Couple questions about 2 week old chicks

alittletoofar

Chirping
Jun 26, 2018
42
57
99
Bay Area, California
Hello! I have 4 chicks that were hatched on 9/26 and I brought them home on 9/27. Two Sexlinks and two Wyandottes. Sorry, it's a long post! These are my first chicks so I thought I should tell you everything and hopefully, you can tell me if there is anything I'm doing wrong. I've also added a few pictures of the past two weeks.

I first had them in a large dog crate and then decided it was getting too cramped so I built them a box that is 5' x 2.5' x 2'. They are in my living room and have had a heat lamp since day one. I did switch to a lower wattage lamp, after the first week.

They are eating Helen's Best chick starter mash. I have not given them grit. They have also had sav-a-chick electrolyte & probiotic in their water the whole time. The packets made a gallon and it has taken them this long to finish the gallon. They make such a mess that I only partially fill the water and clean it daily. I dump out the remaining water every day so I know they have never been without.

They seem to be doing well. They are very active and have grown a lot. They are getting their tails and seem to grow new feathers overnight. There is one sexlink that has always been way smaller. She still doesn't have much of a tail and was also the only one to get pasty butt. That only happened once and I was able to clean her up and she eats and drinks fine. She is growing, but is still much smaller.

Now for the questions.

Eventually, they will be in the outside coop and will have free range of the yard during the day. Should I be giving them grit? If so, when?

I gave them a stick to roost on. I was going to mount so it's off the ground. Is it too soon? How high should I start?

Is it bad that they have been on sav-a-chick for 2 weeks? I still have 2 packets. Should I stop using it?

When can I switch them to the nipple water container? I think that will be far less messy! I also got them the bucket feeder where they have to insert their head to get food. How old do they need to be to switch over to that?

I want them to be friendly and come to me when I call them so I regularly talk to them, pet them, hold them, etc. One of the whyandottes loves me and the other one tolerates me pretty well. The sexlinks seem to be getting more afraid of everything. They are more nervous now that when I first got them. They get very agitated whenever there is movement around their box, even if it is just me giving them food or water. Once I sit there and talk to them, they will calm down. Am I loving them too much or not enough? Any advice on how to make them less afraid?

My cat is obsessed with watching them, but is very calm about it. I have seem them eat, drink, and sleep while he is watching. He has even been nose to nose with the most friendly chick, when I was holding her. She didn't seemed bothered and he remained calm and just smelled her. I do wonder if his presence could be what is making them get more nervous. Has anyone else had experience with cats around chicks?

I also have dogs. They have seen each other through the dog grate door, but can no longer see each other since I built the bigger box. Could that be the problem? Do the chicks like to be able to see out? So far, they have only been out of their pen with my GSD. He is too old and mellow to even care and none of the chicks seemed to be afraid of him. They all walked right by him like he was just a big rock. Ideally, the chickens will not be afraid of the dogs because they need to share the yard. I know this will be a slow process and I will be very careful. Any tips on this would be great!

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated! Especially, if I'm doing something wrong.

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ronott1

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They are very cute!

Put up the roost, They will use it.

They can use nipple water fountains now

Grit is not necessary until they eat hard grain type of food.

Good job so far!
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
4,173
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Edgewood, KY
They are very cute. Because you have a small one as you describe. I would make sure you are on 20% medicated starter or starter grower feed until 8 weeks of age. Then you can switch to non-medicated feed and I wouldn’t go lower than 18 %. The 20% makes a difference in growth. Some chicks will do fine on 18% and others will need 20% for the same rate of growth. At 17-18 weeks can switch to 16% layer feed. Chick grit you need to add at 3-4 weeks. You may also provide a small amount of dried mealworms or greens like cabbage, tops to carrots etc. at this time. Limit all other treats and no more than 10 % of diet till adulthood. The roost you should place five inches up in the brooder stable on a stand or secured to a corner on each side. I put crumble on mine to encourage them up. Once one does it then they all follow. I would stick with the baby feeders till out in the coop. If you wean the brooder by 5 degrees each week till 65-70 degrees then at about 4-5 weeks when feathered in you can put them out in the coop. 6-8 weeks latest here. After several weeks you can put them outside in the run to play for short periods 15-20 minutes and watch them then put them back in the brooder to rewarm till weaned out. Good start to introduce the outside. Sav a chick you only need daily for first 5 days then can go to once a week. Rest of week fresh water only. Once a week till adulthood 17-18 weeks then can stop. May use in hot summers, illness, or times of stress. At 8 weeks you will want to switch them to poultry grit. At 15 weeks you will want to start them on oyster shell. Hope this helps!:frow:thumbsup:welcome
 

jolenesdad

┑( ̄▽ ̄)┍
7 Years
Apr 12, 2015
3,759
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Montgomery, TX
Not being able to see out could be causing more flightiness from the Sex Links.

Start grit now and get some mealworms they’ll be your best friends in NO time. :) (whatever treats you use, make sure they’re getting grit.)

You can keep using the save a chick or keep it for later. It’s not just for chicks. ;) electrolytes are good during times of stress.

House cats typically aren’t a problem with chickens. :) (dogs too, but there’s lots of threads on that one and how to introduce)
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
4,173
20,403
972
Edgewood, KY
Hello! I have 4 chicks that were hatched on 9/26 and I brought them home on 9/27. Two Sexlinks and two Wyandottes. Sorry, it's a long post! These are my first chicks so I thought I should tell you everything and hopefully, you can tell me if there is anything I'm doing wrong. I've also added a few pictures of the past two weeks.

