Please don't shoot me for asking questions that have assuredly already been asked. I just can't find

Kymberly

Hatching
6 Years
Mar 7, 2013
6
0
9
We currently have 5 Red Sex Link hens, 10 Red Sex Link chicks, 4 Araucana chicks and 2 light Brahma chicks. We have had chickens for over a year but have never started with chicks, this will be our first run with them. My grandfather in-law had Leghorns before as a hobby but he is a snowbird and at the end of the summer we inherited what was left of his flock, when he came back he gave the chickens away. His doctor recommended that he get a new flock because it was good for his health. So he bought a small flock of Red Sex Link chicks, our current flock. He moved once again for the winter and left us his flock. He wont be taking them on now that he is back but is living with us so he can still enjoy them. Because I know nothing about chicks in spite of doing some aggressive reading over last summer I don't have a comfortable grasp on what I am doing and would prefer some first hand knowledge over a book. So we got our chicks last week, they are in a cardboard box brooder, heat is at around 95, it goes up and down with the temperature in the house but I check it often to try and maintain it. The get fresh water 2-3 times per day. We have given them wax worms as a treat and to get them used to us without being afraid. It has worked like a charm. My husband built me a wire screen trimmed with wood for the bottom of the box to keep the chicks off their poop, it seems to be working very well. They do seem to waste a lot of their feed, it seems to me the pieces are too large so they get tossed out of the feeder and onto the ground through the screen. What else do I need to know from here? I was thinking maybe I would run their feed through the coffee grinder for easier consumption. Would that be acceptable? Also I did read that I need to lower the temp of the brooder by 5 degrees each week, each week until when can I stop using a heat lamp?
 

Hillschicks

Songster
7 Years
Jul 17, 2012
455
36
101
You can grind the feed if you want, but if its chick starter feed they shouldnt have any problem.. As for water, all chickens should have water 24/7.. Most people do the temp down 5 degrees a week thing, but its overkill.. We have 3 week old chicks out in there coop with no heat lamp in 40 degree michigan right now... You absolutely can do the temperature like that if you want, its just not as important as people think, they are tougher than they look... Also, the faster you cut back their heat, the faster they will feather out.. Whatever works for you.. As for wasting feed, yea chickens do that.. They are foragers and love nothing more than scratchin and scrappin.. Sounds to me like your doing fine, i would stop worrying.. They are going to be fine
 

Hillschicks

Songster
7 Years
Jul 17, 2012
455
36
101
400


2-3 week old, 40 degrees, happy and playing
 

aspiemomi

In the Brooder
7 Years
Feb 8, 2012
12
3
22
Monroe, WA
Wow...it is so reassuring to have someone who is not overly zealous about the details/temperature related to chick rearing. This is my second batch of chicks...the first time around I read every thread and worried about every possible outcome, hourly. It was like having a newborn baby again. This time around I am obviously keeping everyone as warm as I can, clean watered and fed, but I caught myself fretting about things again when my brooder was 85-90 instead of 95-100...but then I realized that these guys must be hardier than they look because in a natural situation they would be exposed to huge fluctuation in temp and be dodging a host of other dangers that they will never see in my brooder! I think like first time parents it is tempting to read everything and get yourself all wadded up.
 

Hillschicks

Songster
7 Years
Jul 17, 2012
455
36
101
Exactly.. I know the feeling, our first batch of chicks we worried as well.. What we do is give them a light bulb for a week.. Then cut it off for chunks of time throughout the day just to get them use to it.. If they huddle around it and look cold we turn it back on for a while, but after a couple days of that we just give the brooder a good heating before we goto bed then unplug it for the night.. As you said, in nature there is no heat lamp.. Whatever your doing, if you care, they will be fine :)
 

Kymberly

Hatching
6 Years
Mar 7, 2013
6
0
9
so I can wean them off of their heat lamp. It stays about 70-65 in our home where they are currently residing, that would be sufficient? How soon can I introduce them to our older flock? We have 4 Red Sex Link hens that are just a year. It would be nice to get them all out in the coop and out of my bedroom. While I do dearly love hearing them chatter, they would have much more room in the coop.
 

Kymberly

Hatching
6 Years
Mar 7, 2013
6
0
9
forgot to ask, we were offered two 1 month old ducks. Can they be housed together or would it be wise to let the offer pass?
 

Chicken Happy

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 6, 2012
346
21
93
North Idaho
I weaned my chicks (2 weeks) off the heat lamp and just gave them a heater that kept the temp @ 65. Now @ 4 weeks they are off to the coop to enjoy night time temps of 40 inside...this will be the 3rd batch to go this route.
 

1muttsfan

Up Northerner
10 Years
Mar 26, 2011
21,730
9,374
787
Upper Peninsula Michigan
Just because chicks can survive low temperatures does not mean that temperatures that low are ideal. Because they are not feathered out yet, they can't fluff their feathers to warm themselves in colder temperatures. In addition chicks kept at low temperatures do not grow as well, and have a harder time fighting off infections. By 6 weeks chicks are feathered out enough to keep themselves warm even very cold temperatures.

You might want to visit the Learning Center and read through the raising chicks section.
 

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