My plan for my baby chicks, please critique!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MydearWatson, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010

    Newest of the newbies here. I was hoping to detail some of my plans and maybe some experts could help me figure out if it is a good plan or what to change. We have about a month till the babies get here:

    - after opening box I will place it under the heat lamp and dip their beaks in water and food. I am also going to get GroGel for them to get some nutrients.

    - Brooder set up: Using a large sized dog crate with cardboard around the bottom half, newspapers with paper towels on top for the floor. The heater will be a red heat bulb and I will place the thermometer on floor level. Thinking about using some of the hay they are shipped with for bedding, as long as it's clean. Or would a small clean towel work better? I am hesitant to use shavings since I have heard of some chicks dying from eating it. When they get bigger I want to try using sand so they can kick it around. I will be keeping the chicks in my house in a unused stairwell so the temp should be pretty consistent.

    - feeding them medicated chick starter

    - thinking of putting electrolytes in the water, I'm assuming unflavored Pedialyte would work ok.

    - I am not going to get them vaccinated for Mareks since I am only getting four and they will never be exposed to any other chickens. From my research, this seems to be a safe gamble but your experiences may tell me differently.

    I THINK I covered everything but I'm sure the professionals will find holes in it. I am open to any constructive criticism or tips! [​IMG]

    Thank you.
  2. a123andpoof

    a123andpoof Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    Sounds good to me! Though if you use Pine shavings you should be fine! Thats what all my chicks use and so far no problems!
  3. bikefreak

    bikefreak Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 1, 2010
    Only need to dip beaks in water.

    I put pine shavings down and had no problems. Paper towels on top of that for the first 3 days. Sprinkled food on top for them to find and eat. newspaper is too slick so pitch it. Not a fan of hay. towel would work fine but get messy.

    Sand is fine. They will love rolling in it. Messy factor (dust) will increase.

    Good luck and enjoy!
  4. PrettyCoy

    PrettyCoy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2011
    Welcome from CT! We won't have our chicks until mid-May so I don't have any been there done that advice. I plan on using sand in the brooder, I've read that it works great.
  5. Tiny'sChix

    Tiny'sChix New Egg

    Apr 10, 2011
    Sounds good to me.... I agree with the advice of pine shavings instead of newspaper. As a fellow 'new egg', our four chickadees are seven days old today and a very similar set up has worked excellent for them. They love the laundry room because of the constant hum of activity, and from all I have read.... and of late, experienced... the sooner you get them accustomed to people/noise/life in general, the better they will do. Good luck!

    One TeenAger, One Tweener, One BeardedDragon, One DwarfHamster and FourLittleLadies....and one VeryAccomodatingHubby! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    How many, and for how long? Even a big dog carrier will not be enough for long. At 2 weeks they need 1 sq ft apiece and at 4 weeks they need 2 or 2.5.

    Some add stuff to water at first, some not. I never have. A pinch of sugar the first day may help if they are weak, and a bit of the pedialyte the first day or two shouldn't hurt. Organic ACV, I've read, will help prevent pasty butt.

    A 250W heat lamp in a dog carrier is liable to be too much. Whatever you use, I'd set it up and check temps before they arrive. They do need a cool place to escape the heat if they want, and of course their body heat will increase the temp in the brooder.

    One thing, the dog carrier will be great to take them back and forth for outings during the day.
  7. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    Excellent advice so far (keep it coming! [​IMG] ), just what I was looking for! Looks like I'm losing the newspaper! I didn't really think to check the heat before they came (DUH!), excellent idea!

    I am going to have 4 chicks in a dog crate, not a carrier so the whole thing is open and not enclosed like a carrier, hopefully it wont get too hot. I am going to put the lamp on one end so they can go to the other side to cool down, I will also leave the food and water on the cool side so the water doesn't get hot. The crate is about 3x5.

    Love the ideas and suggestions. Thank you!!!!!!
  8. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    And to answer your how long question, I am thinking 5 to 6 weeks...
  9. foux003

    foux003 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 20, 2010
    R I, Apple Valley Area
    I place the chicks on regular brown corrugated board for the first few days[brown "cardboard" box]. The corrugated board gives them just enough traction so they don't sprawl. Any paper or cardboard with a clay or gloss finish is to slippery for them. I put down shavings for bedding as they won't eat it like they would sawdust. I place the heat lamp so that they have a cooler place to get away from the heat if they need to. If they cluster under the lamp they are at a good temp. if they cluster away from the lamp it is because the area under the lamp is to hot. I raise the heat lamp every week until they don't need the heat anymore. I give them warm water with a little sugar and dip their beaks in once so that they get the idea. I also put marbles in the water fountain so they won't drowned themselves. Chicks are coming from a wet environment and I have seen them stick and hold their heads in the water as if to get back to their moist environment. The PEDIA works fine.

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  10. h8snags

    h8snags Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2011
    Murray, UT
    I've had mine for 5 weeks, I started them on pine shavings (paper towel on top only lasted about an hour!), yes, they will eat it, but they are fine! You will find it is the best way to keep the smell down, I change it every few days.
    They were in a rubbermaid tote for only a week, they outgrew it fast!I used a 250 watt heat lamp (white), and just about had chicken mcnuggets the first day! [​IMG] They were panting, so I changed the bulb out to a regular 200 watt light bulb and raised it, they will let you know if it's too hot or cold. The next week I changed it to a 75 watt, then to a 60, and after 4 weeks, I have turned the light off at night. We built them a bigger brooder, and they are still in my kitchen! You can see the brooder and chickies at a week old on my BYC page.

    Watch for pasty butt, if the poop is dried up on them, wipe it off with a warm wet washcloth or paper towel, I found rinsing them off under the faucet in warm water works best. Be sure to dry them off really well (I used a hairdryer on low, they liked it!) before putting them back in. I have even had to do this (using dish soap) when they got pooped on by their sisters on the perch!

    I just put a little sugar in their water the first day.

    Still on the medicated chick starter with grit mixed in so they can eat the bugs and worms I give them. I started giving them grit after 1 week.

    They love to eat and take dust baths in the sand.. so funny to watch!

    Too much love is never enough, although I found I was spoiling mine so much they only wanted to come see me if I had treats, so I had to back off a bit.. now they come see me and let me hold them all the time! So hard not to spoil them, they are so cute!

    It's amazing the natural instinct they have right out of the egg without mama to show them what to do. I think alot of people go overboard with worrying that they are not doing enough, or doing things wrong. They are chickens, and they are tough! Have fun with them, they grow and change so fast! [​IMG]

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