Needing bits and bobs of random chick(en) advice!

gnomeanne

In the Brooder
Aug 10, 2021
17
42
41
Hi there,

I'm posting all my motley questions I had this morning here so as to give my poor chicken mentors a break and to hopefully have some guidance from you very helpful folks.

I've had my chicks for just 5 days and feel like I've learned a lot already (and trying to balance the paranoia--not assuming everything is fine but also not assuming everything is a deadly condition 😇). I have pretty high anxiety so just browsing the forums here--with all the things that can go wrong and all the conditions there are--get me really nervous, honestly! I really love my five little bantam babies and want the best for them, but I also don't want to stress them out, etc.

I've been giving them electrolytes/probiotics on and off, and am switching them to just fresh water tomorrow. We're experiencing a heat wave here in Seattle, and they were a little hot yesterday. I gave my smallest one some honey water upon arrival as she was a little meh. She seems to be doing much better! Her confidence is way up and she's consuming a lot of food/water.

Here are my random questions/thoughts I'd love some input on.
  1. At this stage ~1 week old and on, what are the main things to look out for? I'm a hawk checking for pasty butt and kind of give everyone a crop check in the morning. What are things I should be mindful of in the coming weeks?
  2. Omg, their poops keep giving me heart attacks. "This is kind of pink...blood!" "Oh this looks too watery!" They're on medicated feed and eating/drinking plenty. Can someone just tell me I'm OK? :')
  3. When should I give treats? I really want to increase the bond between us. It ebbs and flows--they get mad at cleaning and butt check/butt clean time, so I want to build their trust. I have one of those treat towers ready to go, and will pick up some meal-worms. I don't want to throw off their diet too much, and want to ensure they're sufficiently getting their vitamins and medication from the food.
  4. One yet to be named--we call her "meanie" because she's trying to be the boss of the flock I think-- is the only one now who will randomly do those alarm chirps. I'll run in and check on her and she is usually the only one well outside the brooder by the food, but then when I fiddle with her or bedding near her she starts acting fine. Should I give her anything or do anything for her? What could this mean? Thoughts?
  5. The aforementioned little one I gave honey to is a bit smaller than the rest. She's a barred-Plymouth and is about the size now as my porcelain d'uccle. Everyone's wing-feather shafts are coming in. Hers....maybe? I'm hoping by Monday (two days from now) they will be noticeable. I saw on another forum that slow development is something to look out for. Could it be she's just a little younger, somehow? Or just her breed could be slow to grow? She was teeny when I got her. Someone just saying "it's okay just chill out" here would be appreciated. :) I warmed her up on my body when she arrived and she fell right asleep so I feel pretty motherly to her already!
  6. What are recommended weekly/monthly routines for my backyard flock's health? (Like, I use flea medicine on my cats monthly--I've seen dewormers recommended here, etc. so anything in that vein.)
  7. On that note from #6, give me your "chicken emergency/maintence kit" must-haves! I've seen prep-H, medication, etc.? What else!? I'd like to start stocking up on things now since COVID has made things a little difficult to acquire. Rather have a good kit and not need it than the reverse.
  8. Last one: I'm terrified of them getting coccidiosis. They are on medicated feed but do you recommend double-duty treatment just in case? I have seen "corid" (spelling? recommended on here. Is that something safe/recommended to give just as another layer of defense or....
Also just any general advice you have for someone who dearly loves her chicks and deals with animal-related anxiety--I'm a crazy cat lady and now crazy chicken lady?? (It all happened so fast!)

Thank you in advance for my ramblings in what will likely be part one of lots! Photo of my little beloved brood below! :)
 

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Mamatomany123

Crowing
Mar 14, 2020
3,855
5,187
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Midland, tx
1.) After weeks 1 I no longer check for pasty butt. At that point I just check on them to be sure they have food and water and just observe that they're all growing.
2.) If there's any red in the poop then I would treat for cocci. But be mindful of what they eat. If you feed them berries then their poop may be pink/red.
3.) I never give treats to my chicks and rarely to my hens. They can become super picky and refuse to eat if you give too many treat. And good treat for chicks is scrambled eggs but handling them daily will also get them used to you.
4.) Some chicks are just loud. I had an EE chick who would scream constantly she now does it as an adult. We call her Karen.
5.) Unfortunately some chicks fail to thrive. They sometimes make it weeks before they end up passing. Not saying that's what's going on here but it's a possibility.
6.) I recommend checking them daily for mites/lice. Not because they may have them but so that it makes it easier to do it as adults. I never treat for anything if they aren't showing symptoms. I know some people deworm chickens every year but I never have and don't have any problems.
7.) I recommend having neosporin without pain relief, guaze, wound wrap, corrid, and vetrx on hand. I also keep any extra antibiotics I get from my other pets just in case.
8.) Never treat for anything if they aren't showing symptoms. Cocci is very treatable. Just watch their poops and make sure there's no blood. If you notice a chick puffed up and not acting as usual then you can treat for cocci as a just in case but never treat as a defense. You wouldn't take antibiotics for strep throat just in case.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,868
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
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1. Doesn't hurt to continue checking for pasty butt each day, but at 1 week if you haven't had an issue it's not too likely to arise.
2. I actually stopped looking at chick poops, unless I see something in their behavior to indicate that I need to look. Mostly I look at poop as something to brush off their heating pad haha.
3. As long as they have grit you can start giving tiny amounts, like we're talking 1-2 mealworms a day. As they get bigger they can have more.
4. She likes attention and you're giving it to her?
5. She could be a runt. As long as she's active and eating and drinking I wouldn't worry too much.
6. As a general rule, no need to do anything proactive. The best "medicine" IMO is to watch their behavior and do occasional health checks. Usually I pick up a few birds and check their skin for parasites, check feet for bumbles. If feathers are shiny and eyes are bright and they're active, they're usually fine.
7. Easy things to have on hand that have multiple uses (aka you can use them too) and/or a long shelf life: vet wrap, Vetricyn, Neosporin w/o pain relief. Corid is good to have on hand because if you need it, you need it ASAP. I also keep a coarse nail file for beak maintenance and tweezers and a utility knife for bumblefoot surgery (since I had birds prone to it). Anything else I buy it when needed.
8. So I have a different approach to coccidiosis. I've had coccidiosis in my flock before but now raise my chicks outside which deliberately exposes them to any coccidiosis that's in the soil. They should naturally build up resistance that way. For an indoor brooder you can dig up a small clump of dirt and grass and let the chicks play with it.
 

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