My first baby chicks: Questions -- Need help, advice, and opinions.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ShoeEars, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. ShoeEars

    ShoeEars Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2012
    Fresno/Clovis, CA
    I apologize in advance for being really wordy, I try to be as specific as possible. To make it easier on you, I put my questions and tags in bold and the details follow and are not in bold.
    Introductions: Yesterday my family picked up three baby chicks at our local cherry flea market. We got one Rhode Island Red (about 6 days old), a Silkie (about 11 days old), and a Frizzle (about 15 days old).
    First pic: From top to bottom; Ginger (RIR), Scootaloo (Frizzle), and Gilbird (Silkie). They're sleeping in this pic.
    Second pic: Under the heat lamp so Gilbird's butt will dry after her butt was dunked in too much water.
    Housing and care: We are keeping them in a large cardboard box inside the house with a 50 watt light bulb with a waterer, feeder, wood shavings (pine I think), and some fleece to keep warm. As I am still learning about how to care for them, today I mixed in some grit and some finely chopped cheereios and rolled oats into their chick starter feed and put 1 teaspsoon of apple cider vinegar into their 1 quart waterer (I only put 1 tsp because for some reason we don't have a 1/4 tablespoon measuring spoon). The chicks seem pretty content, they don't chirp a whole lot, they eat and drink okay as far as I can tell and they seem to get along very well.

    Now that you've been introduced and informed, I have some questions. I have done some research and mostly end up here, so I made an account to get some better opinions and advice that would be more direct to my chicks. (I will be referring to then as girls because we really hope they all are girls. We live in an urban neighborhood and cannot have a rooster, the lady we bought them from said we can exchange chickens if they turn out to be boys, but we're hoping we don't have to do that.)

    1. Our RIR sleeps a lot and isn't as active as the other two, is that normal for a chick that's about 6 days old? Or should I be concerned? I think she eats and drinks okay and she has no other symptoms as far as I can tell.

    2. Our Silkie has had some diarrhea, should I be worried? And how can I resolve it? At first it was just watery poo, but then later, her poo looked more like diarrhea. She is eating and drinking fine and is active. The other chicks have had normal brown poo with a white cap. I will keep an eye on the silkie for the next few days to see if it gets better or worse, but what can I do in the meantime?

    3. Is my box too hot? I use a meat thermometer that I lay in the bottom of the box to check the temperature and the temp can get to about 90-100 F in the box, about 100 F under the light itself. We are keeping them in my room and the room temp fluctuates between about 70-85 F throughout the day and night. The RIR likes the light at about 100 F and will fall asleep under it while the other two fall asleep off to the side, but not fully in the shaded part of the box. They also like to sprawl out almost on their bellies when the sleep. I did just get a 40 watt bulb to try, but I wanted some opinions first. Here's Ginger sprawled out near the light.

    4. Do you think she might be actually be a he? My RIR and Frizzle have started to develop small combs, but not the Silkie. Do you think they will become roos? Here's a pic of my Frizzle and it's small comb.

    5. What should I try to remove a clump of poo off a chicks butt to prevent it from pasting up? My Silkie has a clump of poo on her butt below her vent, it's not blocking her from pooping seeing as she's had some diarrhea, but we are struggling in the removal of said poo because it's a bit matted in its feathers. We've tried twice, once today and once yesterday as not to stress her out, with warm soapy water, both in a bowl and on a wash cloth. In fact, my sister dunked about half of the chick in the water and we had to dry her off under a desk lamp with a 50 watt bulb that was about 100 F and I brought in the other two chicks to keep her calm to warm her up more quickly. She's all dry and is doing fine now.

    6. Is pecking bullying? My Frizzle sometimes pecks at the other two chicks, on the face, butt, body, and legs. It doesn't seem aggressive, more like she's trying to pick things off them or out of their feathers. I wouldn't be so concerned, but seeing as I am worried that she might be a roo, I though I might as well bring it up.

    7. Am I worrying too much, too soon? Lol, I just got them and just want to make sure I'm doing this right. I've only had one other chicken before, but I found her in my urban neighborhood and she was about 5-6 months old because she didn't start laying eggs till the second week we had her. If you think I'm worrying too much, too soon, let me know so my mind will be put a bit at ease. :)

    Okay, that's all the questions I have for now, hope you guys can help me out here, sorry again for being so wordy, and any help is appreciated! :)
  2. AAJ

    AAJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2011
    I can tell that you are very concerned. That is a good thing. You are doing great. If you need any info then just go on different sites and I don't think that you should worry about pecking right know. I love your RIR. Have a good week.
  3. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2011
    athens, wv
    sounds like your doing everything by the book. My only advise is not to worry to much they are tougher then they look.
  4. cooped up

    cooped up Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2012
    Portland, Or
    Sometimes worrying and caring are synonimous, and it sounds like you're off to a great start. I've read though that if you can have a cooler spot in your brooder where the chicks can go from warm to cool or vise a versa. Imagine if the the chicks are with a hen, the enviroment that we provide should be similar to nature.
  5. Rachel96

    Rachel96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2012
    South Australia
    Well, to me it sounds like you're going very well and you certainly researched mroe than I ever did for my first chicks (admittedly I was about seven, though).

