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Road Trip vs. Shipping Day Old Chickcs

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MegC, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. MegC

    MegC Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2016
    South Carolina
    I am new to BYC, but I have read the forums for years. I've wanted to keep backyard chickens for almost a decade; since I worked on an urban farm in Columbia, SC, and enjoyed helping care for the RIRs there. Now, my husband and I are finally at a point where we can have our own backyard chickens. To get to the point - I am traveling to Northeast Ohio for Christmas, and I realized that the Meyer Hatchery is not far out of my way. I figured it might be better for me to pick up chicks directly from them, instead of purchasing online and shipping, or purchasing from a farm store, since they all probably come from Meyer anyways. I am looking for advice for the 9 hour drive back to South Carolina after I pick them up. Do I need to find a way to plug in a heating pad or will they be ok covered with some blankets? Or is driving them 9 hours back home with me a terrible idea? I appreciate any advice!
     
  2. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, so day-old chicks are still absorbing the yolk and won't need any food or drink. If you have a good mess of them (say, 25 or so) they will be able to keep themselves warm in a well-closed protected container; if there are fewer, you will need to provide heat. Your hands are not hot enough, BTW. You WiLL need some form of heat somewhere around 95F if there are only a few chicks.

    Next, many hatcheries **do not allow visitors** due to bio security, so you may (or may NOT) be able to pick up day-old chicks from them. Hard to say without actually talking to them about this. I would suggest talking to them well before attempting this.

    Now, you driving them in your car is probably a far more easy journey for them, providing you have either enough chicks or can keep them warm enough. But if you are planning on getting, I don't know, 5 chicks, well. You may be better off getting slightly older chicks from a farm store. Those chicks have already been through the hazards of the mail and learning to drink and eat and have survived.

    Very happy for you that you can finally get chickens of your very own! Nothing beats that, it's pretty awesome. I wish you the best of luck with this! [​IMG]

    Oh, ETA: there ARE heat pads that you can use, that activate by you smooshing them. That might be easier than a real heat pad, in a car. Some will last (supposedly, I've had them fail) for 72 hours. Get more than one, in case of failure. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  3. lpyrbby

    lpyrbby Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    [​IMG]

    What part of SC are you in? If you find that traveling with chicks may be too problematic, I should have some around the beginning of the year :) Just depends on where in SC you are.

    I have to agree that driving them yourself would be better than having them shipped, but definitely reach out to them first, to be sure they'll have chicks. Good luck!
     
  4. MegC

    MegC Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2016
    South Carolina
    Thank you for the responses! Apparently Meyer Hatchery even has a drive through for picking up chicks. I looked into this possibility, and they even give you a day and time frame for picking up the chicks, so I guess they allow visitors to at least part of the hatchery. It seemed like almost everything I was reading about buying chicks mentioned Meyers as a main distributor, which is how I came to this idea of picking them up on my drive back home. I guess I could figure out a way to hook up a heating pad for them. Do you all think that raising day old chicks might be too challenging for a new chicken keeper?

    I'm in Greenville, SC, so pretty far from Holly Hill!
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  5. Bawkbawktll

    Bawkbawktll Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 9, 2016
    What about those "hot hands" packets? Maybe a few of them in a plastic container would make a nice warm spot.

    I would think, as long as you're comfortable with perhaps losing a few in the early weeks, that you will do great at raising them
     
  6. lpyrbby

    lpyrbby Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Yep, that's just a little bit of a drive ;)

    Double check with Meyer, still, that they'll have chicks at the time you're planning on going up. I haven't had the pleasure of raising young chicks yet, but I'm about to get a crash course. Buying older is, obviously, more fruitful, but I do feel there's something to be had in going through the motions of raising them from chicks and seeing them thrive through the many months before you get an egg. Many people start with day old chicks, so I don't see any reason that should stop you.

    Do you guys already have a coop built and ready for them? It took us a ridiculous amount of time to finish ours and we started with 9 week olds. Even though you probably won't be putting them in the coop to start with, they will grow pretty fast and word on the streets is, the indoor brooding can get REALLY messy. Once I set my eggs tomorrow, I have three weeks to figure out how to set up a safe outdoor brooder for mine. If you don't already have a coop built, bigger is better! I already feel like I need 3 more coops just to do what I want to do with the chickens (a colorful egg basket does weird things to you).
     
