New mama looking for advice.

Loghousemom

Songster
7 Years
Mar 17, 2012
511
38
138
Up North
I have had our 5 new babies for about 5 days or so. I just have a few questions, I have been reading all the forums and searching for a few specific concerns, but maybe someone can answer a few things to set my mind at ease.

The feed store sold me vitamins and electrolytes. Said to put a pinch in a gallon of water and use it for 3 days then toss and make a new one? Is this vitamin mix good for them at all times? Or only when they are sick? I also read to use the apple cider vinager. Should this be used along with the vitamins in the water or separately? Like one day one and the next day the other?

I believe my chicks are about 2 weeks old. Maybe 3. They have wing feathers and tail feathers but fluff everywhere else. When should I be introducing them to outside? Is it okay to take them outside on a non windy warm day if I am out? I built them a little outdoor box with a wire mesh top and nothing on the bottom so I can move it to near when I will be working in the yard and take them with me.

I gave them some sand for scratching around in their brooder box. The feed store also told me to buy grit, but it seems too large for birds this size so I didn't use it. Not sure I will need to, we live in the country and have a gravel road. Is sand and rock from the yard ok to use as grit? I mean after all, that is what they would get out by themselves with a mama if they were wild no?

Also, I have one who seems to like sleeping standing up. Is this normal? She sort of leans onto another chick or anything nearby to stay more upright while sleeping. I that just a quirk or is something wrong? I read that they shouldn't be on top the other chicks else they are too cold, but they all sort of go here or there and sleep. They have space to lay under the heat lamp and far away from it, it does stay 90 degrees in there. The brooder box is about 30x36 inches or so.

One had pasty butt, I cleaned it with warm water, dabbed it dry with paper towel and put her back in the box with the rest. Is it contagious? I thought I read to put olive oil on it too. Is that right or does it have to be petroleum jelly?


I am sorry if this is scattered and long, I just want to do everything right and make sure they stay healthy.
 

Fierlin1182

powered-flight
8 Years
Aug 26, 2011
17,155
322
348
I'll see what I can dredge up from things I've read on here. :lol:

I'm not entirely sure about the vitamin thing, I have heard about folks giving their chicks vitamins just normally though.

Three weeks old is a little young to be putting them outside full time, but it's absolutely fine to take them out for a bit of a run if it's a warm day. :) Just keep an eye on them! If you have a heat lamp, you can put them outside for nights too.

Sand from your path should be okay. Our chickens free range in our small garden, so I guess they would be picking it up themselves anyway. :p

Chicks usually huddle together to sleep anyway, I think it's a comfort thing, they'd be cold if they were piling on top of each other in a corner. As for standing up... hmm, that's a new one, I don't think I've heard it before! However if everything else seems healthy about it I'd say there was nothing wrong. :)

Pasty butt is caused by stress, sometimes excess heat. It should go away once chicks are settled into their new homes. You did the right thing cleaning it off, some people do put vaseline around the area.
 

TexasLea

Chirping
7 Years
May 13, 2012
131
14
81
The feed store sold me vitamins and electrolytes. Said to put a pinch in a gallon of water and use it for 3 days then toss and make a new one?
I bet what they intended for you to do is to make up a gallon pitcher of the electrolyte/vitamin solution and refill the chick water with it. After 3 days, empty the pitcher and make a fresh jug because the vitamins and electrolytes probably break down over time.

Is this vitamin mix good for them at all times? Or only when they are sick?
The hatchery I use actually says to use fresh water the first 2 days of having the chicks, thengo 3 days using the vitamin/ electrolyte solution.After that you can use it 3 days in a row every other week. I'm guessing this is so they don't get too much of a good thing and possibly overdose on something.

I also read to use the apple cider vinager. Should this be used along with the vitamins in the water or separately? Like one day one and the next day the other?
Some people use the ACV instead of a medicated chick starter to help combat things such as coccidiosis . The ACV acts as a natural antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal sort of thing. If you are using medicated chick starter I don't think you need to worry with the ACV. Otherwise maybe someone else will be able to answer the question of mixing it in with the electrolytes.

I believe my chicks are about 2 weeks old. Maybe 3. They have wing feathers and tail feathers but fluff everywhere else. When should I be introducing them to outside? Is it okay to take them outside on a non windy warm day if I am out? I built them a little outdoor box with a wire mesh top and nothing on the bottom so I can move it to near when I will be working in the yard and take them with me.
Alot of that depends on how warm a day it is. They are plenty old enough to start going out as long as they will be kept about the same temperature as the brooder. Pretend you're a mama hen and let them explore their little pen for just a few minutes, then shoo them back into the brooder. You can do this daily and gradually extend their outside time. Be sure once you get up past just a few minutes you set their food and water out for them too.

I gave them some sand for scratching around in their brooder box. The feed store also told me to buy grit, but it seems too large for birds this size so I didn't use it. Not sure I will need to, we live in the country and have a gravel road. Is sand and rock from the yard ok to use as grit? I mean after all, that is what they would get out by themselves with a mama if they were wild no?
If you take a fish net and sift through most sand you buy in the store you will find tiny pebbles. The sand and these tiny pieces of pebble are plenty of grit for your babies. They would indeed be getting something pretty much like that if they were pecking the ground with Mama. Unless you are feeding them something other than chick starter they really don't even need grit. The chick starter has it "built" right in!

