Newbie raising baby silkies in California

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cherikeeusa, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. cherikeeusa

    cherikeeusa New Egg

    Jun 14, 2011
    I have 2 silkies that just turned 1 month old. I got them when they were a week old and housed them in a smallish cardboard box, newspaper flooring with a heating lamp for the first 2 - 2 1/2 weeks - until they started jumping out and pooping all over the floor. At that point I figured they wanted some play time outside as well as a larger home. I took them outside for a couple of hours each day, let them peck around and scare each other silly. Their new home was a plastic crate, floor covered in newspaper and continued with the heat lamp. At about 3 - 3 1/2 weeks I began putting them in their coop during the warm hours of the day, which here in Cali is most of the day. It's about 72 - 80. I figure that's neither too hot nor too cold...right? In the late afternoon I bring them in and pop em in their crate where they usually settle down right away. However in the last 2 days they have been jumping out of their crate, sitting on my dog's nose and crapping all over him and my rug before I get up in the mornings! I'm not thrilled. Okay, so a friend of a friend, I'm told, keeps her older chicks in the bathtub. It's too high for them to get out and offers a little more 'acreage', with the advantage of quick clean-ups. So tonight is their first night in the tub (it's porcelain, and again, covered with newspaper and they still have their heat lamp). They're a little freaked, but are eating (Purina Start & Grow Medicated), drinking and sleeping. They are sleeping under the lamp but off to the side a little. Does all that sound okay? Healthy?

    Their coop is still incomplete. It's about 4' x 8'. It doesn't have roosts as yet, tho' I hear that silkies don't necessarily use them and if they do they like them to be only about 6" off the ground. The flooring, so far, is dirt and grass with one small section that I left uncut (about 8" tall) because they seem to like messing around in the taller grass. The grass is a little damp in the morning. They've eaten worms, grass, bugs and a bit of banana and have had no problems that I'm aware of. Both chicks are highly socialized (!) as I have 7 grandchildren that can't, absolutely can not, keep their hands off them.

    Today, one of the chicks had a watery stool. I don't know if I should be concerned. She doesn't seem to be lethargic or have any other symptoms that I can discern. I wouldn't know Pasty Butt from the Hope Diamond! Also, they don't seem to drink as much as the forum posts indicate, but maybe that's just me thinkin they should be gulping down 32 ouncers. I'm worried. Should I not let them hang out in the taller grass, spend the day in their coop, spend the night in the tub, be handled by the kids, let them eat a pincer bug or banana? I'm an insecure first time chick mom! Help!
  2. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    [​IMG] and [​IMG] Raising baby chicks can be challenging at times! It sounds like you are doing the right things. The chicks should be allowed outside to play and then brought in and provided heat at night. They will let you know when they are uncomfortable with loud peeping. They should have water and chick starter feed available at all times. It sounds like you need to get your coop finished so they can start making the transition outside to sleep as well. The last couple of weeks of having chicks in the house is usually a mess with the dust, etc. Most people who brood the chicks inside are READY to get them out! [​IMG] An occasional watery stool shouldn't be a concern unless there are other symptoms or if it won't stop. As you stated, your chicks will become very friendly if they are handled often! Have fun with them and be sure to post pictures when you can! [​IMG]
  3. cherikeeusa

    cherikeeusa New Egg

    Jun 14, 2011
    I thought they didn't make the transition to outside till they were 2 months old?! I have another month to go - tho', like you say I am ready for it to be now! And "usually a mess with dust, etc." What dust?? I don't have dust! Should I have dust?!

    Also, since they're eating stuff other than just their baby kibble should I have some sand available to them?

    I was thinking I would use the deep layer method in their coop. Will that work fine with dirt flooring?

    Thanks for your help [​IMG] I really appreciate it!
  4. MarinMama

    MarinMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    I'm in california and moved mine outside without any supplemental heat at 6 weeks and try were fine...this was a month ago so a lot warmer now.

    If you really don't think they are ready to go out now, you can make a bigger brooder box from watermelon boxes at the grocery store...there should be a ton of these available now, the boxes have a lid so you can keep them enclosed in the blog has pics of my brooder box..
  5. jen5680

    jen5680 Southside Silkie Shack

    Jun 18, 2009
    SW Ohio
    I would make sure they have some kind of grit if they are eating other things now.
    As long as it is warm outside they will be fine! Sounds like you are doing a great job!
    And I wouldn't worry about the kids holding them as long as they are being gentle.
    My grandson can't keep his hands off them and I figure it will jsut make them more freindly.
    Or run like crazy whenthey see him coming. One of the two lol....
    You might jsut put some kind of wire over the top of the brooder to keep them from jumping
    out. Have fun!!! SIlkeis are the best!!!
  6. cherprit

    cherprit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Welcome! I'm a newbie in California raising Silkies too. I absolutely love them!

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