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First-time Chick Mom - A few questions!

Discussion in 'Chicks 1 Day to 8 Weeks Old' started by Luckyleaf, May 19, 2019.

  1. Luckyleaf

    Luckyleaf In the Brooder

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    Hi guys! It's finally happening! My 5 Sebright chicks will arrive in the mail on Thursday if all goes well. Additionally, I'm getting some day old chicks from someone local at the same time - 2 silkies and 1 Mille Fleur d’Uccle. So a total of 8 little chickies. I'm so very excited!

    I have all the supplies ready to go, but I do have a few questions.

    1.) I got the K&H Thermo-Poultry Brooder from Tractor Supply. I tested it and it just doesn't seem to be getting hot! I looked up reviews and some say that's how it's supposed to work and most reviews seem positive, but I'm still pretty skeptical. Especially since I'm dealing with bantams so I'm worried they're going to get cold more easily because they're so tiny?? Has anyone used one of these? How did it go?

    2.) I got the chick starter and the chick grit. Can I just mix the two together or do they need to stay in separate feeders? I'd like to reduce the amount of feeders in the brooder if possible so the chicks have more floor space to run around.And if I can mix the starter and the feed together, what should the ratio be?

    3.) I got the Sav-A-Chick Electrolyte and the Sav-A-Chick Probiotic mixes for the water. They instructions say that if I mix both in the water then I would need to put out a second waterer with plain fresh water. Is that really the case?

    4.) Also the hatchery guide says to not medicate water for the first 4 hours after chicks arrive, but the Sav-a-Chick says you can give it to them instantly and I've read people saying that it's better to give it asap because they need the boost from the stressful trip. Which is right? Some people even say they put a tsp apple cider vinegar in the water - does this actually help and if so do I combine it with the sav-a-chick solution or wait until all my sav-a-chick packets have run out?

    5.) This one's kind of a dumb question I know, but... do chicks jump a lot? My brooder is pretty tall in my opinion, but I'm wondering if I need to make a lid for it?


    I guess that's about it. Thanks!!
     
    penny1960 likes this.
  2. BarnhartChickens98

    BarnhartChickens98 Crowing

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    Hi! what is the brooder temp getting to? The grit should be not mixed with the feed but is not even necessary if they are just eating chick food. As for the sav a chick, i would give it to them right away, it works well for me. I Don't supply extra unmedicated water but it wont hurt to. As for the jumping question, YES! they wont until they start to get feathers, but when they do they will be on the feeder and out in no time.
     
    penny1960 likes this.
  3. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

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    Hey there do not need the grit till they start to lay .. So the brooder plate can they get under it ? if so not real hot is good .. Nutri drench is great sav a chick just one should be great always have fresh water if you put marbles in the water they cannot drown either
     
  4. BarnhartChickens98

    BarnhartChickens98 Crowing

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    I believe you mean oyster shell, but this is also true, they dont need it until they eat stuff other than feed.
     
    penny1960 likes this.
  5. Luckyleaf

    Luckyleaf In the Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2019
    Savannah, GA
    Are you sure? The size of the Chick Starter/Grower granules is kinda big. Don't they need the grit to break it down in their digestion? The grit bag specifically says it for chicks too.
     
    BarnhartChickens98 and penny1960 like this.
  6. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

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    just because purina says it is for them I do not trust them any further than I could throw them JMHO
     
  7. BarnhartChickens98

    BarnhartChickens98 Crowing

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    you can feed it to chicks but it is not necessary, you dont have pellets, right?
     
  8. Grit is necessary as soon as they go were they can access food other than chick feed. It won't hurt to start it early--I generally sprinkle chick grit on their food after about a week post-hatch just in case they get into bugs and critters. As far as the size of pelleted chick starter, don't worry about it, chicks just pecked their way out of an egg, their bills are strong enough to smash up those pellets into bite-sized pieces. They always seem to take care of themselves. Leave the oyster shell/calcium out of their feed until they are laying, if fact you're best offering it as free choice rather than mixing it with their feed.

    In my case I always mix electrolytes in their water--I use Quik Chick from McMurry--from day one with no extra waterer. Depending on the number of birds I use it until the package is gone or I get tired of mixing it in--about 5 weeks.
     
    BarnhartChickens98 likes this.
  9. chkva

    chkva Songster

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    You don't have to mix the grit and chick feed. Grit is for when they're eating anything other than chick feed, it helps them digest the other foods. I'd offer it in seperate dishes, but grit is only needed if you're offering other foods.

    I would choose either ACV (with the mother) or the electrolyte not both at the same time. Electrolytes are really useful in the first few days of a chicks life or if they become sick. I use ACV in one water and the other waterer is plain water so they have an option. It's 1 TBS per gallon of water. It's not a miracle worker or anything, it just has health benefits to the body plus keeps bacteria out of you waterer.

    Chicks can fly and will fly and stand at the top of a box... Usually when they get to that age people move them outside. I do my brooding outside because my first ever chicks all escaped (box was waist height I'm about 5'9) and ran through the house :lau I never did chicks inside my house again.
     
  10. sean_wonder

    sean_wonder Songster

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    I was a first time chick mom just a few months ago to my own flock of eight (only one loss to a fatal combo of advanced wry neck and a concave skull... nothing I could've done) and here's what I learned.

    1.) Chickens are so much hardier than you think. They're also incredibly easy to read. Just make sure to spend a couple hours every day watching them, talking to them, letting them watch you and listen to you right back. You might drop them at some point, and it's the worst feeling in the world. Chickens are prey animals, meaning when they experience trauma they go into shock pretty easily. They lay on their side sprawled with eyes closed, and no matter how hard you try you can't get them to 'wake up'. I've bawled my eyes out over this, but the effects go away after several minutes, and then they're generally sleepy and lazy for the next three or five days. Make sure they're moving steadily before you put them back in the brooder, and they most likely won't get picked on for their dazed state. The chance of a chick going into shock greatly reduces the moment they get flight feathers.

    2.) Don't mix the two together. The chicks know what they need the second they are hatched. If they need food, they'll gobble it down. Grit? They'll find it and gobble it up too. They need the opportunity to have this choice, and by combining the two you are increasing your chances of 'beaking out'. It's nearly unavoidable but it's essentially the practice of chickens shifting through food and pushing it onto the ground with their beaks to get to the choice parts. Treats are fine to give from day one, just in small amounts and with choice grit.

    3.) Yes, in my experience chickens are weirdly picky with water. They don't mind the taste of mud, poop, feathers, or bedding, but too much apple cider vinegar and they refuse to drink. The trick is to put in as little as possible. I would do the electrolytes and save the other brand in case one gets sick. You never know.

    4.) I would wait. There's already so much going on the last thing you want the chicks to do is reject water until they've settled down. I would recommend a capful of ACV (apple cider vinegar) per gallon of water. You can get away with two capfuls on colder days. Don't mix it with the Sav-A-Chick. Your chicks are hardier than you think, especially if you are a dutiful mama hen. Choose one or the other. I'd recommend electrolytes until 4 weeks, then ACV for the rest of their healthy, happy lives :)

    5.) No such thing as dumb questions-- GET A LID. I cannot stress enough how necessary a lid is for brooders. I was shocked when one day I went into my room and was greeted by a chick, barely feathered (perhaps only a week and a half old!), perched happily on the side of the brooder.

    Ask every single question you have! It's nerve wracking being the human surrogate to chicken babies, but you'll find your way. I can't stress enough how hardy the chicks are. Let them do their chicken thing. They'll surprise you. Above all, enjoy more, and worry less.
     
    mygirlsalaying and Willowspirit like this.

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