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Step by step start to raising baby chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Merrymouse, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Songster

    Jan 8, 2017
    Im new to chickens, obviously. I've scoured this website reading everything for information. I've spent hours upon hours, upon hours. My house hasn't had a thorough cleaning in over a month[​IMG] I ordered chicks from Meyers which are due to hatch 3/13. This is my plan, please let me know if you see any flaws to the plan as Im sure other newbies must have the same insecurities and questions that I do.

    1. Finish building the coop...Im close. Im building an 8x14 wichita style for my maybe 8 chicks.
    2. Set up brooder--My Plan is to use a huge dog crate, with a MHP, one of those hanging water bottles with a nipple, a small saucer or lid with food, pine shavings covered with paper towels for the first several day. Then removing paper towels. Ill put up some extra hardware cloth I have on the lower portion so the chickie babies cant escape or get stuck. Been going back and forth on the medicated vs non-medicated chick starter. I cannot find medicated chick starter anywhere and now that I better understand what the heck medicated is for I may just go the natural route. So I'll give it a couple few days with the non-medicated chick starter then Ill go dig up a clump of lawn and let the chicks play and hopefully build up an immunity while they are still protected by yolk immunity.Please chicken gurus, correct me if Im wrong but the medicated chick starter has an ingredient that just blocks thyamine from being absorbed or something and thats how cocci gets out of hand or something or other.Now I understand this has nothing to do with vaccinating against Marek's which Meyers did for my chicks. Marek's is a form of virus, got it, and has nothing to do with medicated chick starter.
    3. I bought nutri-drench, save-a-chick probiotics and save-a-chick electrolytes. I was at the store, wasnt sure what I was doing so I just bought all three.....how do I use these...do I even need these...if yes, which ones and how much?
    4. I now understand keep everything dry, dry, dry so cocchi can't overgrow.
    5. I've learned how to watch out for pasty butt and what to do if it happens. i know the difference between vent and umbilicus.
    6. I know to take each chick and dip their beaks in the water when they first arrive. I know to make sure everything is as clean as possible.
    7. Im going to add a small roost early so chicks get the hang of roosting.
    8. Starting chicks inside for a couple of reasons...first, I want to watch them alot....I spent about an hour just watching all the chicks at TSC today. I better clean my house before the chicks arrive[​IMG] Second, my dogs...I want them to maybe catch on that these little chickie babies are part of our pack and not dinner. Probably wont work but I'll give it a go. Maybe after about 2 weeks or whenever they get disgusting I'll move them out to the coop with a MHP.

    Did I miss anything? Any serious flaws in this plan? I know everyone does things differently and I can adjust as needed. But Im a worry wart and a planner, mix the two and this is what you have...over thinking it all for sure. [​IMG]

  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Crowing

    Mar 7, 2011
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Well - you have been busy! The only thing you haven't mentioned is heat - what had you in mind? Since you are raising them in the house I strongly suggest no heat lamp. A heating plate would be great, but there are pix of homemade heating 'tunnels' here in the learning center. They will need warmth unless your house is 90-95F. Reduce temp by 5 degrees each week until you reach ambient temp. No sudden changes in heat and no drafts.
    2. I would also use a conventional drinker for the first few days - sometimes they have trouble with the nipples.
    3. if you haven't had chickens on the land before, I would not worry too much about coccidiosis.
    4. I use sav-a -chick for the first couple of days to give them a boost. You can use the probiotic in the same way. Never have used Nutri-drench.
    5. Pasty butt - usually caused by a brooder that is too hot, if it's a problem, reduce the heat a bit.
    6. You live in Massachusetts - so when it's time to move them out make sure they are fully feathered so they can maintain their own warmth ( 12 weeks +/-)
    It's wise to read and plan as you have, it stops a lot of problems from arising later. Chickens are remarkably resilient, not to mention better than TV to watch....enjoy and send us some pix [​IMG]
  3. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Songster

    Feb 15, 2017
    Sometimes baby chicks have a problem drinking from nipples. Other than that it seems like you have a great plan layed out.
  4. :welcome
    Looks like your doing pretty good! I just had 1/3 of my baby chicks wiped out by coccidiosis so I am now using the medicated feed. Just don't use the medicated feed if your chicks were vaccinated against coccidiosis. I use the nipple water system. Just make sure you are using a see through container so they can see the water. I just use a water bottle and the nipple is installed in the lid. The save a chick stuff is great! Just don't put anything in their water for about 8 hours. I would make sure they can't walk through their food. Make sure there is just a little hole or area where they can eat it from. I made one from a big yogurt container and 2 of the lids that fit on it. I can try to put pictures if you want. :) Just make sure they know there is water on the nipple. Press it a few times until there is water on it and then touch their beaks to it. Don't worry, they will figure it out. You're not really supposed to raise the chicks inside. I just put mine in the garage. Put in the roosting bars at about four weeks of age.
    Sorry my thoughts aren't organized! Let me know if you have any more questions!

    I will be quiet now!:duc :smack
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  5. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    1.  Finish building the coop
    Great plan! They'll be there and you won't want to work on it while you could be watching them.

    2. Brooder
    I'm not a fan of chickens in the house but I won't bother trying to talk you out of it. I'll just say have the coop ready because the dust is insane. MHP is good, nipple water is good. I would get a feeder because you'll find they will poop all over your open feed dish and fill it with shavings. I hung mine up so they can't scratch the food out or walk on it. Very happy I did!

    3.  I bought nutri-drench, save-a-chick probiotics and save-a-chick electrolytes

    I might keep *one* on standby if your chicks are being shipped but return the rest. They're unnecessary most of the time and because they can discourage drinking the water, I don't use them.

    4. Dry is good. Ventilated is good.

    5. You know more than probably 95% of first timers!

    6. Dipping beaks results in reflex drinking but did you know you can push the nipple with their beak and it works the same? I know a lot of people worry that it's too complicated for a chick but the vertical ones require very little pressure and they can do it! Not only can they, they seem to enjoy it. Eye level day one then raise it just a bit so they angle up. Keep raising it as they grow.
    7. Chicks love jumping up on stuff!

    8.  Watch your dogs carefully. I had chicks and a retriever and they all got along but there are sad stories a-plenty.

    Did I miss anything?  

    Don't forget to enjoy them and take a lot of pictures. The time they are little FLIES by.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Yep, she mentioned heat....she's using Mama Heating Pad..

    Your list looks pretty doggone good to me, @Merrymouse You done well, Grasshoppah....
  7. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Crowing

    Mar 7, 2011
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Ok - I'm guessing that's MHP....[​IMG]

  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Oops, silly me. Yep! <why don't we an embarrassed face smiley?> LOL

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