How long can you leave chicks alone in the brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jenn-, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. jenn-

    jenn- Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought I had someone to brood out some chicks for me, but that looks like it has fallen through. My issue for doing it myself is 2 trips this spring. The first will be the latter half of next week for 4 days. The second will be for a week at the beginning of May. If I was to bring home some babies today, could they be left for 2 days (my mom checks on the other animals halfway through usually)? If I picked some of the older chicks from the bin, would they be outside in the coop in 4ish weeks? I'm in the Deep South here, so I don't really think the temperature will be an issue by then. Our TSC says that this is their last week for getting them in, otherwise I'd wait for after the first trip.

    So part 1: are they ok to be left alone for 2 days (with enough food and water obviously) at a young age?

    Part 2: if I grab some of the older looking birds, will they be outside by May? How about if they only have the tiny ones available?
     
  2. jenn-

    jenn- Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought of another question, how hard is it to regulate temperatures of a brooder if it sits outside where the ambient temperatures vary?
     
  3. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks have spilled their water and pooped in their water. Not having clean fresh water will kill them. You could leave them for a week, but you have to have a large area because they will poop, and you will have to set up a nipple style watering system that will hold a few gallons of water. You will need to ensure it has no leaks, too.

    I would look for a local pet sitter to check them twice a day. If you can't do that, then don't get chicks until after your trips. Some places will sell pullets, so won't have to lose time.
     
  4. newmarch2014

    newmarch2014 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Checking the forecasted night time temps would be key. Having a place they can go to be warm but able to move away from that heat source is important for chicks and it must be secure to avoid a potential fire and it must be easy for the chicks to figure out (a trip outside could result in them forgetting how to get back into the light. 2 days alone is a long time for new chicks as there is so much that can go wrong. They can empty a food dish, spill a water dish, there can be some extreme bullying, chicks can drown in the water, get stuck in or under something, a bought of pasty butt, etc.
     
  5. jenn-

    jenn- Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At what age would they be considered no longer "new" chicks? I was at TSC on Sunday and they had a few of the varieties that had most of their wing feathers in already. I think that makes them at least a week old, right? By next week, they would be at least 3 wks old. Are the risk as high then?
     
  6. jenn-

    jenn- Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can the babies start out on the nipple style watering system? Once they can go outside, we have a large family next door to help out. My DH just doesn't like the idea of kids in the house while we are gone.
     
  7. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pet sitters are professionals who are licensed and bonded.

    Seriously, I think if you can't arrange for the animals to be safe, you should not get them. I know this is not what you want to hear, but I'm saying it anyway. I had to put off what I wanted to care for a sick family member for a year, so I know you feel torn between desire and responsibility. Put what is best for the animals ahead of your longing for the chicks: Wait and get them when you can enjoy them, don't get them now when it just adds a stressor to your life. :idunno
     
  8. newmarch2014

    newmarch2014 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Until they are fully feathered they are not able to regulate their body temps as well as when they have that full feathering so they are considered new till then. I agree that if you want a good experience and to grow them to enjoyable hens then you need to just postpone the whole process. My four new chicks are about a month old, and are not feathered enough to be too far from the heat lamp yet, they have a great secure brooder with proven food and water methods and still I have to clean out their water at least twice a day and fill their food once a day but it takes some trial and error to get the right goods and set up that can go even a day with no worries. Also they need the socialization, at this age it is important to handle them and get them used to being picked up for later care purposes. A chick left for a week gets very used to being left alone and is harder to catch and administer needed care. In the first few weeks a chick can go from 'fine' to dead in less than a day if an ailment is not caught.
     
  9. jenn-

    jenn- Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It looks like I am going to have to put it off for a couple of months or until next spring. I might be able to get a few almost grown pullets after the longer trip if I can get the coop done by then. It won't be ideal as they will have to get used to me, but it may be my best option.
     
  10. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first batch were 5 weeks old when I got them. Went right to the coop, which was nice. I did spend time just sitting with them and letting them climb over me, and they turned out friendly enough. Different personalities, so one was a bit standoffish and one was just a food friend, but the third was like a pet, very smart, and always wanted in the house!

    If you get a breed that tends to friendliness, they will be, aside from their individual personality... Mine were golden comets (production layer cross-breed). My new Lavender Ameraucana is a very sweet boy, my Easter Eggers fly like mad, and not mean to me, but are to other chickens, and are just not "pet-like" despite spending much time with them. I have 3 gold laced Wyandotte chicks, which are a bit skittish yet at 3 weeks old.
     

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