Taking the plunge

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dan daly, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. dan daly

    dan daly New Egg

    May 11, 2011
    I've been looking into chickens for about 2 years, and have finally taken the plunge. I ordered a straight run of 25 chicks for large breeds from McMurray hatchery. Birds will show up at my post office the week of June 26th.

    I've got the following things so far:

    5ft Diameter kids wading pool for brooder
    250watt red infared light (on the way)
    fixture for the light

    I plan on using wood chips for bedding in the wading pool.

    A few questions:

    I've looked at different feeders and waterers and am having a hard time deciding what to get. I found some that look good but the product description says they are for "game bird" chicks. Will they work with chicken chicks?

    The chickens will ultimately be living in an "shed" that the person who used to live on our farm used as a house for their cats. The thing is large, has four sturdy walls, floor, and roof, and is wired for electricity. I'll need to fix up some of the windows and put a latch on the door. Does it make sense to simply have the chicks in the wading pool out in their future home, or should I keep them in the house (in the basement) for at least awhile?

    I'm confused about how much heat and light the chicks need.

    Do you keep a light on them 24/7? Or do you turn it off at night? If you turn the light off at night do you still need a heat source when its dark? I'm in southwestern PA, which means if you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes and it will change. In the past week we've had lows down to 50 and highs up to 85. As we move on into summer, it will be warmer, so I want to make sure I don't overheat the chickens if it's 80+ degrees do you still need the heat lamp on?

    The whole family is excited for the chicks to arrive. Thanks for any help.
  2. stubbornhill

    stubbornhill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    Shapleigh, Maine
    Congratulations Dan! Chickens are great fun. Entertainning and benificial in so many ways. You will probably get many different answers and a lot about raising chickens is personal prefference. So I'll give you my two cents.

    Waterers: Yes, same thing. Whatever you use, you just want to make sure that the chicks can't tumble in head first and drown. (they don't need much water to do this). When mine were very young, I put marbles in the water troth so that there wasn't enough smace for them to fall into but they could still get to the water.

    Wood Chips: Great idea for when they get a bit older. The pool will be slick, so when they are new, you may want to consider, paper towels or newspaper as your only flooring. That way, while they are still learning to walk they won't slip around and injure themselves.

    Shed: For me personally, as long as the shed is secure, free from drafts, no preditors can get in, etc. I would go ahead and put them in there in the pool. You are going to want to keep the heat lamp on them (24/7) so that they are at 90 degrees the first week and then reduce by 5 degrees each week until they are feathered. You will want to put a thermometer in with the chicks so you know for sure.

    Light: The heat lamp will provide soft light at night and they are fine with that. For light during the daytime. If the shed doesn't have windows, you will want to have another source of light other than the heat lamp. This may add to the heat in the shed, so just keep that in mind and adjust accordingly.

    Sounds like you are off to a great start! Make sure you post pictures when you get your babies and of your set up so we can see. We all learn from each other!
  3. Tenneesse

    Tenneesse Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 24, 2010
    Woodbury, Middle Tn
    You have about 3 weeks to get set up. At the local Tractor Supply you'll find a book authored by Gail Damerow titled Raising Chickens. You have a lot more questions to ask and answer.

    Get your shed set up now with roosts, nesting boxes and an enclosed run. In the coop build your brooder pen, heat if you need it. That should take you about a week. You'll need some lumber, chicken wire, or hardware cloth, a fan for circulation/exhaust. Get your fence posts set for your run ideally cover part of it and get it wired up.

    Weeks will pass fast, and you'll need to get in front of it.

    Really, and its after the fact, it best to have their environment ready when they arrive.

    25 birds? You need to provide a minimum of 2sq ft indoors and 3sq ft outside for that many bird and it needs to be ready before fall. Also in the coop provide an enclosure to isolate any sick or injured bird/chick.

    Its really helps if your handy with tools, saw, hammer nails etc.

    You need to research all the info that is available on this site, and get a good book for quick reference there is always a new question and you'll need to know the answer or be able to find it quickly. You need to be thinking at least 3 weeks ahead all the time. How big is this shed

    A one week old chic can jump 6-8" straight up and they will be out of that pool in short time.

    The gallon water bottle with the attached water tray works fine and change the water every day twice a day at least. Get the correct feed on hand before the birds arrive. Get the book and read it cover to cover and you'll be ready when they get there.

    There are plenty of brooder/coop/run concepts and ideas on this site. just click and read. 25 birds require some upfront preparation and its easier to accomplish before the birds arrive rather than after they are under foot.

    Remember 25 large chickens is a lot of birds if your not ready. 25 chics is a lot of chics to be ready for.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  4. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2009
    I have to say I love the drip waterers vs the standard ones - they are cleaner, I can place them in the dish washer and swap them out. The chickens had no trouble using them.
  5. MarinMama

    MarinMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    you might want to find some way to make the walls of the pool higher because they will be able to jump/flap there way out pretty quickly...
  6. dan daly

    dan daly New Egg

    May 11, 2011
    I cleared out the shed/coop last night (i had been storing garden tools in there). I also took some measurements to give folks here an idea of what I'm working with. The interior dimensions of the space are:

    15ft long
    9ft wide
    7ft ceiling

    (a few inches more on the length and width)

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