Gimme any ADVICE you have for chicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by little farmer, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Mkay, so I ordered three baby chicks from my feed store. The thing is, they're all gonna be a week apart. Well, it's confusing. Let's put it this way, my feed store is selling certain breeds on certain dates, and the breeds that I'm getting didn't all come on the same date, so I'm getting one every week. This is the schedule:
    March 21st- My Buff Orp comes
    March 28th- My EE comes
    April 4th- My Barred Rock comes.
    So, these are my questions:
    1. Do I feed my chicks medicated feed, or normal feed??? Is there a better???
    2. What is the temperature the brooder supposed to be at??
    3. At how old should I introduce them (my chicks) to my three other big girls??
    4. Should I move them to my garage when they're too big for the house, but too small for outdoors?
    5. Will my BO and BR get along? If not, what should I do?

    Thank you soooo much in advance!!! -little farmer
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

  2. Medicated is supposed to prevent cocci.
  3. Aquaman05

    Aquaman05 Chirping

    May 2, 2012
    I always feed medicated until I see my first egg
    I also add some oats to the feed along with apple cider viniger to the water seems to help with pasty butt
  4. tommysgirl

    tommysgirl Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    You didn't ask about this and I am new to the chicken game but I wanted to say that I just feel like if you can swing it you may want to give that first chick a little company and pick up two more chicks when you pick up your Buff Orp. Chickens are flock creatures and need buddies for companionship and for warmth. You can probably find a home quite easily for the 4th and 5th once they are fully feathered and out of the brooder but I just feel like your singleton will do so much better if she has some little friends.

    Maybe others with more experience can weigh in here. I only know that in doing my own research over the last year or so I have learned that many breeders won't sell singletons at any age and many feed stores won't either because chickens like to have friends.

    I have also heard that bringing them all together should wait till they are the same size or else the older ones can kill the younger ones but I have no personal experience with this so far.
  5. peacemaam

    peacemaam In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2013
    Minot, ND
    Sorry I don't have an answer for you but I was going to ask the exact same thing!! I mean you.want to brood them together but what about the temp. Decreasing/ food changing and all if that?!

  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    If you buy one chick at a time the first chick will be lonely and will demand lots of attention from you until the next one arrive.

    1. Medicated chick starter helps prevent coccidiocis, which is a serious concern. It's up to you which feed to give, but I'd personally go for a medicated one.
    2. 95* for the first week and lower by ± 5* each week after until they are fully feathered. I think in your case it would be better to put the heat lamp on the side of the brooder, so there is a warm spot and a cooler area where the chicks can hang out and leave it like that until the youngest chick is about 1 week old, then start raising the lamp. Also watch the chick's behaviour. It will let you know if it's too hot, too cold or comfortable.
    3. Preferably when they are about the same size as your older chickens. I.e. when they are around 4 months old. In the meantime if you can keep them within sight of the older hens it would make introduction easier when the time comes as they won't be "strangers".
    4. Chicks need approx 1.5 sqf per chick brooder space if you are keeping them in there for 6 weeks, by which time they should be fully feathered. In your situation I'd suggest setting up a good size brooder in the garage and leave them in there until the youngest one is fully feathered and they can all go out.
    5. If they grow up together they should get along.

    Enjoy your chickens!
  7. Thank you so much everyone!!! Also, I was reading in a book and saw that their water (for chicks) had some things in it. I think it was electrolytes and something else. Should I put things in my chicks' water??? Also, when they're fully feathered out, but not quite adults yet (like teenagers) I was thinking that I would divide the run in half, and keep the big girls on one half, and the other three chicks on the other half. The chicks will have a shelter while they're in the other half, but I was thinking of doing that for a month or two so they'll get used to each other. Do you think that'll work???

    Also, tommysgirl, yes, I know that chicks are flock animals, and that they'll need a buddy, but there isn't anyone around here that wants two more chicks. We live in a development that isn't supposed to have any farm animals, but we're not apart of the homeowner's association, so finding a new home for the two other chicks would be a toughie. Also, I'm homeschooled, so I will be giving it lots of attention. I'm gonna stick a mirror and stuffed animal in there to keep it company until the EE gets here. I know someone here on BYC (well I don't know them personally) but they raised a single chick, and they did fine!! Thanks for the concern though. :)
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  8. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    As long as the outside shelter is predator proof, they should be fine in their half of the run until they're big enough to meet your big girls.
    I keep a pack of poultry vitamins on hand (a little goes a long way, and I've had the same pack FOREVER- the whole 8+ years I've been keeping chickens) I use this for chicks, but some sugar or a little Gatorade in their water will pep them up just as well.
    I ended up hatching a lone chicky last year. I did the mirror and stuffed animal thing too. The little bird was just fine (if not a little vain from constantly checking itself out in the mirror :gig ). Another good idea is a feather duster. Its SO cute to watch them snuggle up to it and crawl in and out of it just like they would a momma hen :love
    Good luck with your new peepers!
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  9. Yep!!! My dad and I are constructing a new coop for my new hens, and my original ones. The first coop they were in is NOT suitable for six hens, not even three. I used to have four, and one died of breaking her neck. I have no idea how though. :( Anyways, my other BR (Junior (she's the one who died) was a banty BR) got really lonely even though she had her two other sisters, so I got them a mirror stuck it in their coop, and LOOOOVE it. It's so funny to see them look at themselves in there. XD Oh cute!! A feather duster!! I will definitely try that!! We have so many, and never ever use them!!
    One other question-- When the chicks are in their side of the half, should I build them like a little makeshift shelter or warm area?? (I'm really hoping to build this coop) but if you look at the left end, the big girls will have a warm area, and the chicks would be out in the run. So, should I get them a little something to cuddle in at night???

