Newbie: bought 11 Silved Laced Wyandottes today - Freaked out !!!


9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
Pleasant Shade, TN
Never raised chickens before, or been around any one that had either. So, now that I finally bought my chicks I am all freaked out. Kinda like a new mommy - worried about every movement and peep.

They all appear real healthy and are already nine days old. So they should be a hardy group. But one chick kept chirping loud for hours and hours. I think I watched them from the time I got them home at 5:30pm until now 11pm. All are eating and mostly drinking the water. Don't notice any bullies yet.

Concern #1:
but the one chirping loudly freaks me out!!! Are there any other reasons One chick in a group would choose to chirp for hours, aside from being cold (the temp looks fine and they don't hang out under the red heat lamp)? This one seems like the 'tallest' of the group. All the others lay down all nesting like and try to sleep. This one either stands tall and chirps or lays down with a up stretched up (trying to be taller then every one while laying) and chirps. I was wondering if it was trying to be the top of the pecking order ... or town crier who knows LOL.

Concern #2:
I thought it was a great idea , we had a 55 gallon glass aquarium (previously used for a bearded dragon), and I am using it for the brooder for these 11 fuzzy chicks. Is this ok? I haven't heard of anyone (yet) on this forum using a aquarium. Will there be heating/over heating problems? The top is fully open (with a fence like top ) so seems plenty air can get in. I have the heat lamp on one far end and all the chicks huddle directly in the middle of the tank where the feeder is. The far other end is the water bottle, they drink sometimes but seem to prefer the food area.

Other then those two things that have me freaked out and worried ... these guys are so cute . I am loving their little stretch the leg thing they do. And one already has a funny personality in his/her sleeping habit, tries sleeping standing up and it's one wing starts falling down slowly. This really is "Chick TV" - LOL.

Ok hopefully I'll get some sleep and stop worrying ...
You did not mention a thermometer. You need one in the brooder. Make sure the lamp is double tied or mounted... If it falls the birds could die and burn your home down. Keep them warm 95 degrees. The aquarium is fine, but the corners are the problem BIrds can jam in the corners and smother one another. Best to not have corners. That is why many brooders are round. Try to round the corners with something as tall as the walls. I assume you have bedding down... Not paper ( have that under the bedding), that will help changing the litter. Change it when dirty usually every two days depending on how big the aquarium is.

raise the water up off the floor to keep them from pooping in it. Raise it up on a block of wood or brick to keep it high. Get or make a chick feeder.

Good luck... They are really cute at this time... Oh you should handle them as much as possible. Keep it up until the are mature and you will not have a problem working with them. Give them a little roost inches off the floor they will love it.

I used a glass aquarium, also 55 GAL and it worker great, except that chickies are messy, so the glass had to be cleaned daily or when looking at it I wanted to
I think this is extremely innaccurate, but it was my first thought when I read about the excessively-chirping one: a rooster. Both my roosters, when they were chicks, were extremely loud and would chirp for hours on end. The first one was raised alone inside, before I had other chickens, and he would cry most of the day and for about an hour into the night until he fell asleep. The second one, which was raised with 8 pullets, would stand all the time and chirp while the others slept, ran around, ate, drank, and did all the things that chicks do. The only time he would shut up was either when I was holding him, or when he ws sleeping (which, sadly, was rare). As I said, this is probably not indicative of gender and is very likely just the chick's personality, but none of my hens ever displayed that kind of behavior when they were chicks.
Thanks all!

It is quiet this morning - YEAH!!!! That one chirpped way past 3am, crazy night. I moved them from the kitchen floor to the living room floor where they weren't so out in the open, and close to our bedroom (argh the noise). But this morning I woke and heard nothing and got worried because of that - LOL. worried if I hear chirping worried if I don't (I'm a mess ha ha ha). So I guess I shouldn't worry because every one is doing their normal stuff this morning and no loud chirping.

The first thing I thought too was rooster. Because I swear that one seems like it wants to be the leader or watcher.

I initially had the temp gauge on the side of the tank wall right under the lamp - it reads 95-100 and the lamp sits on top of the cage top (fence like metal). But I put another temp gauge in the middle of the tank where the cute chicks actually spend their time eating and sleeping and it reads 82 or so. So I guess they like 80.

So they survived the night in the tank so I guess it will work fine. And the loud one quieted down. I need to relax and enjoy them now. Thanks for every ones suggestions I am open to every ones advice and experience.

Now to clean up the poop ....
Make sure you are feeding them "chick" food, and not food with calcium in it. I highly doubt this is your problem, but when I had a 2 &/1 - 3 month old chick that chirped all night long, I later learned that it was because I was feeding her calcium too early. Her kidneys shut down and she died of visceral gout (sp?). Again, I doubt that's your problem since yours are so young, but do make sure you are giving them the right food for their age.

As for the aquarium, I used one too for a very short time. Unfortunately they'll grow out of it really, really fast. Then you'll have more fun trying to find a bigger home for them. Also, beware of the ammonia smell that can build up in the bottom of the aquarium. Since it doesn't really have any ventilation down low, the ammonia from the chicks can build up down there and irritate the chicks lungs, eyes and nose. Make sure you keep it really clean.

Welcome to the fun world of chicken keeping!
Oh good point on the 'ammonia' - right now I have white paper towels down and just a real thin amount of pine shavings (not enough to cover the paper towel). And wow they do poop alot. figured I'd change twice a day.

I bought 50lbs of purina medicated starter from TSC. Had no idea if I needed medicated or not. I seen it stated 20% protien but didn't notice the calcium amount, I'll check the bag.

These babies are now 10 days old and they do seem big already , some bigger then others. I'll post pic soon on the tank and chicks.
Our nine day old Silver Laced Wyandottes - first night sleeping arrangement in the tank (notice they don't huddle under the lamp)


One of the 11 - check out the long tail feathers

Your set-up looks perfect.
Your temperature is obviously perfect. (remember to lower the temp 5' each week)
You are feeding the right food.

Now, relax and enjoy your chicks!

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