Just nattering about my first chick(en) experiences

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by gryeyes, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    On Oct first I bought four chicks: RIR, Ameraucana, Plymouth Rock Barred, and Brahma. The first 3 were a week old, but the Brahma was 2-3 days old at most. The Brahma seemed weak.... and died on Sat, Oct 10. [​IMG]

    The older chicks grew SO quickly! (Rhoda, Hillary and Rebecca are their names; because I was worried about the Brahma, she stayed "FuzzButt. She was just darling, but it was obvious she was in some trouble. She had pasty-butt and I cleaned her up 3 times.)

    Friday - the day before I lost the Brahma, I bought 4 more chicks: An Australorp about a week old, and "baby-er" chicks of Buff Orpington, a Black Sex Link, and a Silver Laced Wyandotte. The BSL died - surprisingly - 2 days later. The SLW also appeared to be "in trouble" for no particular reason.

    So, now I've added Matilda, the Australorp, who looks like a big blackbird or a small crow right now, Buffy the BO who is lively and fearless, despite her size, but she's bigger than Lacy, the SLW.

    Three 3.5-wk old chicks, one 2.5-wk old, and two 1.5 chicks. Lacy is the teensiest.

    What am I doing wrong??? Is it ME or just the luck of the draw from feed store chicks? I am careful about the brooder heat, I clean their waterer about every 45 frickin' minutes (okay, every couple of hours), I make sure they have clean feed, and once a day I make "mash" for them by just mixing water with some feed in a dish and they love it. I've put a small amount of sugar in the water and Lacey perked up a bit, and she maneuvered to get some of the chopped, hard-boiled egg I gave 'em all. (They know the "treat dish!") I also gave them some shredded mozarella cheese and that was a riot. The special treats are once a day, one kind each. I don't want to overload them, but I thought the extra protein and calories might be good for Lacey. She actually got some![​IMG]

    Lacey is actually putting on weight - maybe an ounce, I dunno, but she's heavier than she was before AND her wing tips are growing. By comparison, Buffy seems almost porky:plbb

    2 days ago I put the 3 "bigger" girls out in the pen under their coop/tractor and they had a great time for a couple of hours during the warmest part of the day (83 degrees).

    A couple of times I'll open the "nursery" (bathroom) door and find Hillary and/or Rebecca on the edge of the Rubbermaid bin brooder. Sometimes Hillary will flap her way up onto it after I've come into the room; she seems to be checking me out. (She is at the top of the pecking order, btw.)

    Rhoda doesn't appear to be growing the tail feathers like the others. Her - gosh I hope she's a hen! - wing feathers are long enough to cover the place where the others have grown tail feathers. She's got a comb, too, but after I checked the forum here, I learned that hens do grow combs. [​IMG] I will continue to hope it's a hen comb!

    Anyway, BYC has been invaluable in my education in Things Chicken. I've got the coop done, but I'll have to post pictures later. (They're on my cell phone right now...)

    Thanks, everybody! Please reassure me that it's not MY fault a couple of chicks died, and I'm a good Mother Hen sort.
  2. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry to hear about your losses. Never a fun thing and can be discouraging. Feed store chicks this late in the year are always a big gamble. Chicks are not as healthy in the fall as they are in the spring. Two, you do not know where they came from and under what conditions. At that young age you are most suseptible to Coccidiosis. You need to watch for droopy wings, listlessness and bloody poo. All our chicks are started on a coccidiostat, such as Sulmet or Corrid at two days old until they are about 2 weeks old.
    As for your little Rhoda, I take it that is the RIR, you might have to rename Ricky. The young hens in most breeds will get tail feathers at about 5 or 6 days old. Hens will feather much faster than roosters.
    Post some pics if possible and keep your chin up. The addiction has only just begun.
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Congratulations on joining the world of "chicken tenders"! [​IMG]

    Do you chicks have access to grit? They need it if they are getting treats.

    Is the starter feed medicated or not? What does they poo look like?

    What kind of bedding are you using?

    Since you have chicks of varying ages, at what temperature are you keeping them?

    It seems you are doing the right thing, but there might be a tiny detail somewhere.

    I would lay off the sugar for sure. It's more of a short-term emergency fix. And yes, fall chicks can be more fragile than the robust spring chicks, but mine hatch year round with no differences, it just depends.

    I would suggest not bringing in any more chicks until you get it figured out. Good luck- I don't think you are doing wrong, maybe just a detail or the fact that they are store-bought chicks. [​IMG]
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Thanks so much for the replies!

    Lacey has really come around, is active and getting in everybody's way but better able to get out from under the bigger girls than she was, before.

    Yes, I give them "construction" sand for grit on the days I give them treats.

    Everybody's poo is just fine - except for the day after they visited outside and gobbled up grass, but all is fine again. No splats any more. Ummmm.... feed is not medicated.

    Pine shavings, deep litter. They DO eat some of it - and sometimes one will snatch up a larger piece and run like crazy with the others chasing to get it. Then it gets dropped and nobody cares any more, since it wasn't a "treat." Go figure.

    I have a hot end of the brooder, started at 95 degrees, raised it to lower temp the second week but put it back again since I got the new babies. The brooder is a long rectangle and I have the 250 watt heat lamp "angled" so it doesn't beat down one whole end, but gradually gets cooler. I also have a blanket over the coolest end to help keep warmth in; the older girls nest together in all three "zones" - hot, warm and covered - at various times. At this point, the littles spend most of their day in the warmest end, but in the evening they will snuggle up with the older girls right under their wings in the cooler end. [​IMG]

    In the brooder light:

    and outside: [​IMG]

    and adorably peeking 'round the edge of the tractor door:

    So, roo not pullet, right?? [​IMG]
  5. sassychiken

    sassychiken Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2009
    Coastal Bend
    Quote:Hey when you say they get tail feathers faster, what do you mean exactly? My "girls" 6 days old and have these little spiky things poking out of their tail area, is that what you mean? First time chicken owner here [​IMG]

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