Dumb Chick Questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LoneCowboy, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    Ok, sorry for all the dumb chick questions, but I'm just learning.

    1. How do I keep them from wasting so much feed? I have a troth, and 3 of those ones that you screw a bottle on, and they still get feed everywhere from all of them. They still get into the troth and poo all over in it, even though I have the thing that is supposed to dump them off if they try to perch on them.

    2. How do I keep their water clean? Every time I look in there they've got tons of shavings and poo in their water. They run around like crazy chickens and kick up stuff. I've raised the water up about 2", and it's not really helping.

    3. should I just keep adding shavings on top of their messy ones, or totally change it out? I think if I changed it out, they would be totally stressed.

    4. How do I get them more used to people? They freak out everytime I go out there. There are 51 of them, and I try putting my hand in, feeding them little pieces of bread by hand. I'll pick one up and pet it a little, but still they are, well, chicken. [​IMG]
  2. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    well if you had smaller numbers you could try to indevidualy handle them but since you have so many you can just keep doing what your doing and handle as many as you can as much as you can. they will always scratch there feed around but I think mine eat the stuff the spill to. change the shaving a couple times or it will smell soooooooo bad.

  3. bamagirl68

    bamagirl68 Songster

    Sep 3, 2007
    central alabama
    I am new to the chicken business, but when I go visit my girls, I start calling them in a gentle voice -here, chick,chick, chick-before I get there. That let's them know I am about to open the door and they are about to go outside. I also try to hand feed them alot to get them used to me. I sat down on the ground in their pen the other day and they were all around me looking for food. They are so cute! I turned a small bucket upside down and set their water up just high enough for them to put their beaks in without any stretching.This worked for me as to keeping out the shavings and poo. they really are sooooo messy! I made a homemade feeder out of an upside down plastic flower pot and larger saucer and it hangs at beak level for them in my coop. This has also worked with the poo and the shavings. I was using the long galvanized feeder with all the holes and it stayed filthy even after raising it up with a wood block. Hope some of this helps! You should look for the deep litter method on some of these posts. that is what I am going to try. Happy chickening!
  4. I've used deep litter with my grown hens, and it works great.

    It doesn't seem to be working as well with the chicks, and I think it's for a couple of reasons:
    #1 they just flat-out poop more than the hens do (especially because I have 30 chicks, and I only have 7 hens).

    #2-I think this is the big reason. They are too young to do as much "scratching" as the big girls, so their shavings don't get mixed up as often, and they don't dry out as well

    #3-They spill more food, which packs down and doesn't allow "fluffing" (see item 2).

    That said, I have been mixing up the shavings and keeping a fan turned on (but allowing one corner with the heat lamp, where the fan doesn't blow) to help dry things out. I add about 1/2" of clean shavings after I stir it up in the morning and the evening, and started fresh after the end of the first week.

    right now, they are in an outdoor shed which is 6'x8', but I have the first two feet behind the door blocked off with a "puppy fence" so that when I open the door, there is some room for me to step in without danger of them spilling everywhere. That means they have about 32 square feet, for 30 birds; I'm not sure what density is best, but they rarely spread out all over the whole thing at this age, anyway (3 weeks tomorrow). I'm sure as they get older I'll need to give them the whole barn, or I'll need to put them in a tractor. I'm not sure a tractor would be predator-proof enough, and the temps are getting into the 60's at night (I know; veritable Blue Northers! LOL!), so I'm not sure they'd be very happy.

    This is my first batch of broilers, so I'm playing by ear. My black broilers are a lot more active, and are wanting to fly everywhere. No danger of that with the Cornish Xs!! They are getting to be like anchors!
  5. JenniferJoIN

    JenniferJoIN Songster

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    I handled my 13 a lot when they were young, but they were still pretty skittish around me. Now they are 6 weeks old and I've been giving them bread as a treat and they have warmed up to me considerably. I do the 'here chick chick chick' thing when I'm feeding the bread so that they will maybe learn to come to me when I call.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  6. chickenbutt

    chickenbutt In the Brooder

    Oct 8, 2007
    Richmond, Virginia
    I covered the pine shavings with 1/2" hardware cloth from Lowes and the shavings don't get into the food or water any more. The poop falls through to the shavings. You might want 1/4" hardware cloth for their tiny feet but their poop might not fall through. My broilers are 2.5 weeks old and I only feed them for a couple of minutes in the morning in a separate box and then let them out in the yard in the evenings. This way I don't worry about food in their brooder.

    I try to pet and cuddle all of them. In the evenings I lay out an old sheet and sit against the wall and put them all in front of me and they scramble on my lap and down my legs. When they are runnign around I touch them all on their backs so they get used to it.
  7. schmoo

    schmoo Songster

    May 7, 2007
    West MI.
    1. If you figure out a way let the rest of us know LOL. They just waste more when they are chicks for some reason. Its not as bad when they get older.
    2. I put my waterer up on a STABLE block of wood, so they could still reach it. Off the floor seemed to help, but not cure the problem completely.
    3. I only had 22 chicks and I just kept adding more shavings. It worked fine for about 4 weeks. If it stinks too much you will have to change it out. Just block them onto one half of the brooder, clean one side then switch them to the other side.
    4. Its normal they are freaked out, just sit in there and watch them and talk to them quietly. Try to handle as many as possible as much as possible.

    hope that helps
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I elevate my food and water so that it's the height of the shortest chick's back. This helps reduce both spilling food and shavings in the water, but they're still messy. I start with an over-turned small house plant saucer and move up to half a brick, over time, as those are things I happened to have around. I clean and refill their water every day, but in between times, I take the waterer over to the sink and flush any stray shavings out of the water tray with the faucet, without doing a full clean and refill. It's just a quicky clean. [​IMG]

    For the litter, I start out with a layer of shavings that's thick enough to cover the bottom of the brooder. A couple of times a day, I sprinkle clean shavings over the poopy areas. My DH was volunteering to clean it out on the weekends with this year's chicks. It didn't need to be done that often with the light number of chicks we had for that brooder, but I supported that decision fully, thanked him for his efforts and considered myself very lucky!

    Talking in a soothing voice and moving your hands slowly seems to help when they're frightened, also.
  9. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Fifty-one is a lot of chicks to handle at one time, but changing out the litter every once in a while would be best. Because they are chicks, they don't have the immunity built up yet to handle the deep litter method. It won't stress them out that much to change the litter.
  10. As for food and water, I have rigged a swing-set like contraption and hang a LARGE feeder (5#?) and a 5 gal waterer from the cross-beam, on chains. By using a chain, I can change the height easily, on a weekly basis if need be. By using LARGE feeders and waterers, there isn't a lot of "swing" action. Before I switched to the large ones, I tried hanging 2 gallon waterers and a smaller feeder, and they swung so much that the chicks had trouble using them. The block method wasn't working for me because the floor wasn't level, and the water would leak out.

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