If given the choice, at what age should I get my chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Uzuri, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    *edges in nervously*

    Hi folks. I'm new to chickens and am getting some peeps for eggs (hopefully!) and garden pest control. I'm going in with someone who already owns chickens on an order, and she's offered to start the chicks for me--for a price, of course, but I consider that completely fair, since they'd be using her feed and stuff [​IMG]

    So, my question is, at what age should I get them? The ideal situation would be for me to be able to leave them in their tractor as soon as I get them -- at least during the days. If I need to bring them in and give them some snugglies and something to warm up with at night, I think I can handle that. I've got half a garage that's not in use [​IMG]

    From the reading I've done, it looks like 6 weeks is the magic number. That would put us squarely in mid-May, with 70-degree days being the norm. Does this sound right to you folks?

    It'd be fun to have them around as fuzzy little newborns, but I'm thinking that first time around it's probably wise if I take on something a little simpler!

  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Baby chicks aren't difficult to raise, and they are SO much fun to watch grow up!

    But, if you prefer not to get them until they are old enough/big enough to go outdoors directly, you really ough to wait until 8 weeks. Some take up to 8 weeks to feather out, and if you're not sure, best err on the side of caution on that one!

    Also - welcome to BYC!!! [​IMG]
  3. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Thanks [​IMG]

    Maybe I've been reading up TOO much. Seems like there are so many things that could go wrong! It's kind of made me "chicken" out. (Expecting to get thrown out for making a bad pun in only my second post [​IMG] )

    Of course, we managed somehow with the kittens that suddenly showed up from our "male" cat [​IMG]
  4. L*A*G*

    L*A*G* Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    planet chicken
    Wynette is right.
    and Wynette , what chicken did those eggs come from
  5. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Well now I'm warming up to the idea of starting them myself... a bit. Some.

    Anyway, I'm thinking about what to start them in, and I've got an idea of using a rabbit hutch. The only thing I'm worried about is that my cats spent some time in and on the hutch--do the chicks care? Or are they just so naive at that age taht the predator thing doesn't really register? Would a good vacuum and washdown do the trick? It's sans-pan, but I figure I could pretty easily cardboard in the bottom of it for holding litter. And I'm more attracted to using a cage than a box because it's going to take the fire risk way down, since if the lamp drops, it just lands on the cage top (it's a very short, wide cage).

  6. bangor777

    bangor777 Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Check out the brooder thread, tons of great ideas! I brood a small amount of chicks in a large rubbermaid tub, easy to clean, I use clear so I can watch them. It's so worth it to raise them yourself, they're easy! And they do bond with you.
  7. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Interesting... what's a "small number" and how big a tub? [​IMG]

    I've got a red rubbermaid tub lest over from when I did some tanning--serious cleaning needed, unless peeps like aluminum sulfate! It might be perfect, then.
  8. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I believe you will be much happier with chicks you start yourself, they're not hard and it's not scary. You see a lot of negative posts on here because those people are asking for help. Not as many people post that that everything is going well with no problems! I am raising my first batch of chicks and they are now 6 weeks old. Check out my blog. I have pics and stories of them since the day they arrived (48 hours old). I haven't had any major problems whatsoever and have been enjoying my experience immensely.

    Also, I would be careful about using them for "garden pest control." They will also "control" many of your garden plants and eat the whole plants or at least the fruits on them, like tomatoes. Most people try their best to keep the chickens out of the garden. Though, there is some discussion on how to use them in a postitive way in the garden. You should read up on that if you're interested.
  9. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    If you are wanting to hand raise them, and have them able to be snugly, then it would be best to raise them yourself, if you just want the eggs then let someone else do the work, and in that case I would get them at 16 weeks, so they will have a little while to get used to thier new place and then start laying eggs. However if your other person does not handle them, then they will not take to being handled very easily.

  10. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Good point, lisa, on the inclination to post negatives. You'd think I'd know that, being a computer programmer, and all--no one ever calls you to tell you that your program is working perfectly [​IMG]

    They'll be tractored [​IMG] I think the idea is to get them in there early on so that they can turn up the eggs and young insects, while still keeping them clear of the plants. Then we'll move them into the garden that's out of rotation as the plants go into their fruiting stages.

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