I Need Specific Directions On How To Care For New Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Awestruck, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Awestruck

    Awestruck Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    I have the bin for the chicks, as well as the lamp and litter, and feeding and drinking waterer, and food. I am going to pick up 3 chicks today. Can someone please help me to know what to do next?
    I assume I put a layer of litter on the bottom of the bin and turn the light on. I will fill the feeder and and waterer and put them in the bin with the chicks.
    How much litter should I put on the bottom of the bin?
    How long do the chicks stay in the bin before putting them outside in the coop?
    When do I start giving them grit?
    How old do they have to be before putting apple cider vinegar in the water and what is the ratio?
    When do I change the type of food they are eating to something else?
    When do they start laying eggs?

    Thanks for all the help here!
  2. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    How big of a bin, do you have? What you want, is to have the heatlamp at one end of the bin/brooder, and room for them to get out from under it, if they want. It is said, you are looking for 95 degrees or so for new chicks, then lower the temp every week and a half 5 degrees. But instead of concentrating on temp, watch the chicks. If they are all huddled up under the lamp cheeping loudly, they are cold. Lower the lamp a bit. If they are all as far as they can get from the lamp, they are too hot. Raise the lamp. You will HAVE to pay attention at first, to see how they are reacting. I've read on here about people cooking them alive. Terrible.

    Make sure the water is at room temp, when you give it to them. Too cold, that can lead to pasty butt, not good. You will find, as they get a bit older, you will have to raise the feeder and waterer. Otherwise, they will fill them with shavings. Just use scrap 2x4s or 2X6s. I've never used any cider in my birds waterers. I don't think it's necessary.

    Shavings. In my brooder, I usually have an inch or so in there. They like to kick it around.

    They stay in the brooder until fully feathered. Then they can go out. Unless we are talking artic conditions.

    If they get outside at all ,they will get their own grit. I've never supplied any of my chickens with grit.

    On the back of the feed bag, you will see their recommendations for what feed, at what age.
    Other advise. Get a book. There is one associated with this site. 'Chickens for dummies'. Good book, packed with advise.

    Good luck with your birds.

    Almost forgot. Make sure you SECURE THE HEATLAMP. DO NOT count on the crappy clamp that comes with it. I use heavy bailing wire to secure mine. Very important.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  3. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    LOL, your post make me giggle----nothing bad. Lets get this thing set-up. To start, what kind of litter? I use pine shavings(flake--not fine). I add enough to lightly cover the bottom but not inches deep---they gotta be able to walk on it. I then take the hanging light and put a 40 or 60 watt bulb in it and hang it secure on one end of the tote---adjusting the height to where the center of the light on the floor is around 100 degree's(yes you need a thermometer). I then put the food and water on the other end of the tote setting it on a brick or something about 2" thick to raise it off the floor so they do not get a lot of shavings in them. I collect discarded window screens in different sizes at yard sales and auctions. I get a screen a little bigger than the tote and lay it across it---if I have to I will cut out where the light fixture is-----this just keeps them in when their wings start working and smaller things out as well as keeping it well vented.

    You then raise the light once a week to lower the temp on the floor under it 5 degree's per week. In a few weeks you might want to put them in a outdoor protected coop but still use the light for sure on the cool nights till they are weaned off it.

    Most pullets start to lay in the 20 to 30 week periods.
    1 person likes this.
  4. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Before picking up the chicks, get the bin set up and ready for them.
    This is what I did with my 17 chicks:

    - A layer of wood chips about 3/4 to 1" deep over the entire bottom of the bin. I used papertowels on top of the wood ships for the first day, just to make sure they were all mobile and got to the food and water OK.
    - I divided the area in half and put the food and water in the center of one half, and the heating pad in the other half.
    - The food and water were place about 3" from the sides of the brooder so they wouldn't get trapped behind anything.
    - I put marbles in the waterer for about a week or so. I read that chicks can fall into the water and drown, my worry was that they would fall into the water and get wet. They were in an outside brooder with a "Mama Heating Pad" for warmth, so I wasn't nearby to hear them if there was something wrong and a wet chick would have been trouble.

    - Set up the heat source. Since you are using a heat lamp, this is the most important step for you. You need to set it up so there is a warm area and a cooler area. If the chicks get too hot, they need to be able to go to the edges and cool down. Those heat lamps can overheat a plastic bin really quick. MAKE SURE YOUR LAMP IS SECURELY FASTENED AND CANNOT FALL. Those things are fire hazards, so be careful with it. If the area is too hot, raise your lamp; if it is too cold, lower it.

    I put the heating pad on a wire rack and set that at a height that would fit the chicks. I turned it on about 3 hours before getting the chicks and put a thermometer underneath to check the temp. I wanted to make sure it was at the right temp before putting the chicks in there. Glad I did too, because the high setting was too hot for the chicks and I needed to lower it and let it cool down.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Awestruck

    Awestruck Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    Well, I got it set up. The chicks really like being under the heat lamp. I put the water in a plastic lid so they can find it easily. My husband put the food on a little plate and they all sleep on that plate! I guess I leave the lamp on 24/7 for now?
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Since everybody covered your first few questions, I'll tackle these ones.
    Chicks need supplemental heat until they are mostly feathered in, usually by about 4 weeks old. Then they can go outside. Keeping them a bit cooler helps them to feather in faster. You can also take them for short trips out to the coop/run at about week 2, so that they can begin adjusting to life outdoors. Just make sure you are close by to monitor them for signs of chilling.

    They don't 'need' grit if all they will ever get to eat is feed. If you want to give treats, you should provide grit so that the goodies can be ground up and digested. Grit in the gizzard does the same job that our teeth do in the mouth.

    Apple cider vinegar is not really needed. But it does help reduce algae growth in the waterers during the summer months.

    Medicated chick starter does contain a thiamine blocker, so should only be fed until about 2 months of age. Growing, developing birds need a feed that contains at least 18% protein, and has less than 2% calcium content. Any feed that fits those parameters is safe to feed for the entire lifetime of the birds. Layer feed is for actively laying birds only, and might not be a good choice if you like to give treats frequently.

    Most breeds start to lay sometime between 5 and 6 months. Some breeds, like Orpingtons, Brahmas, and Cochins can take much longer to start laying. Some breeds, like sexlinks and Leghorns can start laying as young as 16 weeks old.
    1 person likes this.

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