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first time raising chicks, lighting questions, chicks behavior

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cupman, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I just started getting into chickens a week ago or so when I built a coop and a small area for the baby chicks. Well, I just got my baby chicks today, 12 of them, mixed breeds. I purchased a 250 watt red light bulb to keep my chicks heated as I've heard the red is supposed to be better. Well, the red light is probably 12 inches above the chicks and they seem to be crowding around it, and I've heard that's a sign they could be too cold. Anyways, my question is how many lights should I need for 12 chicks, is one enough? Should I go get another? And my final question is about the behavior of one of the chicks. One of them sits away from the other 11, doesn't seem to move much unless I poke her in which case he runs a little ways and sits still again. Is there anything to be worried about with her? I'm really nervous, they're such fragile little critters, I would hate to see one die due to my ignorance of the subject. Thanks!

  2. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Songster

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    Your 250 watt red bulb should be plenty for 12 chicks. What is the surrounding temperature? I have my brooder in the house with the same light about 18-24" above one end of the brooder and that keeps the temperature about right. They need to be able to get out of the heat if they want. Were your chicks shipped? Sometimes they get chilled on the journey and need the extra heat. As to the one that is separate from the others, it could be too hot or it could be weak and not doing well. All chicks will sleep a lot at first, so maybe it is tired. I would suspect stress of some kind though. Do you have any electrolytes for their water? You can also add a small amount of sugar to give them extra energy. Others give their chicks hard boiled egg yolks or yogurt, but I haven't tried this. I do have mine on electrolytes. If your lone chick is eating and drinking, it should be okay. If it isn't, then there is a problem.
  3. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Songster

    Mar 3, 2011
    [​IMG] congrats on your babies. i have the same light in my brooder. the chicks were sleeping on the outside of the heat so i raised it some. they are liking that better. they will let you know what they need. i had one that was smaller and weaker than the others. he is doing fine now and i didn't really do anything but let him rest. i do think some sugar water or electrolytes would probably benefit them.
  4. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Thanks for the advice guys, I kind of poked the chick and she moved in with the herd, she seems to be doing a little better and following them around now. I'll try adding some electrolytes to their water soon and see how they're doing, I think they might just need a little time to adjust to the new settings. Thanks again.
  5. montanasandy

    montanasandy Chirping

    May 11, 2010
    Potomac, Montana
    If you have to have your light only 12 inches away to get it up to heat, you may want to add another. Just my opinion. [​IMG] I would probably do that with that many chicks. The heat circle becomes bigger as you raise it, so 2 lamps high will cover a bigger space for them.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    One light is plenty. I think you need to raise your light, but we need to know more about your set-up. How big is the area your chicks are in, and is it solid sided (wood) or open like wire? Do the chicks have enough room to move out from under the lamp into an area that's room/outside temp? Many folks keep the babies too warm. They should be draft free. Do you have a thermometer to check the temp under the light? You can also check with your hand, hold your hand just off the floor of the brooder directly under the light. It should be nicely warm but not hot. If your hand is too hot you're baking your chicks.
  7. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    they are in a 4x3 foot square box. chicken wire on the top. the light is actually about 18 inches above them(just checked). They have room to get out of the light and a little box to retreat into for bed time. I don't have a thermometer, I might be able to stop by after class tomorrow and grab one. I think a big problem I had was that they were on a concrete floor separated with only one sheet of newspaper, I put a throw rug down and some more newspaper on top of the rug so the chicks aren't in such close contact with the cold floor. I think they are happier now, they're moving about better at least, but still seem to favor directly under the light.

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