Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kb010, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. kb010

    kb010 In the Brooder

    So I guess I'm new to BYC--so I'll introduce myself. My name is Kendra, and I live in Lancaster county, PA (most of my neighbors are Amish). So I thought I would stop stalking the message boards and introduce myself.

    I ordered 15 buff orpington pullets from Randall Burkey on 3/19, and found out today that they are being shipped out on the 30th. =] I am very excited. So I've set up my space for the most part (a washing machine box cut down a bit, 250 watt infrared heat bulb, and waterer). I still need to get a feeder and the chick starter. I was thinking I would feed unmedicated, because it freaks me out a little bit to feed my babies (that just may end up as a meal someday) medicine that is not necessary.
    So I was thinking about what I should put on the bottom of my brooder. I am trying my very best to prevent foul odor. I am contemplating putting Chux pads (human underpads used in medical facilities) on the bottom with a layer of shavings on top. Do you guys think putting the chux is worthwhile, or no?

    Also, I had a few questions that I can't seem to figure out. (they may be silly questions). I read the other day about fertilized eggs being okay to eat, etc. and I know I didn't order a roo, but....I am prepared in case. so the question is--how could I tell that it was fertilized before I cracked it open (and ruined it)? I think someday I would like to have some babies. Also, does a hen get broody when she knows she's laid fertile eggs? What's with broodiness? How does one handle a broody hen without getting the fingers bitten off? Also, as I am building the coop now (I will post pics when it's not as hideous, lol) and was wondering how many nest boxes to put in for 15 hens?

    I am building a (roughly) 7x7 coop out of scrap lumber. It will be connected to a "chicken moat" that will surround my veggie garden. if you don't know what a chicken moat is....
    I have a family of red-tail hawks in my woods in back of my house, which is why I thought this design was ingenious. Until they are bigger I think I will put netting over the fences to protect them.
    anyways, not trying to talk your ears off--just trying to prepare and learn. any other advice would be wonderful.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009
  2. granmahen

    granmahen Songster

    Jun 11, 2008
    Bakersfield, CA
    I just want to say welcome. And I love your layout. I'm so jealous. As to the Chux, I'd just use old newspaper and pine shavings. You'll change it once a week (more often if everything gets wet). But I'd worry about the chicks pecking at the Chux. Oh, and I gave up on a regular waterer a long time ago and now use water bottles (like hampsters use). The chicks peck at it just fine and no tip overs or poop in the water. Just poke holes in your cardboard box. One bottle worked for 5 chicks, you could get more than one for a lot of chicks. Enjoy your chicks.[​IMG]
  3. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    I was thinking I would feed unmedicated, because it freaks me out a little bit to feed my babies (that just may end up as a meal someday) medicine that is not necessary.

    You would only be feeding medicated for a short period of time --it would be waaaay out of their system before you ever got around to eating them. it syour choice, but it will help protect them from cocci which could kill them.

    i second the newspapers and shavings. Use paper towels alone for the first few days.

    Fertilized eggs--do a search for a post by speckledhen on identifying fertile eggs. ?There will be a bullseye on the yolk. Sometimes, when you just order hens--you might get a roo in by accident--it happened to me, so be prepared. You can't tell before you open the egg, but if the rooster is doing his job, they should be fertilized.

    /some hens are prone to broodiness, some are not. Some hens, like silkies, will sit on anything. My sil had a broody silkie who's eggs were constantly being removed, so the broody found a piece of horse poo--moved it over to her little spot, and sat on that, or they will sit on nothing.

    for 15 hens, you probably need around 4-5 nest boxes.

    good luck and Welcome!!​
  4. LauraM

    LauraM In the Brooder

    Feb 7, 2009
    Everett, WA
    I agree with the medicated feed, although I am certainly no expert. If death and sickness would bother you..... medicated feed is only temporary not a lifelong thing. Your setup looks fantastic! Good luck!
  5. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Quote:HI and welcome to BYC. I used chucks under my chicks! The only downside is that once a tiny toenail got caught in the edge stitching! Thank goodness I was right there and could unstick her. Other than that, they worked great for the first couple of weeks. You do have to take them out and wash them a couple of times a day, which is a lot more work than using shavings, but as a first time flock owner, I wanted to be able to monitor their poop.

