New chicken person, new chicks! with lots of questions!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mrsruvi, May 19, 2011.

  1. mrsruvi

    mrsruvi Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2011
    Hi there! I have been reading on this site for weeks and finally today pulled the trigger and bought some chicks. Although now i am worried i trusted the advice of the people i bought them from too much since it differs from what i am reading here. So i kinda was hoping to get some help with my new ladies.

    First, i have five girls that i think are about two weeks old. They have feathers on their wings and booties. Two are Barred Rocks, two are EEs and one is a leghorn/rhode island red hybrid. they are all quiet cute.

    Their set up, for when they are ready to go outside, includes an old coop that had been being used as a shed but is now going back to coop-dom and a run with a covered porch. They will also be allowed to run the whole back yard when we are home to watch them.

    So the guy at the feed store (which i now realize may have been the worst place to buy them!) said they dont need a heat lamp any more (we live in Tucson AZ, in the day its getting to the high 80s and at night its in the 60s) and that they will be ok to go outside in two or three weeks. So i took his word for it, took them home and they are inside my house right now because i feel like its too cold at night, but they'd probably be ok outside during the day. however now i am feeling like they should go outside all the time but with a heat lamp on at night. Or are they too young to be without a heat lamp anyway? They seem ok right now, eating, pooping, drinking sleeping etc.

    Second, One of my barred rocks has no fuzz on her lower butt, under her vent. Her bootie feathers look pecked off. she had some crust on her vent too. I washed her off, shes pooping normally and i didnt see any mites on her so i am wondering, did she just need to have the crust wiped off her vent? how soon should i see those feathers come back if that was the problem?

    third, I'm horrified at the idea of mites. The only thing i saw at the store for them (dust wise) was called ProZap with an active ingredient called Permethrin. my research on it indicates its pretty effective, but i should wear long sleeves, gloves, glasses and a mask when applying it. Is it reasonable to dust my coop with this stuff first before my chickens go in there just so that i know its mite free? or is it more reasonable to wait till there is an actual infestation? should i periodically dust the birds to prevent them from ever getting mites or is that crazy? Do mites happen often in Arizona? Its not at all humid here...

    Also, how much should i be touching them and for how long? i have two young kids and i want them to be docile with them and be loving little girls but i dont want to upset them on their first day here. what do you think?

    and finally my plan for the hot summer is this: shallow pool of water to wade in, and frozen water bottles in the hen house. we can also spray them off a little when they are free ranging. Im thinking of a box fan in the coop too... is this enough?

    Ok sorry for my million questions. i thought i was prepared when i went to buy them but now I'm worried i wont do right by them.
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  2. naughtyhens

    naughtyhens Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2011
    San Francisco
    I think you are doing fine. For heat, I think they start at 95 and you can lower the temperature about five degrees a week. If they are cold, they will peep loudly and sit right under the lamp, together. If they are hot, they will run away from the lamp. So if they are two weeks old 85 is probably ok for them but watch their behavior and I'd have the lamp at least at night.
    The only pesticide I use is diatomaceous earth which naturally controls mites and many other bugs. Ask at a feed store or buy online.
    Probiotics are a natural cure for pasty butt. You could give them yogurt. Some people swear by that. I also gave them a worm when they were very small. worm gut is full of good bacteria. You can soften hard stuff sticking to their behinds with a wet paper towel. Don't pull at it while it is dry or you might hurt them. I think as long as you can see them poop they are not pasted up. I'd hold them from time to time and hang out with them. I used to watch tv with my girls. With kids, depends on the kid. In my experience the adults were more interested in the chicks than the kids (4 and 2ish) were. The adults would watch "brooder tv" for long periods.
    I'm not an expert, I got my first chicks last year but read everything over and over. You'll love having chicks and chickens.
  3. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    You sound like me last year when I got my first chicks! You are doing fine. You will know if they are too cold in their box if they are peeping and huddling together. Put in a lamp if you feel the need and watch them. Too hot and they will go to the other end of the box. Too cold and they will pile under the lamp.

    Pasty butt does happen and it means butt cleaning for you. A warm paper towel and gentle wiping will loosen the poop and allow you to get it off. Dont pull it off. Your chick with the naked butt will grow its feathers back. I have one now that is growing back her feathers.

