So many questions about my 3 week old chicks!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by nicoleandchickens, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. nicoleandchickens

    nicoleandchickens Hatching

    Aug 25, 2010
    I am new to BYC (I've been reading since before I picked up my 3 tiny angels, but have only now subscribed!) and while I think I'm doing a good job, I've been reading some conflicting advice. Chickies are outside in their coop/run today enjoying some warm weather and dirt baths while I clean their brooder. They are 3 weeks old today and this is their first time, they are going crazy with fun and chasing bugs, etc. I purchased the book Keep Chickens by Barbara Kilarski and she advises to use cedar shavings in the brooder after they are a month old. DON'T WORRY!! I'M NOT GOING TO DO THIS!! I have, however been using White Pine and now it looks like I shouldn't be using that either?!?!?! The girls are very healthy and happy but I need to know what to use for their brooder. ALSO, we purchased a Coop on CL that was built by a couple who couldn't use it, the roost is a dowel about the same as a shovel's handle. Will this be a good roost for them? Currently they are roosting on old chair legs in their brooders, square shaped. Anything else you can advise would be great (when can they have treats, what types, etc.) THANKS SO MUCH!
  2. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    White pine shavings is fine for brooder litter, whatever gave you the idea it shouldn't be used?

    All litter can be a problem if it has small enough pieces that chicks can eat it when first put in a brooder, they need to learn what food is and they have a few days of being born to do that, otherwise they will get plugged up with whatever the litter is and waste away.

    That is why a lot of folks cover the litter with paper towels for several days after getting the chicks and putting feed on the towels and making certain they eat it and locate the feeders full of it along with making certain the birds know where the water is and are drinking it.

    Now mama hen would do this along with showing the youngster grit which allows them to grind up normal chicken food such as grass, bugs, worms, etc ...

    Commercial chicken feed will break up on its own without the use of grit.
  3. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    The big girl roost should be an 2x4 with the edges rounded off and laid on its widest side. My girls wouldn't even eat treats until they were about 5 weeks old, they only liked sand for a treat. Now they really love mealworms and watermelon. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  4. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
    My big chickens roost is about the same size as what you're describing and it is well used! I don't think that they really mind what it is that they are roosting on, as long as it is sturdy and big enough for them get a good grip on. My new babies are three weeks and someone on here mentioned that they liked scrambled eggs. I had previously tried boiled eggs, but they were not interested. They go crazy for the scrambled eggs though. I feed them from my hand (hopefully making them fall in love with me-lol).
  5. nicoleandchickens

    nicoleandchickens Hatching

    Aug 25, 2010
    Thanks! As I said, so far so good. I'm probably reading too much and worrying about small details, I just want them to be as happy as possible. They had paper towels for the 1st 3 days and the pine shavings were fine after that. I went to their brooder tonight for my last check-in 'till morning and gave them a little yogurt out of my hand. Yogurt was flying EVERYWHERE! I love those girls!!
  6. 3chimama

    3chimama Songster 8 Years

    May 8, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    Sounds like you are doing your best to be a great chicken parent! Welcome to BYC!
  7. DLS

    DLS Songster

    Make shure the "ROOST" is higher than the nest box for eggs. Or they will sleep in it & make a mess of it
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you are here! [​IMG]

    It is amazing to me how much controversy goes on about something as simple as roosts. Maybe it is because it is so simple that everyone can have an opinion and that about anything will work. I think you will be fine with yours. I use tree branches, some the size you mentioned. Mine use the thicker parts and the thinner parts. Where it is in the coop seems to be more important to them than the size of the roost.

    You don't say where you are. You might modify your profile to show that. It does come in handy sometimes. The reason I mention it is that there is a theory prevalent on here that chickens in cold climates need something wide and flat to roost on so they cover their feet when they roost, keeping them warm. It never really gets that cold here, seldom below 0* Fahrenheit, and I don't heat my coop, but I find mine cover their feet with their feathers when they roost on the smaller round sections of those tree branches. But it is a good theory and there might actually be something to it. I really don't know.

    I'm a big believer in giving grit to chicks as soon as you can. I usually wait until about the third day in the brooder so they will have learned what their main food source should be, same as the comments on the wood shavings and paper towels. I think their system is set up to work with grit. It just works better that say. If all they eat is the commercial starter, it is true that they don't need grit, but if they are raised on wood shavings, they are eating bits of things other than just starter. And they need grit for most treats or for most bugs that happens to crawl or fly into their brooder. I don't feed them a totally unlimited supply of grit. It lasts a while in their system and too much can harm them. I let them run out so they will concentrate on their proper food supply.

    Sounds like you are doing things fine. Good luck and again [​IMG]
  9. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Us old fuddy duddies up in the cold country also use branches for roosts, however ours are rather good sized so the birds can sit with their toes covered with feathers, which is what the ruffed and spruce grouse are known to do when it gets really cold. They sit all puffed up on a branch in the sunshine on cold winter days. They also are noted for bursting out of snow that covered them during a snow storm. Unfortunately, there aren't too many of them right around here.

    I also have a wooden closet rod that the birds can get on while getting in and out of their nest boxes, they prefer the branches.
  10. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    I think it does partially depend on how far north you are and what the climate is. In MN it gets very cold. Native grouse have feathered legs I believe but my EEs don't . In Standish ME the winter weather would be moderated by the Atlantic (gulf stream). Chickens are made to roost, not perch from what I have read, hence my recommendation for a 2x4. And think of it; if you could rest flat or had to grip to hang on, what would you prefer? It isn't expensive so if you are in the north I still think it is better to provide it.

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