    After a couple of weeks, there was way too much poop, I'd have been changing the chucks four or five times daily. I put shavings right on top of the chucks for a while, but that was a real pain to dig out the chucks and replace them. so after a day I gave that up. But because their waterer was easy to spill when I put it in full, I left a chuck under the waterer, and that kept my cardboard box from getting soaked.

    I know what you mean about being prepared for a roo...I ordered 15 pullets from the local farm store and got two roos. There is no way to tell if an egg is fertile without cracking it...if you have a roo over 8 months old, assume your eggs are fertile. If you want to hatch some, even if every one is fertile, they probably will not all hatch anyway. Some will just not develop, for whatever reason.

    If a hen is going to go broody, she doesn't care whether the eggs are fertile or not, like so much other chicken behavior, broodiness is an instinct. If you do have a broody hen, the best way to handle her is NOT to, as I understand it, but if you must, it's probably best to do it at night when she's quieter. Others will have lots more experience with this than I.

    Figure one nest box for every four hens. They'll share. I'd keep netting up all the time; the red tail hawks can carry off an adult hen.

    By the way, in regard to your brooder - if they're going to be in it longer than a couple of weeks, put a top on it. I used baby gates, stretched out and laid on top. Mine could fly out of my brooder at less than three weeks of age.

    I'm sure you'll get lots more folks giving you advice based on lots more experience, but the thing about the chucks caught my eye, as I had done that, too.

    Best of luck with your new babies!!
  6. kyliescoop

    kyliescoop In the Brooder

    Mar 23, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    Talk about a set up!. That layout is awesome. If I pretend to be a chick, will you adopt me?. [​IMG][​IMG]
  7. Sequin

    Sequin Songster

    May 20, 2008
    I don't think my garden footage is quite the size of yours, but we are doing the same thing. Our reason is to keep the bunnies and deer away from the garden. Netting the top of your moat is a good idea against any type of predator as well as keeping your chickens in where they belong. We used shade cloth to add a bit of shade from the mid-day sun. Can't wait to see your new little ones!!! And welcome to BYC!! [​IMG]
  8. kb010

    kb010 In the Brooder

    The layout there is bigger than my own garden. My garden is about 30' by 30' I believe (never really measured haha) and more square-ish. I am just using that pic bc it showed my plan. Anyways, thanks for all the advice. I think I will opt out of the Chux and just use newspaper on the bottom--this will probably be cheaper and achieve the same effect. The coop is about 75% done. We need to put the roof on and the floor in. Then we are going to put in the nest boxes and roosts. And eventually the fencing. haha. One step at a time.

    As far as materials for the nest boxes? I like the idea of getting some sort of plastic box/something that could be sanitized and is removable...any suggestions?

    And for those of you with BO's, what advice would you pass on? I know so many of you have Buff Orps and was just wondering if there is any breed-specific things I should know. I chose them because they are a dual purpose, cold-hardy, and friendly bird.

    I can't wait until the babies arrive. it seems like an eternity until next Tues/Wed. Especially when I look at everyone else's baby pictures!

    Talk about a set up!. That layout is awesome. If I pretend to be a chick, will you adopt me?.

    lol I'm flattered.​
  9. Sequin

    Sequin Songster

    May 20, 2008
    I just started with BO's this year, but love them already. I used to think my australorps were beautiful(and of course they are), but the way my chicks are feathering out, I just love it. Not only that, but they are sweet as the day is long and very intelligent. I love cuddling with them and watching them explore everything around. Very happy and outgoing friendly chicks. You will enjoy them very much!! I also am new to EE's this year and Speckled Sussex(still waiting for those chicks to arrive). I will have 9 EE's, 7 BO's, 4 BA's, and 3 SS when everyone is here and accounted for. Hee hee hee... [​IMG] [​IMG] I will post pictures for you of my BO's and EE chicks as soon as I get my camera charged up again and ready to off load the pics on my pc.

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