Feeling overwhelmed and having second thoughts!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by eggfooyoung, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. eggfooyoung

    eggfooyoung Out Of The Brooder

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    I just ordered my coop and now I'm researching making my own brooder, and in watching a few videos and reading a few things, I'm starting to feel overwhelmed and as if I won't be able to do this. I have 3 small children, one of which was a high needs infant (she is our foster/adopted child who was born addicted to opiates) and yet STILL I feel like I'm going to screw this up lol. I've never had chickens before and I don't know anyone who keeps chickens to get advice from in real life, so I'm going to be flying solo. Someone please tell me this will be ok, or tell me it's really hard and I should rethink this. Sidenote - I've wanted chickens for literally a decade, and I just moved into a house where I can have them (and it was a MUST HAVE on the list when looking at houses). I'm just doubting my ability to adequately give these birds what they need. Help?
     
  2. karenej

    karenej Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi! Congrats on making the plunge. I wouldn't feel overwhelmed. If you're worried, you might think about starting with young pullets instead of chicks. Chicks do require more work than adults. I have two young children and it typically only takes me about 5 min a day to take care of my adult birds needs, that includes water, feed and collecting eggs. I would also avoid a rooster if you have young children. I have to constantly watch mine when my kids are around but the hens are always sweet to them.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Hey! This is what you have us for! BYC has your back!

    Focus on your lifelong desire for chickens. Ignore your feelings of inadequacy. We're here to get you through the initial learning curve.

    Don't assume there is but one way to do everything. You have lots of options. You begin with the vision you have for starting a flock and go from there.

    Do you want the experience for yourself and your children of raising your chickens from babies, or do you have a need to go right to the stage where you can begin getting eggs? Those are two options with lots in between.

    We can help you explore the pros and cons of whatever you decide. So decide if you want chicks or older chicks or point-of-lay pullets and we can help you with the details.
     
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  4. ChyDez

    ChyDez Just Hatched

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    I have 4 young kids (5 and under) so I'm right there with you, especially since I already have my chicks and the snow hasn't melted to build the coop! lol. I just involve the kids as much as possible (with limits of course) with feeding, watering etc. YOU'LL BE OKAY. I swear.
     
  5. eggfooyoung

    eggfooyoung Out Of The Brooder

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    Ugh - I don't know why I feel so anxious! I definitely want chicks because I want this as a learning/responsibility experience for my kids, but also it would be nice if both my kids and the chicks can grow to get used to each other. I have an 8 year old with anxiety disorder so it would be infinitely easier for her to handle chicks and get used to them than for her to be up close and personal with pullets or full grown hens. So I have many great reasons for chicks, sadly lol. There won't be any roos at all for sure, so there's no worry about that for my kids (or the neighbors lol) though personally if I had one that wasn't torturous towards me I'd be happy to have one... but I'd rather keep my neighbors happy and my shins - and kids - safe lol.

    I'm about to read up on the info page on how to raise chicks, but having to parent a monstrous 3 year old who gets into everything leaves me little time during the day - just enough to come here and quickly reply to posts lol. But just hearing this one woman talk about everything she does for her chicks had my head spinning. Not that I'm not up to the task - I've handled FAR more and much more difficult and time consuming things - but since I'm not familiar with most of what she was talking about, it had me a little dizzy lol. I welcome any and all advice on raising chicks from you seasoned professionals! Thank you!
     
  6. karenej

    karenej Out Of The Brooder

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    If you do it right from the beginning its not difficult at all to raise chicks. I keep mine in a big rubbermaid container with about 3-4 inches of pine shavings. They get chick starter and water and I put in a hollowed out pot for them to get away from the heat from the lamp if they need to. All you really have to worry about it keeping them warm, dry, fed and watered. If you can take care of kids, you can do that. Most of it is just common sense--how you would care for any young animal/child. Change the water and shavings when they get dirty, refill the food when its empty. Make sure they aren't all huddled together under the heat lamp (that means they're probably cold) or getting as far away from the heat lamp as they can (that means they're hot).
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Chicks are going to be fun. They have definite needs but they aren't complicated.

    The first issue is a heat source. Since you have small kids and you do not need any worries beyond what you already have, I recommend you stay away from a heat lamp which can cause serious burns or worse, fires. The safest heat source around small kids is a heating pad. It's virtually risk and worry free.

    Watch this short video to see the concept from the original innovator :

    Then go to Blooie's thread on this page "Mama Heating Pad for the Brooder" and go to page four and watch the video she has of her setup.

    The heating pad over a flexible wire frame will give your chicks both heat and security and you won't have to worry about kids and chicks getting burned and chicks getting too hot or too cold. It's also much kinder on your electric bill.

    Then you need to decide if you want to brood in a container in the house or right in your coop. You do have that choice because the heating pad system is that flexible. If you decide to brood in the coop, you would have far less work since the dust and dander would be restricted to outdoors where it should be.

