just bought my first chickens need help!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by djwingo, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. djwingo

    djwingo In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2007
    Kellyville, Oklahoma
    [​IMG] hello everyone!!! i just bought my first chickens they are babies and i have no clue how old.....i need advice on keeping them warm...well fed....clean and nice {i have a 2 1/2 yr old son} please help me!!! thanks i will post pics asap!![​IMG]
  2. TheBigWRanch

    TheBigWRanch Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    Wenatchee, Washington
    You can use 145 watt heat lamp bulbs, make sure you secure them tightly to prevent a fire. They should be kept around 95 degrees the first week, decreasing by 5 degrees a week until they are at about 70 degrees. They should stay in a draft free brooder for at least 6 weeks. Make sure they are in a room that does not fluctuate greatly in temperature. Feed them chick starter, not scratch, and keep fresh water available all day. If you feed them treats make sure to give them Canary grit.Some treats include worms, crickets, fruit, vegies, a little bread, as they get older you can feed them sunflower seeds. Use pine shavings on the brooder floor to help keep them clean and less stinky, don't use cedar. Lastly, chicks don't make great pets for young kids because they are so fragile, and don't do well being carried around all day like most kids want to do. Make sure kids are well supervised, hold the chicks everyday to keep them friendly, but don't over do it! They need rest, and the heat from their brooder. Most kids mean well, but just don't understand what can be bad for the chicks, and have to be taught how to properly care for them. Most of all have fun, and keep asking questions![​IMG]
  3. chickenladyk

    chickenladyk In the Brooder

    Mar 11, 2007
    Gosh, dwingo, I hope by now you've gone on line and found some answers. Ignorance can result in mistakes that can stress or even kill those helpless little peeps!

    Anyway, here are a few basics.

    Be sure to keep your chicks warm and draft free. You can keep them a cardboard box, with high sides, for now. Put in a couple of inches of pine shavings (not sawdust, not cedar shavings, etc.--pine shavings) and cover with a layer of paper towels, so the chicks won't eat the shavings or hurt their little legs. If you don't have pine shavings, put in a few layers of newspaper, and then put a layer of paper towels over that. (Newspaper is too slippery for them and can cause leg problems.) Be sure to replace the paper toweling (and newspapers, if necessary) frequently.

    Be sure you keep the box indoors or at least in an area where the temperatures won't be extreme. Use a light bulb for a source of warmth (a red bulb is best), to keep the area at 90 degrees during the first week of life; then lower by 5 degrees every week after. If chicks are too warm, you can kill them. You'll know they are too warm if they are outside the brightly lit area and against the sides of the box; if too cold, they will be huddled together under the light and probably complaining. If they're hudlded in a corner, they may be scared or it's too drafty. Chicks should be relatively quiet, sound contented in their soft peeping, and scattered fairly evenly in the box.

    Make sure each chick knows where the water is and how to drink by dipping each chick's beak-tip into the water. First water should be body temp, so chicks won't get chilled. Use chick waterers, so they won't drown. If you don't have chick waterers, put clean marbles in the waterer so the chicks can't get in their water source and get wet or drown. Be sure to change the water often, as it will get dirty and that's not good for your chicks.

    Sprinkle some CHICK starter feed on the paper towel, as their natural instinct is to look for their feed on the ground. Once they know what food looks like, you can put some in a chick feeder or two. (You can use some shallow jar lids at first, if you wish.) Just make sure that you have enough feeder space for half of your chicks to eat at the same time.

    Be sure to clean off any poop that is stuck on their little bottoms. Use a warm, well-rung-out wash cloth to soften any dried poop so you can wipe it away without pulling out the fluffy down and hurting your babies.

    Your chicks will be stressed at first, so don't disturb or handle them any more than absolutely necessary for the first 24 hours. And do be sure to teach your son that he must be very, very gentle, and also not make abrupt movements or loud noises that might scare them. II'm glad you got chicks for him. It's never too early to teach a child to respect and be a good steward to all living things.

    Tomorrow, I hope you will go to a bookstore and get some chicken books!!!! A good one is Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, by Gail Damerow, or you might like Chickens in Your Backyard. Good books will help you learn, so you will do your best for your new babies!
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Welcome, djwingo...you sort of put the cart before the horse...
    BEFORE getting your birds you should have made sure that you had the set up first...I'm always telling folks this because I work in a petshop...
    Chicks need to be kept free from drafts and to be warm.
    Your little one needs to be told that he CANNOT pick them up and carry them around like a cat or a dog.
    Bird bones are hollow and even a slight drop can severely injure a chick.
    He can't pull on their feathers..it would be like pulling your hair.
    They need to have clean water and specific food. Chicks need Chick starter.
    Don't give treats if they're still babies. Their little systems mightn't be able to process them correctly.
    No chocolate, no milk, no alcohol, no caffeine, no potato peels, no unripe tomatoes, no avacados...
    Can't wait to see the pictures.

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