new parents

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SandJmom, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. SandJmom

    SandJmom In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2012
    We are proud new parents of 8 baby chickens. We are new at this, so I have a few questions. First, the lady at the store told us she wasn't sure how old they were, but probably about 4 weeks. She said they were "heavies?" They are not quite a foot tall when standing straight up. They have feathered wings and are trying to fly out of the box. We have them in a box in our storage room, and need to transfer them to a coop outside, but don't know when they are ready. Also, one of them has a little diarrhea. Do I need to be concerned? Also, we do not know which are hens and which are roosters. How long will it be before we can tell, and will we have trouble finding anyone to take the roosters?

  2. rambunctious

    rambunctious Chirping

    Jul 9, 2012
    I don't have chickens yet, (I'm in the information gathering phase) From what I understand.

    Once feathers are in they are okay for the coop.
    Roosters will develop their comb before the hens and they have bigger tail feathers. That might help with identifying.

    As far as diarrhea, I'm not sure, but I'd assume something was up. Maybe a change in food or stress or some sort of sickness.

    Again. I am in the gathering phase here- no actual experience. Just thought I'd throw out what I think I know..
  3. SandJmom

    SandJmom In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2012
    Ah, well I hope you are right about the tail feathers, because there are only 2 that have larger ones. I was actually wondering why theirs were so much longer.

    The lady told me which starter feed to buy, so I'm thinking the diet shouldn't be what's causing the diarrhea. Maybe it's the stress of bringing them to a new home.
  4. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    "Heavies" means they will be large when fully-grown (good if you're looking for chickens that can be butchered for meat).

    You can move them into a secure outdoor home at any age if you can provide them with heat. Remember that chicks their size are still at risk from snakes and rats so there shouldn't be any hole bigger than a dime in their outdoor home. They should be nearly fully-feathered before taking the heat away unless it's very warm where you are (usually by 6-8 weeks of age -- it's OK if their sides under the wings still have pinfeathers but the back and head should be covered).

    Diarrhea can be a sign of coccidiosis even if there is no blood. Are you giving them medicated chick feed?

    There is a board here called "What Breed/Gender" where you can post photos of your chicks and experienced eyes can help you pick out the roosters. A heavy rooster can usually be re-homed as a free chicken dinner quite easily on Craigslist. if you're uncomfortable with that notion, you will need to work harder to place them. There are occasionally people looking for a rooster to provide protection for their hens so you might get lucky.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by