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questions-- please help!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bstaley, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. bstaley

    bstaley Hatching

    Jan 6, 2009
    I plan on getting 4-5 chicks in late febuary.
    1. can I keep them in a large cardboard box?
    2. I have a paper shredder in my office, can I use that as bedding?
    3. What should I feed them, and how much?


  2. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    Quote:Tha cardboard box will be fine, once they get bigger, however, it'll be too small - and probably waterlogged and icky by then, anyway, so plan on a change of housing at about two weeks old. For just 4 or 5 though, it may last you longer. But by three weks old they'll be trying to "fly" and might be trying to get out, so a top for it might be in order.

    I've read of folks using shredded paper. some use paper towel, or rubber shelf liner - I use puppy pads, they are great - non slip, and easy to clean up - the shredded paper may get thrown into the waterer and make a big mess. I'd hate to have them eat wet shredded paper and get "clogged up" in their throat or crop.

    You can get chick starter at most feed stores, or TSC. The feedstore may be a bit cheaper than TSC.

    I start mine out in a brooder bin - it is simply a plastic storage bin from Walmart, that I cut the center of the top out and taped/zip tied some 1/2 inch hardware cloth to - that way when they start to jump and "fly" you can put the lid on and they can't get out (and the cat or dog can't get in to them).

    I then move them to a small cage - but this step isn't necesary, if it is nice enough, they can go out to the coop sooner. I only did this because I had others hatching that needed the brooder bin.

    My third move for them (since it is cold and winter) is to a baby play pen I bought at a yard sale last summer just for chicks. I have hardware cloth as a top to it, and they have lots of room to play around and excercise and jump and "fly" a bit. I've had 7 chicks in one up to age 6 weeks, and it worked ok - with 7 chicks, after 6 weeks it gets a bit crowded, but still usuable if ya have to keep them inside.

    The hardware cloth is rigid, and I just lay the heat lamp on top of the cloth, instead of hanging it (on the playpen, for the brooder box I hang it). By the time they go into the playpen, though, they don't need as much heat, anyway, mostly it is for light - I use a 60 watt bulb then.

    hope I helped a little [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  3. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    Quote:Good luck you will really enjoy them!
  4. tackyrama

    tackyrama Songster

    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    Welcome to BYC! If they are newly hatched you will need to provide a heat source for them. Infrared bulbs work, also heat lamps or any bulb with a reflector that will keep a temp of about 90 degrees. It will have to be raised high enough to maintain the temp. without getting too hot. Keep adjusting it higher or lower depending how they react. If they scatter away from the heat it is too hot, if they huddle in the center they are not warm enough. Not sure about the paper. Some inks may not be good for them. They will peck at the paper so will probably injest some. Stay away from reds or other bright colors as that will make them peck more. Try to get some wood chips, shavings or straw instead of paper. Also chickens/chicks love to peck on cardboard and will soon have it in shreds.

    Provide a shallow dish for water. Put a upside down cup or marbles or some such to keep them from drowning. Put their feed in a shallow dish for them. Putting the dishes higher off the floor will keep litter and poo form getting in. About chest high should work.You may have to introduce them to the feed or water. They won't have mother t show them how to do it. most will figure it out OK but you never know. Feed them chick grower from any feed supply store/mill. Medicated feed is also available if desired for the first weeks of growth. They can also eat rolled corn, oats, wheat, veggie scraps from the kitchen (cut up) and just about anything else small enough for them to gobble down. They will eat just as much as tey need so don't worry about feeding too much. They won't need grit if you just feed them chick grower (pellets or mash) It's not a bad idea to provide them some grit in a separate dish anyway.

    After they are feathered out (about 6 weeks or so) they will not need the heat source. Keep raising the heat source a little every week (about 5 degrees lower each week should be about right) as they feather out. Hope this helps.
  5. TheNewMrsEvans

    TheNewMrsEvans Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    Big Sur, CA
    In the past I have used a refrigerator/large box for up to 6 chicks...in order to make it easy to clean you can cover the bottom and about 6" up with contact paper...this will help it last long enough for one round of chickies...just make sure you don't light it on fire with the bulb! (yes it has happened to other BYCers!) Make sure the heat bulb is on one end and the water on the opposite end. Put a old fashioned thermometer on the bedding and make sure they can get about 90F there. If they all huddle right under the bulb lower it a little. If they pant and are as far away from it as possible raise it a bit. Normal chicks will be all over the box, some sleeping under the light and others active and out away from it. You will probably have to keep them in the house not the garage in February so put down a layer of whole newspaper, after a few days cover with a good layer of shavings/paper shreds...if you want you can add a puppy piddle-pad under the bedding under the waterer to absorb any spills.

    I've always fed chickies medicated chick starter...it helps prevent coccidiosis. They should have this free choice as well as clean water. You can put marbles in the waterer so they can't fall in. I usually wait a few weeks then you can give them a little blob of cooked cooled oatmeal, a few snippets of lettuce, or small minced fruits/tomato. At first they will be afraid of treats (yes they will run away from the new foods?!?) but then they will eventually try it and become little piggies. [​IMG] Just keep treats to a minimum because they can cause diarrhea and they wont eat as much starter like they should.

    Have fun! They are ridiculously addictive...[​IMG]
  6. Chix-in-GA

    Chix-in-GA Songster

    Nov 17, 2008
    Nashville, GA
  7. bstaley

    bstaley Hatching

    Jan 6, 2009
    Thanks everyone!

  8. yanks26

    yanks26 Songster

    Jan 9, 2009
    Don't use shredded paper. I read that it makes the chicks slip when the paper gets wet and causes some sort of disfunction with their legs.
  9. RW19290

    RW19290 Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Southern California
    Quote:1.You can use the cardboard box as long as it's big enough, but it might catch on fire!!! I had to learn it the hard way long ago... The heat lamp caught on fire and the chicks died [​IMG] !

    2. I don't recommend paper of any kind for bedding. What type of paper are you shredding in their? You should use puppy pads or pine shavings because they are more absorbent. Wood shavings are pretty cheap too... in my area, they are about $8 for a GIANT compressed bag.

    3. You can get feed at your local feed store. The come in both medicated and non-medicated forms. I'd recommend the medicated type because in the future, if you chickens ever get sick with Coccidiosis, it's very painful to both the chicken and you. Feed the chick starter 27/7 and always provide the chicks with fresh water.

    Have fun![​IMG]

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