Have I doomed my chicks already?


In the Brooder
Feb 18, 2015
Western Maine
So we ordered 8 barred rock from the local farm supply. The order form said they'd be in "around the 13th" and they would call when they arrived.

The 13th came and went with no phone call.

I was at work today, but DH was home. A call came in around 9 AM, but the number was for a different store - not the Farmer's Union. Since he is on a tight deadline right now (works from home), DH didn't answer.

Big mistake.

Turns out the Farmer's Union also owns the equipment rental store across the street, and that's who called. Our chicks came in this morning.

Of course by the time we figured this out it was 5:30 at night and they're closed.

My question is - since we won't be there till tomorrow morning (promptly at 7 AM when they open!!), will our chicks all have perished?? A friend got chickens from their local co-op in another state, and told me stores don't typically feed or water them or anything, since they expect you to get them same day.

I feel terrible. :(
Oh thank god. I just couldn't imagine that - it sounds so cruel! But since that was her experience I just took her word for it.
I work at of those type of stores and we have a lot of brooding boxes with lights, feeders and water for them all (even special order). I would imagine they are the same.
Ok, when you get the chicks, they are going to be travel stressed. At the time you pick them up, get a small bottle of Poultry Nutri-Drench, Pet Nutri-Drops or Goat Nutri-Drench by Bovidr Labs. If they are severely travel stressed, it will compromise their ability to digest any helps you give them. These Bovidr Labs formulas mainline directly into the bloodstream. Measurable in the bloodstream in 30 minutes with 99% utilization. Created by a cattle breeder. . Give each chick one drop only by mouth. Repeat as needed the next 8-10 hours. Use these directions regardless of which formula you choose. Tho they are species-specific they also meet the scientific standard for a universal dose. Then put 2 ml per gallon in their water. or the next 2 weeks. ( my treated water looks like very weak tea). No need to give them electrolytes, Just this. It will get them off to strong start. I have used these products on my poultry and collies for over a decade. Top flight all natural. Excellent emergency nutritional supplement for combating stress of any kind. http://www.nutridrench.com Last season we raised 42 Light Sussex chicks on the Goat Nutri-Drench using the Poultry instructions. No sickness, no deaths. I wrote this a while back: How to Deal With Travel Stress in Baby Chicks
Best Success,
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So we picked up the chicks Friday and like everyone said, they were fed, watered, etc. Nothing to worry about there.

They're now eating, drinking, and seem quite spunky when they're not sleeping in a pile.

I do have two questions -

1) How much is an acceptable amount of pecking? Every now and then one chick will peck another, usually when space is at a premium (under the heat lamp or at the feeding tray). Is this okay? There is plenty of room for the pecked chick to get away from the perpetrator - their brooder is much larger than needed for just 8 chicks.

2) Today they have become fascinated with pecking/scratching down through the shavings to the small bits of sawdust/filings at the bottom of the pen. They then spend a long time all pecking away at the filings and, I presume, ingesting some. Is this ok? Do I need to supply grit as they're essentially eating wood fiber?
Unless they eat a lot of the wood shavings they should be fine. If you are worried they might eat too much, you can give them as small dish of chick grit. They might not need the grit, but it won't hurt them if you offer it. A feeder should be big enough for at least half your chicks to eat from at the same time. If it's really crowded around the feeder, you can add a second one. The heat lamp should be low enough to warm about half the brooder.
Think I solved most of the problem. Moved them into a much larger enclosure, and gave them additional trays of feed. Removed the feeder that had holes for their heads and they seem much happier. Even though we lose more feed to the scratching, it seems to be important for them to do that. I'd rather have them scratch at feed than obsess over sawdust.

Haven't noticed anymore pecking except for, perhaps, one chick who might be "bossy." This one will head for the heat lamp and even if there's only one other chick underneath, will sometimes sidle up to that lone chick and peck it. Bully?

Problem is it's so hard to tell them apart I can't be sure it's the same one haha. Will keep an eye out for any worsening of the pecking habit. Overall though it's vastly reduced since making the changes above.
I took that part of my feeder off, too. They will waste a lot of food, but they eat more. I also had a bully. She would grab their toes & drag them. She did outgrow it & is not the boss hen. As long as they don't draw blood, they should be fine. Have fun with your babies!

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