  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You’ll find that we do all kinds of different things as far as chickens go. We keep them under so many different conditions and use so many different management techniques there is usually no one right way for all of us or no better way. It’s more of a case of which way works for us as individuals in our unique situations.

    1. Do I feed my chicks medicated feed, or normal feed??? Is there a better???

    People do it both ways. The medicine in the medicated feed is probably Amprolium. Amprolium is not an antibiotic. Its sole purpose is to reduce the reproduction of coccidiosis organisms in the chickens gut. It does not kill all the organisms, just helps keep the numbers under control. The damage and danger from coccidiosis comes when the total numbers of that organism get large. Having a few in their system does not hurt them and allows them to develop immunity to that strain. Chicks can develop immunity to coccidiosis strains easier than adults. There are different strains of coccidiosis. Immunity to one strain does not give immunity to all strains. Wet is a huge danger with coccidiosis. That organism thrives in wet manure. Keeping your brooder, coop, and run dry is a huge preventative. When the weather sets in wet it can be really hard to keep a run dry, but you should be able to manage a brooder and hopefully a coop.

    The coccidiosis organism lives in the ground. Your chicks will be exposed to any strains that are in your ground when they first come in contact with the ground. That could be in the brooder or it could be when they are older and have left the brooder. Feeding them the Amprolium-medicated does absolutely no harm, but unless that organism is present it does no good either.

    One strategy that works pretty well is to feed medicated feed while they are in the brooder and keep feeding it until three weeks after they have come in contact with the ground.

    I do it differently. I take dirt from the run where the adult chickens are and feed it to the chicks Day 2 or 3. This introduces any probiotics or organisms the adults have to the chicks. They are going to get hit with all this when they join the flock anyway. I prefer them to be exposed when they are young chicks in the brooder where I can watch them. I do not feed medicated feed but keep the brooder pretty dry. I’m not a fanatic about keeping it bone dry. A small amount of damp manure in there helps them share probiotics and other organisms and makes sure all are exposed. But I don’t let it get wet either.

    A warning with this. Some strains of coccidiosis are stronger than others. It’s possible even with medicated feed that the numbers of the coccidiosis organisms can get large enough with some strains to cause problems. Medicated feed is a huge help, but it does not always prevent it. And if you see it developing to the point the chicks are being harmed by it, medicated feed does not cure it. The dosage in medicated feed is a preventative, not a treatment.

    2. What is the temperature the brooder supposed to be at??

    Sumi gave you the rule of thumb a lot of people use but I ignore that. The starting point for that rule of thumb should be somewhere between 90 and 95F. It does not have to be that precise.

    When a broody raises a chick she does not raise the temperature of everything n that chick’s environment to one perfect temperature. She provides a warm place for the chick to go when it gets cold. I use the same principle. My brooder is in the coop and is big enough that I can keep one area warm and let the rest cool off as it will. It has a good draft guard and good ventilation. By keeping one area warm enough and allowing the rest to cool off, the chicks can find their own comfort zone. I‘d go bonkers trying to keep an entire brooder one perfect temperature. The chicks usually stick fairly close to the heat the first two or three days but they are soon playing all over that brooder. They don’t really have a comfort zone. They play all over and go to the heat to warm up when they need to. I think it helps them feather out faster and get acclimated to cooler temperatures too so they can go without heat earlier than chicks raised in your subtropical house.

    3. At how old should I introduce them (my chicks) to my three other big girls??

    This depends a whole lot on your set-up and situation. I think how much space you have is a huge factor in this. Chickens have learned to live together in a flock. One way they do this especially during integration or when some are a lot weaker than others such as when they are less mature is that the weaker runs away from the stronger or just avoids them to start with. They need enough room to run away or avoid. I’ve had a broody wean her chicks at three weeks. Those chicks were totally on their own with the rest of the flock and they did fine. I do not recommend you do it this young. That’s just taking too much of a chance for me. Other people do it at younger ages but I usually let my brooder raised chicks roam with the flock at 8 weeks. They have been raised in the coop or in a grow-out coop where the adults can see them from day 1 and they have a lot of room. They go back to their grow-out coop to roost. I generally don’t move them to roosting in the main coop until they are at least 12 weeks old. I also provide several feeding and watering stations so they can eat without challenging the older chickens.

    If you don’t have enough room for them to run away and avoid the older ones, yes, they need to be a lot older when you integrate them. Even if you wait until they are laying, the more space you can provide the easier this process will go.

    4. Should I move them to my garage when they're too big for the house, but too small for outdoors?

    I have no idea what your garage is like. If you have electricity there and you can keep one area in the brooder warm enough, you can put them there from Day 1. Or you can transition them to the garage at any age if you can provide for their basic needs. Remember, I start them in the coop.

    5. Will my BO and BR get along? If not, what should I do?

    Nobody can tell you for sure. They are living animals and anything can happen. They may be best buddies from the start. The older may kill the younger. Many people mix chicks two weeks apart in age and things go great. Occasionally you have a disaster.

    If the older starts pecking the younger and trying to kill it, you need to separate them but it really helps if they can still see each other. I suggest figuring out how to keep them both in the brooder. By two weeks that chick can fly so whatever you do to separate them, remember the older chick can fly. You might put a fence in your brooder to make separate sections or maybe make a cage out of hardware cloth or something like that to put over the younger chick that can hold food and water. After a week you can try to let them get together. It may work or you may need to do it again.

    I agree with the others. You should pick up an extra chick with the first one. You can put a stuffed animal, maybe hang a dust mop, or put a mirror in with it to try to keep it company, but that chick is likely to be making some real sad plaintive sounds when it is alone. They are social animals from the start.

    Good luck!
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