the hen. You'll need to watch over them to make sure if they get cold you'll bring them back in to warm up, etc.

    I have hens raising chicks this year, but last year I did it artificially. I set up a playpen on our screened breezeway and learned that with normal spring/summer temps here in North Texas, chicks did fine outdoors during the day without supplemental heat. I brought them back indoors to their brooder and heat lamp during the nights until I noticed them roosting at the far end of the brooder. That was my cue they didn't need the heat anymore.
     
  6. vthomeschoolmom

    vthomeschoolmom New Egg

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    May 27, 2010
    A play pen with a bottom, like a pack n play or a gate like octagonal playpen? Thanks for the tips!

    S
     
  7. bturbo87

    bturbo87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2010
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    the newest batch in my brooder went outside for thier first time today, and they range from 3 day to 6 days... now before everyone starts screaming at me. i did this because our whole streets power went out, and i keep it at 68 in the house, and thankfully it was 98 outside. i was worried about them being cold, since they just went into a large dog crate that we had, but when we came home from the store and looking at them i was worried they were to hot. thankfully they got some grit down from the gravel/sand driveway they were in, because theyve already found out what ants are.
     
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Without a bottom would be best, because a chicken's favorite pastime is scratching in the grass/dirt. I rigged up a pen out of left over pieces of bird cages and fashioned a flap of hardware cloth to cover it:

    [​IMG]

    Chicks grow their wing feathers first, and mine were able to fly up and out of enclosures this tall about a week after hatching. Hence, the need for the lid. They grow so fast! My contraption isn't predator secure, though, so even though our yard is fenced I wouldn't let one of our hens and her chicks stay in this pen unsupervised.
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I would hope that no one here would object to what you did. 98 degrees is 98 degrees! The chicks can't tell and don't care where the heat comes from a hen, a brooder bulb, or the sun warming up the air.

    You're right to be watching whether they get too hot, though. This month's issue of Backyard Poultry had an article in it about the dangers of overheating in summer. It's actually a much bigger problem than cold weather in the winter.
     

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