Newbie getting chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jagen, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. jagen

    jagen New Egg

    Feb 29, 2012
    I'm sorry, you've probably already read about a thousand of these kinds of posts - I am overwhelmed with information and am still digging through the forum. Thought I would post anyway, maybe someone will be kind enough to answer some of my questions while I am reading other posts? [​IMG]

    I have so many questions -

    I was going to pick up 10 Cornish X chicks tomorrow from the feed store. Since we are going to raise them for meat, I am concerned about the breed - I worry about them having heart attacks and broken legs since they get so heavy so quickly. Should we be looking at other breeds or try these to start?

    I live in Oregon, it's cold. Very cold. My plan was to have the little ones in the house in a (box, tub, pool, haven't decided yet) with their heat lamp so I can monitor them. Should I buy a reptile lamp or 100 watt lamp? Also, how soon would 10 chicks outgrow a kiddie-pool-sized area and need to be upgraded to their run? (I've read many recommendations for a kiddie pool, so I was thinking with that size in mind)

    When they get a little older, I'm afraid it may still be too cold for them to go outside. They are going to have a short life, but I want them to be happy and healthy and well fed. If it's too cold (and rainy, oh my don't forget that), can they be housed in the garage and be ok? I'm aiming for "free range organic" chicken, but it doesn't seem very "free range" if they are in a pen/run in my garage. In all my reading, they don't seem to be the ideal breed for a free range type chicken.

    If it's cold and they end up being in a pen in the garage, what can I do to ensure they are as happy as possible? I've read that 10 square feet per bird is adequate room - so about a 100 square foot pen is what I'm planning to put up. Would this be ok?

    If I go with the Cornish X, do I need to keep food down constantly or give them a set amount of food with no free-feeding, to maybe slow their growth down a little bit? I want them to be as comfortable as possible.

    Feeding: are organic chickens fed the food with the medication in it to prevent illness or does that mean they are no longer "antibiotic free"? How do I make sure I buy organic food?

    I think that's it for now - sorry for the long post. I have been wanting to raise chickens for such a long time, and I finally am going to take the plunge and do it!

  2. CDel

    CDel Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2012
    I'm not sure I can answer all of your questions and know that I'm giving you the best advice, but I will do my best.
    From my one attempt at cornish X's, I can tell you that you probably aren't going to want them in your garage for long. They tend to be a little, um, messy and stinky. I believe you could put them outside even in the cold weather as long as they had a good shelter with some form of heat. Ours went out in 30 degree weather at a week. I kept them in a draft free box with straw bales stacked around and a heat lamp. I just kept a thermometer in there so I could easily see how warm it was when I went and checked on them a few times per day.

    As far as a pool goes, you'll have to put some form of barrier around the outside if you want them to stay in for long. Ours were jumping out of an 12" tall box in less than two weeks. Size wise, I'm not sure how long you could comfortably keep them in there. Probably a couple weeks at least, maybe more depending on the size of the pool. I'll let someone chime in that has used a pool before.

    If you want "free range organic" you will have to feed organic feed, which should clearly be labeled organic on the package (it seems that everyone really likes to promote organic), but someone who feeds organic feed could probably tell you which brands to look for. Your birds will not be free range if they are in the garage. They would need to be let outside to forage. I didn't give mine medicated feed. I wouldn't think that you could to be organic, but could be wrong. I just didn't want to eat anything that had been medicated recently.

    To lessen the chances of leg or heart problems, I fed twice per day. Once in the morning and once late afternoon, but also had mine in a tractor that I moved around every day. I probably fed less than what was suggested, but none were starving and we processed at 8 weeks and had a very nice outcome. We only lost one out of 50 before processing, which I think is very good.

    We only raised them one time, and honestly, I probably won't ever raise them again. I would probably go with something that takes a little longer to get to a good weight or will just continue to eat any roosters that we accumulate here. I'm sure others who raise them every year could give you a lot more help than I can though.

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