New to this, have some ?s

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FaerieChicken, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. FaerieChicken

    FaerieChicken Songster

    Sep 26, 2013
    Central Coast California
    So, I just got some naked necked bantam chicks, supposedly girls. Also, got a handsome red frizzle roo. I have them together, as the person I got them from had lots of chicks together as well, but this is the second night home and we are watching them, and noticed that the naked necks are what appears to be fighting, then the frizzle comes and "referees" them and rushes them at other times for no apperant reason. Are they establishing a pecking order already so young? The naked necks are 4 weeks old and the frizzle is 5 weeks. I was told that they can't go with our other hens outside until they are about 16 weeks. I can put them outside in about another8 to 10 weeks, and they only need the light for about 3 or 4 more weeks!
    I just want to make sure we have this all accurate! Also, I went to buy chick starter, and the majority of it was medicated, I decided to go with the GMO free by King feed called Freedom chick starter crumbles. I don't like the idea of the medicated part, the person at the store didn't really seem to be much help with my choice, I just went with my usual natural instinct. Is there some reason why the majority of chick starter crumble is medicated, the sales person just said it prevents early chick death really.

    Also, how do I get my dogs to not be so interested in the chickens and chicks when they are out and about? I don't want my hens getting stressed or the babies. I am working with the dogs, lying them down and putting a chick on them, allowing them to come inside the house and lay next to the cage and what not, one of my dogs just seems so super focused on them though and gets so excited. I am afraid she is going to be the hardest to break!

    Thank you all for your advice :)
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Yes, they are establishing the pecking order.

    I don’t know what your set-up looks like outside. Many of us integrate chicks with the adult flock well before 16 weeks, but we normally have plenty of room and the ability to house them separately for a while. If your space is tight, 16 weeks or even older may be a better age.

    My brooder is in the coop. My chicks are there as soon as they come out of the incubator, so the adults get used to them. It depends on the weather, but I normally move them to my unheated grow-out coop at 5 weeks, again where the adults can see them. At 8 weeks I usually let them range together during the day and sleep separately at night. About 12 weeks I often move them in with the adults at night, depending on how many adults and chicks I have. I’ve never lost one this way so I’m obviously being too conservative, but I can live with that.

    There is no magic age when you can integrate the chicks that works for all of us. We all have different set-ups and conditions.

    I don’t know that the majority of chick starter is medicated. It depends on where you buy it and what they offer. You need to check the label to make sure because some starter meant for the broilers might contain something else, but practically all the medicated feed you see contains Amprolium as the medicine. Amprolium is not an antibiotic. It is targeted specifically at the protozoa that cause Coccidiosis. It will not treat or cure anything else and it will not destroy any probiotics they may have in their systems. In the dosage in medicated feed, Amprolium restricts reproduction of the protozoa that causes Coccidiosis. It does not totally stop that reproduction, just reduces it so they can still get the immunity they need.

    The problem with Coccidiosis is not that the protozoa is present. If it is in your ground, it is in your ground and you can’t do a thing about that. They are going to be exposed when they hit the ground. The problem is when the numbers of the protozoa get out of hand. Wet soil and manure is a part of its life cycle, especially warm wet soil or manure. The problems normally occur when the brooder, coop, or run are wet. You can usually control Coccidiosis by keeping your brooder, coop, and run fairly dry. Some strains of that protozoa are stronger than others so that doesn’t always work, but it usually does.

    There is more to it though. Chicks can develop immunity to that specific strain of protozoa if they are exposed to it for about three weeks. If you keep your brooder bone dry, that protozoa can’t complete its life cycle so they can’t develop immunity, so a bit of damp isn’t all that bad. Wet is. Sort of a balancing act.

    The way I do it, about day 2 or 3 I feed them some dirt from the run. This introduces the Cocci to them, gives them any probiotics the adults have, plus the dirt acts as grit. Every few days I feed them more dirt to give them a continuous supply. I do not feed medicated feed.

    There is nothing wrong with feeding them the Amprolium medicated feed. It won’t hurt them at all. It just won’t do them any good unless they have been exposed to the protozoa. What often happens is that people feed their chicks medicated feed while they are in the brooder and have never been exposed to Cocci. When they take the chicks out of the brooder and they hit the ground, they stop the medicated feed. If conditions are wet especially, those chicks can get sick or even die.

    A little knowledge of the life cycle of that protozoa and how medicated feed actually work can help you plan your strategy for your situation.

    Don’t worry about the hens or chicks getting stressed. Worry about the dogs killing the chickens. It sounds like you are on the right track training the dogs, but some have such a strong prey drive they are really hard to train. Good luck with that.

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