Chicks coming in a week, any advice?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JessC30, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. JessC30

    JessC30 Just Hatched

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    Hey! I'm new to owning chickens, my first 10 come next week however not new to various farm animals. I have converted over an old shed that used to house pigeons (it's been cleaned throughly) and plan to keep the chicks in the bottom part with shavings and a heat lamp till they are older. So recommendations on feed, "toys" and set up? Anything I should be watching for with the babies to make sure they are happy and healthy? We live in eastern Ontario and are still getting some very cold nights -20C the odd night. So I know the heat lamp is a must.
     
  2. Sarahal88

    Sarahal88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's a fairly big shed, you might want to section off a smaller area for the chicks when they are young, so that they don't wander too far from the heat source and get chilled before they find it again. And also make sure that it's not too drafty in their area - the walls of a bin or pieces of cardboard that are tall can cut back on drafts. Make sure to offer them water in something that they can't accidently fall into and drown (or put some rocks in the bottom if it's too deep). I just feed an unmedicated chick starter. If you give them anything else besides that to eat, they also need some kind of chick sized grit to make sure they can digest it. To me it's easier to just stick with the starter feed until they get older. If you can raise other livestock you shouldn't have a problem with chickens!

    If it is really cold and you are getting them by mail order, prep yourself emotionally for a few casualties when they arrive. They can be shipped safely, but my experience with shipping when temps fell below 0 unexpectedly was that only about 50% survived. I got a refund and bought the rest locally.
     
  3. JessC30

    JessC30 Just Hatched

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    Yeah it is a fair sized shed, thats what I was wondering is if I should keep them in a smaller area to start. I know they need to get away from the heat though too in case. The barn isn't super drafty though most of the holes are closed till they get old enough to go outside! And yes I figure I'm gonna loose a couple no matter what lol but I think we are supposed to have decent weather next week so fingers crossed! A friend of my father's mentioned feeding pellets later on ever tried it?
     
  4. Sarahal88

    Sarahal88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed pellets to my layers once they go off of the chick starter/grower. I feel like they waste a little less feed when eating pellets since there is less dust and they are bigger chunks, not as easy to scatter everywhere.

    They do need space to get away from the heat, but with only ten chicks you'd have to have a pretty small enclosure to have that be an issue. I've brooded mine in cardboard boxes that were about 3'x5' or so, something like that. I think I had 15 or 20 chicks in there and there was plenty of room for them to escape the heat. They grow fast so you'll be glad you can just easily open up your space once you start needing more room.

    You can also start giving them something to roost on and they'll have fun jumping on that, especially once they are a week or two old. It's fun watching them all line up on the roost. I usually put my roost just outside the center of the heat source so they can rest there and be warm but not bake. I just nailed a couple of pieces of scrap wood onto a 2"x4" so that it would make a little 4" high perch. Simple fun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  5. Labradors

    Labradors Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm also in Eastern Ontario, but not getting my chickens for a while.

    Do make sure that your shed is impervious to raccoons! My neighbor has had attacks from weasels which can get in through very small holes and cracks. She uses LOTS of hardware cloth!
     
  6. JessC30

    JessC30 Just Hatched

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    Yeah that's what my dad friend said was they waste slot less which I can see. Awesome I'll get some plywood then and close off a smaller space for them! Maybe make a couple littler perches on my afternoon off tomorrow lol.

    Hahaha yes as I said above this used to be a pigeon coop! I have rescued raccoons before so I know first hand what little places they can get into lmao. We have s weasel living in my horse barn right now so I have been taking extra care there are no holes for him to get a way in. Was always lucky with my pigeons only ever had wild cat get in so fingers crossed the same happens now!
     
  7. Labradors

    Labradors Out Of The Brooder

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    That's great that you are aware of the predators. Would hate you to lose them.

    What varieties are you getting?
     
  8. Sarahal88

    Sarahal88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So true. I found a big fat raccoon in my coop once and I thought I must have somehow closed the dern thing in when I shut it that evening, because there seemed to be no possible point of entry big enough - but it had bent some hardware cloth covering a tiny crack above the door and squeezed through somehow. I buried a chicken and a raccoon that morning. Would have been more if my dog hadn't alerted me to the commotion (it was 3am).
     
  9. Labradors

    Labradors Out Of The Brooder

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    So sad Sarah :( I'm thinking that I should build the coop closer to the house than I was planning so that our Homeland Security (dog) can wake us up and warn us when necessary.
     
  10. JessC30

    JessC30 Just Hatched

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    Yeah living where we do they are a co start threat! Used to raise rabbits so we had every manner of animal in after them as well. I am getting 10 barred rocks next Wednesday, 2 Brahma and a giant jersey the end of May. The Barred rocks look like adorable babies so I'm excited!
    Wow Sarah yes that would be quite a surprise...they can be nasty little things when they want to be!
     

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