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Newbie to chickens with new baby chick ???s...need help from veterans!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BethESH, May 4, 2009.

  1. BethESH

    BethESH Songster

    Hi all -

    Last Thursday I received my order from Ideal at my office. [​IMG] Boy, were these babies CUTE...and LOUD! I have 10 Norwegian Jaerhon pullet babies and 2 NJ roo babies (what I ordered). Ideal also shipped 10 "peanuts" - CUTE, but starting to get aggressive roos - no idea what breed they are, but they're black with a yellow stripe or dot on their heads.

    I took them home, put them in a very large rubbermaid container in my darling man's garage. I'm using the pine pellet bedding with paper towels over it. I have two chick waterers and a feeder in there. They have a heat lamp on constantly and I'm using 1/4" 'landscape fabric' mesh on top (we have snakes in the area.)

    I'm feeding them chick starter from TSC and some chick grit.

    I clean the box every day and check the food/water availability twice a day.

    What am I missing? [​IMG]

    Also, one of my NJ pullet babies has what I think is spraddle leg. My darling man and my father think that I should "put her out of her misery." [​IMG] Do I have another option? She's such a sweetie! They're all six days old...is it too late to do anything to help her?

    I think a couple of the babies have pasty butts too...a book I have says to pick it off, but I tried that and it didn't work. Any thoughts???

    Thanks so much for your help!!!

  2. BethESH

    BethESH Songster

    Forgot another question...when can I start feeding them something other than starter feed and grit???

    Thanks again!
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Do a search here on BYC for spraddle leg and you can find instructions on using the bandaid method to help your chick.
    To remove clumps of poo in pasty butt try soaking the chick's bottom in warm water before you pull it off.
    While you are dealing with the pasty butt I woudn't add any other foods. The only thing you might try that could actually help with it is some plain, low fat yogurt.
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  4. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    It sounds like you've got a pretty good start. I really suggest to everyone to read a book or three on chickens when starting out - it really helped me. Here are some of my thoughts for you:

    - paper towels - get rid of them now that they're 6 days old. It is suggested that you use them for the first day or two to spread food on it to help them get started eating. But, after that, they can be slippery and cause leg problems. They will be much better off just on the bedding without the paper towels.

    - pasty butt - this is very serious and you must get it cleaned off immediately. If their entire vents get closed up with dried poop, they won't be able to poop anymore and they can die. It's no fun, but you've got to catch them and wipe it off with a warm, wet towel (didn't work that well for me) or pull it off. Sometimes some fluff comes off with the hardened poop, which the chick won't like, but at least it won't be there to stick to poop anymore. It's important to get it off somehow, though it's no fun. At 6 days old, they should be getting over the pasty butt very soon - it rarely lasts more than a week (shock from shipping/moving to a new home).

    - spraddle leg - I don't have any experience with this and I hope someone else can tell you if you can save her!

    - chick grit - I read to sprinkle it on their food like salt once daily until they are a few weeks old. If you give it to them free-choice some silly chickies will eat a bunch of grit and no food, which is hard on them. I just thought I'd mention this, though maybe you're already doing it.

    - heat - it sounds like you've got this done fine. Just make sure that the lamps are at a comfortable level for them - they should be spread out in the box, some in the cooler areas and some under the lamp and generally moving around and peeping happily. If they are at the edges of the box and panting, they are too hot. If they are huddled under the light and peeping loudly, they are too cold.