    I see you are freaking out over mites. I have never had any issues with parasites of any kind (thank goodness). I use DE in my coop and in their sandbox. May I suggest that as you fix up the coop, you give it a good cleaning and apply de on the floor, walls and cracks. I use one of the oldfashioned plastic squeeze ketchup bottles to get it into the cracks. Housekeeping is key to having a healthy flock. I use pine shavings and mix in de and a little litter when it needs freshening, turn it over every day to keep it dry and do a thorough cleanout when I deem it necessary. Your summer plans sound good. I also wet down my chickens and their yard during the heatwave we had this past summer. At first they didnt like it but after a couple of times they were okay with it.

    Handle your chicks every day a few times a day. Even the ones who protest and dont want it. Doing this will get them used to being handled so when you do need to inspect them for bugs or do a general check, they will be easier to handle. If your kids are young, let them pet them while you are holding them. Teach them to be gentle with them and the chicks will get used to them as well. Give your chicks yogurt off your fingers and they will associate your hand with treats. Great way for you to get them to come to you and the yogurt is good for them. You will need to give them chick grit to help them digest the treats you give them. Have fun with your chickies and be prepared for the addiction!
  4. jcf3202

    jcf3202 Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] and [​IMG]

    I'm a new to chickens myself. I have five 4 week olds ( 3 Rhode Island Reds and 2 Barred Rocks) and six 3 day olds (2 more Barred Rocks, 2 Partridge Rocks and 2 Golden Buffs) so I'm not able to offer much but just wanted to say Hi!
    Sounds like you're doing fine. Lots of experienced chicken raisers here that give good advice.
    You'll find a wealth of info here, try not to get overwhelmed (I know I was). We're all here to support one another.

    Enjoy the fuzzy butts. They grow soooo fast.
  5. blefky

    blefky life in the yard

    Mar 18, 2010
    stamford, ct
    [​IMG] Sounds like you've been given good advice. I would just add that you must be sure that the DE you purchase is food grade - this is very important to remember. [​IMG]
  6. ladyride

    ladyride Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2011
    East Tn
    [​IMG] I have learned alot on this site everyone has good advice & very supportive:) it had been 25 years since I had chickys things have been a whole lot different this time .Which is a positive . 2 months ago we bought 22 chicks we have only lost 1 , that being really good odds. You may want to check out the apple cider vinegar article on here which I found to be really great [​IMG] my little chickeys are growing so fast it has been a journey to watch . they do need heat til they get some feathers in we kept heat at nite til a few days ago the weather here in tn had been so unpredicatable this year. you will also learn a new math as you go along. but good luck [​IMG] hang in there keep coming back for lot's of things you thought you already knew.
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Permethrin is fine for lice/mite prevention, and I have never used those kinds of precautions with it. DE is questionable; it will certainly not kill an infestation should you ever get one, and if you do buy and use it, please wear a good mask and use it sparingly because it is very irritating to lungs -- yours and the chickens'. If you have a way of putting them out with a heat lamp, by all means do it, it will keep your house a whole lot cleaner and they would much rather be outside. Many people on here never brood in the house, me included. I predict that within a week or so they will be snuggled up away from the light while asleep, and you will end up turning the heat lamp off. For poopy butt I usually hold them under gently running water simply because I find it easier. If it happens again, put some Vaseline or Neosporin or oil, anything greasy, on after the cleaning so it will be easier to get off the next time. Usually it's not a problem for long, and at this age they are growing feathers so fast you won't see evidence for long, either.

    Your heat plan sounds good. You may have to float some grapes or something to get them to go in it. Breeze and shade of course are necessary in extreme heat. I run a box fan all summer. By the way I have week old chicks in my coop, being raised by a broody. No heat, and they are in the coop or outdoors all day, going under mama only at night.

    Touch them all you want. What frightens them is being picked up, especially from above (think birds of prey.) Try tempting them onto your hand or feet with a treat or even just their feed. Hang around and let them get used to you. Pet them on their chest and let them peck you a little. You'll have them jumping onto your lap in no time.
  8. mrsruvi

    mrsruvi Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2011
    thanks for the advice. i am pretty sure im just worrying over nothing! With regard to the yogurt, i dont have any in the house and i feel so bad for this chick. can i give her sour cream? its an even substitute in baking...

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