Loads of questions about Serama Bantams from someone new to chickens!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mintkitten, Jun 2, 2017.

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  1. mintkitten

    mintkitten New Egg

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    Hi! I hope this is the right place to post, I'm new here. I've owned 7 birds for the past 2 years now, all caged indoor birds like budgies and cockatiels, but I'm interested in owning a little serama bantam! I've always loved chickens and I've done a lot of research into the different species of chickens over the past few months and have decided a serama would be the best option, as I've read they're great as indoor pets, are very small, and don't require an absolute ton of space like bigger species. I also can't keep anything outdoors because we are SURROUNDED by cats!

    I have no experience hatching eggs myself so I'll likely be buying a day old chick. But after that, I'm not sure where to start! I know it is best to keep birds in pairs, but I don't want to end up with breeding (or two males if I got two) and I'll be a companion for the bird, so hopefully company won't be a problem. Is that wise of me to do or do they need another chicken? It'll be with my indoor birds (separated, not in the same cage) so in the very least it won't be feather-friend deprived.

    I'd of course like to tame down the bird since that just overall makes life easier, when it comes to that how often should I handle the chick and for how long? I've read they get cold easily so I wouldn't want to take it away from its heat lamp for too long, unless I can provide body heat like a mother hen lol.

    What kind of bedding do chicks need? I can't use pine as my mother is allergic, and there's nowhere I can get safe sand. I assume regular hamster sawdust shouldn't be used. Would puppy pee pads be alright, or would that be too messy? What about when it begins to grow up, what should I use for an adult serama? Do they need anything like hay/straw to keep them warm? A nest?

    How long do the chicks need heat lamps? I plan on investing in one of the red bulb ones for warmth but I don't know at what age it should be removed, if at all. Would a heating pad be better? Should they be kept on all day or only at night-time?

    For food, do they need fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet? Do they need a variety of pellets or are chick crumbs alone okay? What age should they be taken off chick crumbs? Once they reach that age do they eat regular sized chicken pellets or do they need something smaller, since they're small birds, or perhaps a special diet?

    Are they super messy in terms of droppings? I doubt it'd be worse than what my three budgies manage but I'd like to know what to expect. How do you keep their lives interesting? Sorry for SO many questions but I want to get everything right, I don't want to be irresponsible. Thank you so much to anyone who takes the time to read or answer, I really appreciate it. I did google all of this stuff but I couldn't find much in way of care of a pet chicken.. Thank you so much again!!
     
  2. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    Hi there and :welcome.
    I have to say I stopped reading after the first sentence of the second paragraph.

    Are you aware that chickens are flock animals, meaning they don't do good by themselves?
     
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  3. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    If you read a few articles here: Learning Center
    you will find quite a few of your answers. (I went back and finished reading).
    It would be irresponsible to try to raise one chicken by itself indoors.
     
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  4. mintkitten

    mintkitten New Egg

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    Hi, thank you for the links, it's mighty helpful! Yes, I'm aware they're flock animals, that's why I asked if they can be kept alone or if they need company. Been getting confused by the various places I've read about them talking about them being kept as single indoor house pets AND as outdoor livestock :S

    I suppose this is all 'if''s for now, I'd like to learn more before I commit to it :)
     
  5. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    Great!
    Take your time and read as much as you can.
    There are a lot of "expert" chicken owners here willing to offer you great advice.
     
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  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You are to be commended for asking so many questions and they are all the right ones. I urge you to keep an open mind as you discover the answers to your questions as these answers could lead a person such as yourself to discover that the objective isn't a practical one after all.

    Raising a baby chick isn't difficult to do indoors. I would say that's how most people do it. However, a chicken quickly outgrows most indoor accommodations, and its very nature requires an outdoor setting for it to be a content animal.

    If you were to go visit a farm or even a backyard flock where they have baby chicks, you would see that by the time chicks are three or four weeks old, they are running at full speed across the grass, flapping their little wings madly, and actually attaining low level flight.

