Newbie to chicks, coming soon, so many questions.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BacktoBasics13, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. BacktoBasics13

    BacktoBasics13 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2015
    Rochester, NY
    Hello all,
    We have been planning for chicks for sometime now. This is finally the year. I want to start off by saying this community is so beyond knowledgeable and helpful! The learning center is great with a lot of info but I'm feeling a little confused and overwhelmed with all of it.

    I figure I will number my questions this way whoever can respond can correlate their answer with the number to make it easier. Thank you in advance for any opinions or help you can offer.

    *** Sidenote: we are planning a flock of 6 to 8 (Buff Orpingtons, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Easter Eggers) for now in a 5 x 8 x 8 coop with attached run. They will also have the ability to free range on our 1/3 ac suburban lot.

    1: In the stores I see combination chick starter/ grower food and some labeled just starter. Is there a difference? I was looking at Dumors organic non-GMO chick starter for comparison. I would like to feed them a quality food ...are there any ingredients to look for or avoid when shopping.

    2: medicated vs unmedicated food? I understand it's opinion based but if anyone could give me pros and cons of either way.

    3: fermented feed? Is it better for them or merely preference?

    4: given the breeds I'm looking at how long can I expect them to stay inside in their brooder? I live in upstate New York, Rochester to be specific. We still have snow on the ground, days are in the 30s and nights in the teens and 20s. Still also need to build the coop once the last of the snow melts. I was thinking i have 5 to 6 weeks once i receive them?

    5: besides their crumbles I would like to introduce them to some fruits vegetables and treats at that point I would have to introduce grit correct?

    6: scratch? At any point do they need it if they're getting a balanced diet between their feed and treats

    7: I'm debating between going the route of a heating lamp VS the mama heating pad method. I think I recall reading a thread on here stating to find a clear heating lamp bulb rather than the red?

    8. Calcium? Will their feed have enough in it or will I need to supplement oyster shells or?

    9. Water? I've read tapwater is a no-no because of the additives like chlorine and fluoride. will I need to purchase filtered water for them or add a filtration system to our tap to eliminate as much of that as possible?

    Thankfully that's all the questions I can think of right now. I'm sure there will be more but I can cross that bridge when it's time. Thank you!!!
     
  2. mclanea

    mclanea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2016
    San Diego
    1. An organic non-GMO chick starter will have everything they need until they start laying.
    2. I do unmedicated, all organic in our house.
    3. I don't bother with this but some folks seem to enjoy it.
    4. You'll start weening them off the light starting at 2 weeks. Less heat, less time on the lamp as they feather out. By 5-6 weeks they are probably ready to go to the coop, at least all day. If it's still below freezing at night you might want to bring them in. 6-8 chicks once feathered out will generate plenty of heat for 30-40 degrees at night IMO. (I say from San Diego where it never gets below 40!)
    5. Wait a few weeks before introducing treats. Even then some bugs will be fun to play with, fruits/veggies... they might peck at as babies? No need for scratch if you let them free range.
    6. If they free range you don't need to provide this or a dust bath. Be prepared for them to eat everything in your yard that's open to them. If it's green, they might eat it. Bugs, worms, grubs, lizards, mice, anything they can get ahold of they'll eat.
    7. That's totally up to what you want to do.
    8. Their chick starter will have all the nutrition they need. Things like oyster and other supplements, you'll use those to troubleshoot later on.
    9. My chickens aren't picky about water. Tap, rain water, yesterday they were drinking the water I was draining from our hot tub.

    Lastly, keep reading threads on BYC... we're in our second year and I credit pretty much everything I know about chickens to this site in one way or the other. That said, take a deep breathe, relax... this is going to be fun and easy! They give back to you more than you give them. Every time I panic a little I remember two things:
    a. They are just farm animals! It's not that complicated. Feed them, keep them clean, keep them safe, you're good to go.
    b. Keep it simple! Everywhere I've been in the developing world I've seen baby chicks wandering around without anyone really looking after them. And when they have someone looking after them? It's usually a kindergartner. If a little kid can do it so can you. :)
     
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  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Northwest Arkansas
    1: In the stores I see combination chick starter/ grower food and some labeled just starter. Is there a difference? I was looking at Dumors organic non-GMO chick starter for comparison. I would like to feed them a quality food ...are there any ingredients to look for or avoid when shopping.

