Chicks, pets, small house--help!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by derbychick, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. derbychick

    derbychick Chirping

    Mar 25, 2007
    Charlestown, IN
    Hello! I'm new to the forum, but I've been lurking for a while as my family prepares for four chicks in a couple of weeks. I would love some advice from those of you who have had to raise your chicks for a while in a small house with other pets (and I'm not talking about fish!!) Unfortunately we don't have a basement or enclosed porch for the brooder, so there's really no way of keeping chicks/pets totally separated. We're thinking about putting a brooder box INSIDE a large dog crate and reinforcing that with poultry wire or hardware cloth (kind of like jail!). Of course we could secure the area when we're handing them, cleaning, etc. Any thoughts? I don't want the little chicks to live in mortal fear of cats and dogs watching them every moment... Another option may be to keep them in our tiny half-bath, but then we couldn't watch them and I don't want them to be too isolated. I know it isn't an ideal situation, but if we can just make it through that initial period and then get them outside into a secure coop, we'll all be fine [​IMG] I appreciate your input.

    PS - I suppose I should find another forum to determine the effect this will have on the psyches of our dogs and cats! LOL
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    As long as the dogs and cats can get to them they won't be afraid of them yet. Only after an attack or something will they care about being watched. Not sure how many dogs you have but maybe they can learn they are yours and they are to ignore them.
  3. derbychick

    derbychick Chirping

    Mar 25, 2007
    Charlestown, IN
    Just two dogs, a greyhound and an Australian Shepherd mix... very sweet, but you just never know! And the 3 cats are... well, cats [​IMG]
  4. bhadrika

    bhadrika In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2007
    Mansfield, MA
    Pity you don't have two full baths -- we started our flock out in the bathtub. The bathroom was easy to keep warm, we put a screen over the top and just kept the door closed. The cats know something is up, but haven't figured out just what yet...

    I'm jealous -- I always thought it would be cool to have a flock of chickens with an Aussie Shepherd to herd them....

  5. Firefly

    Firefly Songster

    Mar 26, 2007
    The dog crate sounds like a good idea! I may have to move up to that. For now I have mine in a wooden box with a hardware cloth frame for a top to keep the cats out. They will outgrow it very soon.

    I have a 2 yr old Aussie (Tess) who was just introduced to the chicks today. They both seemed curious about each other. I hope Tess will be a good herder!

  6. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I saw a very clever pet-proof brooder...I think on this forum. It was a typical rubbermaid type tub with plastic lid. The person had cut large holes in the lid, covered them with hardward cloth, using duct-tape to make it tight. One hole he had the heat lamp over, the other was open. The pic showed his cat sitting on top of it. It looked tight and sturdy. We have three cats, the peeps were kept in a bedroom with the door closed. The cats were curious, but only one ever came close enough for a sniff. They were in a card board box. Now they are in a big rubbermaid tub in the garage. They go out during the day and soon as the coop (soon, sooner, soonest) is finished they will be out for good.

  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I raised two chicks in a cardboard box...When they got older, I put them outside in a rabbit hutch. But I didn't have any big furry critters that they had to be wary of.
    I'd try and make the furbabies aware that the birds are YOURS! and not for them to bother them.
    Dog crates are great for chicks. You can sometimes get a used one off of Freecycle.
    My Aunt gave me hers from her kitty and my little Silkie uses that as a nest box and broody pen.
  8. derbychick

    derbychick Chirping

    Mar 25, 2007
    Charlestown, IN
    Thanks everyone! Those are all good ideas. I wish I had a second full bath too, believe me! I ran across a brooder (on this forum somewhere) made of plexiglass... some kind of display case. That would be REALLY cool, but since we already have a dog crate, I guess we'll try that. Or put them in a bedroom with the door closed... although that could be risky with a preschooler in the house. So many obstacles, but we will overcome them! [​IMG]
  9. robin416

    robin416 Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    OK, you're in KY, the weather has been abnormally warm. Do you have your coop all setup and secure? If you have electric out there or can run a long cord you can hang a bell shape trouble light out there about a foot off the floor with a 125 watt red spot light from Wal-Mart. I've had chicks out in my coop since February. Of course not I don't need the light since we hopped right into Summer but its an option if space is unavailable in the house.
  10. jkm

    jkm Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    Forest Grove
    I am raising three chicks in the kitchen with the help of three very high herd drive shelties, all of them herd sheep and two spoiled cats.
    All is well week four, the dogs have been given lots of praise for leaving them alone!
    the cats are less fascianted then they were a week ago. the bigger they get the more the cats back off.

    All pets tried a nose through the grate and got pecked.
    So far the wire crate alone has been enough, but WHEN I LEAVE THE HOUSE THE DOGS AND CATS ARE SECURE away from the tempting bouncy snacks with wings..
    My small black sheltie lives four feet from the cage, If they fuss too much the shelties get agitated, my highest drive dog is a big blue and I know he would eat them, so I have a water squirt bottle next to the cage, one squirt in the face and he became a gentleman.
    This sheltie is soo smart, old herding stock, he guards my cats in the yard, heaven help the neighbors cats, I am hoping OUR chickens will go on that list of protected animals.
    My red sheltie was a perfect gentleman, until they went in a wire pen out side, he ran around the pen and tried to drive them to me like ducks.
    so far the biggest jealousy is the fact the chicks are getting lettuce, which my dogs adore.

    good luck keep training.
    cheers justine

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