    Other than that, enjoy them! Their personalities will keep changing - at 6 days, what seems like aggression may amount to nothing, or it may get worse. Only time will tell... what are your plans for the extra roos - will you eat them?
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  5. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA
    if you search spraddle leg (here or on google, etc) you'll find good pics - i think i've seen people use things like tape or bandaids to sort of brace their legs in the right position so that they can develop the right muscles. you might also try covering their pelleted bedding with paper towel for now, to help them get a better foothold - i'd think maybe the pellets might be harder for the little babies to walk on? and then just make absolutely sure that one's getting enough to eat and drink.

    pasty butt: you absolutely have to remove the stuck-on poops. warm, damp paper towels (in a warm, draft-free room) soaking the area will help to loosen it, toothpicks or fingernails will encourage it to come off, and if necessary, a butt dunk in warm water to get it all off. you have have have to get it off - if they can't eliminate, they'll die. then, dry the peep off well - very carefully blow-drying if you have to, or if your brooding area isn't drafty, towel drying and putting back. if it's a recurring problem, you can put a little olive oil or vaseline around the area to help prevent more poops from sticking again. then make sure you're checking their vents a couple or more times a day...

    there are varying opinions on when it's okay to start giving treats - personally, i wait until they're about 3 weeks old. and if you're still having problems with pasty-butt, for sure i'd wait to start giving anything besides their starter (although i have seen somewhere that a combination of scratch and oatmeal well ground can help bind things up and firm up their stools if pasting up is a serious problem... you'd have to do more research) until everyone's doing fine in that department.

    otherwise, watch your peeps - they'll tell you if they're unhappy! loud peeping non-stop is calling for some kind of help - they're cold, hungry, etc. happy sing-song chirping and talking means they're happy.

    sounds like you're doing well - have fun with them!
  6. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    p.s. I agree - they LOVE yogurt.
  7. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    You've gotten very good advice so far. I would add that you should be using a RED heat lamp. Red seems to calm them and maybe you won't have trouble from your roo's.

    I used RED and never had any picking or aggressive behavior from any of my ten chicks.

    Try not to just pull or pick the dried poo off. Soak it with luke warm water and gently soften it with your fingers. I just held the chicks in my one hand butt facing forward and did it in the bathroom sink. Then dried well with washcloth and then added a little ointment to lube it up a little so the poop wouldn't stick.

    You don't need to give grit until you feed anything other than starter/crumbles. I would hold off snacks for a couple 2-3 wks.


    The home page has lots of great information on raising baby chicks like feed, snacks, temp, bedding, etc. Read as much as you can.

    Good luck and don't forget to show us pics.

  8. BethESH

    BethESH Songster

    Thanks for all the good advice! [​IMG]

    I have a buddy - from BYC! - who's willing to take the extra roos, so they're going to be rehomed. [​IMG] That's quite a relief for me - my box is just too crowded with all the babies in it.

    I tried to do the mineral oil softening method to take care of the pasty butt. It worked on most. I bought some plain lowfat yogurt so they're going to get some of that tonite. (I hear that they make a mess with it, so it should be fun to watch!) I didn't realize how hard it would be to find PLAIN yogurt. There are so many flavors out there! I didn't think that the babies would be fond of key lime pie flavor!!! [​IMG]

    I have one red bulb over the bin - I've been keeping an eye on their behavior and they seem to be doing well.

    I'm confused about the grit thing. I have a chick feeder that I put the feed in. I generally spread a bit of grit on the paper towels when I clean the bin. Am I overdoing it?

    You all are terrifically helpful - and patient with us newbies - THANK YOU!!!!!! [​IMG]
  9. Redhead Hen

    Redhead Hen Songster

    Apr 14, 2009
    Rising Sun, Maryland
    I did not introduce the grit until I knew I would be feeding my babies worms and such. Which was when they were about 2 wks old or so. I don't think you need the grit if they are just eating yogurt and chick food. I got grit right before I gave them some playtime outside for a few hours in warm weather. When I added the grit, I just mixed it into their food. Oh and I picked up some parakeet grit at the store, since it is a small box and I don't give them a ton at a time. Once they are outside 24/7, I will not give them grit. We have a run and my son loves to give them sand to play/dust bathe in! So, I'm sure they get what they need. Hope that helps!
  10. BethESH

    BethESH Songster

    Does the sand work the same as grit? Is it playground sand? (So many questions...)

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