New chicken owner with baby chicks!

heidipole

Hatching
Mar 2, 2015
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Hi, I just picked up 6 babies from the feed store this weekend. I built a 4x8 coop with a raised 4x4 brooder/nesting/shelter area. How long do I have to keep the chicks enclosed? When can I start feeding scraps, etc? Any comments/ suggestions welcome- thanks!
400
 
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Sonya9

Crowing
7 Years
Feb 7, 2014
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First off start planning for a bigger coop if those are standard sized chickens.

Secondly if the enclosed area had not been raised you could let the chicks into the grassy part of the pen now, but they need to stay warm so only put them in the grassy section when the weather is nice and you can keep an eye on them (if they start to peep that is a signal they are cold).

If you put them onto the grass (in the enclosure where predators can't get them) offer some grit. As far as table scraps, healthy foods in tiny portions are okay but most of their diet needs to be chick food. You don't want tiny babies to fill up on "junk" like leftover rice/noodles and end up malnourished.
 
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3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
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Hi, I just picked up 6 babies from the feed store this weekend. I built a 4x8 coop with a raised 4x4 brooder/nesting/shelter area. How long do I have to keep the chicks enclosed? When can I start feeding scraps, etc? Any comments/ suggestions welcome- thanks!
Hi Heidi!
They need supplemental warmth till they are about 4 weeks old. How old are your chicks? Feed them chick feed and water. Put some chick gravel in a cup for the to choose as they wish. Let them have fed for 3 days before you put the gravel cup in so they get used to the difference between gravel and chick feed. The gravel will help them develop larger, healthier gizzards. This can mean up to 20% more eggs when they start to lay as the better gizzard will do a better job of grinding the feed for the G.I tract to digest. A hatch the need the brooder temp at 90 degrees. Then it goes down 5 degrees a week until 4 weeks when you can turn the light off. Use and incandescent blub not that 250 red bulb. You don't need it and the incandescent is safe for the chicks. You can tell when the temp under the light is right because of the behavior of the chicks. If they are crowded under the light and cheeping they are cold. If they are scattered outside the light source, it is too hot if they are under the light source and cheeping softly or asleep, it is just right. Cold chicks crowd together. Hot chicks spread apart. Just right chicks sleep stay next to but not on top of each other and are quieter.
Best Success,
Karen
 

Sonya9

Crowing
7 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,899
1,141
291
Georgia
Also just saw the coop is enclosed in chicken wire. Predators will tear right through that. Predators will also reach through and pull chicken parts off if they are able.

Chicken wire might be okay for containing chicks when you are around to watch them but if you have wildlife in those woods you need to use hardware cloth.
 
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3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
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Now about supplements for your birds. As long as you are just feeding them chick feed and water, they do not need chick gravel. The minute you feed them anything else you need chick gravel.

It is important to feed the correct size gravel at the right age. You will probably not see a difference in the size of your birds because of this. The difference is on the inside. The right size gravel at the right age helps the chick develop a healthier and larger gizzard. The gizzard grind up the feed like a food processer before it passes on into the intestinal tract where the nutrients are absorbed. The better the feed is ground, the more available the nutrients will be to be digested by the bird. Right gravel at the right time can result as much 20% more eggs when the hens start to lay because the better gizzard does a better job of processing food for absorption. here is a flyer which is from the company in the US which has been making poultry grit since 1935.
http://www.jupefeeds-sa.com/documents/GraniteGrit.pdf Granite grit is best because the edges stay sharp despite the acid in the bird's gizzard.
Yu can get this at Agway or feed and farm stores. It is less than 10.00 for 50 lbs.
Nutritional supplements:
Go to the feed store and get a small bottle of Bovidr Labs Poultry Nutri-Drench or Goat Nutri-Drench.
I have used this company's' formulas on my dogs and poultry for over a decade. The trick to these formulas is they don't need to be digested. they mainline directly into the bloodstream. Measureable in the bloodstream in 30 minutes with 99% utilization. You can use either Bovidr Labs Pet Nutri-Drench or Goat Nutri-Drench. Just use the poultry admin and usage instructions whichever you choose. I raised my chicks last season using the Goat Formula with the Poultry instructions with great success. No sick or dead chicks from the 42 hatched. Tho the Bovidr Labs formulas are species -specific, they also meet the scientific standards for a universal formula. I found this out from a conversation with their science tech. Call Bovidr and ask for the dosage for your age chicks. After I have used this company's' formulas on my dogs and poultry for over a decade. The trick to these formulas is they don't need to be digested. they mainline directly into the bloodstream. Measureable in the bloodstream in 30 minutes with 99% utilization. You can use either Bovidr Labs Pet Nutri-Drench or Goat Nutri-Drench. Just use the poultry admin and usage instructions whichever you choose. I raised my chicks last season using the Goat Formula with the Poultry instructions with great success. No sick or dead chicks from the 42 hatched. Tho the Bovidr Labs formulas are species -specific, they also meet the scientific standards for a universal formula. I found this out from a conversation with their science tech. Call Bovidr and ask for the dosage for your age chicks. Here's their website: http://www.nutridrench.com They are very helpful. Initially dose the individual chicks using one drop only by mouth per chick. ( For needy chicks repeat that as needed every 8-10 hours) , Then put it in their water for 2 weeks. Bovidr will give you the doses. Per their advice, I use 2ml per gallon for maintenance or 4 ml per gallon for stress situations. Tractor Supply has the lowest prices. Also pick up a 3ml syringe, safely dispose of the needle, and use it to measure out the dose for the waterers. Do not use it to dose the individual chicks. One idea for individual chicks is to use a straw with a bit drawn up inside to dose the chicks. A different straw for each chick each time. Just cut the straws to small lengths so one box should do for the flock. Where I live in western PA, Tractor Supply sells the small bottle of Poultry formula for 6.99 and the Goat formula for about 9.99 . These formulas are very concentrated. The small bottle of Poultry should be enough for your needs.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/746509/how-to-deal-with-travel-stress-in-baby-chicks
Best Success,
Karen Tewart
 
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3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
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Yes Heidi, chick gravel is different. The gizzard is the bird's "teeth" it uses to "chew" the food before digesting it.
There are three sizes of grit to needed at 3 different ages to promote a healthier, larger gizzard.
On the second page of that granitegrit.PDF . http://www.jupefeeds-sa.com/documents/GraniteGrit.pdf
is the feeding schedule info you are looking for. Also, here is a paper I wrote from a research project I am doing on
The Science of Feeding Grit To Poultry:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/891051/the-science-of-feeding-grit-to-poultry
Grit needs 4 things to be most successful :
1. Sharp edges. ( It takes these sharp edges to cut the feed while the gizzard is "Mushing" the feed around the gizzard
thru contraction and expansion of the gizzard muscle. Yes the gizzard is a muscle)
2. Insoluble. ( means the sharp edges won't be worn away by the high acid content in the bird's gizzard.)
3. Low magnesium ( High Magnesium is found in some Limestone varieties and is harmful to chicks).
4. Correct size for the age of the bird. (They should be fed the largest size grit for their age according to manufacturer's
directions. . Grit which is too small just passes right on out thru the G.I. tract . That is why I don't feed sand to baby chicks.)
Granite grit has all these things in a quality controlled production run. We feed the right size
grit with these qualities at the right ages ( noted in the PDF) to make the best use of the nutrition we feed our birds.

Best Success,
Karen
 
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