    Next read my article on outdoor brooding and you will see the possibilities in that method. If you decide you want to brood indoors, you can also get ideas for indoor brooding from my article. I'm a huge fan of cardboard appliance boxes over plastic totes because, #1 they're free, and #2 they're much roomier. You can fashion them into one or two bedroom condos, set them on a table and create a "dollhouse effect", making it fun and easy for the kids to interact with the chicks. (Photos of this in the article)

    There are all sorts of other tricks and things we can supply you with as you roll along to make brooding easier and more fun.
     
    3 people like this.
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    First I'd like to say thank you, for taking on a huge responsibility with this child in need and all the emotion that go with it! [​IMG] It really takes someone special. [​IMG] And lot's of support. [​IMG]

    Chickens will be so easy in comparison. And very entertaining. I have anxiety a plenty for both of us. [​IMG]

    I would go with non flighty breeds and raise from chicks, bought at the feed store where they have already absorbed any casualties from shipping. Pick ones that don't have poo stuck on their rears (known as pasty butt, can be deadly). Great learning tool for the kids. And great connection between kids, parents, and the environment. Not less than 3 birds, as they are social creatures. A mix of breeds is nice so you can tell them apart easier and collecting eggs of different colors is a lot of fun! So make sure you get an Easter Egger, sometimes sold as Ameraucana or some other spelling of the word. They are great children's birds, half mine have been on the shy side while the other half are lap chickens. [​IMG] I will always have at least 1 in my flock as they are always gentile! Heavier breeds will have a harder time flying over fences... I love Orpington and Rocks (barred or white). You can call your feeds store and they can tell you what they have coming in their shipments and on which days and shoot for the breeds you might be might interested in. We have 2 stores in town and they usually get different breeds from each other every other week, through early fall.

    You will ask yourself why you didn't do this sooner! [​IMG] Well, it wasn't the right time. But I believe you can do this! Just beware of chicken math... 1+2=3, 3+3=10, 10-1=48!!

    When they are young, careful not to squeeze tight on the pin feathers as it is uncomfortable. Also make it so you can approach to chicks from the front instead of the top as an aerial predator would. You don't have to worry about needing to handle them to make them friendly, as I find all are individuals and go through phases just like kids become unfriendly as teenagers. The girls usually friendly back up after they start laying. And introduce the young chicks to outdoors as soon as your weather permits, they love it. Until then, bring in a dish of your soil so they can build immunity while theirs is still high. And

    Yep, it isn't rocket surgery... just be sure and use a feed that is appropriate for the age of your birds, is the most important (aside from early brooder temps and regular cleaning, not even spotless)

    A list to chicken breeds...

    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    Best wishes! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Sarahal88

    Sarahal88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you spend too long reading how to do anything on the internet, especially raising chickens, you are bound to give yourself an anxiety attack. There is a lot of good general advice you can follow, and you've probably already read most of that. And then there is a ton of info out there that can be great, but it can also be contradictory, overwhelming, and just too much for right now when you're just starting out. It really is a pretty basic process and chicks are surprisingly independent, given a few basic necessities provided by you. Once they don't need the heat, they're even more resilient. Remember, people raise chickens in cities and in villages all over the world in countries where I can guarantee you they aren't running everything by the experts at BYC ;).

    I think a person can really psych themselves out by trying to read about everything all at once. You will read that if you do XYZ for your chickens, it's the best thing you can possibly do. Then, you'll read that the same XYZ is bound to kill your chickens. Don't get bogged down in all that stuff. Just start with the basic guidelines (appropriate heat, food, water, keeping things clean, space requirements) and then just go for it. When a new issue comes up, then you can return to this forum or search the internet for an answer, but I think you just have to jump right in and learn along the way.

    You can definitely do it!
     
    2 people like this.
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You've had some excellent advice so far. Your brooder can be as simple as an appliance box, or even better yet, brood them in the coop, and as Azygous advises, a heating pad brooder is by far the safest, and the easiest way to brood chicks. It gives them as close to a broody hen experience as they can get without actually having a broody hen. No bright light shining on them 24/7. Very little adjustment needed to ensure that they have the right amount of heat. It's so very easy to overheat chicks when brooding them in a plastic tub with a heat lamp.

    Aside from giving them heat, and food, IMO plenty of space is super important. I like to see babies have a minimum of 1 s.f. of open space in the brooder per chick for the first week or two. By the time they are 2 weeks old, their flight feathers are coming in, and they are rocketing all over the place. 2 s.f./chick will be greatly appreciated by then.

    If at all possible, brooding in the coop is the way to go. It cuts down on the dust and dander (think oily silt that covers and sticks to all surfaces, including vertical ones) in your house. If any one in your family has breathing problems, you'll definitely not want them in your house. I have asthma, so 24 hours with chicks out of the incubator will give me a run for my money, if they are in the house.

    Congrats on your new venture. You're gonna love it, and it's great that you can fulfill one of your dreams. As mothers, we often put our needs and wants on the back burner b/c of the needs/wants of the rest of the family. I just recently reconnected with my love of mushrooms on my pizza. Finally empty nested here, so I can get mushroom pizza without any one complaining!!!
     
    1 person likes this.

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