Getting chicks 3 Dec Need Help

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Marty Tom Ski, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Marty Tom Ski

    Marty Tom Ski Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 27, 2008
    We have never gotten chucks from the hatchery before. Just put in order and they will be here 3-4 Dec.
    What cna we expect ??? What I have I gotten my self in to??

    All thougths welcome
  2. Shiningfeather

    Shiningfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2009
    hill country texas
    If you don't have a brooder set up, now is the time to get working on it so it is up and running when your babies arrive. Make sure you have your heat lamp set up and keep a close check on temp in several locations in your brooder. You will need to have it at least 95 degrees for when they arrive but have an area in there that they can get cooler if need be. You should also check out this page for additional info you will need. And please ask lots of questions if you have them. Enjoy your babies when they arrive, they grow so fast.
  3. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    Be ready for a lot of nail biting from the moment they ship until you get the call that they are at your post office. Do not be surprised if you lose some chicks in shipping. If it is especially cold in shipping you may lose quite a few. With luck they will get to you quickly, did you use a close hatchery or one that is further away from you? It took my chicks 3 days to get to me last February and I only lost one. Other people have had better luck, some much worse. Winter is a hard time for shipping chicks due to the cold, mid summer is bad because of the heat, people have the best luck shipping chicks in mid-spring and early fall so you can keep that in mind for the next time you might order chicks.

    Make sure your brooder is up and running at optimal temp for when your chicks arrive, you want to get them into the heat as soon as possible. There are lots of threads on setting up and maintaining your brooder. Each one will have to have their beak dipped in the water and the food as you put them into the brooder box. Adding a small amount of molasses to the water will help give them extra energy and prevent pasty butt issues. Mix in just enough to make the water look like weak tea.

    Check every chick for pasty butt on a regular basis. Pasty butt is caused by stress and is a form of constipation. Sometimes it's an obvious chunk on the back end but sometimes it's a small enough bit of poop to only feel when you run your finger over their hind end. If they are pasting (getting poop stuck) you will need to remove it right away, and gently, with a warm wet cloth or under very warm running water for really stubborn blockages (try not to get the chick very wet!). Make sure the chick is fully dry when you let it go back into the brooder. Pasty butt can happen again and again for several days so be sure to check often. If a butt is left pasty it can kill the chick pretty quickly. When you remove the poop it will sometimes take fluff with it. That is OK, the feathers will grow in normally later, they just look funny with the bare butts. If the temp is good in your brooder the bare butt will not adversely affect them.

    Finally be ready for a lot of cuteness, constant little peeps and trills, lots of dust (if they are a living area especially), and a lot of poop! Be ready for your chicks to love you sometimes and be terrified of you others. You may even start to think sometimes that your chicks hate you, but it is temporary! Just wait until you can start introducing them to food bribes, I mean treats, and in the spring, the great outdoors!
  4. farmin'chick

    farmin'chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    Rocky Mount VA
    And, as soon as your brooder is ready, start on the coop! Yes, even before the chicks come! You'll want to spend all your spare time watching them -- construction is better done before they arrive!
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I would highly recommend finding some organic ACV (apply cider vinegar). It has to be the ACV that says on the label that it has "the mother" in it and for this you'll probably need to go to a health food store - the grocery store ACV usually does not have the mother in it so is not the right item. What I did for my chicks, is took a 2-cup measuring cup and filled it with water. To this I added a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of the ACV. This was the water I gave them for the first 24 hours after they arrive. It helps to give them a little boost to keep them healthy after the stress of being shipped. After the first 24 hours, offer them regular water, but once a week or so, add a little ACV to the water, to help boost their immune systems.

    I purchased a couple of plush toys at my local thrift store for 25c apiece, and put those in the brooder. In the first week, my chicks loved to burrow under them - I think it made them feel like they were safe under Mama Hen. Although the accepted wisdom is for new chicks to start out at 95 and reduce the temp by 5 degrees per week until they are fully feathered, my chicks seemed to find that a little warm. You will need to use a thermometer at the point where the heat lamp or light is shining, so that you get an accurate reading of what the chicks are actually feeling. Be prepared to adjust the light up or down depending on whether the chicks seem too warm or too cool. They will indicate they are cold by huddling together under the light and too warm by getting as far away from the light as possible. What you are looking for is chicks who are moving comfortably around. I would not put the food/water right under the light. For the first few days mine seemed happy with 95 but when it came time to reduce the temp to 90, they started indicating they were too warm. I ended up with approx the following:

    95 for first week
    85 for second week
    80 for third week
    75 during the day for the 4th week, no heat at night (to help them adjust to a "normal" day/night cycle)
    Outside after 4 weeks

    However I was not doing it in December, so you will likely need to keep yours inside a few weeks longer to ensure they are fully equipped to handle outdoor temps before you leave them outside full-time. To help them make the transition you will want to start with 1-2 hours on a sunny day, then gradually increase the time they are outdoors to allow them to slowly adjust to keeping themselves warm.

    Hope this helps and good luck!

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