I'm new here! I have some questions.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Robin Bruck, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Robin Bruck

    Robin Bruck Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2015
    Hello,

    My family and I have been thinking about getting chickens for the past few years now and we are excited to say that we just placed our first order![​IMG]

    We are getting 12 unsexed chicks so probably half of them will be roosters. We learned that most people recommend not getting roosters but the person that we are buying from is glad to take them back if we decide to not keep them. The breeds are Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, and Olive Eggers. They will be arriving around March 14th and will be a day or 2 old. We live right on the river so we have lots of wildlife around.
    We have done lots of research on how to take care of them but here are some questions that we have specific to our situation:
    1) Will an old large dog crate work as a brooder?

    2) What should we feed them(we are an all organic family)?
    3) Are those breeds friendly? How many eggs do they lay per day?
    4) Should we keep a rooster(we are planning to get more chicks in the future)?
    5) How big should our coop be?
    6) Do you recommend a mobile coop?
    7) Should we make our coop? If not, which are the best companies to buy from(we are from New Hampshire)?
    8) What do you recommend for us to do in the winter with the cold?
    9) Where is the best place to put the brooder?
    10) What wattage and temperature do you recommend for the light on the brooder?


    Sorry i know this is a lot [​IMG] we just want to provide the best care for our baby chicks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Welcome to BYC Robin. You're going to enjoy your babies. You've asked a lot of excellent questions. My recommendation is for you to go to the learning center and read some of the excellent articles that are written to cover a lot of the topics you've listed.

    I'll just give you a couple of recommendations. You should build that coop as soon as possible. Time has a way of getting away from us, and before you know it, you'll have a dozen chicks which are no longer little. They will be big, and capable of covering every square inch of the room/area they are in with a fine layer of greasy silt. (chicken dander) If anyone in your family has even the most basic building skills, your family can build a nice sized coop for less money than you could buy a pre-fab coop for (which may be cute, but would be way too small to keep your flock happy and healthy) Plan on at least 4 square feet/bird in the coop, and 10 square feet/bird in the run. Make that coop with plenty of ventilation, but be sure that any openings are covered with 1/2" hardware cloth. Chicken wire will keep chickens in, but will not keep predators out. In the brooder, you should plan on 1.5 - 2 s.f. / bird if they will be there until they are 6 weeks old.
     
  3. Robin Bruck

    Robin Bruck Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2015
    Thank you for your help! We have a close friend who builds those types of things so we will probably ask him to do it.
     
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome and congrats on deciding to get chickens!
    To answer some of your questions:

    Don't use a dog crate. Your new chicks will be able to pass right through the bars. I used a kiddie pool surrounded by cardboard panels. I connected a couple of bungee cords together and wrapped it around outside to keep the cardboard tight to the edge of the pool.

    It's not hard to find organic chicken feeds. Green Mountain Feeds out of VT is a nice company and it's very likely they are available in your area.

    The breeds you've selected are known for their friendly natures and will be even friendlier if you handle them when young.

    You do not need to keep a rooster if you don't want to. The usual reasons people decide to keep a roo are: to produce fertile eggs for hatching or to act somewhat as a flock protector against predators. (Frankly there are easier ways to protect your flock.)

    Check out Coops for a Cause. They are a NH company that makes beautiful coops. If you plan having 12 birds, choose a coop that will fit at least 14. Bigger is better when it comes to coops.

    The breeds you've chosen will do fine in the winter with no additional heat. Most breeds of chickens deal with the cold of winter quite easily if they are in a clean, well built, draft free but well ventilated coop that is not overcrowded.

    I'm sure others will chime in with answers for you, too.
     
  5. Robin Bruck

    Robin Bruck Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2015
    Thank you! That was lots of help. Do you think I could use the dog crate later in their life like right before the transfer into the coop?
     
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, you can. In fact, that's what I did when my chicks were older. I used a 48" crate as a "playpen" to give them time out in the yard. It's also great to keep a crate on hand if you ever have a sick or injured chicken that needs to come inside for a time to heal.
     
