New chick anxieties and questions!

Kimberlass

Chirping
Mar 1, 2018
44
69
94
Pittsburgh
Hello! I brought home three chicks today - an australorp, a red sex link, and a Black Star. When we got home I tried to show them the water, food, and brooder. The three vary in ages between a few days and a week. The youngest went right to the brooder plate and has been there since we got home. The other two had more lukewarm responses to the brooder. I eventually raised two legs a bit to convince them to get under it, and I feel like it isn’t close enough to them. I also have only seen one of them eat?

So here are my questions, if you would be so kind as to give some input!

How often should they eat and drink? When do I get worried that they still haven’t? Is my water too cool? Are they close enough to the brooder plate? What should I be looking out for, behaviorally, these first few days?

Here’s a picture of the two who aren’t super into the plate seemingly (I had to put them under it multiple times because they kept falling asleep out in the open.)
 

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Caliber

In the Brooder
Mar 17, 2017
13
36
48
They should pick up an appetite quickly. Young chicks cycle most of the day through sleeping and eating. The two older ones with more smooth feathers might not need the extra heat of the low brooder. If their entire space is not warm like under the brooder heater they may be too cold to eat and drink much. Are they active otherwise? Or sleeping constantly?
Here are some articles with great information about baby chick care:
https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2018/02/beginners-guide-to-getting-started.html
https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2012/01/chicks-are-coming.html
https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2013/04/good-better-best-smart-chicken-keeping.html
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,818
32,835
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On the MN prairie.
They will eat and drink when they're hungry and thirsty. If they're in your house, the older ones may not need the brooder plate as often or for as long. I haven't used a heat plate, but with a heat lamp, you watch your chicks to know if they're comfortable or not. If they are too hot, they will be as far from the lamp as possible. If they are too cool, they'll huddle under the lamp. In both situations, they will cheep very loudly. When it's just right, they will be moving about the brooder, chirping contentedly, eating and drinking or sleeping. They do need to be able to escape from the heat if they are too hot, so make sure the brooder is big enough for that. They've been moved and had a big change today, they may need time to adjust to their new surroundings.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,138
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Colorado Rockies
You aren't going to see all of your chicks with identical food and heat needs due to the age difference. A week old chick needs less heat while the ones that are much younger need more frequent warm-ups. Provide fine chick crumbles and chicks will eat when hungry. New ones eat very sparingly at first, appetites picking up dramatically after one week.

If you can, tilt your heat plate so the radiant heat is less intense for the chick that needs less heat and the younger ones can warm up at the lower end. This is how we who use the heating pad system rig it.

Watch your chicks and you will soon be able to tell when they're comfortable or not.. As @Caliber pointed out, the loud persistent chirping will leave no doubt that your chicks are unhappy with something, just as a newborn human infant makes their discomfort known.
 

Kimberlass

Chirping
Mar 1, 2018
44
69
94
Pittsburgh
Thank you everyone! I tilted the brooder plate more and everyone seems to be quietly sleeping right now! As expected, the youngest is at the lowest part and the older ones at the higher end. I will check every so often to see if they stir to eat/drink.

To answer a question above the chicks were very active and chirping loudly for the first 20-30 minutes or so, and then started getting tired. They’ve probably been sleeping close to two hours (with some interruptions from me, during which they chirped a little.)

The oldest one totally faceplants when she sleeps. Is that weird? She picks her head up right away if something disturbs her.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,818
32,835
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Thank you everyone! I tilted the brooder plate more and everyone seems to be quietly sleeping right now! As expected, the youngest is at the lowest part and the older ones at the higher end. I will check every so often to see if they stir to eat/drink.

To answer a question above the chicks were very active and chirping loudly for the first 20-30 minutes or so, and then started getting tired. They’ve probably been sleeping close to two hours (with some interruptions from me, during which they chirped a little.)

The oldest one totally faceplants when she sleeps. Is that weird? She picks her head up right away if something disturbs her.
I have seen baby chicks fall asleep mid-stride when they're walking. It's funny to watch!
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 26, 2008
33,514
67,080
1,412
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
My Coop
I always worry ( :confused: and I have been raising chicks for over 40 years ) until I see the chicks clearly eating and drinking. I have had some dunces.

Some of the slower chicks need you to peck at the feed with your finger to get them to eat. Other times if I dip my finger in water, then touch my damp finger on their crumble a few crumble bits will stick to my finger, and for some reason they like eating the crumbs off of my finger tip.
 

Kimberlass

Chirping
Mar 1, 2018
44
69
94
Pittsburgh
Another update! Two of the chicks have been eating and drinking now! The Black Star is definitely the one I am worried about - she’s still very sleepy and is not interested in food or water. I tried to dip her beak in a little sugar water to no avail. Tried some of the suggestions here - it’s been about 4 hours we’ve been home and nothing yet. She flaps her little wings in protest when I pick her up. I’m still nervous about her!

The oldest is only interested in the food the youngest is trying to eat, but I’m not worried about that, I know human children
 

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