First-time chicken momma Q's

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by purplepeep, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. purplepeep

    purplepeep Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2009
    Northern Ontario
    Hello everyone!
    I just made my introduction over in the introduction forum, and like I mentioned over there I have some questions. My apologies if these are really silly questions, but I have never, ever had chickens before. I've never even been in a chicken coop. haha.

    Ok, here we go. First of all do I really NEED to keep a thermometer in the brooder? I mean if the chickens are appearing to be comfortable, evenly spaced out, quietly napping, does it need to be exactly 32 C in there? The little guys keep pecking at it and knocking it over.

    How long do I need to keep the paper towels on top of the pine shavings? I started the chicks on just the pine shavings, and then noticed they were eating it. In a panic I covered the brooder floor with paper towels, and then discovered after the fact, that that is what I was supposed to do in the first place. [​IMG]:/

    My babies will be 3 days old tomorrow, and we have been handling them, petting them, hand feeding them etc. since we brought them home. Is this alright for them?? Can I take them out of their brooder and let them run around on the floor? They are in our sunroom, there is outdoor carpet on the floor, and it is about 20 C in there.

    They are eating medicated starter crumbles right now, which I have in small double-bowl cat bowls (3 per brooder, 16 chicks in each brooder) but they are making a terrible mess tossing their food all over the place, and a bunch of the chicks like to sleep in their food bowls. Any suggestions as to what would be better to use?

    A good number of my chicks like to sleep all sprawled out like 'road-kill' on their sides, when I see them like this I panic and think they are dead, but as soon as I open the door, they all pop up and seem perfectly fine. Is this a normal way for 3 day-old chicks to sleep?

    can I give them little treats like an apple core to peck at, or some rice krispies or something?? Or do they need grit for that? I am not giving them any grit yet. Are they too young still? When can I give them treats other than their crumbles?

    I am sorry for the flurry of questions:/ Any advice/insight would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks so much.
     
  2. bubbazmommy

    bubbazmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2008
    Albany, ME
    Quote:
     
  3. jesd

    jesd Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 5, 2009
    I'm new too, but I'll take a stab at a couple of these...

    I kept a thermometer in my brooder religiously for the first few days, but the chicks' behavior seemed a better indication of temperature than the thermometer. Still, I've found it really helpful for a ballpark idea of temp in the brooder.

    I've been using only pine shavings the whole time. I don't think it's a big deal if they peck at it -- they peck at pretty much everything...

    You can buy actual feeders for the chicks - try mcmurray hatchery, mypetchicken.com, tsc, etc. Same for waterers (like this: http://www.mypetchicken.com/Baby_Chick_Supplies-Chick_Waterer_Plastic_1_quart-P299.aspx) They will still walk through them, kick shavings in them, and make a general mess, but probably not quite so badly.

    I had the same exact response as you when I saw my chicks sleeping all legs akimbo and heads flopped over - I completely thought they were all dead. So far as I can tell, that's just how they sleep. Mine have started sleeping a little less ridiculously, though. Too bad [​IMG]
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The only silly question is the one not asked.

    Ok, here we go. First of all do I really NEED to keep a thermometer in the brooder?

    You do not have to keep a thermometer in there once you have it close as the chicks will tell you if they are hot or cold. You probably know this. If they are huddled under the light, they are cold. If they are piled in the corners they are hot. Spreadout and they are all right. The important thing is to keep the temperature stabilized and no drafts.

    How long do I need to keep the paper towels on top of the pine shavings?

    3 day should be sufficient. The idea is to get them used to eating their food instead of the shavings. Once they have learned what is food, they should be OK.

    My babies will be 3 days old tomorrow, and we have been handling them, petting them, hand feeding them etc. since we brought them home. Is this alright for them?? Can I take them out of their brooder and let them run around on the floor? They are in our sunroom, there is outdoor carpet on the floor, and it is about 20 C in there.

    Chicks with their mother will venture out a little and run back to her to warm up when they need to even if the ground is frozen. If my conversion is right, 20 C is 68 F, which is a little chilly for them for any period of time. Don't keep them out of the brooder too long and put them back if they start to chirp loudly. Chirping loudly means they are cold.

    They are eating medicated starter crumbles right now, which I have in small double-bowl cat bowls (3 per brooder, 16 chicks in each brooder) but they are making a terrible mess tossing their food all over the place, and a bunch of the chicks like to sleep in their food bowls. Any suggestions as to what would be better to use?

    I'll leave this to others, hopefully someone with pictures.

    A good number of my chicks like to sleep all sprawled out like 'road-kill' on their sides, when I see them like this I panic and think they are dead, but as soon as I open the door, they all pop up and seem perfectly fine. Is this a normal way for 3 day-old chicks to sleep?

    Very normal

    can I give them little treats like an apple core to peck at, or some rice krispies or something?? Or do they need grit for that? I am not giving them any grit yet. Are they too young still? When can I give them treats other than their crumbles?

    You'll get a lot of different opinions on this. Young chicks have delicate systems. I don't like to give treats of any kind until they are a couple of weeks old at least. Some people start almost immediately. Some people wait until they are months old. And I like to supply grit whether they need it or not. If you supply grit and they don't need it, no harm done. If you don't supply grit and they need it, harm done. What if they pick up a hard shelled bug while in your sun room and don't have grit to help them digest it. Just my personal opinion.
     
  5. addicted2chicks

    addicted2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Michigan
    I will just tell you what I did and my chicks are now 11 days old. I put a thermometer in there for the first 48 hours. After that I put it in there in the morning, afternoon and night just for a few minutes while I see what the temp is. I decided if I am not staring at the thermometer 24/7 what good does it do to keep it there that much. So I put it in when I needed to check the temp. While waiting I either was doing chick chores, feeding, watering, cleaning the pine shavings or playing with them. So now I don't have to clean the thermometer but wipe it once a day.
    But do make sure they are warm, if that conversion is 68 F that is too cold specially for 3 day old chicks. They need to be at least 95 F the first week and go down by 5 degrees every week til at 70 F.
    You can get feeders and waterers at a feed store.
    Personally I kept paper towels in the brooder for only a day and a half. Reason being is I had 104 chicks and they got dirty rather quickly so I moved them to shavings the middle part of the second day. I knew they knew where the food was as they were eating at the feeder so I felt it was ok to remove them.
    My chicks are now 11 days old and I have not given them anything but their chick starter. I won't give them anything else until they are 2 weeks, at that time I will give grit. That is just my personal choice.
    Chicks sleeping all sprawled out is rather funny. When I first put mine in the brooder they fell over and went to sleep. Had I not just read about chicks and their sleeping that very morning I would of thought they were dead. Thank goodness I could just laugh.
    Good luck with your chicks. Post pics, we love chick pics.
     
  6. Lairvine

    Lairvine Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2007
    The Original Downeast NC
  7. purplepeep

    purplepeep Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2009
    Northern Ontario
    Thank you all so much for the helpful replies!
    It is around 32.5 C in the brooder. Not sure what that is in F. The room they are in is 20 C. I was just wondering if they can come out of their brooder to run around a bit on the floor, and then be put back in. I'll wait till they are a bit bigger before I do that. And thank you too for the advice on treats too! I will put up pics of my little pom-poms as soon as I figure out how to do that:p
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    This thread may help in posting pictures.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=504

    32.5 C is 90.5 F. (32.5 x 9/5 + 32)

    If I might suggest you go to profiles and put your location, it could help us answer questions. If you are on a different continent, someone telling you to pick up a feeder at TSC is not going to help you much. I have seen posts from people from all continents except Antarctica on this forum.
     

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