How Few is Too Few?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LadyVictorian, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. LadyVictorian

    LadyVictorian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, so I have a brooder set up for chicks already minus a few little details I am still building but it should all be done in January. I was going to hold off on getting chickens until later (getting some laying pullets from work in February/March when the store gets them in) however I am also going to be getting Silkies and Polish chickens from breeders to keep as pets since we always had a pet chicken (Somba and Tiki) until nature and a stray dog decided we shouldn't have those epic hens anymore. I was thinking of getting a few silkies or Polish now and raising them up so that by the time we get the layer chicks the silkies would already be ready to move outside or in the indoor pen (I convinced my family to set up an indoor pen in the basement if the winter gets harsh again and keep them in a big indoor pen in their own little spare room with a tarp bottom, 3 rabbit playpen kits, and a tarp top with shavings). But the question is how few is too few for chicks to keep at a single time? is 2-3 alright or should you have more than that in a brooding box at a time? I only intended to get 2 or 3 silkies since the vast majority of my chickens will be egg layer breeds. If you need to keep more than 2-3 I might just wait until Feb/March to get the silkies around the time I get the pullets as well.
     
  2. catcrazy37

    catcrazy37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they have a good source of heat (and therefore don't have to keep each other warm), two or three is fine.
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    I just brooded a group of three chicks. At 5 weeks old, they are outside in a grow out coop doing just fine.
     
  4. joe the chicken

    joe the chicken New Egg

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    Hi, i hatched and raised 2 Orpington and 2 Bantam chick's last spring and it was all good, just make shore that they can't go far away from the lamp (or what you are using to keep them warm) for the 1st day's of there life but if you see them panting it is too hot for them, also make shore that the corners of your brooder are curved so that they can't crush each other
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The least amount of baby chicks I've raised has been three, and they did splendidly.

    I used the heating pad system of heating. It closely simulated a broody hen, and the threesome were cozy warm and comfy in their cave.
     
  6. LadyVictorian

    LadyVictorian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh good, that is great to hear that 3 can do just fine together. I think I might start setting up for my silkies in January then. I just keep looking at the breeders facebook page and their update's on hatching chicks and I keep wanting to jump on the colors I want. Even though I know they breeds all year I want a chicken fix. Must have small fluffy baby silkies in my household. Now I just have to tell myself that no they can't be house chickens >.<
     
  7. LadyVictorian

    LadyVictorian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oops double posted.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  8. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would prefer three over two, too. In case something happens to one you aren't left with a singleton. You still have two. Good luck.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Here, in Maine, if the birds come from a feed store, the stores won't sell less than 6 at a time. How big is your coop? If you want to keep your numbers down, and you want to do the indoor brooding thing, you could get 2 silkies, and 1 or 2 LF chicks to brood. Have you looked at outdoor brooding options? https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors. I would go this route, and brood them right outside in the coop. They will feather out faster, have better social skills, (JMHO) and you will be spared the chicken dander in your home.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I also suggest a minimum or three when you get them from the breeder and for the same reason, if you get them early. Chickens are social animals and do a lot better if there are other chickens around. The odd are fairly good that you will keep all three but if one dies you still have two.

    Why are you wanting to get the Silkie chicks early? You may have a good reason, but normally chicks the same age raised together get along great. I don’t want to raise too many alarms, many of us integrate new chicks a lot and don’t have problems but you will read of integration nightmares if you look long enough through this forum. Usually those problems are caused by space being too tight but maturity levels can be a big contributor.

    No one can give you guarantees that you will or will not have problems no matter which way you go. If you can time it so all the chicks are the same age, I think things will go smoother for you if you get them all at the same age. And you can get as many Silkies as you want.

    A question to consider. Will that breeder sex the chicks? Usually Silkies are bantam and most commercial hatcheries will not try to sex bantams. Are you OK with one or all of those Silkies being male?
     

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