I first had them in a large dog crate and then decided it was getting too cramped so I built them a box that is 5' x 2.5' x 2'. They are in my living room and have had a heat lamp since day one. I did switch to a lower wattage lamp, after the first week.

They are eating Helen's Best chick starter mash. I have not given them grit. They have also had sav-a-chick electrolyte & probiotic in their water the whole time. The packets made a gallon and it has taken them this long to finish the gallon. They make such a mess that I only partially fill the water and clean it daily. I dump out the remaining water every day so I know they have never been without.

They seem to be doing well. They are very active and have grown a lot. They are getting their tails and seem to grow new feathers overnight. There is one sexlink that has always been way smaller. She still doesn't have much of a tail and was also the only one to get pasty butt. That only happened once and I was able to clean her up and she eats and drinks fine. She is growing, but is still much smaller.

Now for the questions.

Eventually, they will be in the outside coop and will have free range of the yard during the day. Should I be giving them grit? If so, when?

I gave them a stick to roost on. I was going to mount so it's off the ground. Is it too soon? How high should I start?

Is it bad that they have been on sav-a-chick for 2 weeks? I still have 2 packets. Should I stop using it?

When can I switch them to the nipple water container? I think that will be far less messy! I also got them the bucket feeder where they have to insert their head to get food. How old do they need to be to switch over to that?

I want them to be friendly and come to me when I call them so I regularly talk to them, pet them, hold them, etc. One of the whyandottes loves me and the other one tolerates me pretty well. The sexlinks seem to be getting more afraid of everything. They are more nervous now that when I first got them. They get very agitated whenever there is movement around their box, even if it is just me giving them food or water. Once I sit there and talk to them, they will calm down. Am I loving them too much or not enough? Any advice on how to make them less afraid?

My cat is obsessed with watching them, but is very calm about it. I have seem them eat, drink, and sleep while he is watching. He has even been nose to nose with the most friendly chick, when I was holding her. She didn't seemed bothered and he remained calm and just smelled her. I do wonder if his presence could be what is making them get more nervous. Has anyone else had experience with cats around chicks?

I also have dogs. They have seen each other through the dog grate door, but can no longer see each other since I built the bigger box. Could that be the problem? Do the chicks like to be able to see out? So far, they have only been out of their pen with my GSD. He is too old and mellow to even care and none of the chicks seemed to be afraid of him. They all walked right by him like he was just a big rock. Ideally, the chickens will not be afraid of the dogs because they need to share the yard. I know this will be a slow process and I will be very careful. Any tips on this would be great!

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated! Especially, if I'm doing something wrong.

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On the sav a chick you can pre-make and store unrefrigerated amount on the shelf so that you are not using just to use up packet since one packet makes a gallon’s worth. I saved my powder in a packet and only made about 32 oz at time at same ratio recommended. You don’t have to make it all at once if this makes sense. That way you are not using it every day after first 5 days. After the once a week dose and they empty the waterer then refill with fresh water. I used for 4 chicks. The powder stores easily and I weighed my powder on a small scale to add to water to make 32 oz. at a time. Only make what you can reasonably use.
 
Last edited:

alittletoofar

Chirping
Jun 26, 2018
42
57
99
Bay Area, California
Thank you all for the advice so far!

I put up the roost and they went right up on there. All 4 of them! :D Then they started to push each other off so I put up a second one.

My turtle has dried meal worms so I gave a few of those and they seemed to like them. I'll have to get them so fresh ones.

Good idea on only making a small amount and saving the powder! That seems so obvious now and I feel stupid for not thinking of that. I'll switch them to just plain fresh water for now.

The food I have is not medicated and is 19% protein. What is the medication in the food? I guess I need to research that more. For now, I'll leave them on this food. None of my other animals eat store bought food and I hope to be able to feed the chickens nothing but fresh real food.

I was watching them today and they do seem to stand up really tall and look up like they are trying to see out. I'm sure I can cut out a large portion of the front and attached welded wire. I'll work on that tomorrow and see if it helps with the nervousness.
Thanks again! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! :thumbsup
 

ronott1

A chicken will always remember the egg
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Mar 31, 2011
71,557
212,436
2,032
Woodland, CA
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you all for the advice so far!

I put up the roost and they went right up on there. All 4 of them! :D Then they started to push each other off so I put up a second one.

My turtle has dried meal worms so I gave a few of those and they seemed to like them. I'll have to get them so fresh ones.

Good idea on only making a small amount and saving the powder! That seems so obvious now and I feel stupid for not thinking of that. I'll switch them to just plain fresh water for now.

The food I have is not medicated and is 19% protein. What is the medication in the food? I guess I need to research that more. For now, I'll leave them on this food. None of my other animals eat store bought food and I hope to be able to feed the chickens nothing but fresh real food.

I was watching them today and they do seem to stand up really tall and look up like they are trying to see out. I'm sure I can cut out a large portion of the front and attached welded wire. I'll work on that tomorrow and see if it helps with the nervousness.
Thanks again! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! :thumbsup
medicated chick feed has apmorilium in it. It is for preventing coccidiosis. They can still get coccidiosis though.

It is up t you whether you use medicated or not. I do not use it but I have not had coccidiosis in years here. Using nipple water systems seems to prevent it
 

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