How can I tell if my chicks are eating?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by shortnsweet1025, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. shortnsweet1025

    shortnsweet1025 In the Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2010
    I just bought two appenzeller spitzhauben chicks from a local breeder and was told they are 3-4 days old (sunday). They seem to be doing fine, but when I pick them up their crops are always empty. I've seen them peck around a bit and drink water, but not actually eat. I can tell where they've been scratching around in their food bowl, but I don't know why they are always empty. Otherwise they are happy and active. My brooder is actually an unused dog kennel stall that's about 4x4 ft. I've raised all my chicks in it with pretty good success, but these guys don't have anybody to "show them the ropes" cuz they're so little. The bottom is covered in pine shavings except where the food is it's kinda bare floor with the food on the floor and their dishes.. Are they eating?
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    I always put a couple of paper towels over the wood chips for a few days, and sprinkle the food onto them...then you can just watch them and see.....they are probably eating just fine.
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Songster

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    Use a very small dish for the chick starter and put only a small amount of food in it. That way you ought to be able to tell how much they're consuming. What I did with my batch of artificially brooded chicks was "peck" at the feed with my finger, simulating what a mother hen would do. They catch on pretty quickly.

    The other thing to look for: are they pooping? If they're pooping, they're eating. If you're not seeing poop, or if the poop is mostly white (which is the urates part), then you do indeed have a problem.
     
  4. lynxs1981

    lynxs1981 Chirping

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    Even if they're little chicks you should be able to feel some food in their crop. like a little bump on their chest.
     
  5. shortnsweet1025

    shortnsweet1025 In the Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2010
    I guess I will have to put down some paper towels and see... The pen is too big to tell if they're pooping or not. I even considered bringing them in the house, but it's been in the 90's here so I don't even need a heat lamp outside where I'm keeping them inside our dog kennel. They are really pretty chicks... I just don't want to lose them.
     
  6. elmo

    elmo Songster

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    If the pen is that big that you can't tell if they're pooping, maybe you could use some cardboard to make a smaller ring to contain them for a day or two until you can see that they're getting off to a good start. At 3 or 4 days, they really do need to start eating.
     
  7. shortnsweet1025

    shortnsweet1025 In the Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2010
    Right after the last post I went outside and put some paper towels down and spread some feed over it. I just went back out to check on them again (it's been about an hour or so) and there is fresh poop on the paper. I think I'm in the clear... Do you think I should still make it smaller? I haven't done that with any of the other chicks I've raised.
     
  8. atimme

    atimme Songster

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    Are they pooping? No food = no poop. [​IMG]
     
  9. shortnsweet1025

    shortnsweet1025 In the Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2010
    Yes, i think they will be fine. I went outside again before dark and there were several piles of poop on the paper. thanks everyone for your help.
     

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