First time with baby chicks: I am a nervous wreck!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SweetSilver, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. I am not cut out for this. I am stressing out so much I can't even think. My garage is drafty, most chicks look good, but 2 have died already. We just picked them up this morning.

    The rest seem to be doing well, just in the last 2 seconds because I keep checking on them. I cannot seem to function. Is it too drafty? Too hot under the lamps, but not hot enough the rest? Oh my lord, am I going to wake up to them dead and gone?

    Brooding them under the hens was so much easier than this.

    I think I'm going to have a heart attack.


    Well, thanks for reading this post. Good to meet everyone!

  2. bnjrob

    bnjrob Crowing

    Dec 31, 2008
    North TX
    What is the temperature in the chick's brooder? Do you have a warming light on them?
  3. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    Do they have walls around them or wire? Are they right under the light? Are they loud or quiet? What type of bulb are you using?

  4. Charleymitchell

    Charleymitchell In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2012
    Lakeland, Florida
    Just keep it at 95 degrees and they should be good.. Some chicks will die. I had only 3 die out of 250 and it was super cold when I got my Chicks a few years ago.. I'm getting some in May! I'm going nuts waiting lol! Getting some turkeys too! :p

    Your chickies should be fine they will huddle under the lamp if cold and move away if to hot. :) Good luck!

  5. BirdyMe

    BirdyMe Songster

    Some chicks just die, and there's no helping it. However, if possible, move them to an area that's not quite as drafty.

    Don't stress out too much. ;)

    And by the way, welcome to BYC!
  6. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    90-95 Degrees is a good temp for them.

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  7. Thanks for all your replies.

    I finally got the perfect configuration between the two lamps-- incandescent heat lamps, very spotty IMO. Too far apart and they were letting in the drafts in between. It's hard to gauge temp with my thermometers-- I think just by watching the chicks it helped me decide what is the right temp, even though the hottest spot registers 100 degrees. I have that lamp warmer, the other is a little higher and the hottest spot registers 90 on that side. I used cardboard and duct tape to make the ends a little closer in, and clothespinned towels on the drafty ends. There seems to be plenty of good places to warm up or cool down.

    Now the remaining chicks seem more active, I think I've gotten through the worst of the initial deaths. One more splay-legged rock bantam (all bantams, but this one is tiny) His legs are bandaged and he's standing, but he languishes in his little quiet time box, but gets trampled with the others (15 others.) Last check he was warming up under the warmer side.

    I am starting to calm down. I thought I was going to explode with stress cooking dinner. My girls were very upset with my distractedness and stress and that did not help. But finally, the lamps/temp. started coming together. Then I had to figure out how the outside cats I normally feed in the garage were going to get fed. Sigh! It never ends.

    Well, first day jitters. I do prefer the hen method. I have two grand old Buff Orp dames who are reliably broody (boy are they ever!) We wouldn't have purchased chicks this early, but we need them for the fair in August. Also, this is why we are raising them as the hen-brooded chicks were not approachable--pretty much a requirement for showing.

    Next time I'll have more time to look around here.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012

  8. Update: the dying has stopped (phew!) and we have 17 little chicks and one big one we call Big Boy (a blue cochin) and 3 other breeds we scooped up accidentally. 3 out of 4 of the silver-penciled rocks died :( I ordered with our 4-H poultry leader. He ordered 50 mixed standards and I ordered 15 bantams. We got 100 birds! It was so cold it was snowing a bit and I was having trouble warming up the brooder. I think the high death toll was a combination of being transplanted twice and the sheer number of birds (it was the tiniest that ultimately died for the most part.)

    Has anyone ever heard of getting *35* extra chicks? Crazy. His brooder was overwhelmed.

    Now I am more relaxed and in my element. I set up some tiny perches for them to play on and am chopping up kale and dandelions for them to scratch. I had to lay down paper towels because they kept eating the wood shavings, especially the two cochins we call Flyer and Buckbeak.

    When can I stop worrying about them ingesting too many wood shavings? The paper towels are going fast. And they are more likely to eat the droppings. Thankfully their crumble, some grit and the chopped greens give them something to do.

    So, finally, we are enjoying ourselves. They are so hilarious. They remind me of the ward from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Little Crown, the bonus Sultan, keeps pecking at dots on the cardboard walls. Tiny Belgian D'Anvers keep leaping up to peck at Big Boy's dark patches on his beak. They keep running around, stopping and falling into a narcoleptic sleep. [​IMG] Now I just need a recliner and some free time.

    Anyway, feeling much better.
  9. damselfish

    damselfish Songster

    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    Glad things are going better for you, they sound very cute. Some do die sometimes in that first day or two and there's just not a lot to be done about it. Good luck with the fair!

  10. Repeat after me, "Om Mani Padma Hum" Raising chicks should be fun and relaxing. Remember OldGuy43's mantra, "Chickens have been doing this for 1000's of years without my help. Chickens have been doing this for 1000's of years without my help. Chickens have been doing this for 1000's of years without my help..."


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