Help with raising chicks!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by callen0912, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. callen0912

    callen0912 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wanting to get as much info as I can before actually having chicks in hand. I've done a good bit of thinking, and I think my kids will get way more out of this experience if we go with chicks instead of hens who lay right off the bat. I've done a little research on the topic. I know a rubber tote with bedding works well for housing, of course the heat lamp and a thermometer, waterer and feeder, chick starter feed, and some sort of mesh to put over he top of the tote to keep chicks from escaping are the essentials. Anything else I need? Also, where do you all recommend keeping the tote? I've talked with a friend of mine who has hens, and she says its best to use a spare room as they are dusty and messy. The house were in we do not have a spare room, but some dead space in our living room. Also, any other tips you all have learned that you would like to share I would greatly appreciate that as well! Thanks in advance everyone!
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Keep them where you can. Just remember that they will get bigger quick and you will need some sort of coop to house them. I suggest to start with small numbers. I personally would wait till warmer weather. Don't know region where you are at. This way you are able to introduce outdoor sooner and keeping at home does not require heatlamps. This is my opinion for my circumstances. Most feed stores sell baby chicks, so that would be your best option. Cash and carry the quantity you desire. Hatcheries are for more advanced peeps that want larger volume, and are set up for such. Consider forking over a larger chunk of change for those orders. WISHING YOU THE BEST IN YOUR NEW ENDEAVOR.
    AND OF COURSE [​IMG]
     
  3. callen0912

    callen0912 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much for the reply! As I said I haven't gotten any chicks yet, just trying to figure out the best way to go about it before hand. My friend who has them also suggested waiting till early spring and getting them then. My concern is if they will be ready for winter, as she told me many people get them now so that they will be full feathered by winter. Do you think 3-4 will be to many to begin with, or should I go down to 2? And as far as climate, I'm in the North Georgia mountains, and winters here are unpredictable to say the least. We've had times this year we've had highs of 40's and been at or below 0 (with wind chills) for lows and the next week we could have highs in the 60's and lows in the 40's at night, one year in Christmas Day it was in the high 60's during the day!
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Go with the 3 or 4. only 2 and if one goes then the other be lonely for sure. As to if they will be ready for winter next year. Don't have that as a concern. Of course YES ... They should start laying at about 20 weeks. Varies by breed. Many lay later like 28 weeks. Keep reading this forum since it has a wealth of information on all aspects of chicken raising.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. callen0912

    callen0912 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm wanting to get leghorns and RIR as I've read both are good egg layers. I may get a breed that will be more for looks, but who knows! I'm still deep in the research stage!
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The best time to get chicks is between April and June. That way you can have eggs by fall, and if the days are in the 70s, you can take the chicks outside to play when they're just a couple weeks old. I recommend starting with four. They don't need to be all the same breed. It's fun to have chickens that each lay a different color egg. That way, you know who's laying, and colored eggs are cool.

    Please allow me to try to dissuade you from using a plastic tote. They're usually too small for one thing, and expensive, but the biggest problem is you have to access the chicks by reaching down inside from the top. Imagine you are a baby chick and these big hands are diving at you from above and you are born with an instinct to fear predators from the sky. A side access brooder avoids this problem, and chicks raised this way are tame and trusting from day one, growing up to be very people friendly chickens. You can have one for free by just going down to the appliance store and dragging home a big microwave or fridge box.

    I set my box on a table, and cut a door into the side, leaving the bottom connected to act as a hinge. I create a latch out of a tongue depressor screwed onto the side above the door. I cut windows in the sides and cover them with plastic so lots of light gets in. You can pull a chair up to the brooder and sit there for hours playing with the chicks, and it's especially great for kids.

    If you line the bottom with plastic the cardboard won't get soggy if there are spills. But you can avoid spills by hanging the water bottle from a stick that fits through slots cut into the sides near the top.

    There's no end to what you can do with a cardboard box. I've even taped two boxes together and cut a pass-through into the common wall for a two-room condo. When you're done raising the chicks, just toss the box or collapse it and save it for next time you get chicks.[​IMG]
     
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  7. callen0912

    callen0912 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much for the info! I had seen where people have used cardboard boxes but many preferred totes as cleanup was easier, but everything you said here makes perfect sense! We just moved and had some good size boxes, now I REALLY wish I would've saved some! I'm sure I can find another big one pretty easily though.
     
  8. Wxguru

    Wxguru Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just got 6 chicks back in October...they aren't so small anymore! We have 2 daughters that are 11 and 6 and so we bought based on how much they will produce and how friendly the breeds were. We got 3 black australorpes, 2 buff orpingtons, and 1 golden buff.
    One word of caution....they are fine to keep in the house for about 2 weeks...after that, they will be producing amazing amounts of dust and dander! I have the 6 in the garage and holy moly...their dust and dander coated EVERYTHING in about a 1/8th of an inch of that stuff....you don't want to be breathing that or have it coating everything. I would recommend trying to find an alternative.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    It's true about the dust and dander covering every surface in a room. It even got into the closet beside the brooder. This is why I decided to search for an alternative the last time I got chicks.

    I decided to put the brooder in the garage for starters. Then I looked up and it dawned on me what a perfect brooder my grow-window would make! I took the shelf out and there was plenty of square-footage for half a dozen chicks! I cut up a cardboard box to create an insert that would keep the chicks and wood shavings in, and I draped a shade cloth on the outside of the window over the top. It made a perfect brooder! And the sun warming the window cut down on the amount of time I had to have the heat lamp going.

    The best thing was the chicks had exposure to the whole world going on outside and grew up to be very calm and fearless critters.

    Sometimes you might have a perfect brooder right under your nose and you just fail to see it![​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  10. callen0912

    callen0912 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If ONLY we had something like that at the house I live in! Now I'm completely stumped at where to put them... Our house has a carport and no actual garage. We have a cat and some outside dogs (they belong to family not us) that roam and I would feel very uneasy about putting them just out in the carport. Now I'm at a complete loss!
     

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