    Chickens are by nature's design, an outdoor animal such as goats and sheep and turkeys. Keeping a chicken in a cage in your house is depriving it of a big part of its nature to scratch for bugs and to dirt bathe. If you have ever seen a chicken do either of these things, you would immediately understand how much sheer joy they derive from doing them.

    Chickens also have emotions, not like ours, of course, but they do have requirements so they can fully be what they are and be content. Chickens need at least one other chicken to feel secure. Just as humans are designed to be happier when the can interact with another human, so it is with chickens.

    Stick around and keep asking questions. Do all the reading you can, both here on these forums and other sources that are recommended. And try to keep open to the possibility that having a chicken may not be what's best for you or the chicken.
     
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  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I also recommend getting 2, not 1 serama. If you can find someone in your area with seramas, you should be able to get 2 started pullets by this fall or even now, if they are a few weeks old when sex characteristics start showing. Getting older chicks would save you the trouble of getting 2 roosters who would eventually fight. Although a male and female would breed, they don't have offspring unless you incubate or the hen sits on eggs for 21 days.

    I would consider making a large run outside, where they can be allowed daily to be outside on grass and be a normal chicken for a certain amount of time. They can run around your house, but they love the outdoors.

    Bedding could be a product such as the granular form of Sweet PDZ (not the powder) which is similar to kitty litter, non-toxic and very easy to keep clean with a litter scoop daily. Many use this as chicken bedding in poop trays under roosts. A $10 bag, available at TSC and feed stores in the horse section, would treat an XL dog crate.

    Heat lamps are not needed once they are fully feathered, around 6 weeks old. The red 250 watt lamps are too hot inside the house after the initial first week or two. Then a lower wattage lamp would work better, and each can be raised to lower the temperature, but always use an inexpensive thermometer on the floor under the light.

    Chick crumbles would be best until about 20 weeks old. Seramas are very tiny, so a young chick might need the crumbles ground finer. Then later, layer crumbles would be best.

    You may want to look on your state thread where you could ask about a good breeder selling birds. Good luck.
     
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  8. mintkitten

    mintkitten New Egg

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    Thank you so much for the advice and info, it's really appreciated!! Oddly enough nowhere I read mentioned that they need access to the outside because they love the outdoors, although that should be obvious. We do have a small garden but any time outdoors would have to be heavily supervised.. Do you think that be unsuitable/no good for them? We have three cats and our neighbours have two, so I couldn't leave them on their own. A run is always something I could look into or even build myself but we don't have a ton of space. What size run do you think would be best for two seramas?

    I suppose I wouldn't mind investing in two if it would ensure the birds happiness, I mean it makes sense! I could always see if I could pay extra to have them sexed, although I don't know how it's done with chicks/chickens.

    I'm definitely going to do more research and put more thought into whether owning them is a good idea or not, everything you've all told me has really helped! Nothing I want less than an unhappy bird. Always good to get some insight from experienced owners :)
     
  9. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    Not sure what you consider a small area but you may want to look at these: Tractors for some ideas.
     
  10. ZachyWachy

    ZachyWachy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For taming your serama, l would suggest grabbing them then setting them down(that's what always freaks out my birds:eek:). Then spend time holding them, start of with only like five minutes in your hand, or shine the heat lamp on a spot of ground so they can stay out longer. When they are old enough you can just take them out of their cage and do pretty much whatever. A personal favorite of mine is to read a book to or with them out(if l don't expect to have much time), or even better, to watch a movie while they sit on me(beware of stink bombs!:sick) l had a btw japanese rooster, and he had to stay indoors; sadly cramped. Since he couldn't really do much whenever l put my hand in, he's learned to be chill with me picking him up:cool:, we would also watch movies together and he loved to just perch on me and relax while l enjoyed the movie:pop(one time he jumped on my head and sat there the whole time!o_O). l also enjoy flipping chicks on their backs because they freak out for a second or two, then they realize that they actually love being upside down! After like 30 seconds, they're fast asleep!:pop
     

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