    1. - It could just be an individual thing - I've had some chicks sleep more than others before and it hasn't seemed to harm them. Your Rhode Island Red is substantially younger than the other two, so that's probably just why.

    2. - Make sure that her bottom doesn't get too pasted up with mess and make sure that she's eating as much fibre as the other two (the oats are good for that). I'm no expert but I know that with most creatures, including humans, giving them more fibre tends to clear up sloppy poos. However, if it's really liquidy, I don't really have any adivce other than to keep watching her for other symptoms. Check that all of her poos are like that, because sometimes chicks will have a runny poo every now and then while the rest are normal.

    3. - I've never measured the temperature in the brooder. Even if it's too hot directly under the lamp, as long as the lamp is on one corner or end of the box and the other end is cooler, that should be fine. Chicks who are capable of moving about will move if they get too hot.

    4. - In my experience, Silkies develop combes later than most of the other breeds I've had. I don't know why but I think it has a lot to do with the sort of combe it will develop - if your Frizzle and Rhode Island Red are going to end up with single combes but your Silkie ends up with a pea combe or strawberry combe or something similar, they're going to look quite different at that age. Check to see if the Silkie has just a small bobble or fleshy bit at the top of her beak - this will turn into the combe.

    5. - I can't really help with this one as I've never had such a persistant dag on a chick before - it usually has come off after doing everything you've said! As long as it's not obstructing her vent and it's dry, it will probably come out when she begins to grow feathers.

    6. - Just make sure it doesn't become rough. If it's just gentle pecking it's probably fine and she's just trying to be helpful, or there's something that looks like food caught in the other chick's down.

    7. - I don't think so. It's all right to worry and none of your questions seem too hypochondriac, just a first-time mother!

    I hope I've been helpful, and don't take my word as the absolute truth because these are just ideas from my own experience. For some of your questions, particularly number 2, I suggest you get some more advice to add to it!

    from Rachel.
  6. TheChicknGarden

    TheChicknGarden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2012
    san antonio, texas
    aww i think you are doing a great job.. you should pat your self on the back for caring so much. you babies are very lucky to have you for their mommy .

    i have 3 6week old silkies and they too can get poo stuck in their feathers. i use wipes and gently rub them off... and if they are too dirty, cause they like to sleep on top of each other the one who is at the bottom always seem to get pooed on, well then i just give them a warn bath and dry them real good.
  7. bwalden

    bwalden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2012
    question 1. Baby chicks sleep a lot. I wouldnt worry unless it isnt eating and drinking.

    question 2. I wouldnt worry with consistancy of their poo, it will be different sometimes. More watery one time dryer the next.

    question 3. around 90-100 is ideal for young chicks. they can move themselves further out from the bulb if they get too hot. If they are too cold they will huddle up right under the bulb a lot and can even stop eating and drinking if they get too chilled.

    question 4. too early to tell the sex on the frizzle. Pullets and roos with both have combs but around 5 or six weeks you will know for sure.

    question 5. the clump of poo....warm water and a towel is all I can advise. doesnt always get all of it off but will get most of it.

    question 6. all chicks will do this. They even do it when they get older. Chickens have a pecking order. They are also canablistic. This is the reason hatcheries will tell you to use a red brooder bulb. I wouldnt worry with it. They probably wont stop but I wouldnt this it will get worse.

    question 7. yes, maybe just a little. Sounds like you are doing a good job. And like jeepguy said they are pretty tough.

    Good luck!
  8. Nikkipar

    Nikkipar Chillin' With My Peeps

    My only advise is that you should always try to clean their vent, even if it is not being blocked. It can carry disease, and make them sick between when you check on them. I, when I am with the young chicks, have found it helpful to take a bowl of warm water with me. I will dip their little butts in it and wipe with a paper towel. Sometimes it may take several attempts. Otherwise you are doing great! Keep it up!
    Worry is part of motherhood.
  9. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    For pasty or dirty butt, I hold the chicks bum under very warm running water and perform a gentle 'scrub' with a toothbrush and some baby shampoo. (dish detergent works too). Yep, you're worrying too much but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The chicks will sleep where they are most comfortable. If they feel too hot they will move away from the light and vice versa. It's far to early to tell gender. Are you able to see the frizzling on your little black one yet? The Silkie may not be having diarrhea. You may just be seeing her cecal poops which come from a separate area of the chick's colon that the 'white capped poo'. At this age, pecking is all about learning and not about bullying. Welcome!
  10. Nikkipar

    Nikkipar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, the pecking order starts early, but it is how they explore their world at first. I LOVE baby chicks.... they are always doing something interesting.

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