Just raised two baby chicks without a heat lamp

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dawnbigfoot, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. dawnbigfoot

    dawnbigfoot New Egg

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    Jul 10, 2015
    This is my first time raising baby chicks, but I've been a spectator as friends have raised them. I had three chickens, and over the years, two died, leaving one lonely hen. So, I opted to bring in two new baby chicks (as I tried bringing in adolescents before and they just never really acclimated to me). It's Sacramento and it's been a triple digit summer. I initially bought a heat lamp and ended up returning it. For the first week, I kept them in a ventilated rubbermaid container in the garage. Then, I moved that container out into the run behind a divider (so big chicken couldn't get to them). They'd stay out there during the day and come back inside in the garage at night. The garage never got below 75 degrees at night, and they seemed happy enough in there (with bedding/straw).

    When they turned about 2 weeks (maybe 2.5) and were half feathered, I left them out there full time, behind the divider. They seemed happy as clams. Now, it's September, and the weather is in the 80s, they are fully feathered, and about 4 weeks old, I just removed the divider. The big chicken seems to ignore them and only occasionally huff at them if they are pecking around the food where she is. I have placed a bowl of their chick feed inside the rubbermaid container (I cut out a little hole so they can fit, but big chick cannot). There are two water bowls in the run along with a watering tube. The baby chicks can get inside the rubbermaid container and behind it (between it and the fence) to stay away from big hen if they like.

    Fingers crossed but so far, so good.

    But I do have a couple of questions -- I've read chicks should be on medicated feed for 8 weeks. Is that about right? If big hen eats the medicated feed, are the eggs okay to eat for either myself or the dogs?

    -Dawn-
     
  2. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

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    They don't have to have medicated feed, I never used it even at first. But don't give layer feed to the youngsters. I give everyone either non medicated chick feed till it's gone, then an all flock type feed....
    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  3. dawnbigfoot

    dawnbigfoot New Egg

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    Jul 10, 2015
    Thanks. No, I'm not giving layer feed to them. They might end up getting a bit since the big hen seems to spread it all over, but I'll be heading to the feed store later. Is there a good feed that is okay for both of them (the laying season will be over soon anyway).
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Either non medicated starter crumble or multi flock starter/grower. Aim for protein 18 - 22%. You can give it to all ages, and supplement the hen with oyster shell.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    CENTRAL MAINE
    Either non medicated starter crumble or multi flock starter/grower. Aim for protein 18 - 22%. You can give it to all ages, and supplement the hen with oyster shell.
     
  6. koolfunchicks

    koolfunchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2015
    Dawnbigfoot, did you older hen ever jump over the partition and/or in to the Rubbermaid tub? I like your ideas of brooding in the coop/run but wondered if the partition needed a cover.
     
  7. dawnbigfoot

    dawnbigfoot New Egg

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    Jul 10, 2015
    I did have bird netting at the very top to prevent jumping/flying. Also - sorry for the delay but it seems I can never log onto this forum using my phone, only the desktop.
     
  8. koolfunchicks

    koolfunchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your reply! You've given me the courage to try brooding in the coop next time.
     
  9. dawnbigfoot

    dawnbigfoot New Egg

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    Jul 10, 2015
    I'd say if it's in the summer, and it's hot, go for it! Bring them in at night until maybe two weeks, and then give them a ventilated container with some insulation inside for them to huddle. Seemed to work just fine for them. They are now all fairly acclimated, but the little chicks still seem to avoid the big hen, for the most part. She's not too huffy with them, anymore -- not it's just an occasional "stay away from my food" huff. And, of course, she loves their food more than hers and is very interested in the rubbermaid container :)
     
  10. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Best to stop feeding the big bird(s) layer and feed them all the same grower/starter or all flock with a side of crushed oyster for those that are laying... This way you know for certain the chicks are not getting an excess of calcium by eating layer feed they might find or manage to get... Once they all start laying you can switch back to layer feed and still keep the side of oyster shells for good measure or even continue with the all flock or chick starter as long as you continue to offer some oyster shell...

    As for no heat, it's always best to provide supplemental heat for the first few weeks as it's a medical fact that their bodies at that age are unable to properly regulate their body temp... Sure you will find instances where you can get by without it and not have issues, but that is the exception not the rule...

    And the best time to use medicated feed is when the new birds are introduced to the older bird(s) and or moved to an outdoor environment... The medication does little good in a brooder environment where they are likley not exposed to much if any cocci... Once they get moved outdoors or in the proximity of older birds their cocci exposure will generally skyrocket and this is when the medicated feed has the greatest impact as it buffers this spike in exposure and gives the chicks bodies a chance to build up immunity...

    If your medicated feed is medicated with Amprolium (almost all US chick feed is) there is no withdrawal period for eggs if the elder birds do eat it... If it's medicated with something else you will need to research that medication for egg withdrawl...
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
    1 person likes this.

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