Picking up 1-2 day old chicks tomorrow!


6 Years
Sep 8, 2013
Waxahachie, tx
We have the brooder (plastic tote...pic below), the heat source, the fine pine shavings, chick starter food, thermostat and electrolyte and probiotic packets. The feeder and water containers I got are too big (they didn't have the smaller ones) so have to try to find some tomorrow am.

Any ideas what to use for food and/water dishes if I can't find any tomorrow? Can the probiotic and electrolytes be mixed together? How long do they get the electrolytes (just one time due to stress of trip right)? How long get probiotics (guy told me at least one month)? Do any of you vaccinate for foul pox? They have already had their mercks.

Am I missing anything I need to have on hand or something vital? How often can the chicks be handled without causing them too much stress but enough so they get used to us? How often is a good rule of thumb for cleaning the brooder (have read everything from daily to weekly)?

Sorry for so many questions but reading up gives so many options I have confused myself even more :(. Thank you for your time and help.


~ Nicole
Sounds like are pretty set to go. For the first few days, a lot of people put paper towels over the shavings so the chicks learn what is food and what is not. I really like to do this with shipped chicks who are usually stressed anyhow, also lets you have a better look at their droppings. For food you can just use a paper plate and for water any smallish shallow containers (cat dish etc) and put rocks or marbles etc in it. Don't forget to dip their beaks in the water when you put them in the brooder.
If your probiotic is Gro-Gel (you mix it with water and it is green in color), that you usually just give to the chicks once. If it is some other powder you mix with the drinking water, usually it says weekly or monthly on the package. Electrolytes are usually for the first day or so. No reason not to mix the later two.
Usually for the first day or two I try not to handle shipped chicks much at all, would rather upset them as little as possible, just keep a really close eye on them to be sure everybody is eating and drinking. After that, if they are doing good, I usually pick them up a couple times a day if I am trying to make pets of them. There really is not any "too much" handling as long as the chicks are doing well and getting time to eat, drink and sleep.
If they are on paper towels, I change them once or twice a day, if they are on shavings, usually only every other day or so, it mostly depends on how many chicks there are and how big a mess they are making.
I do not do fowl pox, I do do Mareks.
Good luck with the new chicks, I'm sure you'll have lots of fun with them.
Hello!!! Glad to hear you're getting some chicks!!! I can't answer all of your questions but some I just may be able to! :D what you can use for your chicks if you don't find any feeders for them is just a plastic bowl. If you do that you may want to refill it maybe twice a day I'm guessing because they could sit in it and do their business in it. If they are only 1-2 days old you probably want to make sure they can reach the food and water. At their age they might not get in it. I would keep the water in a small dish because if they did happen to get in it they might drown. So be careful :) and you may can get feeders for them at hardware stores. The place I got mine at what was called seed and feed, I think. But just check different stores near you I guess. And maybe check Home Depot. I'm not sure. But to answer another one of your questions, the chicks I think can be handled as much as you want. Just make sure to wash your hands very well after you touch them because they can carry salmonella poisoning. As long as you don't touch your mouth after touching them, I think you'll be fine :) I think it may also be good for them to get out and go outside. Make sure you're not too far away from them and keep a good eye on them because other birds and animals may be watching them. And also, you may want to clean their brooder out every other day to daily depending on how dirty is it. When you're cleaning it you may want to consider putting them in another container or letting them roam outside not too far away from you. They will probably began pecking at the ground and they'll probably be fine. I hope you have so much fun with your chicks! And I hope my answers help!!! ;)
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We have a shallow "butter" tub with the sides cut down and a full water bottle with holes on top of a brick (because they kept making the water gross in under an hour free they got bigger. No brick at first, they were too tiny!) And a small dish for their food in with our chicks. Good luck!
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I am having a hard time keeping an even temp. I keep adjusting the level of the brooder clamp lamp and at one point it was almost 110 and after I moved it up it was 86. My test run yesterday had it at an even 95 :(

I am having a hard time keeping an even temp. I keep adjusting the level of the brooder clamp lamp and at one point it was almost 110 and after I moved it up it was 86. My test run yesterday had it at an even 95

You can change the wattage of the bulb, too. For example, if you are using a 150 watt you can go down to a 100 watt - just be sure to check your temps since they cannot get far far away from the heat in the tote. They do need a cooler space on the other side, and excessive heat is deadly to chicks. So I'd try decreasing wattage just a hair, and aim for perfection. The way you know they are comfortable is when they are not right under the lamp but near it, when they go to sleep.

It is OK to have it just a tiny bit warmer than the 90 degrees. I wouldn't go higher than about 95 in a small space. Recommended is 90-95 first week and decrease by 5 degrees per week until fully feathered, around 6 weeks.

If they are under it huddled or chirping loudly they are cold. If they are panting they could die soon from heat.

If you are dealing with wide temperature swings, it can be handy to use a second lamp with say a 60 watt bulb in it, to boost temps at night.
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They will start flying very soon, and can jump quite high when startled, so I recommend putting some metal screen over your brooder, such as a piece of metal fencing, so they don't fly out or knock your lamp over. It is important to use fireproof metal- not plastic fencing- over the top.

here is a fun link
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Congratulations on the chicks getting there, they are cute, nice color mix of breeds.
As ChickensAreSweet said, the chicks will adjust themselves closer or farther away from the lamp. As long as they have enough space to get away from the heat (you don't want to heat up the whole tub) it does not have to be an exact 90*, it can be a little warmer and they will just move away if they are hot, and closer if they are cold. You might want to take a reading on the side of the brooder without the heat lamp and see what the temp difference is.

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