Should I start raising my chicks now? *First Time Owner!*

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KaylaBird, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. KaylaBird

    KaylaBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    My family and I are going to set up our first backyard coop. We have checked the zoning and we are good to go. I wont be able to work on building the outdoor coop for another 3 weeks until I'm done with finals (One of my research papers is on backyard urban chicken farming!) I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to get the chicks now and start raising them indoors or If I should wait till the outdoor coop is completely finished before we actually get the chicks. Inside I would keep them in my room in a 20gal glass tank with a mesh top that used to be a tank for my leopard gecko. I would get a heat lamp (since my tank only has floor heating) and a water/feeder. Would they stay small enough to live in this tank for aprox 4 weeks or so till I can work on the coop or should I wait? I have heard you should keep them inside/in the brooder cage for the first 8 weeks, is this true? will they be ok in a 20gal tank?

    Any other tips and advice for starting my flock and building the coop is very welcome! I have Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens and Raising Chickens Right by Laura Childs but hearing advice from people who have done this before is always nice [​IMG]

    ***We are only getting 4 chicks and I also live in southern California, so though its chilly in the 40s and occasionally in the 30s it never really gets that cold in the winter compared to else where in the U.S. I know its probably better to just wait till the coop is all finished built but I guess we are all just really anxious to get them started!
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  2. ekemily

    ekemily Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many chicks are you planning on getting? In my experience, a 20 gallon tank would be too small. You have to get water and a feeder in there and then room for them to run. They also stink and create quite a bit of dust and noise. Their light is also bright, even if it's red, so it might keep you up. I would also probably wait until you have you have your coop built and have somewhere for them to go. Raising chicks in the warmer weather is generally easier.
    But, if I took my own advice, I wouldn't have just hatched out babies! I have them in my garage in a brooder and it works quite well. I live in the deep, deep south, so the weather here is fairly warm.
    Good luck with whatever decision you make!
     
  3. KaylaBird

    KaylaBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    We are only getting 4 chicks and for about 4 years I had a red light on my gecko in my room (in her old tank) so I'm used to a red light at night. I also live in southern California, so though its chilly in the 40s and occasionally in the 30s it never really gets that cold in the winter compared to else where in the U.S. Is 20 gal still too small for 4 chicks? I know its probably better to just wait till the coop is built but I guess we are all just really anxious to get them started!
     
  4. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    I'd wait until you are close to finishing the coop. You'd be amazed at what gets in the way and then you'll be like me trying to figure out what to do with 4 mos. old pullets (luckily I could move 'em down to the garage, but what a hassle!).]
    I worked on the run after the coop was finished. I have a friend (no names, she's a BYC'r) who still has hers in the house and they're 8 mos old now!! Things got in the way....[​IMG]
     
  5. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    [​IMG] I'm sorry, I forgot [​IMG] I'm here in San Diego too.
     
  6. hoping4better

    hoping4better Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 22, 2010
    Middle Tennessee
    I second Ekemily. It would definitely depend on how many chicks, but also what breed. I've got 20 two week old chicks and they're probably close to triple the size they were when they were just a few days old. Also, they make noise! If they're in your room they may not give you any rest as they don't sleep all night. My 20 were perfectly happy in a 3x5 box the first week, but now looking at them they're probably going to need more than their 4x8 box in a week or two since they're going to have to stay inside till they're all feathered out.

    So the answer is it depends, but don't underestimate how fast they grow! Oh, and mine are either Dominiques or Barred Rock, so they're just a dual purpose average size bird not some giant meat bird. If you're looking at bantams I don't know. If you are looking at cornishX forget it . . . they hit several pounds by several weeks.

    I'm new at this too as these are my first birds, but if you've got any questions don't hesitate to ask.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Build the coop first.
     
  8. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Honestly, no, its not a great time to get chicks - its very cold out, your coop isn't done and most feedstores aren't stocking starter feed (or supplies!). Wait until early February, when hatchries are sending out their first round of chicks.
     
  9. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    I would say no to the glass tank. For a small number of chicks I use a large rubbermaid tub with a top that is open on at least 1/2 so the heat can escape you dont want them to get too hot I am afraid the glass tank would be to hot and humid. If they are gonna be in the house I would just put mesh over the entire thing. As far as timing your temps are not gonna be that cold so trasition shouldnt be too bad. You have to be careful when you are gonna put them in the coop to not shock them if it is cool weather. I would say wait a bit till the coop is at least getting started and you finals are over so you can enjoy the little ones. Keeping them inside for 8 weeks is so they are fully feathered. That is what keeps them warm outside. I start tunming down the heat a little bit like 5 degrees every week so they get used to it being cooler. It needs to be gradual. For a coop plan on at least 4 square feet per bird and 10 square feet per bird for the run. Depending on breed you need to figure out the roosts. What breed are you getting? if silkies roost need to be low as they dont fly. I understand being excited and that is great. I know how I am when thinking about getting chicks. [​IMG] that is me waiting on chicks! do you have a place they can go like a porch or garage? something draft free would be good as they get a bit older and you want them out of your room. They do make noise and they are smelly. Also if you have a place that is unheated they can start transitioning to the cooler weather outside. A sudden 40 degree drop is gonna be hard on them. All that being said have fun and enjoy your chickens.
     

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