Seeking advice in raising chicks


Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
My Coop
My Coop
I have raised chicks 3 separate times before. However, after reading several posts about the way that most people on here raise chicks, I am doubting that I did as good of a job as I could have. I want to make sure that I'm raising these chicks to the best of my ability so I have a few questions.

These 2 chicks were bought on March 10th at 1 week old. My friend bought them for me (upon request) and they are currently residing at his house with others that he bought the same day. These chicks are bantams and I have only raised standard chicks before.

My plan is to make a brooder out of either a medium dog crate, or a rubbermaid container that is 3 1/2ft long and roughly 1ft tall with panels over the top. I have both of these containers at my disposal. Whatever brooder I make will have a perch in it.

My current supplies includes:
  • Medium Dog Crate and Rubbermaid Container
  • Heat Lamp with red heat bulb (I have several of these on hand)
  • Chick grit
  • Chick waterer and feeder
  • NutriDrench
Food will be purchased a few days before I plan to take the chicks home.

1) Which brooder is most ideal for 2 bantam chicks if I want to keep them in the same brooder until they are old enough to go outside?

2) At what age can/should chicks be introduced to a sod of dirt and grass, and is this necessary?

3) At what age can the chicks be safely taken off of heat if the temperature of my house is kept at or above 62 degrees F?

4) Is there any other supplies that I need?

5) Can I put NutriDrench in their water, and if so how much and how often should it be changed? Is probiotics a better option? Or nothing at all?

6) Will two chicks be okay by themselves, or should I include a small doll or featherduster for comfort/companionship? I am in school, so I am not home for 7.5 hours straight every weekday.

7) When should I provide a dust bath for the chicks, and what should it be made of?

8) Are there any differences between raising bantams and standards that I should be aware of?

9) Additional info & tips/tricks/advice

I particularly want to know about heating. I was planning to take my chicks from my friend once they are off heat, but they are really skittish right now and I want to socialize them the best I can. They are for show, so this is important. If they will be too old to socialize properly before they are off heat, I will take them beforehand and wean them off heat when they are ready.

I have been told that these chicks have pasty butt which is being treated currently. When I get them, should I keep an eye out for pasty butt even if it has been resolved for a while?

Thank in advance and sorry for the long post,
Cyprus :wee:caf
So here are some of my recommendations::)
- Either brooder I feel like would work fine, though, the rubber maid container would be easier to get a heat lamp on I assume.
- I do recommend giving chicks sod (un-chemically treated of course) I would say that probably after about a week they would have lots of fun with it!
- (see charts below) chicks can be taken off of heat and started to go outside once fully feathered, and will be exposed to pretty much consistent 65-70 degrees ideally with no rain wind etc.
- I would only put in nutridrench if they need it, which means if they seem to be exhausted in any way and need a boost. Otherwise, unneeded.
- I have always wanted to try the feather duster:D
- They will be fine with no dust bath until they go outside so no need to worry about that, they will play around in their shaving and do small dust baths once they get to be around the leaving to the outside age, then you can provide one. It's ok if you do at a younger age it's just not needed.
- I raised bantams with standards before and in their smallness they get lightly knocked around a little bit but they are fine and as long as you make sure they are doing fine, your good!
- Always check for pasty butt it can develop even if it has gone away from one chick or if the chick has never had it before, this issue should go away after a few weeks;)

Here is a pretty spiffy chart for heat schedule: A good rule of thumb to have is decrease heat by 5 degrees each week. That's what I do but here's some detailed stuff by days;
chick heat schedule.jpg

Good luck with your bantams! I love banties!!:love
Awesome! Thank you guys so much for the advice! I really appreciate it, I look forward to getting these chicks soon. I think I will pick them up Saturday then since they aren't off heat until they are fully feathered.

Here is a pic of them, little Mille Fleur D'Uccles
Here is a pretty spiffy chart for heat schedule: A good rule of thumb to have is decrease heat by 5 degrees each week.
Rule of thumb....not carved into stone.
I do use a thermometer on occasion out of curiosity, but go more by behavior.
Make sure one end of the brooder is cooler by 10-20F so the can self regulate.

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.
:goodpost:Yes of course, rule of thumb, but of course course change based on the needs of the babies!:D For your answers to the heat, this post will be better:thumbsup
I much prefer a cardboard box. For LF chicks, the general recommendation is for 2 s.f. of open floor space per chick by the time they are 2 - 3 weeks old. I am fond of the MHP method. I do know that you definitely will not need the 250W heat lamp bulb in your home! I would opt for a brooder that is deeper than 12". When chicks develop their flight feathers they LOVE to fly. 12" will not give them enough height to do so without having concussions.

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