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Slipping chicks under a silkie- got the basics, but still some q's...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by brandislee, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
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    I get the basic premiss of slipping chicks under a broody hen- wait until they've been sitting a while (we're at 22 days and counting- the poor girl's eggs didn't hatch), slip chicks under one at a time overnight, watch carefully to see how they react the next day, etc.

    My questions- is biosecurity an issue with 2-3 day old chicks? I'm getting these chicks from someone I found on Craigslist because I can't find a hatchery with chicks available in small enough numbers- I don't have enough space to house 15+ more chicks over the winter. If I get there (two hour round trip) and things don't look kosher I should just say no thank you, right? I'm also apprehensive because she's asking $4 a chick for cross bred chicks, which I think is way too much, but I kind of feel like right now beggars can't be choosers, right?

    Also, the ad lists 8 chicks available. I really only want like 2-4, but I hate to leave 4 behind with the possibility she won't find a home for them (I'm a sucker like that...). I'm kind of hoping she'll only have a few left. Anyway, if I end up with 8 is that too many chicks for a silkie mom? It's super cold here (didn't get above freezing yesterday) so enough warmth to go around is important. I also have a little red frizzle hen who has been "helping" to brood the eggs, so maybe she'll help with the chicks too, but she's been on again/off again while the silkie has sat pretty constantly. But they bed down together in the same spot on the floor at night, so maybe that will make it easier for them to mother together.

    Oh, and if I get chicks and after the chicks have been slipped under and accepted (if all goes well), I'm going to move the chicks, the two little hens, and my little frizzle rooster (all three bantams sleep together at night, and during this brooding the little rooster would defend the other two, plus I figure they need the warmth of that one additional body) to my isolation pen not because I'm worried about the other chickens, but because I'm worried about the cats getting at them. I let the other chickens free range and the cats don't bother them, but I know that a chick will be too much of a temptation to them. And even if I keep the chickens in their run the cats can climb the fence. But my isolation pen is sealed up tight, top and bottom, so I figure it will be safer until the chicks are bigger. But my concerns with doing this are- 1) will the little bantams be warm enough? The shelter in my isolation pen is an insulated dog house (and there is tarp over half the pen for additional shelter from precipitation) and when it's windy I prop boards in front of the door to block the wind while leaving a gap for entry/exit. I don't (and won't) use any supplementary heat unless I have chicks without a broody because I believe supplemental heat causes more harm than good. And 2) I'm worried about re-integration into the flock after a separation like that.

    Sorry, that's way longer than I meant it to be. But I appreciate any help!
     
  2. JK Farm

    JK Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    If you're wanting a small amount of chicks, Ideal Hatchery (in OH) doesn't have a minimum limit on the number of chicks you can order. And Meyer Hatchery (also in OH) only has a 3-chick minimum. You'd be able to get chicks that aren't crossbred, and they won't cost as much either.

    ETA: I can't give any advice on keeping them warm. I haven't bought my chicks yet, but am doing a lot of research on the subject, which is how I know about the hatchery minimums. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I checked Meyer and I think I checked Ideal (I'll double check...) and I couldn't find available chicks- all were listed as unavailable. Maybe I'll check again.
     
  4. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I checked ideal, and they will let you order fewer chicks BUT they would probably throw in extra chicks to equal 25 for warmth this time of year, which is WAY too many. And the only thing Meyer has available to ship right now are assorded adult/juvenille peafowl, wild foul, and ducks, not even any babies. I'm going to post an ad on craigslist to see if anyone wants to split an order with me. Because, of course, the lady with the overpriced chicks hasn't gotten back to me. I figured they would still be availble because only someone desperate (or horribly uninformed!) would pay $4 a chick for cross breds (nothing against cross breeding if it's done intentionally and with purpose, but this seems to have been done totally haphazardly).
     
  5. JK Farm

    JK Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    And the only thing Meyer has available to ship right now are assorded adult/juvenille peafowl, wild foul, and ducks, not even any babies.

    Hmm...I'll have to remember this in the future.

    I wouldn't mind the packing peanuts, but mainly because the extras would become meat birds. [​IMG]
     
  6. kimmypie

    kimmypie Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I actually checked mypetchicken.com first because I know they'll ship me as few as 6 with no "packing peanuts" but they also didn't have anything available to ship until next year (that I could find). And normally I would be fine with extras (yep, free meat), but I just don't have the space to house them over the winter here. I get it, it's not chick season.

    But the problem is solved! I went with the lady on Craigslist and I did the best I could to judge their health (based on not seeing the adult chickens- it was dark when I got there). The chickens looked good- their little poops were solid, no one had any runny eyes or noses, they seemed perky. And I was also impressed by the fact that the lady had at least two cats and a dog inside (plus two kids) and it didn't smell- that always impresses me:)

    As soon as I was home, since it was dark outside, I gave the chicks a quick drink and took them out to mama. She took to them right away, so far as I could tell, and the little chickies (the lady said they were ameraucanas, but unless there is a HUGE variance in both the appearance of wyandotte and ameraucana chicks, I'm thinking they're wyandottes because they look exactly like my wyandottes when they were babies, and the ones she said were wyandottes looked more like ameraucanas) snuggled right up under her wings. I'll check on them a time or two tonight and as soon as the sun is up in the morning, but here's hoping all rolls smoothly!

    Purely out of curiosity... is her crushing the chicks a risk?
     
  8. Remudamom

    Remudamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just put eight chicks under my silkie hen and they are doing fine. I ordered mine from Ideal and they sent 11 extras. I was not happy, but managed to give them away to someone who wanted to raise them.

    The eight chicks are in the henhouse with adopted mother, with a heat lamp just for a little extra warmth. I did not wait til night to put them together although I know I should have. The extra 11 chicks messed up my plan. I put the broody in a dark box with her eggs, brought her down to the house and switched the eggs for the chicks right away. I just kept it dark for a bit. Kept them in the house so I could watch them closely. She took right to them, she'd been setting for about 10 days.

    Anyhow, she is having no trouble covering eight banties.
     

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