Newbie. Still in planning stage. Need advice.

Hope119

Songster
10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
168
0
119
I am dreaming if doing an incubator project and having chickens. I am hoping to do it on very limited budget.
Here are two questions I have right now:

1) can wood chips (3 pictures here ) be used as litter? We have unlimited amount of wood chips, but I have no idea from what kind of trees it is (different tree service companies just drop trucks of those here) and it is much thicker than wood shavings.

2) can baby chicks be put in this rabbit cage? it does not have a lid, but I am sure I can think of something to put on top if needed. If so, how many chicks and until what age can be kept there? In the book I have from the library it says
"Unless the birds spend the rest of their lives in wire cages, those brooded on a wire are likely to suffer an outbreak of coccidiosis when moved to open housing. Brooding chicks on litter from the start gives them the gradual exposure to coccidia they need to develop immunity."

That cage does not have any tray on the bottom either, but again, I am sure I can think of something to put there if needed.

I am currently looking for a place to buy pine shavings for cheap. What I've seen at the local pet store is _very_ expensive.

Thank you for any advice!​
 

KellyHM

Crowing
11 Years
Sep 10, 2008
7,097
42
289
Lakeland, FL
The mulch is probably too much for the little chicks. It would be too rough on their feet. You could use the rabbit cage for them as long as you line the bottom with newspaper for the first couple of weeks until their feet are big enough not to fall through the wire. Make sure you put them on a medicated feed (prevents coccidia) and keep them on that, especially when moving them to dirt for the first time. Get shavings at your feed store. Mine sells a HUGE (bigger than a 50 lb feed sack) bag of shavings for $7.
 

nanawendy

Songster
10 Years
Dec 28, 2009
1,532
9
151
Bellingham Wa
Hi welcome
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#1 I would think those wood chips are too chunky.
#2 That cage looks great, but you could use a rubbermaid brooder
using the lid it comes with and cut a hole in the lid for ventilation.
covering the hole with chicken wire

What ever HAVE FUN
wee.gif
 

staceyl

Songster
10 Years
Jul 2, 2009
173
3
111
I use whatever wood comes out of my husbands wood shop for my big girls, but I wouldn't do it for little ones. A big bag of pine bedding is about $10 at the pet store and you probably won't need more than one.
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
I have used wood chip for older chicks, and for my run, but would not use it for little ones. Much better to get a bag of pine shavings, and have a solid bottom. I have to point out--if you cannot afford to buy a bag of pine shavings, how in the world are you going to afford to build them a decent coop and run, buy them a bag of layer feed every month or so, any medicine they might need, the lights, feeders, waterers? Having chickens, despite what some say, is not cheap and won't pay for itself. You need to really think this through so you can provide for them properly.
 

bigstack

Songster
10 Years
Jan 4, 2010
1,155
5
174
Texarkana, TX
I would not use the wood chips. You can get all kinds of bad stuff in there. especially from wood chipping companies. They chip all wood together. even the rotting and moldy stuff! as for the rabbit cage, i see only 1 more issue. The sides need to be coverd. you can use cardboard. you just need to keep them out of any drafts. They can get cold and die very quickly. Everything else already mentioned is right on.
Congrats on your up comming ADDICTION.... I mean adventure! LOL

Good Luck and God Bless!
 

CrazyMomOf2

In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 6, 2010
86
1
31
Mass
I've been able to find pine shavings around me here in MA for about $5-7 a bag. The first bag has gotten me through 2 weeks now, and I still have plenty left! You might want to put a thin sheet of plywood or something sturdy over the bottom of the cage so that you can put the shavings down too! Just to give you a heads up though, after 2 weeks or so they will start flying higher so you'll definitely want to put something over the top too so that you don't have any escapees! I'm just starting out with mine too, but that's what I've learned just from watching my girls...

Good luck with the babies! You'll love them!!!
 

FairfieldChicks

In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 3, 2009
91
2
39
Burford, Ontario
dont use newspaper, it is too slick and ur chicks could mangle their legs
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unless you will be shredding it, then its a diff story.
wood chips should be ok for older chicks or hens/roos but with babies, use paper towel or an old towel you can hand wash and they will be just fine. the only thing with towels is their toes may get stuck in the tiny woven threads
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so be carefull, even an old sheet would work.
 

CrazyMomOf2

In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 6, 2010
86
1
31
Mass
Oh, and you might want to grab any fallen branches from outside and get them ready too! At about 1 1/2 weeks, mine loved to start perching. The wire sides of your brooder would be really helpful in putting sticks through for them to hang out on! They LOVE IT!!! Granted it's not what you asked, but I just thought of it after visiting my chicks downstairs!
 

Hope119

Songster
10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
168
0
119
chookchick, you have very good points, thank you!
I think I'll search for pine shavings - the fact that CrazyMomOf2 bought a bag for $5-7 and it is enough for more than 2 weeks (for 48 chicks, as I understand) is very encouraging.
My landlord used to have chickens before, so there is a chicken house (needs to be fixed a little), there are feeders and waterers, he says he should have a heat lamp somewhere and we might split the costs for feed with him too.

Thanks a lot to everyone for response! I think I'll forget about wood chips for now.
I am also thinking about building a brooder out of cardboard moving boxes.
 

MANNA-PRO

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