new chicky questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by juliachick, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. juliachick

    juliachick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2009
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    Hi everyone! My name is Jen. My daughter Julia convinced us to start raising chicks. She loves chickens and wants to sell eggs...she's a little entrapaneur. Well, we started this year by joining our poultry 4-H club and bought 4 barred rock chicks. We had one little one die because it's eyes couldn't open fully. The leader gave us 2 new barred rock and one mystery chick McMurray had sent her (she is very nice). Then a week and a half later we added 4 barnavelder chicks. So we have 10 chicks right now. We'd like to add a few rhode island reds but can't seem to find anyone selling pullets. We LOVE our little chicks. The rocks are about 2 1/2 wks old. They are in an old guinea pig cage w/a heat lamp on top. They picked so much on the barnavelders we put those 4 next door to the older chicks in an old turtle tank w/heat lamp. I think the rocks need more room now...they are trying to fly across the cage and make a mess of pine chips in my living room when they do this. I'm thinking of moving them outside in the garage now. We're in IN and although we are having a really warm week the temps at night are in the 40's. Next week they may go down into the 20's. The garage isn't finished at all w/no heat. I can go buy a room space heater but am not sure how much good it will do w/no insulation to keep the heat in. I was planning on using a baby super gate (makes an octogon shape) w/pine on the bottom and hang a heat lamp in there also. I'm so scared they will be too cold. I'd feel terrible if some died from that but at the same time I know I can't have chicks in the living room forever [​IMG] So any advice on this topic? Another question is will it be a problem to add more chicks next month to the flock. I've been reading that you should start your flock and not any more to it but I'm not sure if they mean not add any when they are grown or little. Which also makes me wonder if it's ok ever to add more chicks to a established flock? We have 6 mixed breed eggs in an incubator but I'm not sure if any will hatch since we've had a hard time keeping the temp right. I have soooo many questions and I hate bugging our 4 H leader w/them all so I'm hoping you all can help!!! I'm so glad there is a neat forum like this for chicken lovers [​IMG]
     
  2. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Shamong
    For chicks at 3-6 weeks, you should really have 1 sq. foot of brooder space.

    The garage will probably be fine if there are no drafts. If you can, hang two red heat lamps instead of one. It will be plenty warm under the lamps.
     
  3. 98 gt

    98 gt a man of many... chickens

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    Jan 14, 2009
    Marshville NC
    2 1/2 week old chicks will (should) do fine with the heatlamp... mine are in the barn with just the light ad are doing fine... just make sure to hae the "floor" thick enough with shavins that it isnt cold either. dont want to have too many sides to get cold from. ou could also buy a large rubbermaid storage box and keep them in there. similar to this... its not mine though
    [​IMG]
    you could search brooder to get some more ideas
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First, welcome to this forum. You will meet a lot of nice folks here. And a suggestion. You did a good job of describing your situation, but if you modify your profile to show where you are, it helps to answer your questions. It took me a while to realize that.


    The garage isn't finished at all w/no heat. I can go buy a room space heater but am not sure how much good it will do w/no insulation to keep the heat in. I was planning on using a baby super gate (makes an octogon shape) w/pine on the bottom and hang a heat lamp in there also.

    If there are no drafts in the garage, you are in good shape. And you can always put cardboard around the supergate to cut down on drafts, but don't be surprised if they start getting out by going over of the supergate pretty soon. I like Cackle Hatchery's saying "A thermometer is a chick's best friend." If you can set up a heat lamp to get the temperature right, they will be fine. And let your chicks tell you if it is too hot or too warm. If they are bunched under the light, it is too cold. If they are bunched as faraway from the light as they can get, they are too hot. If they are scattered, they are fine.

    Another question is will it be a problem to add more chicks next month to the flock. I've been reading that you should start your flock and not any more to it but I'm not sure if they mean not add any when they are grown or little.

    Chickens establish a pecking order so there will always be some pecking and fighting. How much depends on the individual chickens. Some are Atilla the Hun and some are milder. And chickens will pick on the weaker individuals, read either sick or smaller or of less spirit. Sometimes the biggest chicken is at the bottom of the pecking order. I'll not try to cover everything here and suggest using the search feature for details. Yes, adding chickens to an established flock has some risks. Depending on where you get your chickens, you could be introducing disease into your flock. A quarantine period is recommended unless they are hatchery chicks. Some people seem to be able to introduce new chicks to the flock with no problem, but many people have problems. The chickens need to be about the same size. A familiarization period is recommended, where they are housed where they are next to each other but cannot get to each other to peck and fight. Mix them at night. Give them as much room as possible so they can get away from each other. Crowding is bad, especially at mixing time. Have extra feeders and waterers. Distract them with new toys or scratch. These are just a few of the comments and tricks. There are a lot of threads on here about this topic. And people do successfully introduce new chickens to the flock all the time.
     
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    It does sound like you're getting lots of good info and help from 4H which is under the Cooperative Extension office, which are part of the state university system. State universities are great sources for info on lots of livestock issues, and there's usually good free or at least inexpensive help available through them.

    The garage overall does NOT have to be warm at all for your chicks to be ok. As long as they aren't in a draft, (sit down low, or at the level where you'll be putting the chicks, and close your eyes, is there a breeze coming at you?) As long as there isn't a draft, it doesn't matter what the temperature is, The circle of heat from the lamp or lamps is what matters. They will congregate under that heat source when they're cold, but they also need a cooler area to get out to. They need the really warm section as a refuge, but need the cooler section to get out of the hot area too.

    Think about what a mama hen would do. She provides a source of warmth under her downy belly and shelter under her wings. They go there, snuggle, get warm, then venture out to the cool areas to peck, scratch like a big kid, look for bugs, get a drink of water, then go back to mama a for a little warmth and safety. That's what the heat lamp is replacing, a warm circle to return to.

    If it makes you happier, put one heat lamp that is 90 degrees right under it, then one that's off a bit that is higher and keepst THAT area much cooler, say 50 or so.... if the outside temp goes way down, you may need to adjust the 90 degree one lower to keep that one constant, but let the second one just keep the chill off... they NEED cooler areas too!!! By keeping them TOO protected, you do them a disservice. Hothouse chickens don't thrive later on IN MY OPINION!!!! Lots of what you hear here is people's experience and opinion, not some kind of guarentee, but it sounds like you are a smart cookie, so I think you've figured that out. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]OH! and Happy to meet you! Glad you're here!! [​IMG] Hope you enjoy our company!! [​IMG] WELCOME to BYC!!!
     
  6. juliachick

    juliachick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2009
    (Northeastern PA)
    I am going out to the garage in a few minutes to shut the door and see if I feel any breezes. Then I'll start to contruct my cardboard barrier inside the baby gate. Figuring out how to hang my lights may find to be a challenge! I will go with two- one higher and one lower. Thanks for all your advice! I just realized there is a Juliechick on this forum...we didn't see that when we picked Juliachick...funny:)
     

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