I have 4 day old chicks and a few questions

1girl2chicks

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 28, 2013
80
2
48
California
So happy to be a new owner of a couple of chickens. I picked them up yesterday when they were 3 days old. I'm not as educated in chickens as I wish I was so I have a few questions.
1. Can my chicks go outside to just play in the grass for 10-20 minutes? Or are they too young?
2. Since I only have 2 chicks it's hard to tell if they're eating and drinking. What's the best way I can tell if they're healthy and full?
3. What should be their bedding? I was thinking of buying a fleece blanket and shopping it up/shredding it to create a warm kind of bedding for them. I also could go out and buy some wood shavings (which brand?) or line the bottom with newspaper and shredded newspaper as well (cheapest idea)
That's it for now! :)
 

mw333

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 28, 2013
10
3
76
- the best way to know if they are eating and drinking is to watch them. watching them and spending time handling them (gently) will pay off in a) more information for you, to help keep them healthy, and b) they will be better socialized and adjusted to you as they grow up and mature. I have raised two clutches, the first on newspaper (I don't recommend it-too slippery), and the second on recycled brown roll paper towels. the paper towels worked great although though it was a bit expensive. the paper provided good grip for their feet and they developed well. I tried wood shavings and what a mess! Shavings filling their food bowl and water in no time flat - just really not a good experience for me or the chicks. I think they are too young to play outside. they need ready access to heat, 95-100 degrees the first week, and a chill will kill them or weaken them. good luck!
 

1girl2chicks

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 28, 2013
80
2
48
California
I've been watching them and I take them out of their cage and set them on a blanket on my bed and watch them walk around and you know what I've noticed? They peck at the blanket, they peck at my fingers, and they peck at the food that I set there for them. Does pecking at everything mean they're hungry? Or is that what chicks do? Also, when I see them peck at food I've never seen them swallow it. I'm pretty sure they're eating though.. I just want to make sure everything is okay.
Thanks!
 

mw333

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 28, 2013
10
3
76
Chickens peck to explore much like dogs sniff to explore. They probably are eating if they are pecking at the food, but I can't stress enough their need for warmth. It's fun to have them out to watch them frolic, but if they get chilled it is BAD. If you keep watching them you will see them eating for sure, and drinking as well, which is very cute to watch. You do have a brooder set up, don't you?
 

1girl2chicks

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 28, 2013
80
2
48
California
Well it get's really warm here around 12pm-2pm (I live in California in the desert, it was 90 yesterday) so I might consider taking them out there but only for a short while. Unless you think it's an awful idea then of course I won't. And yeah, I have them in two joined boxes (gonna go dumpster diving for a bigger one today) and a heating lamp keeping them warm.
yippiechickie.gif
 

mw333

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 28, 2013
10
3
76
Most experts recommend 95 degrees for the first week (the chicks thermoregulate by moving closer to or away from the heat depending on their own comfort level, but they should have a 95 degree area - use a cheap thermometer), and then decreasing the temperature by 5 degrees each week. You can do that by moving the light higher or using a lower wattage bulb or a dimmer switch). Since you are using cardboard with a heat lamp, be very careful about combustion of the cardboard by the hot lamp!
I personally would not take your chicks far from their heat source (ie outside) for several days, as I would opt for caution rather than take the risk. Others may disagree, of course. Not only might they get chilled, they might even overheat due to the direct rays of the sun, and you might not know until it is too late. Chicks are spunky, but they are delicate and fragile.
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,521
610
327
California, central valley
With those temps, yes, they can go outside for a bit.

Edited to add: As you can see you are going to get a lot of conflicting advice!
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Personally I think that as long as you use some common sense there's no reason they can't go outside for a few minutes in warm weather. When mine go out I make sure they can get out of the sun if needed and I don't leave them out long when they are young. Again, just common sense.
 
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BobbieJo81

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 28, 2013
177
41
83
I cant help with the part about them going outside(Im in WV and have 5 - 5 week old chicks and still trying to figure out if I can move them to the coop permanently) BUT.. Ive tried all types of bedding and so far the best for odor control and comfort on their feet has been a layer of shredded wood chips(I have massive piles for the horses stalls so its cheap for me), but I put a layer of hay on top of it..the wetness goes to the bottom and the hay keeps them warm and dry...Also instead of a cardboard box you can use a large plastic storage tote..
 

1girl2chicks

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 28, 2013
80
2
48
California
I'm planning on buying woodchips next week sometime, and I just moved them to a plastic tote this afternoon, they seem so much happier that they have much more room now.
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yee
 

MANNA-PRO

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