First hatch!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DURR, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. DURR

    DURR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok so I'm expecting my first few chicks to hatch by the sixth of jan at the latest I believe. And I am unsure how to provide for them within their first few weeks of life. I know that you have to watch them around open water so they don't drown. But do you feed them a mash or starter crumbles? What other things do they need? Anything else I need to know when raising chicks?
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    The most important things a chick needs is:

    - A brooder: Aim for minimum 1 sq foot per chick space. It sounds like a lot, but they grow quick and can get very active. Also, they are going to spend about 6 weeks in there. You can put wood shavings or shredded paper in the bottom. Not newspaper sheets as it's slippery underfoot. I like to hang a feather duster in the brooder (not too close to the heat source!!), so the chicks can crawl under it. Also make sure the brooder is covered, preferably by a mesh of some sort, to let the heat and poo fumes escape, but not the chicks. They can fly almost as soon as they have wing feathers. And run very fast once they're out of the brooder!
    Here are some brooder designs: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/homemade-chicken-brooder-designs-pictures
    - Heat: aim for a brooder temperature of ± 95* and reduce the heat by roughly 5* a week so they'll get used to being colder and "toughen up" By the time they are fully feathered (around 6 weeks) they won't need the heat so much any more, but don't plunge them into cold temperatures from a warm brooder at that age. Let them get used the cold gradually. When you place the heat lamp over the brooder put it on one side, so they'll have cooler spots where they can get away from the heat should they feel like it.
    - Food: starter crumbles is specially formulated for chicks. You can feed them medicated or unmedicated crumbles. They don't need anything else. After about 2 weeks you can start feeding treats like dried mealworms, scrambled egg, fresh spinach cut into bite size pieces, cooked rice etc. It is important to provide grit when you feed treats though. If you can't find chick grit you can use clean, coarse sand.
    - Water: fresh, clean water must always be available. Offer water in a shallow dish and fill it with small pebbles or marbles so when they climb into the dish, they won't get too wet/drown. Placing the food and water dishes on something so it's slightly off the floor will save you a lot of cleaning once the chicks start scratching! I add some unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar to their drink water (ratio is around 5-6 tablespoons to a gallon water. This helps prevent pasty butt (poop sticking to and clogging up their bottoms, making it impossible for them to relieve themselves. Can be fatal if untreated.) ACV also helps prevent coccidiosis and gives the chicks a health boost.

    That's all I can think off now. Also have a look here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...ks-the-first-60-days-of-raising-baby-chickens

    Enjoy your chicks and post pics when you got them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  3. DURR

    DURR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you sumi! Your such a great help!
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    You're welcome [​IMG] Good luck with the hatch and remember: we want pics! I haven't had any chicks for months now, so I'm enjoying all yours LOL
     

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