    The main difference is in percent protein. Either one contains a good nutritional balance. Some people like to feed a high percent protein but I personally don’t like to feed anything not recommended for chickens. The label should tell you what the feed is recommended for. The one exception to this is when I raise turkeys with the chicken chicks. Then I feed a 24% game bird feed the first 4 weeks or so.

    2: medicated vs unmedicated food? I understand it's opinion based but if anyone could give me pros and cons of either way.

    Follow this link

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1158994/busting-myths-about-medicated-chick-starters

    3: fermented feed? Is it better for them or merely preference?

    Those that use it thinks there are benefits. I don’t use it so I can’t comment from experience.

    4: given the breeds I'm looking at how long can I expect them to stay inside in their brooder? I live in upstate New York, Rochester to be specific. We still have snow on the ground, days are in the 30s and nights in the teens and 20s. Still also need to build the coop once the last of the snow melts. I was thinking i have 5 to 6 weeks once i receive them?

    You could write a book to answer this one there are so many ways to go. I agree, get the coop built. I brood mine in the coop instead of in the house, sometimes in temperatures in the single digits. By 6 weeks I turn the heat off.

    5: besides their crumbles I would like to introduce them to some fruits vegetables and treats at that point I would have to introduce grit correct?

    Yes introduce grit.

    6: scratch? At any point do they need it if they're getting a balanced diet between their feed and treats


    They do not need scratch. Some people like it feed it to their chickens, I don’t bother. Mine get to forage some so I don’t see any benefit to feeding it. In any case, wait a couple of months at least before starting scratch. When they start out they need a better diet to get a good start.

    7: I'm debating between going the route of a heating lamp VS the mama heating pad method. I think I recall reading a thread on here stating to find a clear heating lamp bulb rather than the red?

    There are many different ways to provide heat to the chicks. A lot of people feel strongly that their way is “best” but the reality is that they all can work. There are pros and cons to each. I use a heat lamp. My main warning is that if you use a heat lamp, throw that clamp away so you are not even tempted to use it and wire it into place so neither you nor anything else can knock it down.

    I personally use a red bulb, I think it calms them down better than a white. A really bright brooder can lead to more aggressive behavior. I like it a little darker.

    8. Calcium? Will their feed have enough in it or will I need to supplement oyster shells or?

    If all you feed them is “Chick Feed” it will have all the calcium they need. If you limit their treats to about 10% of their daily feed intake their chick feed will have all the calcium they need.

    9. Water? I've read tap water is a no-no because of the additives like chlorine and fluoride. will I need to purchase filtered water for them or add a filtration system to our tap to eliminate as much of that as possible?

    Boy, some people seem to really enjoy trying to scare you or maybe they just don’t know any better. Unless there is some huge upset at the water treatment plant, in which case it should be all over your local news, tap water is fine.
     
  5. BacktoBasics13

    BacktoBasics13 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2015
    Rochester, NY
    Wow! Thank you to all that responded. I was not expecting such detailed responses. Thank you for taking all that time. It's very helpful!
     
  6. TyKay

    TyKay New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2017
    Edmundston, NB
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    Hi! I'm new from New Brunswick, Canada. We just got are first batch of chicks 2 weeks ago. My chicks are 3 weeks old today. For a few days now, I have one that doesn't seem to be able to stand up for a long period. It eats, drinks, poops, scratches around like they others. But it won't stay up too long. It will even lay on it's stomach to eat and scratch in the wood shavings. It's bright eyed, nothing seems to be wrong with it except the laying around. It's the smallest of all the chicks. It's legs are straight. They other ones don't pick on it etheir. Can you help me? Thanks in advance!!
    P.S. In the second photo, it's the one on the right.
     
  7. BacktoBasics13

    BacktoBasics13 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2015
    Rochester, NY
    Hi! I am so sorry to hear about your chick. I unfortunately will be no help as Im new to this whole thing and don't even have my chicks yet. You will get a fast, detailed response by putting it in another thread tailored for injuries or illnesses. Go under the forum and under raising baby chicks, look for emergencies/diseases/injuries and post a thread in there. I hope your little one gets better.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    St. Louis, MO
    Sometimes chicks aren't vigorous. What is the space like? Is there a warm spot and lots of cool space?
    What are they eating?
    Have you provided any kind of probiotics?
     
  9. TyKay

    TyKay New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2017
    Edmundston, NB
    They have ample room to scratch around. They don't seem tonne cold because they are everywhere in their pen. I do give them plain yogurt mixed with their feed. They really love it! He does seem to stand up a little bit more this morning. Hope he's gonna be alright! He grows like they other ones but just smaller than they others.
     

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