New 8 - 10 Week Old Chicks - A Lot of Questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Juise, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In March we will be picking up 5 new chickens, Araucanas that will be 8 - 10 weeks old. We live in Michigan, and at this point, I haven't the slightest clue what the weather will be like. We have had a very weird and warm Winter. Here are some of the things I am wondering about, thank you for any advice you may have for me.

    Will I be able to put them out in the coop at that age, or will they need to be inside?

    At 8 - 10 weeks old, is there much chance I will get a roo in the lot? They are from a nice farm a few hours from here that raises cage-free birds, and they told me they could sex them 85% accurate in day-olds for the Araucanas.

    Which reminds me, driving a few hours with chicks in the car... What is the best way to do that? Are they less stressed being able to see out of their enclosure, or being kept in a closed box, or what would you recommend?

    We have 5 hens currently, two New Hampshire Reds, two Isa Browns, and one Black Star. We don't have a rooster. They will all be a year old in March. Will I need to keep them separated long, or is that all just too dependent on the chickens to say? They are all very sweet, and I have never seen any signs of aggression from them, unless you count stealing my 1 year old's peanut butter jelly sandwich straight out of her hands. ;) (It was a fly-by!) Our birds free-range, but we do have a run, so I could potentially put the newbies in a chicken wired off area in the coop, then let them into the run after I let our girls out, though I normally leave the coop and run open to them so that they can go in and out as they please and lay their eggs. Thoughts?

    The other thing is feed. I can't remember when you can start giving the chickies mash, we had a large bag of, I believe, Start and Grow for our first batch that lasted beyond the recommended time, so we simply switched over when we were through with that bag. We feed ours organic chicken mash, will I need to have separate feed for the new ladies?

    That's all I can think of right now, although I bet I will probably be able to add to it! ;) Thank you so much in advance for any responses. I am still pretty new to this, I got day-old chicks about this time last year for the first time, and I have yet to add to the flock. I am very excited and nervous!
     
  2. Maev

    Maev Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! That does help. I am still looking for a bit more answer to some of them, but I am going to add to, or in any case, expand on some it. :)

    1.) Awesome that I can put them in the coop at 8 - 10 weeks, (hopefully 10 weeks, I am asking about that.) Should they be okay at just that, or will they require a heat lamp do you think? (I am REALLY nervous about putting a heat lamp in the barn, I would really rather not, it terrifies me!)

    2.) Still looking for transport ideas, but wanted to add that I would never put them in a totally closed box with no ventilation. [​IMG] What I really meant was, would they be more comfortable in a dark container?

    3.) Hmm, my bag actually only says, "Certified Organic Feed" and pretty much nothing else, aside from the organic certification label, a silhouette of a chicken, and some info on why you should feed organic. It is a pretty plain bag. I guess I can ask at the feed store though if it has calcium added, is that the only thing I need to worry about on the feed issue, though?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Maev

    Maev Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, now I feel dumb. No, there is no ingredient list on the bag, or phone number, so I will have to look up the company and see what I can find out, I guess. It is called "Natures Grown Organics". Now here's the dumb part. They always ask me what percent I want, I think the options are 12 or 16 percent, and I always say 16. Uh.. I assumed this had to do with the organic quality of the feed, and actually thought maybe it was the percentage of feed that actually was organic, which would be really disappointing, but it is the only source for organic chicken feed around here, so it didn't matter too much because I didn't really have any other option.

    So.. you're telling me that in reality this percentage has to do with protein content, right? So, now I have another question, lol. What's the big difference, aside from price? Is there any point to getting the higher percentage for free range birds?
     
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May feel dumb but definitely smart enough to ask follow up questions. The chickens you are getting still have some growing yet, so the higher protein is better. I think most grower feeds run around 22%. Layer feeds 16/18%. The point of getting the right feed, would come on the days they can't be free ranged or their range is dried up or frozen, then all their needs must come from the feeds you give them.
     
  7. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    10 week old pullets should not need added heat.
    You will likely have the older flock harassing the new ones quite a bit. Keep them separated by a fence for at least a few weeks. The larger the new ones are the better the co-mingling will be.
    Sexing at a day ? maybe, if they are really experienced, but by 10 weeks the breeders should have a pretty good idea because of feathering patterns.
    Baby chick feed should be 18-22 % protein for good growth, depending upon breed. Layer feed is usually 16%. I am not sure what group gets the 12%... perhaps meat birds for slower growth? And yes, the higher protein costs more in every species of animal feed. Don't be penny wise/pound foolish. Buy the best quality food you can possibly afford for the animal's age, especially the young ones. Once they are maturing you can go to average food:)
     
  8. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm, I asked my feed store and they said the 16% was for birds at least 50 weeks old... which mine only are now, really. Does that mean I should've been feeding them something else?

    Also, how do you manage to keep them eating their own separate feeds for so long without keeping them completely separate?

    P.S. I have no problem buying the more expensive feed as long as it is the right feed. :)
     
  9. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feeding them layer when they start to lay is right, it doesn't matter the age.
    You keep them separate is how you feed them different feeds. Keeping them separate is what you should do for a while. The new younger birds still have some growing to do. When you are introducing new member to your flock throwing them all together at once can cause big ruckus while the pecking order is established. Keeping them separate, but where they can see each other for a time helps. That will allow the young ones to grow a bit more and the older ones to realize there are going to be new kids on the block. If you opt not to quarantine, they should all be put on all flock raiser or grower till the young ones start to lay.
     
  10. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I was planning on keeping them separate for awhile, but I was thinking in terms of a few weeks.

    If I have to keep them entirely separate until the newbs start laying (thus eating the same feed,) then we're talking a few months. Which may be hard to figure out. I have the one coop / run, which is plenty big enough, but I not sure how I would be able to make it so that the older birds still had access to their coop while keeping the flocks separate, you know what I mean?

    I can divide the coop itself no problem, and then let my older birds out to free range and keep the new birds in the run, but that would mean my old birds not being able to get into the run or coop.

    How do other people manage this with one coop / run?
     

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