Stuff for the brooder: 3 questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by aspendad, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. aspendad

    aspendad New Egg

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    Sep 20, 2011
    Hello all - new to the forum. 14 mixed hens + 1 mystery chick, all three weeks today. In a lovely coop on pine shavings and growing like mad. Moving to regular chick starter (from medicated) today.

    Three questions:
    1. The coop is fully enclosed and my heat lamp is still at about 24 inches. They move in and out from under it and seem happy. *When do I remove it entirely?
    2. Do they need grit, scratch, sand, play toys, etc? Basically what else should I have in the coop besides the feeder and waterer?
    3. Once the heatlamp is off, how much light at night should I provide and for how many hours? Daylight here now runs from about 7:00am to 7:30pm.

    Thanks!
    AspenDad
     
  2. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok...good questions.
    1. heat lamp, how old are the chicks? As long as they are NOT feathered out, they may require the heat...adjust it to how they behave. I didn't use heat this summer with my little ones, it was hot enough outside. By 5-6 weeks they will be feathered enough to remove all heat, if not sooner, again, watch their behavior

    2. They only need grit if they are eating something other than starter/grower to help them digest food, such as treats, grapes, cut up apple etc...and you can start them on this stuff now, just supplement with some chick grit or sand even...

    toys...yes, I put in branches of different heights, they LOVE them and will begin to roost on them at night even at 2 days old, keeps them from getting bored!

    3. You only need extra light when they are are at laying age, 20+ weeks usually depending on breed, some people prefer not to force the hens to lay, usually in the winter.
    Some breeds lay regardless. I am arriving at my first winter with my new girls, I am undecided if I will supplement light, or just let nature take its course...we will see how the
    egg production falls off, I have friends that buy from me.

    ** you started them on regular starter, NOW going to medicated? why? You don't need to, they should have been started on the medicated, but at 3 weeks they shouldn't need it at all...try to avoid the added medicines in the foods they eat...I could be incorrect, but I suspect you don't need medicated now, too late. Keep them on the starter/grower till the reach POL, or till you see your first egg. You can supplement their calcium with oyster shell on the side in a separate container, they will eat it if they need it...(help the eggs get strong shells) after this time, switch them over the layer feed, mix it half and half at first to get them used to it.

    good luck come back if you have any other questions...hope I helped a little.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  3. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2010
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  4. aspendad

    aspendad New Egg

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    Sep 20, 2011
    Jojo - thanks. They are 3 weeks old today. I don't think they are feathered out yet. Our nights have been 40's, and the coop temp is around 70 when I go in in the AM.
    I did start them on the medicated and am NOW switching to regular chick starter. Thanks for your food and toy tips.

    AspenDad
     
  5. GardenState38

    GardenState38 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2011
    I thought your statement in your original post about their age and switching from medicated to regular was pretty clear...[​IMG]

    But anyway, my only worry would be whether 3 weeks is sufficient for the medicated starter to have built up a resistance in your chicks. I'm keeping my chicks on medicated for a longer period than I'd planned-- at least through the age when they're most prone. Even while on medicated, I had a mild outbreak at 5-6 weeks. Because of that, I'm even less keen on taking them off of it as early as I'd planned. Personally, I'm glad I had my chicks on medicated starter--Can't prove it, but it might have been the reason why they had only a mild case, limited to one chick, who quickly recovered.

    Chicks can get nervous if they are suddenly thrust into darkness at night, after a heat lamp has been shining 24/7.
    Mine cried and were distressed when I tried letting them spend a night in darkness. The brooder is in my garage, and I use a low-wattage bulb (like a night-light) so they aren't in pitch darkness, which they don't seem to like. I don't know if it's correct, but I leave it on through the night for them.
    It has nothing to do with egg-laying whatsoever, as they're a few months away from that.

    Even if they aren't getting treats or anything but crumble, it's still a good idea to at least keep a pan of sand in the brooder for them. They LOVE to take dust baths in it, and you'll be surprised how much of it they eat! I keep a 9 inch glass cake pan filled with sterilized play sand for them and now have to change it out almost daily (as they get bigger, more and more sand gets kicked out! And they make bigger messes!) It won't do them any harm and they enjoy it.
    Of course, I do supplement my chicks' diet with treats such as dried mealworms and the odd cricket, yogurt, a dab of natural peanut butter, greens and carrot tops...anything natural and safe that I think they'd like. It's interesting to see how different chicks favor different treats. One may go bonkers for turnip greens, while another one goes crazy for pecans. (They ALL love mealworms best, though!)
    In addition to the sand, I also keep a little chick grit (ground finer than regular grit) around for them. No crop problems at all, knock wood!
     

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