  7. Robin Bruck

    Robin Bruck Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2015
    Okay thank you! I will do that
     
  8. kmartinez

    kmartinez Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I eat all organic as well; however I am feeding my chicks now Medicated chick starter..I am by no means an expert i am a novice. But thats what i decided to do for the babies I have now. I do plan to change them to an all organic feed once they are older... Because my neighbor has chickens and after research her chickens came from a hatchery that has had Mareks disease linked back to them within the past year so I also opted for the vaccine for them as a precaution...


    When I first got them i kept my heat lamp at a height that ranged the temp 95 - 90 depending on what corner i put my thermometer in. Tomarrow they will be 1 week so I dropped they temp down to 85. Today I noticed they spent more time on the side with no heat lamp so i made the adjustment.

    I have 17 and i am building a 10x10 its the max i can build without a permit . if you figure 2x2 = 4 x 17 its 68 square feet. I am giving them 100 square feet..

    We have a noise ordnance here even though i am county but my neighbor closest to my house will not complain on him for he has chickens himself LOL however i am getting a rooster for 3 reasons. He protects the flock, he will fertilize my hens and i can if i wish hatch them and not bring new chicks or chickens in from the outside. I also looked into the no crow for just incase I dont like it really but if someone complains on him a can figure out when he crows the most and put it on him if i have to make nosy neighbors hush up..which i dont forsee that but ya never know.

    Right now my chicks are housed in a card board box i put together that is good size for them I also made a huge one the size of a door out for coroplast i got at home depot so when they out grow the 2 boxes I affixed together they go in the bigger one, I am not using the huge one now because i want them to easily find water and food and not loose their way. which i heard can happen if you use something big.. Again this what i heard IDK how true it is..

    I am keeping them in a spare bedroom that has been re-purposed as an art/coupon/study room..If they not fully feather and they get to big for inside i plan to move them to my garage until they can go outside to their coop or if i dont finish it in time LOL they have to go in the garage..

    I would highly suggest buying sav-a-chick that goes in their water I had a chick pass on me and that could have maybe helped that chick out..

    My coops is a permanent structure as i am not pulling it around plus I have a dog and we have seen, skunks, possums and we have huge hawks so I am making their run as secure as i can from predators. I don't think my dog will bother them however i dont want anything tunneling their way into their coop or run..

    I use straw for my dog so that is what i plan to use for them in their coop plus i can compost it for my garden.


    I know nothing about those breeds you listed. My chicks are of a different breed so i can offer no advice on those.
     
  9. Robin Bruck

    Robin Bruck Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay thank you! That was very helpful. Where could I buy their food? And also what is save-a-chick and where can I buy that?
     
  10. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    First off, congrats on the new adventure. You will love them and want more and more and more. Wait until you hatch your own eggs for the first time, you'll find out how addicting it can be.
    Out of your concerns, the first one I want to address is the rooster conflict. I think people are too quick to rule out roos. As a new chicken person my very first chicken was a roo, he's a sweetheart (an ee). My last hatch hatched out 7 roos out of 12. My roos are awesome. Only one out of the 7 I can honestly say I really am not fond of. (I'm only keeping two so it makes it hard to see the others go.) I brood inside and my chicks are handled daily and well socialized with humans. Heck, I think I like my cockerels better than some of the pullets. I'd say give it a chance. If it doesn't work for you or you find they have crappy personalities then give them the boot, or eat them. ( I couldn't eat mine, but a lot of people do.)
    As for brooders, people use all sorts of different enclosures for brooders. Popular ones are plastic totes, many use cardboard boxes. Pools are often used as well. I personally have a large small animal cage I use. Some people make wooden brooders. The key is to make sure there's enough space and heat. A brooding light at ONE end of the brooder is sufficient and gives them warmth, but also the opportunity to escape the warmth if they are too warm. They will go in and out from under the light as they need to in order to stay warm. the "official" recommendation for brooding temps are 90-95 degrees the first week under the light and decreasing in increments of 5 degrees every week until they are at room temp. The brooder needs to be in an area where it is not getting any cold drafts directly on it.
    As for size of coop, everyone says go bigger than you think you need....lol (Chicken math...you'll experience it soon enough. lol) The recommended space is 2-4 square feet per chicken.
    Good luck and keep us posted with how it's going.
     

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