Raising my first batch of chicks


Mar 13, 2018
I have ordered 20 chicks from Murray McMurray for an April 23 delivery.
10 Black Jersey Giants and 10 White Jersey Giants. Straight run.

I purchased an 8x10 building and am converting it to a coop.
I have 7 boxes for the hens. 3 windows will be in, along with a large vent w/screen.
There is 2 lights in the ceiling for winter egg laying time w/timer.

Its an in process completion at the moment. Weather permitting.

I have raised other animals before. Horses, Feeder cattle and Silver fox.
So tending animals is nothing new to me.

Any thoughts as per my project are invited.
First, Welcome to BYC, Second, Well, My first though you should not have gone straight run. Hatcheries make more on pullets so in my experience you will most likely get more roosters then pullets. All you can do with the roosters, except for 1 or 2, is put 'em in your freezer. They will literally beat the crap out of each other to the point where some will end up dead. You will have bloody roosters all the time. If you really want roosters, so you can incubate the eggs and expand your flock, with 20 chicks get 2 males and 18 females. If you just want egg production, go with all female. Hens don't need roosters to lay eggs. Good luck.
Welcome. Your coop plan sounds big enough... make sure they have a run or are able to free range (both of which have their own advantages and disadvantages). The Jersey Giant is a nice breed but doesn't have the feed conversion ratio so you might consider some free ranging or pasturing to cut down on food costs. I also wouldn't have gone straight run, but you can always get more down the road (although you'll need to deal with integration at that point)
Welcome to BYC from another Michigainian!

Sounds pretty good Great!
Huge Kudos for getting a nice sized coop setup before getting chicks.
Starting a thread in the coop design section can get you ideas for how to do roosts, vents, etc.

What are your plans for brooding the chicks, you know they need heat right?
With no other birds present, and I assume an outlet in the coop, you could brood them right in the coop.

Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker acclimation to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later I still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.

Tho it might be tight for 20 chicks:
Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate

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