Need advice on EE bantams and brooder, please

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HappyPlace, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just recently got 20 EE bantams (now 19 - my fault - dog attack), and I was hoping I could get a couple of questions answered and a bit of (constructive) criticism for my "brooder". This may be a little long and/or confusing, so please stay with me...

    To start:
    My brooder is just a few boards duct-taped into a box with a chicken wire roof. I'm using cedar shavings, but they are just layered on the floor (cement garage floor). I made sure there was enough layered so even with digging/scratching, the chicks aren't digging all the way to the cement. They have a waterer which I keep clean and refreshed, and I've been adding apple cider vinegar. Their food dishes are just paper bowls, but are kept clean, as well. I also have two brooder lamps, with one always on and directed at one end of the box and the other only on at night, pointed towards the other end. There is also a wash cloth in the brooder that they play on/with.

    They seem to be doing well with this set up, but if anyone has any helpful hints, I would gladly appreciate them. I would really like to know if I'm missing something, too. [​IMG]

    Questions I have:
    The chicks have been eating moths at night and I read in another thread that they would need grit because of this, but I also read that chick starter (which they get 24/7) already had grit in it. I'm not sure what's "right"...? They also had a bit of watermelon last night. They quite enjoyed it and seem fine this morning, but in hindsight, I don't know if I should have given them it as they were only 3 days old.

    I thought I would see if I could sex the chicks using the feather (wing) sexing. I noticed when I got them that some of the chicks had two rows of feathers while others had only one, and it was consistent with what I read. However, I'm not quite sure it would work on EE bantams. Considering it looks like I might have only 5? roos and (now) 14 pullets, I just *know* it shouldn't work because I've never been that lucky... [​IMG] Has anyone else found this to work for EE's?

    Lastly, I thought that EE chicks all looked like chipmunks in coloring...? I have a few (maybe 3?) that are more of a solid brown with almost invisible stripes and 2/3? that look almost like penguins. The "penguins" have very dark, almost black fluff, yellow bellies, chins and faces and very dark beaks. Is this common in EE's? There are variations in the "chipmunks", but I didn't think there would be *this* much of a difference...

    Again, I know this was long and probably confusing, but I could really use some advice. Thank you in advance. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  2. kburen

    kburen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only thing I can offer is that you're not supposed to use cedar. That and the fact that I've had 16 EE chicks and NONE of them were the chipmunk coloring. Yellow, buff, black, black & white, a dark brown almost black....grown out to white with black, all white, black with white, gray, black & brown, and buff & tan.
     
  3. ruthless

    ruthless Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is a thread on sexing EEs. Usually you can't tell for several weeks to months for sure. You will see lots of chick pictures here too that will show you there are a multitude of different variations.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=463817

    Cedar shavings really should not be used for any animal, dont know why it is still sold for animals.

    Try Aspen or Kiln dried pine or lots of other choices.

    I have 4 bantam EEs that are 12 weeks old and I am just now thinking that I have one male for sure and 3 possible hens. we will see....................
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  4. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't know that about the coloring... I knew there was variation, just not *that* much variation in the chicks. [​IMG]

    I use pine shavings as cat litter (they hate the smell of other shavings), but when I went to get litter for the chicks, there was only cedar. I wasn't aware it was unacceptable. [​IMG] Is there a reason why? I haven't noticed any problems with the chicks because of it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  5. Bantam Username

    Bantam Username Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cedar contains oils and fumes which are poisonous and can damage chicks respiritary systems. [​IMG]
     
  6. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cedar contains oils and fumes which are poisonous and can damage chicks respiritary systems.

    Oh... I didn't know that. [​IMG]

    Do you think it would be okay to keep using it, anyways? They are in the garage which has plenty of air flow (read: drafty) and even though I can't stand the smell of cedar, there's barely any smell at all. They really don't seem to be having any problems, either, at 6 six days old. Are there any signs that would let me know if there *was* damage being done?

    I really don't want to have to waste a giant bag of shavings, but I guess I might have to... [​IMG]
     
  7. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Take the bag back to the store and tell them you wouldn't have bought it had you been informed it was bad for chicks...maybe they will trade you for a bag of pine shavings instead.

    Shame on pet and feed stores selling a product that is commonly known to be unhealthy. No wonder my hamsters were always trying to escape their cages when I was a child!
     
  8. HappyPlace

    HappyPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll see about taking the bag back.

    The chicks used the cedar fine, though, for about 6/7 days now. When would signs show up? If they aren't having problems now, does that mean they won't? Is there anything I should be watching for?
     

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