Chicks + busy lifestyle

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Forrest_Flock, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Forrest_Flock

    Forrest_Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I intend on getting baby chickens soon,
    I work about 35 hours a week and spend a lot of time in town
    There's a few of us living in this house (all don't mind chickens, nobody uses the garden much anyway) so it's a little crowded.
    This is mostly the reason I decided not to get a dog, but I heard chickens can take care of themselves
    Will they be ok if I leave them there with food and water?
     
  2. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    Get the gallon size waterer for their brooder - big enough so they can't kick it over and it will last all day while you are gone. It is plastic with a red water trough usually though I saw some with green.

    Use the little chick size waterer for the first three or four days until they are taller, then switch to the big gallon one. But watch the little waterer - if it tips over and spills and the chicks get wet and chilled - not good.

    The first week or two they take some attention - after that it goes easier. The dishes are so tiny at first, have to keep refilling. After a week old or so, I switch to heavy glass baking dish or metal pot for food - holds more, they can hop in and eat all they want and hop out.

    Its when they are about 2 or 3 months old they are more independent, and don't kick over the waterer all the time.

    Happy chicks.
     
  3. Forrest_Flock

    Forrest_Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks, wings [​IMG]
    Does this mean the bedding needs changing too, if they're going to get it wet or shall I put the waterer somewhere where there's no bedding?
     
  4. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    For mishaps like that and it just works better - I put in two to three inches of white wood chips/shavings. It comes in a big square bag at the animal food warehouses, feed stores - a couple or more square cubits of chips. One bag will last the whole brooding process and more. Get the white wood, not cedar, and only maybe pine. Some discussion on whether pine is good for chicks. It gets in the waterer and soaks - turpentine is in pine sap and not good for them.

    I change it once a week for 15 to 25 chicks. Depends. I stir it every couple days. The chips dry the poop and everything stays good. Spilled water will go to the bottom and not wet the chicks, until you get there. then just scoop out the wet chips, not the whole thing.

    When the chicks arrive, place paper towels over the chips for the first two or three days and sprinkle lots of food on the paper towels until they find the food dish easily and aren't so interested in eating the wood chips. Then take out the paper towels. I then sprinkle lots of chick grit and quinoa seeds on top of the bedding for them to find and eat. Quinoa seeds are high protein and not all starch so it is ok for them. Seeds are tiny enough for them - and only do this when you've found "chick grit" and sprinkled it in their for their gizzards to be able to grind up the seeds.

    Don't use newspaper - they can spraddle leg slips on newspaper. Paper towels are soft enough they don't slip or do the splits.

    Best to put the waterer on top of a board like a 2 x 12 about 14" long, or several 2x4 pieces glued together. I've tried several things and this has worked the best.

    Mostly it keeps the wood chips out of the water and they like to hop onto the little platform it makes. Depending on the kind of chick, you can come back to find the food dish and the waterer buried in wood chips. My Brabanter and Chantecler chicks continually excavated the whole brooder. The Ameraucana, separate batch, slept mostly and didn't dig around.

    The other thing, if you are gone, you aren't there to put back any that fly out and land on the floor. They can get chilled outside the box. If you put a cover on the brooder box, it has to be metal so the heat lamp doesn't catch it fire. I use three or four old metal oven racks. One could be made from hardware wire also with a wood frame to keep it from curling.

    I have my brooder in an unfinished room, with the door closed. So I let them fly out and they just sit on the rim of the brooder tub. If too young and they fall off onto the floor they cannot fly good enough to get back up and in, so I lift them back in for awhile. Another week, and they can fly themselves back in. Gives them something to do and exercises their brains and muscles I think, but its not necessary. I was afraid at first they would keep running and disappear down the hall and behind the fridge or ovenrange, but they never do - they won't go far from their "homebase."
     
  5. Forrest_Flock

    Forrest_Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    oops [​IMG]
    I lined their brooder with lots of newspaper, I thought that would be enough
    I will see what I can find in regards to wood chips, what sort of grit can I use? We have very fine pebbly stuff in the garden, I was going to give them a dish of that

    The board for the waterer is a good idea. They will use the water to wash, or do I have to provide a separate dish for that, like a bird bath?

