Good morning from a newbie with LOTS of questions!!!

Ana Robin

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 29, 2014
62
7
71
Hi, all! Glad to be a new member to this truly awesome community. I've been browsing around here for a few days, trying to collect my thoughts for questions. I just purchased several different breeds of pullets. This is definitely my first rodeo! I have a few quick questions.

1.) My chicks are 2 and 3 weeks old. the older ones seem to be shying away from being held. Is this normal? Also, they like to peck at me now. The Jersey Giant actually pinched me pretty hard with her beak. What am I doing wrong???

2.) I switched over to an organic starter and they are all turning their noses up at it but will eat the original stuff (Nutrena?) no problem. I really need to get them switched over to this improved feed. Any ideas as to how I can accomplish this?

3.) Are mealworms okay for the chicks? I've read a couple of schools of thought on this. Some say go right ahead because that's what mama hen does... others say don't do it. My Jersey Giant, Golden Campine and White Orpington love to eat tiny mealworms. The others... not so much. I do provide chick grit with the worms.

4.) We are about to build the coop. Is chain link an acceptable run material, or do we need one with smaller holes?

and finally...

5.) My Barred Rock seems to be developing a comb. Is there a definitive way to tell whether or not it is a roo? My child is going to be more bummed the longer we wait to know because we cannot keep a rooster where we live. Sigh... this is one of the sweeter large chicks.

Many, many thanks, in advance!!!

Ana
 

Ana Robin

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 29, 2014
62
7
71
Okay, so I've already messed up and started asking questions in the wrong area... so sorry.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow And Welcome To BYC! Be sure to check out the Learning Center, lots of great articles on chicken keeping you might find helpful https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center There are a number of nice articles on socializing or taming chicks in the Raising Chicks section... patience is the key with chicks, handle them often and gently, they do get used to it, they do go through stages as they age where they are more or less accepting / happy about being held.

Mix the new food with the old food, usually like 1/4 to 3/4 then more new food every day for a couple of weeks, that should get them used to it gradually. If the food is in really different types or shapes, you can wet it down a little to make it more a mash to get them started on it. If the food is in pellets it does take chicks awhile sometimes to get used to that idea if they were eating crumbles.

Some people prefer to wait until the chicks are older, and like any treats be sure to limit the number so you don't unbalance their diet, but as long as they get grit, they should be find with a few mealworms, they do make really good bribes.

With the chain link, it would depend on your area and the predators. Raccoons can reach through chain link so some people like to make sure the bottom is lined with hardware cloth.... if you have mink/weasels are another reason for hardware cloth... you might want to check your state thread to see what people in your area are dealing with https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/270925/find-your-states-thread

You might want to post pictures of your BR in the What Breed Or Gender Is This forum for help figuring out wha tyou have https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/15/what-breed-or-gender-is-this
 

cstronks

Songster
6 Years
Mar 12, 2013
747
89
166
New Jersey
1.) My chicks are 2 and 3 weeks old. the older ones seem to be shying away from being held. Is this normal? Also, they like to peck at me now. The Jersey Giant actually pinched me pretty hard with her beak. What am I doing wrong???

You're doing nothing wrong. Chicks are both curious and resilient because they want to explore and eat. I would feed them more out of your hand so that they develop a good connection with you as providing food. I would also hold them more until the point where they just accept being held. Of my flock currently, less than half enjoy being held, and some of them won't let me grab them at all. They're more than a year old now, but it is interesting to see how chickens develop and particularly don't like things compared to other birds.

2.) I switched over to an organic starter and they are all turning their noses up at it but will eat the original stuff (Nutrena?) no problem. I really need to get them switched over to this improved feed. Any ideas as to how I can accomplish this?

Nutrena isn't a bad feed, and a medicated Nutrena or Purina can be very good for chicks. You're going to have to mix, and if they really don't like the new organic feed, then you have to just feed nutrena. Risking their nutrition at a critical stage of development isn't worth it just to say they eat organic feed. Wait until they are pullets and are older, because it is much easier to switch feeds then, and will have less impact on their health.

3.) Are mealworms okay for the chicks? I've read a couple of schools of thought on this. Some say go right ahead because that's what mama hen does... others say don't do it. My Jersey Giant, Golden Campine and White Orpington love to eat tiny mealworms. The others... not so much. I do provide chick grit with the worms.

Mealworms are ok. You can feed small snacks to the chick now, but I would avoid fruits when they are chicks. Things like warm oats and mealworms will do. Be sure that you are not overdoing the treats, as that could be attributed to your feed problems and also have a negative impact on their diet.

4.) We are about to build the coop. Is chain link an acceptable run material, or do we need one with smaller holes?

Chain link works well for coop runs. For added protection, you can add hardware cloth as Kelsie2290 suggested. If you have snakes in your area, then chain link could be a problem, but other than that it works.

and finally...

5.) My Barred Rock seems to be developing a comb. Is there a definitive way to tell whether or not it is a roo? My child is going to be more bummed the longer we wait to know because we cannot keep a rooster where we live. Sigh... this is one of the sweeter large chicks.

Post a picture and get a second opinion. That is the best way to find out what gender the bird is. Early combs don't necessarily mean that the bird is a roo, however it is a good indicator. Roos will have thicker legs, stand taller, and have smaller tails. If your child is young, you can try and swap the bird under his/her nose, but that might not work.
 
Last edited:

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,882
61,404
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello and welcome to BYC!

Chicks are naturally scared of the hand that comes into the brooder. They are animals that get preyed upon. But just keep handling them. Get them out on the living room floor, carry them around the house, ect...just handle them a lot. They will get better as time goes on. By the time they head out to the coop, they will be really bonded with you. When they become full grown hens, all that work will pay off as hens can be very sweet. This is when the lovin starts. They will stalk you for goodies and a nice soft lap in no time.

Chicks and chickens are leary of new food. You might mix in some of the old stuff to get them eating it. Eventually they will eat what ever you put in front of them.

I would go easy on the meal worms on small babies. Chicks can confuse meal worms for toes and can start a bad habit of toe picking. So you might hold off till they are a bit older. Always offer up grit when you add other foods besides starter feed. Parakeet grit is fine.

X3 on the hardware cloth. Nothing can chew thru it as they can thru chicken wire. Stay way from chicken wire in places that predators can enter.

You have been left with a link to the learning center. Lots of great articles you might want to read there.

Enjoy this new adventure and welcome to our flock!
 
Top Bottom