  7. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    Picking up your chicks and driving them home is a brilliant idea. Let me explain why. When the chick is hatched the nutrition in the egg white is very low. Because on the 17.5 day of incubation the chick opens its mouth and starts to drink the egg white for nutrition. Now it is the 21st day and the chick is hatching. It does have a yolk sac. But biologically that yolk sac nutrition has been reserved for nutrition for muscle development and nutrition for the rapidly developing G.I. tract. The chick should eat soon after it is hatched. Within 6 hours is best but we can't all accomplish that. If the chicks is forced to wait 2 or 3 days without eating, it will use the yolk sac for energy instead. This means the developing muscles and the rapidly developing G.I. tract will not have that nutrition available to them. Tho the chick will survive on the yolk sac for 2-3 days and continue developing after it finally does get food.... the lack of that specific early nutrition will follow the bird thru the rest of its life as the G.I tract develops less rapidly that originally planned tho the bird should still be healthy ( all other things considered equal) . The bird will not lay on quite as much muscle in the legs and breast as its genetic potential suggests because of the lack of that nutrition from the yolk sac when it was needed the 1st 2-3 days of life.
    So you see, picking up your birds at the hatchery is a very good thing. Give the each chick just one drop only of Bovidr Labs Poultry Nutri-Drench when you get them. This superb emergency nutritional supplement does not need to be digested. It mainlines directly into the bloodstream without challenging the G.I. tract with digestion. Measurable n the bloodstream in 10 minutes with 99% utilization. All natural. I have used it on my bids and collies for over a decade with splendid results. Read more about it here: http:www.nutridrench.com I get the very smallest bottle at your feed store or Tractor Supply. On the way home, make them a small waterer and put enough Drench in it so the water looks like very weak tea ( continue to give them this treated water for the 1st 2 weeks of life to get them off to a strong start) . Give them a small feeder with some medicated chick feed in it ( crumbles, not pellets) . Naturewise by Cargill is a good one. Not chick grit yet, they are too young this week. Keep some extra towels in the car in case they spill the water and need dry bedding. Tape some hand warmers to the sides of their box. Don't use any hand warmers rated for longer than 40 hours. Those 40 hour and longer warmers will spike too high a temp at the beginning before they cool down for the duration. Just use some like you would for your hands. The chicks will cuddle for warmth and the car will be heated. Make sure the container you bring them home is does not have square corners. Press some hand towels in the corners to round them out. That way smaller chicks won't get trapped in the corners if they are cuddling together. Just put something like a single layer of cheesecloth over the top of the box so they can get fresh air but not a draft. The chicks will be just fine.
    Best,
    Karen in western PA, USA
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    Hi,
    If you use the Drench in their water, you will not lose baby chicks. I have never had a sick or dead chick when they were raised with the Drench in their water he 1st 2-3 weeks. The Drench jumpstarts their immune systems. It successfully combats the killer "travel stress". Plus, it provides the extra shot of nutrition for their rapidly developing G.I. tract. In baby chicks, the G.I tract is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to chick health. The sooner we can get the G.I. tract up and functionally properly, the better the chick will grow and thrive. You can read all about this phenomenon in the worldwide poultry industry. The G.I. tract develops very rapidly the 1st 3 days of life. The bird is not only dealing with the rapid maturation, it also is dealing with any pathogens which may be trying to install themselves in the intestinal biome plus learning to deal with digesting carbohydrates at the same time. Now you can see why a solution like the Drench is so welcome to the chick. It gives the chick leeway to accept all natural nutrition and not stress the G.I. tract.
    Best,
    Karen
    Do not choose "Poly-Vi-Sol human unfant drops without Iron" over the Nutri-Drench. I know it smells similar but that frmula is made for humans, not poultry. The Drench is very cncentrated and the smallest bottle will last a very long time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  9. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    About the chick feed. It is very important to feed a high quality chick feed during these early days. ( no, it doesn't have to be organic) Use one with about 18% protein.16% is too low. I have used several formulas and found good success with the Cargill products. They make Naturewise and Agway Meatbird crumbles. If it were me, I would not have the bird vaccinated. But that's your choice. Give them medicated crumbles so they have even more help in successfully fending off pathogens. Meatbird crumbles can be fed to both sexes from hatch thoroughout their lives.
    Or you can pick a good starter ration. Then switch to a grower later on. Think of the breeds you are getting.
    1. Were they originally a meat breed that was tweaked to also lay a good number of eggs...like the Sussex? Then start them off on Meatbird crumbles.
    2. Are they strictly an egg laying breed? Then start them off on a standard chick crumble.
    3.Are they dual purpose or heritage large fowl breeds? Then start them off on the Meatbird crumbles. The heritage large fowl breeds esp. tend to do better with the higher protein counts like 18%.
    Best,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  10. MegC

    MegC Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2016
    South Carolina
    I really appreciate all of these informative responses. This is so helpful! I hadn't thought of using those hot hands packets, but that is a great idea! I also really appreciate the suggestions for the water supplement and the meatbird vs regular chick food. I read that they can get pretty messy inside, so I was thinking we would keep them upstairs in the house for at least the first month or so, and then move them to our basement. We have a walk out basement that stays pretty warm, but I also thought I could set them up with a heat lamp/heating pad and a space heater, and gradually decrease the amount of heat so that when it is time for them to move outside, they aren't completely shocked. By that time it will be warming up around here anyways.

    We don't have our coop finished... Is this terrible? I figure we have a couple months before we need it... We are getting a prefab coop, but extending the run ourselves, probably using one of the PVC and hardware mesh ideas. We have a section of our yard that gets overgrown with kudzu in the summer (that we've dug up and tried to kill multiple times), and we thought the chickens could help us out with that.

    After reading your responses, I might also see if anyone near me on Nextdoor is looking for chicks, so I can bring home more and they can keep each other warm.
     

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