Please be patient enough for a few newbie questions!

organic egglets

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 19, 2013
19
0
22
Baton Rouge, LA
So I'm new to the world of chicken raising, and am kind of still just gathering information at this point! We are moving soon and once we get settled into our new place I plan on getting a flock!
I have a couple of questions that I'm hoping more experienced chicken moms can help me with.

1. I plan on starting with a flock of about 10. My husband thinks we should buy three chicks at a time until we reach a number we are comfortable with (I'm hoping to get close to 20 eventually). Does anyone think this is a good idea? Or should I just buy 10 chicks at once and then get another 5-10 later? I feel like with my husband's idea of having so many sets of young chicks come through may not be good for the flock as a whole.

2. We will be living in Southern Louisiana where it is pretty hot, around what age could my chickens go out into the coop?

3. Why are there so many different kinds of feed? Starter, layer, grower.. what the heck am I supposed to feed them? I know that chicks need the food just for chicks, but what about after that?

I'm just so lost and feel like I'm drowning in information that I don't understand. I want to make sure I know what I need to do to take care of my babies before I bring them home. I would feel horrible if I somehow did not give them what they needed and they died or got sick.
 

annav410

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 7, 2013
224
16
96
Broomfield, Colorado
So I'm new to the world of chicken raising, and am kind of still just gathering information at this point! We are moving soon and once we get settled into our new place I plan on getting a flock!
I have a couple of questions that I'm hoping more experienced chicken moms can help me with.

1. I plan on starting with a flock of about 10. My husband thinks we should buy three chicks at a time until we reach a number we are comfortable with (I'm hoping to get close to 20 eventually). Does anyone think this is a good idea? Or should I just buy 10 chicks at once and then get another 5-10 later? I feel like with my husband's idea of having so many sets of young chicks come through may not be good for the flock as a whole. I think it is honestly best to get as many as you think you might want. I have read that integrating new chickens is very tricky and stressful for the chickens and likely you as well. If you want 20 then get all of them together if possible and raise them together. If 20 sounds overwhelming to start, then I think with some patience and effort, you can add new members at a later date.

2. We will be living in Southern Louisiana where it is pretty hot, around what age could my chickens go out into the coop? The general thought is chicks can be transitioned to the coop between 6-8 weeks, once they are feathered out. You can move them out earlier in cold months with a warming light. It is my understanding that chickens have a harder time with heat vs cold weather so you may want to focus on breeds that are heat tolerant.

3. Why are there so many different kinds of feed? Starter, layer, grower.. what the heck am I supposed to feed them? I know that chicks need the food just for chicks, but what about after that? We started with medicated starter for the first 6-8 weeks and we just transitioned our chicks to grower. They will be on grower until they are closer to laying age and then we will move them to the layer feed. Each of these feeds are formulated to the needs of young chicks, pullets and finally once they are of laying age.

I'm just so lost and feel like I'm drowning in information that I don't understand. I want to make sure I know what I need to do to take care of my babies before I bring them home. I would feel horrible if I somehow did not give them what they needed and they died or got sick. You will do great!
smile.png
 
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Grog

Chirping
8 Years
Oct 1, 2011
180
3
91
Ok so first congrats on getting into chickens.

I would get the 10 at once. sets of three is alot more difficult also you will prolly lose some(hope not).

The babies need warm( 90F) for their first week, after that you can start bringing down the warm spot by around 5-10 degrees a week till no heat is needed.

They can go out as soon as out side is warm enough, all their back feathers are in, or for short stints during the afternoon warmth.

Food: the babies should have a starter feed(i use medicated to help ward off Coccidsis) for approx 16 weeks. I assume you are after layers then you switch to layer(i like pellets in a hanging feeder).

Watch for pasty butt for like the first 1 week or so if you see poop at the butt you should clean it off so it doesnt block their poo hole :).

Thats about it for starting from me some one else will jump in here.
 

EsKezzy

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 30, 2013
54
2
43
Eastern San Diego, CA
Jumping in with more questions.
I was talking to helpful man at the feed store closest to me and he was telling me that a thermometer isn't needed and I can go by how they act to see if they are warm enough. Right now they are in the living room, but they will be in garage when we're not home (don't trust our dog near them yet). How obvious will it be that they are OK temperature wise?

ETA- I was told to add baby chick electrolytes to their water. Then reading here I see that some people have said it was too concentrated. The instructions say one scoop per gallon of water.

photo of them - is this a sign of it being too hot?

 
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annav410

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 7, 2013
224
16
96
Broomfield, Colorado
Jumping in with more questions.
I was talking to helpful man at the feed store closest to me and he was telling me that a thermometer isn't needed and I can go by how they act to see if they are warm enough. Right now they are in the living room, but they will be in garage when we're not home (don't trust our dog near them yet). How obvious will it be that they are OK temperature wise?

I think it is often pretty obvious. Although we had a thermometer, it was hard to read so not sure how much we really used it. If they are cold, they will huddle together under the light and if too hot...as far from the light as they can get. My chicks ended up sleeping under the light at night in a big chicken pile (they still do this at 8 weeks in the coop) and wandered around the brooder eating, etc during the day.
~Anna
 

SobbaChickens

Songster
6 Years
Apr 24, 2013
642
51
128
Kansas
You've been given great advice without my input but I'll give it to you anyways :)

If doing 20 chicks right now sounds too scary then I personally would do 10 chicks now and 10 in a few months or even next spring. There are many posts on here about putting different age chicks and chickens together, sometimes it goes well and other times it does not.

I have never used a thermometer and don't plan on it. IMO it is very easy to tell if your chicks are warm enough. I have two different heat bulbs, 125 and 250. I change the height of the lamp and the strength of the bulb depending on the weather. My chicks are roughly 3wks and usually are happy with the 125 hung above their brooder but we just got blasted with winter weather so last night I gave them the 250 back and when checking on them a few hours ago and 5 out of the 6 were roosting as close together as possible right under the light. There wasn't enough room for the 6th chick and she was all by herself so I moved the lamp back into the brooder where they'd have to all be together on the floor.

Just make sure your lamp doesn't heat the entire brooder, they need to be able to get away from the light if they get too hot.


Best of luck to you!

Katie
 

annav410

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 7, 2013
224
16
96
Broomfield, Colorado
The new picture makes me think they may be too warm. Just to reiterate what Katie mentioned, it is often best to have the space large enough that the chicks can move away from the heat source.
~Anna
 

EsKezzy

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 30, 2013
54
2
43
Eastern San Diego, CA
Still thinking of the heat thing. I have 4 chicks. One (the Buff Orpington) seems to love to lay right where the light beam hits the strongest. The black one always seems to try to get as far away as possible. The two striped ones are somewhere in between. Of course, this is confusing me. I'm wondering if the dark one is just hotter b/c of it's dark coloring?
 

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