Also, I have one who seems to like sleeping standing up. Is this normal? She sort of leans onto another chick or anything nearby to stay more upright while sleeping. I that just a quirk or is something wrong? I read that they shouldn't be on top the other chicks else they are too cold, but they all sort of go here or there and sleep.
You're little one is perfectly fine! I bet if you made a little roost for them out of some 1x2 and placed it just a couple of inches off the ground you'd see that baby hop right on! She is just sleeping like a big bird. :) As long as your babies aren't going as far as possible from the light and aren't all piled on top of each other, you have the temp just right for them. Just keep watching how they are acting and they will let you know if they need more or less heat.

It sounds to me like you are just being a good Mama to your babies. Enjoy watching them grow!

One had pasty butt, I cleaned it with warm water, dabbed it dry with paper towel and put her back in the box with the rest. Is it contagious? I thought I read to put olive oil on it too. Is that right or does it have to be petroleum jelly?
You did the right thing for your little one. The olive oil or the petroleum jelly is to keep things sliding right off back there. Pasty butt is often times caused by stress. That poor baby just might not have liked the long ride from where it hatched out to your brooder. It isn;t contagious. However, do watch forextra runny poos- that maybe something more than stress.
 

Vickilynn45

Songster
7 Years
Apr 16, 2012
320
8
108
^^^ Good advice from PP. I have been using electrolytes in my chicks water since I got them- they are now a little over 5 wks. Not sure when I'm supposed to stop using the electrolytes, so I'll have to look that up. After I'm done with my other pkg. I might try the ACV. As far as the grit, I take my chicks out daily and I think they get a lot of grit from the yard, but I did buy a bag of chick grit a few weeks ago. The size is much smaller than the reg. grit. Sounds like you are doing a really good job with your babies!
 

Loghousemom

Songster
7 Years
Mar 17, 2012
511
38
138
Up North
Oh great! Thanks for the info. I am an information junkie and did so much research that I was so afraid to actually go out and buy the babies to bring home. They seem happy and aside from the pastey butt issue seem healthy. I am going to head outside now and see if I can find a 1x to use as a roost in their brooder, and start preparing a larger brood box. There are only 5 of them, but They grow so fast and I already had to move them into a bigger one once because I had one chick that seemed to pick on the rest, now in a bigger box they all are getting along.

I am so excited to have them be big enough to spend time outside with me.
 

Loghousemom

Songster
7 Years
Mar 17, 2012
511
38
138
Up North
Okay. One more question... Okay maybe 2 more.

I have 3 Cochins and a couple seem to get poo such in their feet feathers fairly frequently. I am sure it's okay to wash it off, just like pastey butt, but should I do it as soon as I see it? Or is once a day good? I don't want to stress them too much by cleaning them too often.

I have been cleaning the brooder box every day. Tossing out the yuck and wiping it down with vinager and then rinsing well. I put down newspaper and cover with a little more than an inch of the wood shavings. is that sufficient? I just cleaned it last night at like 8pm and it is already looking like they need it changed again! Maybe I just need a bigger box with more space.

I am feeding them chick starter, but was more concerned about them needing the grit if I take them outside to play for a little bit. I saw them pecking at the grass and dandelions, so I figured that they may need the grit to help break that down. I purchased the grit they recommended at the feed store, but it looks WAY too large for these little birds so I am returning it. The starter is unmedicated so I guess it would be good to use the ACV. Should I only use it in the water without the electrolytes? Or can both be in the water together?

I guess that was way more than two questions. I just cannot believe how obsessed I am with these little ladies already!
 

Vickilynn45

Songster
7 Years
Apr 16, 2012
320
8
108
If you can't find the grit, I have read some people use sand instead. But I was told it shouldn't be ocean sand. I did have a hard time finding chick grit, but finally located it at our local mill/feed store. I had the same question about the electrolyte/vinegar thing so hopefully someone will have a good answer for that. The box I'm using now is a hot water heater box that I fixed up for them and it's working really well. First I started out in a 30 Gal. rubbermaid, then went to a 50, and now the box but they are for sure ready soon for their coop full-time since they are over five weeks old. Anyway, what I do is when it gets a bit "pooey" in there, I just sprinkle a little Diatomaceous Earth on it and then layer more pine shavings. Sometimes I don't even throw in the DE, just the pine. When the box starts getting too full, I just throw it all on my compost heap and start again. I've never had a smell problem doing that. As far as poo on their feet, usually they got it off fairly quickly, but every now and then I'd clean off their feet if it stuck around too long. I'm still a concerned new chick mom too, and from reading on the boards, we are far from alone!
 

Loghousemom

Songster
7 Years
Mar 17, 2012
511
38
138
Up North
Vicky, I am at the 50 gallon tote now, and am preparing a "wardrobe box" for their next space. That one is so big though that I am not sure I will be able to keep it in the house. How many chicks do you have?
 

Vickilynn45

Songster
7 Years
Apr 16, 2012
320
8
108
I have six now! But the wardrobe sounds good, it will give them extra room to move until they are ready to go in their coop. :)
 

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