My chicks will be here in the morning. I have a few questions!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by huckleberryfarm, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. huckleberryfarm

    huckleberryfarm Chickenista

    Jan 7, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    My silkies will be here in the morning. They are our first chicks and I'm a little nervous! I think they will be 3-4 weeks old. I have a rabbit cage set up that has a wire bottom with a pull out dropping tray below. What do I put on the wire bottom? Newspaper? Nothing? I assume I fill the dropping try (which is actually about 6" inches deep) with the pine shavings. Is that right? I have the 250 watt red lights set up but they are making me nervous. I plugged them in for a minute and they seem really hot. Is everything okay under them? I was just looking at the feeder and stuff thinking "Please don't melt!" I couldn't find a thermometer anywhere quick enough. TSC said they don't have any and I'll know by the chicks actions if they are cold or hot. So I guess that will be a wait and see type thing. Not sure how close to put the lamp (top of the cage looking down, up a little higher). I have chick start in there. Will do water tomorrow. What else? I guess I'm mostly worried about that lamp. The cages have a wire top but it seems to have an epoxy coating of some kind and I didn't know if the lamp will melt that.

    ARGH! This is worse than having a real baby... well, almost!
  2. BantyRooster

    BantyRooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    Will your chicks be indoor at normal room temperatures? Outdoors in a drafty old barn? If they will be indoors, start your lamp about 18 inches from the chicks and adjust as needed.

    Make sure you have a draft shield set up at least 18 inches high around the cage to help eliminate drafts. Make sure your lamp is secure and it cannot fall or slide down to prevent a fire.

    Try to offset your light so the chicks can pick the spots they like best and can either get under the lamp or away from it. If the chicks are all huddled together under the lamp, lower it a few inches. If they are all huddled into the corner, the pen is too drafty. If they are in a big donut like circle under the lamp it is too hot for them. The chicks should be evenly spaced out. They will have a tendency to huddle as they go to sleep but shouldn't be piled up.

    You shouldnt need several inches of shaving if you have a catch tray. A thin layer to prevent the droppings from sticking to the pan will be sufficient. It will help to elevate your feed and water to head level of the chicks. This makes it easier for them to drink and prevents them from scrathing their food all over.

    Make sure they do not run out of water. Change the water at least daily.

    MOST important. NO DRAFTS.

    Relax and have fun with your new chicks [​IMG]

    Any more questions dont hesitate to ask.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  3. chickeypeep101

    chickeypeep101 the Awesome Pullet

    Jul 23, 2009
    On a horse!
    Pics in the morning! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. GraceAK

    GraceAK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2009
    Eagle River, AK
    Yes, Pics!

  5. BantyRooster

    BantyRooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    I dont know how large the grid is on the bottom of the rabbit pen, but I would be hesitant to run new chicks on wire. I've always run new chicks on litter after a day or two of being on newspaper or rubber shelf liner on top of the litter.

    You said you thought these chicks were 3-4 weeks old, so they will be bigger than days olds and may be ok on small grid wire. I wouldn't let them run on wire any larger than 1'' squares. If the grate is larger than that I'd line the bottom with cardboard and cover it with pine litter. You should consider taping some six in cardboard pannels along the bottom sides to help keep litter inside the cage.

    I dont know if you know but DO NOT use ceder chips. The oil in the ceder will cause eye and respitory problems for your chicks.

    Good luck...have FUN!!

  6. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    I've raised chicks on wire (hardware cloth) and had great luck! I would line the bottom of the tray with newspaper and then pine shavings over the newspaper for smell would still be easy to clean that way.

    The only thing with wire is when they spill out their feed it's wasted, they can't scratch through the bedding to find it. That is super irritating to me.

    If the chicks are huddling or shivering, obviously they are cold. Panting and trying to get away from the light source they're too hot. Even with a thermometer you still have to adjust the lamp for them to get it just right [​IMG]
  7. huckleberryfarm

    huckleberryfarm Chickenista

    Jan 7, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    Thanks, everyone. I have them set up in our garage which is like a basement temperature wise. My husband refused to have them in the house. They are in the inside corner so I think it will be okay. The wire on the bottom is a bit bigger than hardware wire I think. I put newspaper on there for tomorrow but then I remembered that might be for newborn chicks.

    I knew about the cedar! Thanks to this site. I have the equine pellets and pine shavings. Sounded like people liked both.

    So I guess that heat light isn't going to set anything on fire! Silly me.

    Will definitely post pictures. I have a 5-yr old daughter who will be up at the crack of dawn excitedly waiting. My poor son is 9 and has to go to school. He's very sad he might miss the "big arrival". My husband is out of town so I'll definitely need to post pics for him!

    Thanks again!
  8. farmin'chick

    farmin'chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    Rocky Mount VA
    Miss it? My P.O. normally calls me at 4:30 a.m. to announce the arrival of new chicks, and opens to let me pick them up.... Small towns are AWESOME.
  9. huckleberryfarm

    huckleberryfarm Chickenista

    Jan 7, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    Oh, wow. Better leave my cell phone on tonight. If they come that early, he's going to BEG me to stay home from school. He's an animal lover in his soul. [​IMG]
  10. OverEggstended

    OverEggstended Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2010
    SW Washington State
    Just thought that i would mention that it is not always good to have the wee ones there for the actual box opening. Just in case one did not make it. It can really upset them. Especially cute fuzzy chicks. I know they have to learn the facts of life... but that is akin to giving them a dead puppy as a gift. No?

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