First Time With Chicks!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Dobie, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Dobie

    Dobie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2010
    Hi - we currently have 5 backyard hens and will be getting another 5 chicks. I have some basic questions for you more experienced folks:

    1. Does it matter if the chicks are all different varieties (but all the same age). Will they get along worse than if they were all the same?
    2. Will a brooder made from a fairly large wire dog crate in our basement work okay? I have a red heat lamp and other supplies I was figuring on adding some chicken wire around the side to prevent escapism.
    3. We plan to keep the brooder in the basement for the moment. Does that sound reasonable? We are in Southern Oregon and temperatures outside range from around 60 - 90's outside right now.
    4. I was thinking at some point I could take the bottom tray off the crate and put it outside on the grass. At what age would that be okay?
    5. At what point can we put the chicks into the chicken run with the other ladies? Will it be like two different flocks or will they integrate?
    6. Is it okay for my kids to handle the chicks? They're 7 & 9 yrs old.


    Thank you!!!
     
  2. mystang89

    mystang89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2011
    Louisville
    Will a brooder made from a fairly large wire dog crate in our basement work okay? I have a red heat lamp and other supplies I was figuring on adding some chicken wire around the side to prevent escapism.

    I used the same type of dog cage and put chicken fence around the sides of it.......I found out chicks are small. They went through the chicken fence too. So I ended up getting cardboard and hardware clothe(I think thats the name of it) and putting it around the sides, back and front.​
     
  3. mystang89

    mystang89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2011
    Louisville
    Just read the rest of your post.
    1.) Don't know
    2.) Answered above
    3.) They are supposed to have their temp regulated between 95 - 100 for the first week and 5 degrees lower each week following.
    4.) I did that exact thing to my chicks when they were 2 days old. It was about 95 degrees outside and I just stayed out with them. They followed me....and my kids....and my wife...and even went to the dog, but I kept an eye on them. Should be ok I guess.
    5.) Mine are going onto 2 weeks. I have taken the dog cage and put it in the chicken run with the other chickens and let them get used to them. I took it out at night, put it back in the garage with the lamp over it and did it again the next day. No harm so far.
    6.) We had our 1 1/2 year old, 2 year old and 3 year old handling the chicks and they love them. Just make sure they are gentle and don't squeeze their heads off....or the poop out of them cause then you have to reclean your kids.
     
  4. larsonll

    larsonll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 13, 2011
    West Georgia
    1. Does it matter if the chicks are all different varieties (but all the same age). Will they get along worse than if they were all the same?

    Mine are all different varieties and do fine. The same age is key. The same breeds do seem to "flock together". I have 2 Marans and 2 Welsummers who stay together more, but my 5 EEs hang out with anyone. I have one gamefowl bantam who does just fine as a single breed too (and smaller).

    Will a brooder made from a fairly large wire dog crate in our basement work okay? I have a red heat lamp and other supplies I was figuring on adding some chicken wire around the side to prevent escapism.
    I used the same type of dog cage and put chicken fence around the sides of it.......I found out chicks are small. They went through the chicken fence too. So I ended up getting cardboard and hardware clothe(I think thats the name of it) and putting it around the sides, back and front.

    I completely agree. You will have a bit of a mess on your hands with shavings, though, and no hard sides.

    3. We plan to keep the brooder in the basement for the moment. Does that sound reasonable? We are in Southern Oregon and temperatures outside range from around 60 - 90's outside right now.

    I think the basement is fine, but if your temps are 60-90 and you have a covered, screened porch, you will acclimate them to outdoor temperature swings easier. But, I think chickens are pretty resilient and you will be fine with the basement.

    4. I was thinking at some point I could take the bottom tray off the crate and put it outside on the grass. At what age would that be okay?

    I put my chicks out on the grass in a wired pen when they were 2 weeks old. I've read posts where others have done this sooner. They love it. It is a hassle to catch them all and bring them back in, but if your crate is their brooder, you have a great set-up if you can get the tray back in...but they do scatter and it may be a bit of a hassle.

    5. At what point can we put the chicks into the chicken run with the other ladies? Will it be like two different flocks or will they integrate?

    I haven't done this but everything I read here and elsewhere says to wait until they are the same size. You can also partition your coop off and let each flock get used to each other and try to integrate.

    6. Is it okay for my kids to handle the chicks? They're 7 & 9 yrs old.

    My kids, aged 5 and 8, have handled and handled and handled our chicks. Mine are 5 weeks old. We introduced freeze dried mealworms (Happy Hen Treats) from TSC but other places have them, within the last 2 weeks, and what a change. The chicks are much more tolerant of being handled and eat out of our hands.

    Good luck! It's great fun!​
     
  5. laurabonitahopkins

    laurabonitahopkins Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2011
    Littleton, CO
    Quote:My kids, who are 4, 5 and 6, handled my chicks a ton - they were very good at being gentle, but of course we always supervised them when they held the chicks and were very clear about the rules!

    Enjoy your flock!
     

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