Picking up my chicks this Saturday

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jenniemig, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. jenniemig

    jenniemig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I have the brooder ready which is a large wire dog crate with makeshift sides to prevent drafts. My food and waterer are made, now just waiting for them to come in. I am going to be trying a heating pad method rather than a heat lamp. They will be in my house which averages 75 degrees, the heating pad will be under one end of the crate, with a bucket turned igloo that does a good job keeping very warm inside. I am testing the heating pad and temps in the bucket now and so far so good.

    My questions are...When you purchase chicks from a feed store are they usually vaccinated? I guess this is a question that I can ask them, but have had issues with getting a straight answer at feed stores in the past. I would much rather hear from the seasoned members here. Is it routine for them to order the chicks already vaccinated?

    Water additives...Is there a product that I should add for vitamins and/or electrolytes? I will be using nipple waterers to keep things clean.

    Bedding...I love the idea of sand, but that could be a big mess indoors considering the tray in the bottom of the kennel is only about an inch deep. I have read about pine shavings, are these the best choice?

    Handling...How often and how soon should I start handling my chicks. I want to be sure that I get them used to being touched trusting of me. Last batch I handled a couple of times a day making sure their little poop shoots were clean. Only 2 of the 6 were very friendly, the rest were stand-off-ish and skittish.

    Mortality...I would like to have 6 layers, to start. Should I buy a few more just in case I have a few die? Last time I bought 6, and all 6 survived, but this could have been a fluke.

    Like I said I have had hens before, but wasn't aware of this site, and after reading have found that I was doing LOTS of stuff wrong. I want happy spoiled girls that enjoy their life and reward us with lots of yummy eggs!
     
  2. 14RiceM

    14RiceM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey! I'm fairly new too but I've done a TON of research so here's what I've heard about your questions:

    In regard to the vaccination, I don't know, I'm getting mine from a hatchery. To get them vaccinated costs an extra dollar each chick, so I guess I would think maybe most feed stores wouldn't? But I'm not sure. Maybe they do because having a huge thing of dead chicks probably wouldn't look very good for their store should they get sick!:p

    The electrolytes in water question: I would have some handy to give to chicks that are weak, but usually that is a bigger concern for chicks that are being shipped and are dehydrated. Still I'd suggest having some ready to give the chicks, better to be safe I'd think:) I've heard Gatorade can work if you can't get the actual electrolyte "water".

    Bedding: A lady called The Chicken Chick, who has a blog and a ton of information about raising chickens, usually uses puppy training pads covered in paper towels for traction the first couple days/weeks. That's probably what I'm gonna try, but I think it's everyone's personal preference, just don't use Aspen bedding and make sure the surface isn't slippery! Some say pine shavings are too slippery for starting chicks, but I don't know if that's always the case.

    Handling them: A lot of people suggest giving them a couple days to get used to their surroundings before introducing yourself. Then after a couple days, putting your hand in slowly to give them treats, and gradually working up from there. My mom used to have chicks when she was younger, she lived on a farm, and they held them pretty much right away but were careful about it only being short periods of time and not too often. She said that worked well for them, but again, a lot of it is personal preference. Just be sure to hold them ONLY for a couple minutes at a time, and maybe only once a day, if you want to just start off holding them. It's gonna be super hard not wanting to hold those tiny puffballs all the time!!!<3 There's a good article on "taming" chicks if you go to the Learning Center and look under the section about raising chicks. That might be a good thing to try.

    Mortality: Having mine delivered from a hatchery, I made sure to get two or three of each breed that I wanted just in case one of them didn't make it, but since you'll be getting them (I'm assuming?) at the store, you could probably better tell their health and might have less deaths. But if you ONLY can have six, get one or two more in case of deaths, and they all survive, then you've got extra chickens to make plans for!:p Personally if I was buying from a feed store, I'd buy the number that I want and MAYBE one more. But again, that's up to you and how many you can definitely keep:)

    I hope I helped!!:) Make sure to post pictures when you get the chance!!:)
     
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  3. jenniemig

    jenniemig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Thanks for the info. I had forgotten about the puppy pads. I have a full pack of them somewhere that I can use, a lot easier than trying to keep shavings clean.
     
  4. 14RiceM

    14RiceM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh yeah I agree!
     

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