New chicks coming...1st timer

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Skipcurt, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Skipcurt

    Skipcurt Chirping

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    Hi all,
    Been loving the site. So much information! I have designed and am currently about 90% done with the construction of the coop/pen and also built a brooder so for the most part I'm pretty ready to go. I will be picking up my chicks next week.

    My questions are for the brooder time of their life.
    I currently have:
    1 - 50lb bag of Nutrena Chick Starter Grower 18% crumble (sure seems like an awful lot)
    3 packets of Probiotic (1 pkt per gal)
    3 packets of Electrolyte (1 pkt per gal)
    Mama Heat Pad setup
    4 horizontal water nipples
    1 each of the standard food/water station (red bottom/white screw in jar)
    Pine Shavings
    Bricks to elevate the food/water

    I've read here the organic apple cider vinegar is very good for them. Should I just use my packets instead of the acv? My plan is after the first week or so to introduce another water source using the nipples.

    Does Tractor Supply sell small bags of chick grit? Do I offer that right away?

    Thanks for the help!

    Skip
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    :frow Hey Skip! Welcome! Kudos to you for being prepared and choosing the most natural brooding system for your lucky gals. (Of course a broody hen might be a tad more natural!)

    The big issue with chicken feed is that it has about a 6 week stable shelf life before the nutrients oxidize and start to break down. Check the mill date on the tape at the bottom of your bag. If it's old, you might want to return it and get a fresh bag. Don't believe the feed store employees who will tell you that their feed is good for 6 months.

    You can easily make your own electrolyte solution. Electrolytes should not be used on a daily basis. Only use them for birds who are stressed from transport, being overheated, or other stressors. I'd return that stuff also. Pretty useless IMO, even though it does have some vitamins.

    A better bang for your buck is Poultry Nutri Drench. This is the single most important product in my poultry "wellness" kit. All my chicks get PND for the first 2 weeks, even if they come kicking out of the eggs like little Ninja Warriors.

    Probiotics do have their place, but I no longer buy those either. Instead, I rely on fermented feed, and most importantly, give my chicks a plug of sod shortly after they have figured out the feeding routine. I plop it into the brooder, upside down. The sod will provide: first grit, minerals, some seeds, insects, and if they are lucky a worm or two. First greens, first dust bath, lots of chickie games. And most importantly, a good load of beneficial bacteria and fungi to jump start their gut flora and immune systems. The soil should be provided within the first 2 weeks of life, while they still have antibodies received from their mothers. They will also get their first exposure to the pathogens common to YOUR soil. This is not a freak out thing, but a good thing. They need this exposure to build their immune systems. I replenish that sod when ever it looks "worn out".

    There is an article re: the how and why of fermented seed in my signature.
     
    Spartan22 and naf_appaz like this.
  3. naf_appaz

    naf_appaz Songster

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    Yes TSC has chick grit, they don't need it on the starter crumbles but I give it to them as soon as you introduce any new treats like greens or mealworms. Usually the chicks are afraid of any different food for first week or two. ACV is good supplement if you have problems with pasty butt, where the chicks get stuck poo around their butt. It can be pretty common and if it goes to far can kill them. ACV keeps it from happening but if it does you need to gently clean it off. I'm not sure if the probiotic will have the same affect as ACV as far as pasty butt goes. I don't give my chicks any supplement except ACV for first couple weeks. You sound better prepared than most. How many chicks you getting? You will be surprised how fast a dozen or more growing chickens can go through a 50lb sack! Good luck
     
  4. Skipcurt

    Skipcurt Chirping

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    That's interesting because the date on my bag is 10/23/17. That puts it at 21 wks. Chicks come next week so 22 wks.

    Is PND available at Tractor Supply?
     
  5. Skipcurt

    Skipcurt Chirping

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    Jan 10, 2018
    Woodstock, GA
    I do have a small bag of dried mealworms ready for them so I probably should just pick up some grit and some ACV. Sounds like I should probably swap out my bag of food too since I'm there and it's unopened.

    Only getting 5 chicks. Trying to keep it small. Just seems like 50 lbs would last forever but what do I know, I've never done this before.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Yes. It is. If they don't have the poultry version, you can buy the goat formula. Or you can go to Amazon! Walmart can even order it in for you.

    Take that bag of feed back. That is totally unacceptable. I no longer do business with TSC b/c of their practice of selling rancid feed.
     
    Spartan22 likes this.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    You can do a google search for how much a chick will consume in 6 - 8 weeks. They double their size every week, so... they also double their feed consumption every week!
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Check the date on the meal worms also. I have no idea what the shelf life is on them. My birds wouldn't touch a dried meal worm, though other flock keepers find that their birds love them.
     
  9. naf_appaz

    naf_appaz Songster

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    Its kick when you first give them some worms....At first they are scared of them but once one brave chick finally picks one up it sets off the chase! No matter if there are a plenty on the ground they all want to chase and steal from one another. Reminds me of the keystone cops!
     
  10. Skipcurt

    Skipcurt Chirping

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    Jan 10, 2018
    Woodstock, GA
    Other than "Organic", is Apple Cider Vinegar all the same? The ACV at Walmart the same as TSC?
     

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