First time with chickies--crtique my set up

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by seashoreduck, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2013
    I've done ducks for years. I LOVED my ducks. But I have had so many predation problems and a theft. One day I will have ducks again--I need my lovely little Welshie back. So cute, so affectionate.

    My local feed store is getting

    Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock

    I'm getting 4 total on Jan 20.

    I need help figuring out when they need what. I know to start them at 95 then 5 degrees less every 7 days. I need help figuring out when they should go in each cage. I am in northern New England. April averages around 58 degrees, which is when I hope to put them out. They will be near the house and around 8-10 weeks old. We keep the house at 65

    Coops-

    Coop 1 (indoor, heat lamp)
    16x18 Tupperware bin

    Coop 2 (indoor, heat lamp)
    20x20x8in mesh cage

    Coop 3 (indoor, no supp. heat)
    30x30x12in mesh cage

    Coop 4 (outdoor)+ free range
    2 story 30x60 with an enclosed upper home (nesting box)

    Coop 5 (outdoor, coop 4 goes in)+ free range
    8 foot x 8 foot walk in


    Supplies:

    (need)
    Food suggestions
    --I am guessing Blue Seal Home Fresh Medicated Chick starter https://blueseal.com/product/?id=129&species=Poultry&search=true

    Save-a-chick Probiotic/Save-a-chick Electrolyte (for the ducks I alternated these in supplemental waterer every other day) How long should I do this for? How many do I need for 4 birds?

    1- 1 pint crumble dispenser

    have-
    mealworms
    Brooder lamp
    2-1 quart watering containers
    pine shavings

    EDIT- also any tips for making them as friendly as possible.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    If you plan to use a brooder heat lamp, just know that it can be very difficult to keep plastic storage tub brooders from overheating. The 'start at 95 and then drop the temp 5 degrees each week' is a rough starting guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. The cooler you keep the chicks, the faster they feather in, and the sooner they don't need heat at all.
    A general guide for chick space needs is as follows
    1 week - 1/4 sq ft per chick
    2 weeks - 1/2 sq ft
    3 weeks - 1 sq ft
    4 weeks - 2 sq ft
    5 weeks - 4 sq ft
    6 weeks - 8 sq ft
    After that, they will be starting to establish their pecking order, and will be ready for adult sort of living conditions. Adult birds need at least 4 sq ft of coop space and 10 sq ft of run space per bird. Barred Rocks tend to need a bit more elbow room than some breeds. They get really grumpy when kept confined in too small of a coop/run. Your outdoor coop is too small for the number of birds you plan on.
    Coop 1 and 2 are suitable till about 2 weeks.
    Coop 3 will hold them till week 3.
    Or you can brood them from the start outside.
    Electrolyte mix in the water is good for when they first arrive, but isn't required. Chick starter should contain the appropriate probiotics, so no need to add them in the water as well.
    Also, there are ways to keep chicks warm without using heat lamps.
     
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  3. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I cannot start them outside. It's currently 8 degrees out and it's going to get colder. Should I just get 2 birds then? If so--one of each or which ones? I read the Plymouth Rocks are much friendlier, and in the end cold hardy, friendly and good layer (egg size doesn't matter) are what I'm looking for.

    I can skip brooder 1. I didn't really love the idea but it means I can keep them in the living room which stays closer to the 65 that I aim to keep the house (sometimes it's even 67-69) The back room, where they will be kept the most is around 60-62. Alternatively as they age I can use coop 2 and 3 at the same time. They can do a week or 2 in the basement (around 55) to adjust, too.

    I can ditch the heat lamp...I'm borrowing it from a friend and I can get something else.

    Is my food sufficient per probiotics and antibiotics? If I don't need to deal with the save a chick stuff I'd be really happy.

    I kept my ducks at 90 and dropped it a degree every days....can I do the same with chickens?

    They will have a lot of time to free range, their wee coop(coop 4) is meant to turn into a brooding box and their big coop is a screen house (coop 5). They have a backyard that is more or less fenced off that's around a quarter acre that they will get access to while it's light out. I also have an old rabbit hutch (2x4) that can be used as a brooding box that can go in the 8x8 screen house.

    One last edit-- the 8x8 screen house is also 8 feet tall, so I can give them some latteral room in the form of roosts if that would help
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    I think you may be a bit confused with terms. Chickens need a secure, well ventilated shelter to roost at night. This is what we call the coop. It needs to be secure against nighttime predators. The coop is for sleeping. Nesting boxes are for laying eggs in, and can be placed anywhere you want them. The run is a fenced in daytime area.
    Sav-A-Chick is good to have on hand for shipped chicks that may be chilled or stressed from shipping, but it doesn't need to be a regular thing. Antibiotics should never be a general practice. Do you mean medicated feed? That's not antibiotics, that's a thiamine blocker to help prevent a coccidia outbreak.
    For alternative brooding methods, check out this thread.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Also, if space is an issue, do not get Barred Rocks.
     
