new chicks soon, some first timer questions.....

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 3princessesmom, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. 3princessesmom

    3princessesmom Hatching

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    My husband and I really want to start a small flock and TSC is having their chick days. They had black Jersey Giants, cornish X and some other commercial breed I had never heard of. When we got there though they were out of the Giants, which is what we were going to get. We got the brooder stuff and got it all ready and will go back Monday for the chicks when they have more. Are Jersey Giants a nice breed? We were looking for docile, easy to handle birds because my almost 4 yr old and nearly 7 yr old will be helping care for them. Is a really big rough tote with pine shavings a good brooder? We got a brooder heat lamp and the feeder and waterer too. As far as breeds go I really wanted to get some rocks or australorps but the Jersey Giants seem fine too. Can you guys give me some tips on caring for them properly? I want them to be healthy and happy [​IMG].
     
  2. pdsavage

    pdsavage Sussex Monarch

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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  3. Lawnman127

    Lawnman127 In the Brooder

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    Hey Mom, I will answer as much as I can.
    Yes the tote brooder will be fine for a while. Remember chicks grow fast.
    How many chicks you will have decides tote size approx .5 sq ft for 1st couple of weeks.
    then approx 1 sq ft.

    It is best to have a digital thermometer and have brooder temp about 95 deg before the chicks come home, for the 1st week keep
    it at 95 and drop 5 deg every week until fully feathered, about 8 weeks.

    Make sure they drink as soon as they get home, and keep fresh food and water.

    You may want to get medicated starter chick food.

    BO's Buff orpingtons are great layers and very calm, they are great for children, not sure about the Jersey

    Pine shavings are fine, but for first few days most people put down paper towels to help absorb mess.

    I keep feeder and waterer on card board so it doesn't wet the bedding as bad.

    Hope I have helped you some, Good luck
     
  4. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    A nice big tote is good for a brooder - I can't remember how many gallons mine is, but it's a rubbermaid with clear sides and bottom, about 18-24 inches wide, 24 inches tall, and about 3-4 feet long. I cut a square in the lid, attached hardware cloth, and then the lamp goes on that at the beginning, and I raise it up as they get older and don't need the heat.

    I like to put the chicks on paper towel for the first few days/week to make sure they are eating the food and not the shavings. I just tear it off in sheets that are long enough to fit in the brooder, and each day I roll up the top layer with all the poo and discard. That way I don't have to redo the whole bedding each time. After a week, I put in shavings that are a good sized flake, not fine sawdust that might make them try to eat it.

    I keep the brooder in the living room so they get used to people and noise and all that good stuff. My daughter last year (2 y/o then) loved to watch the chickens, but I had to make sure she didn't whack the brooder. Even when she did, they seemed to get used to it, but it's good to discourage that kind of behavior [​IMG]

    You should be able to adjust the height of the lamp, just pay close attention to the chicks to make sure they are comfy heat wise [​IMG] As they get older, you raise the lamp so it cools down in the brooder, usually once a week.

    At two weeks, I like to put big rocks or sticks in for them to hop on and "roost" on. Usually the first "roost" is only about and inch thick, laid right on the bedding. They really try to roost, but usually fall off regularly. Once they are better balanced while sleeping, I'll get them a taller roost to practice on.

    Most important - HAVE FUN!!
     
  5. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Also remember heat lamps ARE a fire hazard and DO get hot. Make sure little fingers can't get near it, and that they are secured well so they don't fall. Lots of fires start with heat lamps!
     
  6. kidd42

    kidd42 Songster

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    Welcome to the addiction world of chickens! If you are like most of us, you'll need an intervention somewhere down the road.

    For about the first week or so (and when you pick them out at the feed store watch for it) watch for pasty butt or poopy butt as we call it here. It's when poo gets dried over the vent and they cannot poo. Check for it every day for about the first week. If they get it (some do some don't) I just run warm (not hot) water from the faucet in as small of a stream as I can over the butt and gently rub and pick at the poo. Once you get it off dry them off and set under your brooder lamp. But do check every day, this can happen over night and will kill the babies if left too long.

    Another thing that I read here on BYC and am doing with my now second brood, is I purchased a heat emitter from the pet supply store in the lizard and snake area. I use the heat lamp at day and the emitter at night. It doesn't give off any light so the chicks get into a regular sleep pattern. they are expensive about $30, but is nice at night to quiet them babies down.

    This is a great sight for questions and advice. You can also do search's here.

    Again Welcome and enjoy your chickens.
     
  7. koda55533

    koda55533 In the Brooder

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