    They are in our spare room, and I put down newspaper on the floor so they don't make a mess. Shall I replace that with paper towels too? I'm scared I won't be able to get the poop off the floorboards, the others wouldn't like that

    Thanks again for the advice [​IMG]
     
  6. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    The feed store has little bags of chick grit. Its worth it because they absorb their chick food better. Very fine gravel from the garden works, even sand. They'll eat beakfuls of sand too.

    Newspapers on the floor of the room is fine. They will be much older when they get that for - maybe three weeks old, and their leg muscles will be strong by then. Its just right out of the shell and for the first week or so their legs are getting stronger.

    No they don't take birdbaths like songbirds.

    They take dust baths, even trying to do it in the chips until they get outside. I've even put fine sandy dirt in a pryex baking dish and put it in the brooder for a few hours. Only one chick figured it out - the others ate a lot of it. It was clean virgin soil I used - no animals or birds had been on it. The natural good bacteria in the soil helped their poop get normal. However, soil that has had road runoff, dog poop runoff, garden chemicals and fertilizers, or around a coop I wouldnt use because it might carry something bad for them.

    In my unfinished room, the floor is still just painted plywood. Their poop stuck like glue. Had to use a putty knife to scrape, then washed [scrubbed] with water with detergent and clorox in it. Came clean. Also had to wash down all other surfaces. The chicks throw off a fine dust from the emergence of their feathers in little cases that turns into dust. Just a warning - don't put anything hard to clean near them. this dust sifted out into the other rooms too. It washes off, but hard to get out of things like speakers, etc.

    Since it is summer, after the first week, they can be brooded in the coop if you can string an extension cord out for the heat lamp.
     
  7. Forrest_Flock

    Forrest_Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Oh ok, that's good, we have plenty of sand out in the yard they can use
    The yard is quite neglected, there are weeds everywhere and lots of insects, we don't bother using pesticides because they usually crop up again by the next year. I am assuming that would be good enough soil (we don't have any other animals).

    I could mix the sand together with the soil then [​IMG]

    Uh oh, the spare room is actually quite packed. We had to move a lot of junk and stuff to clear away a little area to put the brooder down. I guess the shoe rack and the shopping bag tub will have to find a new home as well then [​IMG]

    Hmm, that might be a better idea actually, I will see what I can get
     
  8. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    I forgot - if you move them into the coop, leave them in the brooder tub out there. They'll be frightened in too big a space, they are still too young. Being in the brooder tub with the high walls will keep drafts off them and hold the heat of the heat lamp.

    As they'll get bigger, they'll fly out and explore. You could set up steps to get themselves back into the brooder.

    At three weeks old, I took mine out to the coop. I thought they'd love the large space to run around. No, they piled into a corner and cried. I had to nail some boards around a corner space for them about 3 x 4 feet and hang the heat lamp over it.

    The time in the house is important to bond with them. Pick each one up and talk to it every day. Feed them treats. Even if they scream, they'll remember later you are the good guy.
     
  9. Forrest_Flock

    Forrest_Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    [​IMG]

    ok, I will be sure to do that
    I will probably only end up getting two to four (I know the big hatcheries do not ship so little but one of my mates is very close to someone who owns a farm, they have week olds and day olds for sale still!)

    as I said on my other thread I have an old lawn mower box set up for them, which should keep them cozy enough [​IMG]
     
  10. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    My husband and I work a long way from home and are gone 10-14 hours a day on week days, and we haven't had any trouble with our 5 chicks. We got them on a Thursday morning, were home with them the first day and then the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after so that we could make sure the temperature was right/constant and so we could monitor food/water intake, upkeep, etc. Then we went back to our normal working hours, making sure they had plenty of food and water while we were gone, and no troubles so far. They get plenty of handling and attention in the evenings and on weekends.
     

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