Chicks On The Road

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by StrawberryMoon, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. StrawberryMoon

    StrawberryMoon Out Of The Brooder

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    DH and I are making a road trip to pick up some day old chicks next month. It's about a 10 hour drive home, not including stops. The goal of the road trip is mostly to give them a safer, more comfortable transport home than they would receive if they were shipped to us. The current plan is to set up a travel brooder in a plastic storage tote, complete with bedding, food, water, and an ecoglow (plugged into the car). My question is, what additional steps or modifications do we need to make to provide them with a healthy, low stress ride? Will we be able to leave them in the car alone for any length of time (to stretch our legs or eat in a sit-down restaurant)? Should we provide an additional source of warmth, like a ThermaCare heat wrap taped to the bottom of the brooder? Thanks for reading.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like a good plan to me. The eco-glow should be enough. To me, the danger would be if the car gets too hot when you stop and the sun is shining. The risk is not that they will get cold, it’s that they might get too hot.

    Good luck!
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Keeping them from temperature extremes is your main concern. Forget the food and water, water will only spill and make a soggy mess, until you get them home. They won't need it on the trip as long as you dip their beaks in water and let them drink a few sips before you start the return trip. Chicks don't eat much anyway for the first couple days, although you could sprinkle a small amount of dry crumbles in the tote to give them something to keep them occupied on the trip.

    They'll handle the trip just fine with the preparations you've made. When you get them home, dip their beaks in water again, and watch that they all drink. They'll then be ready for their new home.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Agrees with too hot might be more of a concern than too cold.
    What climate/locations are you traveling in?

    Are you getting them from a hatchery?
    Maybe get some green goo from them for hydration, tho probably not needed.

    Don't forget to ventilate the tote and hopefully it will sit level so they don't all roll to one side.
    There's a reason they pack them in, not for warmth but stability.
     
  5. StrawberryMoon

    StrawberryMoon Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the great feedback! If I do have to stop, do you think cracking the window would be OK for them? The chicks are coming from a breeder, not a hatchery. Kansas to Indiana in early May. I'll keep water out of their box while the car is moving to prevent spills, but I thought they might like to take a drink each time I stop for gas. I was not planning to put a lid on the tote.
     
  6. gemma24

    gemma24 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you might want to give them a little water when you stop...
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Cracking the window might be needed.....depends on the weather, you'll just have to play it by ear/eye.
     
  8. StrawberryMoon

    StrawberryMoon Out Of The Brooder

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    Update:. The trip was a great success. We got surprised with a few extra babies, so we ended up bringing home 23! It was a hot day and the breeder thought the chicks would be too hot in our mini brooder with eco-glow setup. On his advice we drilled some holes in a small cardboard box and let the chicks huddle together and use their body heat. We also kept the car on the warm side by turning down the AC. I held the chicks on my lap for a while, and they seemed happy. But then I put them in the back seat when it was my turn to drive, and they screamed until I put them back on my lap (2 whole hours!). I suspect this might indicate that they needed the extra heat from my body and maybe the original planned setup with eco-glow would have been better for them, but maybe they were just objecting to a little extra jostling in the back seat. I provided food sprinkled on top of paper towels in their box, and they ate eagerly, but I couldn't get them to drink water out of a bowl when we stopped. I tried dipping their beaks in the water, but they hated it and refused to go near the water again. Half way through the day they started to look a little droopy, so my mother in law suggested I dip my fingers in water and let them peck the droplets off my fingers. They really loved this, and we kept it up for hours! If I do this again, I'll put a nipple waterer in their box from the start. Everyone said they don't need to eat or drink the first couple days of life, but I think they really are hungry, and I think if they eat, then they really do have to drink. We made a few quick rest stops, but always left the car running to keep the temperature consistent. All 23 are still alive at 3 weeks old, and except for 3 chicks who had pasty butt for the first couple days, they have had no health problems so far. I am really pleased with my choice to pick them up rather than ship them. Thanks to everyone who provided help with planning the trip!
     
    aart likes this.

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