Chicks coming in July!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chick_a_dee, May 23, 2008.

  1. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    We're moving to a small farm at the end of June, and we were told by the previous owner (a farmer who bought the farm when it was almost 200 acres, and severed off our portion for sale) told us there is a free-range coop on the property, which happens to be just off the large bank barn. We checked it out, and decided to order some chicks from our local farmers co-op. We've ordered 15 R.I. Red X Columbian Rock chicks (pullets, supposedly 90% guranteed sexed), from Frey's Hatchery in Ontario, Canada. We've never had chickens before, and were wondering if anyone on the forum has, or has had this type of cross? We wanted chicks that could be raised for laying, but not the super-layers which tend to be rather skinny and light-weight, at the end of lay these pullets should be 6lbs, according to the hatchery and the farmers co-op, and that they can be eaten after they've finished their respective laying careers (it sounds really awful, but that's life).

    We're not sure as to what we should do with the coop that is on the property, as far as I can tell the roof is a little shifty, and needs to be fixed, but inside you go through a storm door to good size room that is divided by a wall of chicken wire/mesh, and a small hatchway door for a person to walk through (so there is a viewing portion to the coop), and another door at the end that leads to an enclosed and chicken wired/meshed corral that shares a brief fenceline with the horse paddocks. I'm not certain on what to use as ground covering, as far as I can tell it's got some old litter on the floor which naturally will be cleaned up, and the coop fully cleaned top to bottom, but our friend who also lives on a farm bought her first chicks and says the hatchery she bought hers from told her NOT to use newspaper, and instead just use shavings or straw because supposedly the chicks won't mistake it for food and eat it, whereas Frey's says to use newspaper because the chicks MAY mistake the shavings, or other bedding for food and eat it. I've been "lurking," the forum for a few minutes and have come to the conclusion that rather than newspaper, perhaps paper-towel is better (makes sense) and have decided to use that as a ground cover over the bedding, rather than the newspaper. We also bought very small waterers for the chicks, enough for about 4 more than 15 chicks, so everyone has space to drink, they're only 1 quart waterers with a tiny base low enough for them, we'll be out in the barn filling up the horses buckets constantly so there is never a possibility for them to run out of water, and as for feeders we bought chick feeders, the little round ones that look like pie plates, with holes in the top... enough for almost 20 chicks so everyone has room.

    Is there anything we're missing? ... we're not buying the food until the day before we pick them up. In the hatchery's book is says to make a space in the middle of the coop under the heatlamp, and surround it with either chick-board as walls, or strawbails and place the heatlamp 18 inches from the floor (it gives the temperature needed, but I can't remember it right now!). What should we do as far as lighting, I'm not certain on the lighting conditions in the coop, as I didn't want to go in without a mask since it's not cleaned yet, but we do have and can use plug-in hanging lights that you can buy at the hardware store here, ... how much light per day should they be exposed to? etc. etc.

    Any advice is awesome!
  2. Julie08

    Julie08 Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Yes currently you are missing one thing......... the chicks LOL just kidding. It sounds like you have everything under control, I ordered hatching eggs from Freys and was very pleased with their service. Will you brood the chicks in the house for a while or will you put the chicks and the heat lamp right outside?
  3. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    We breed dogs, and with that we have whelping boxes, which...basically are gigantic brooders for puppies aha (and are mighty portable), so what we've come up with is to make an extra small whelping box, but with a lid and no pigrails, for our chickies. We were planning on putting the brooder in the coop for the time being (the trick is, like most whelping boxes we build, it has to be easy to take apart for storage!... living in a house with a "cave," aka, just a dug pit under the house for the utilities for storage, is not easy), anyway we drove up to the farm today to assess the work to be done on the coop, and have noticed that the roof is coming away and needs to be fixed, so if we can't fix the coop in time for the chickies, we're going to put the brooder in the unused at the moment, dog kennel which is about 20feet from the house, and has power.

    I'm not sure on the size of our coop, but what I can judge by eye is that it's probably about 15 feet long, by 6 or 8 feet wide, what do you think for 15 hens? is that big enough? it's going to be immense if I'm right about the measurements, because our living room at our old house is 20ft long! and it's huge! ... not that we've ever had chickens in it or anything lol, only dogs. Another thing is, Frey's suggests using newspaper and spreading your food all over it, (i'm sure you've read the little chick book they give you when you order lol), do you do this?... it seems everyone is uneven in their practices, because our friend who lives out west was told by her hatchery NEVER use newspaper, and that the chicks will only eat certain types of bedding. Lastly, ... we bought our heatlamp today from the co-op where we ordered our chicks, and we got the 250watt bulb, granted of course that we have tonnes of overhead space to hang it, and at the moment have found that (from reviews made) hanging it at almost 30inches makes sure it's not too hot in the brooder, anyway the guy who runs the co-op said to use the red bulb rather than the clear, something to do with pecking each other, granted we've never had an issue with his advice ever, so i'm just looking for opinions on this.

    I'm also not certain on lighting, how much light the chicks should have, and in the future have, as everyone is all over the place on this...

    Sorry for all the questions, we're typically horse people, and horse information is apparently the easiest thing to find and is usually fairly consistent, but not chicken information!
    Last edited: May 23, 2008

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