  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My brooder set up was a bathtub with the heat lamp hanging off of the shower rod. Not fancy but it was just for a few weeks. As far as heat I just watched the chicks' behavior to know if they were too warm or cold. If they're huddled under the lamp, they're cold. If they're all staying as far away from it as possible, too hot. By 5 weeks or so I couldn't stand having them in the bathroom any longer and moved them outside, so make sure you have your outdoor set up ready before then!

    Your chick crumble should be fine, I didn't do medicated but that's your call. I did end up with a case of Cocci later and had to treat that.

    If you're going to treat them with mealworms or anything else beside their crumble, it's a good idea to offer chick grit as well. Since you want them to be friendly you'll want to handle them regularly and treats are a great way to get them to associate you with good things.
     
  7. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh gosh, I do have my terms wrong, I think.

    I have 2 indoor chicken holders, one 2feet x2feet and 8 inches high, the other 30 inches by 30 inches and a foot high.

    I have a really nice 8ft x 8ft x 8ft pen that has predator proof enclosure that's hardware cloth with a chicken wire top. I plan to put the 30x36in x 2 story cage in there along with the 2x4 rabbit coop if needed. That is where they will be at night. By day they have a 1/2 acre.

    I'll look at the supplemental heat options, thanks
    Nesting boxes--I only have the 36x30x2 story and the 2x4 rabbit hutch
    Coop-my safe nighttime I have a 8 foot by 8 foot by 8 foot hardware cloth locking open-air structure. I can add lateral roosts if needed.
    Run- I have the small run that's about 4 yards by 4 yards for times I can't be outside or near the back of the house and I have an 1/2 acre of cleared land with grass, garden (that I don't tend) dirt, gravel and sand in various places. That's what I meant by "free range" I also have about 5 acres of woods...but I have those *mostly* fenced off with garden fencing.

    I'm confused what the space refers to...would that be enough for 2 barred and 2 RI reds? Should I just get reds?
    I did something similar with my ducks as far as heat. They actually only seemed to want heat for the first week and a half. After that they were not interested supplemental heat one bit. I don't like the idea of medicated food, which is why I picked ducks over chickens my first two go rounds. I was told that chickens need the meds. If I don't then I won't get the medded food. If I don't do medded should I buy probiotic water supplement then?

    Outdoor set up is still there from the ducks and it's cleaned out.

    Is there a thread on making the chicks as friendly as possible? I work from home so I can literally handle and have the kids I tutor handle them all day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm confused on your nest boxes, chicken nest boxes are usually just big enough to fit an adult hen in, the ones you say you have seem far larger than needed.

    All medicated chick feed does is provide amprolium (sp?) to prevent coccidiosis which is a parasitic disease. Like I said I ended up having to treat my flock for it later but it doesn't mean they'll for sure get it if you don't use medicated feed.

    Up to you if you want to do probiotics like Sav a chick. It's not hard to use and I figure it doesn't hurt to provide, but nothing is an absolute requirement.
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    The coop refers to the predator, wind, and weather proof shelter. You need a minimum of 4 sq ft per bird. Open air, fenced pens (like your 8 by 8 space) are runs. You need at least 15 sq ft per bird, for Barred Rocks. Neither your little coop nor the hutch will be appropriate housing for more than two chickens of any breed. I suggest you build an appropriately sized coop before you get chicks.

    Chicks do not need medicated feed. It just makes for one less thing to worry about. All chick starters, medicated or unmedicated, should provide the appropriate probiotics. If you choose not to feed medicated feed, be sure to have something on hand to treat coccidia.
     
  10. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am so confused on space.

    I have an 8x8 open air "run" this is 64 square feet--which is *technically* enough run for 5 birds (64- 2sqft for a bird =54 feet= 5 regular chickens) I want 2-4 so this is more than enough for 4. I now understand barred have extra needs.

    I have a 2x4 enclosed rabbit hutch that is 8 square feet....I'm not taking that away from the sqft of run because the ducks went on top and I imagine the chickens would too.
    I have a 30in by 3 foot duck loft that's part of the old duck house. It's a 2 story structure that's 30in by 5 feet....so it, again, doesn't contribute to loss of square foot of the run. That is 7.5 feet of enclosed space.

    So I have 15.5 feet of enclosed space, which I could make to 19 feet if I enclosed the remainder of the "upstairs" 2 story duck pen. This should be enough for 3 chickens, I see how it would of been a squeeze for 4. So, 3 chickens it is.

    I'll post a picture of it below.

    [​IMG]

    I am still not seeing why you are so hard on my space. I need a bit more indoor space--but only a bit and that's only if I get 4 birds. 2 barred (30ft) and 2 RI's (20) would still have plenty of room in an 64ft run. I'll get 1 barred and 2 RI which would be 35 minimum needed. I have nearly twice that. I'm not trying to squeeze the most chickens into the smallest space. And again, they are going to be primarily free range. The run is predator proof unlike most runs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017

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