The absolute necessaries for baby chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Reurra, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Reurra

    Reurra Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2012
    Nova Scotia
    I've been having a hard time getting some older birds (16 weeks or older) and as time goes by, Im beginning to think chicks are my only option. I would do this, but I want to know everything that is bar-none necessary for thier survival.

    I am on a shoestring budget, and I read over the items in one of the informational threads. I cant afford a heat lamp because power here costs 2-300 dollars a month. Are there alternatives for heat sources?

    I also went over to the local hardware store to see what it would take to make a brooding box, and it would cost me close to $100 :(

    I know 100 years ago most people let the hens raise thier babies, but with humans separating the babes from the mommys, humans have had to recreate the mommys abilities to raise her young wisely.

    Please help! I want happy healthy babies!

    (I cant put a wanted poster up for older birds until Ive posted 20 or more times elsewhere, so I havent been able to put out a "wanted" sign for birds in the sellers section.)
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  2. BallardChooks

    BallardChooks Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 15, 2012
    Seattle, Washington
    For baby chicks I think a heat lamp is fairly critical. You could potentially use something like a heating pad like what might go in a reptile cage, but I would think that would get messy.

    If you don't think you can do the heat lamp, consider checking out postings at local feed stores, classifieds, heck, even craigslist for older birds that can go out to the coop to start. It's might not be too hard to find someone with a few extra hens for cheap, so long as you're not picky. You might even find some for free, but you want to be careful that you're not being given a hen who is past her laying prime.

    If you still want chicks (a great idea, I think) and you want to save money on the brooder, there are lots of cheap options. You can re-purpose a big cardboard box (be careful it doesn't get wet and gross by cleaning regularly), use a cleaned-out old plastic laundry basket, an extra bathtub - there are lots of cheap/free options.
  3. Ourfamilyflock

    Ourfamilyflock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2012
    Central Oregon
    Built my brooder out of cardboard boxes, appliance boxes work great. Bought a large supply of pine shavings for cheap. Have the box near a gas fireplace so if the chicks are cold they can huddle near the fireplace, and bought some cheap mesh screening that I put over the box to keep my 4 week old girls from launching out of the box, they can fly quite a bit at this age. My Make shift brooder cost me less then $30.00 most of that is on the food and water dispenser, and the pine shavings. I do have a lamp that I have leaned over a sea chest with a red light for calming, but its not a heat lamp.
  4. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2009
    No money needed for a cardboard box and it works great for a brooder, the heat lamp is very important...I would look into getting one, even if you borrowed one from some one you know. Chick starter feed is also very important and make sure they have a good waterer. Please do you research and be prepared before getting chicks, if you can't afford it...I would wait and save the money to buy the things you need. Good Luck!
  5. MineAlways

    MineAlways Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 27, 2012
    SW PA
    Dont know if you have a hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes but check to see if they carry a Red 90 watt light bulb looks like a flood light it is called a Party light.
    it would increase your bill a little bit but not quite as much as a 200watt heat lamp. Also put the bulb in a metal bell clip on hardware lamp. It helps reflect the heat.
    If you cant find one at the hardware store the petstores carry red bulbs in the reptile section. They have various wattage.
    The 90 watt one I mentioned first is what I rasied mine on and it was plenty warm enough in there for them.
  6. Reurra

    Reurra Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2012
    Nova Scotia
    Thanks for your suggestions. Yeah I have been reading a ton of stuff about raising chicks, but most of what Ive read seems to take more than $100 to start the little guys. Of course in the long run I would ahve those things for a later date.

    I would never buy babies without finding out all the ins and outs. Thats why I asked first [​IMG] I hate the idea of experimenting with those little lives! [​IMG]

    I have a forced air heater right now and I think that would probably chill them. I could not keep a steady heat up, however the lower watt lamp might work. What about night time? Do you leave it on?

    I think I can get a lamp clip thingy for about $20. My father in law might have one already in his mechanic shop. Feed isnt an issue, thats the one thing I dont skimp on, the nutrients they need.

    We have a hardware store here called Kent. its like a Home Depot! I used to live in Oregon. I miss Jerry's Hardware [​IMG]

    What is best for odor control? Straw or pine shavings?
  7. MineAlways

    MineAlways Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 27, 2012
    SW PA
    It doesnt take 100$
    I dont know how many you are thinking of getting but for my start up I will give you the cost

    6 chicks 13.50
    20lb bag of feed <9.00 1 bag lasted mine little over 4 weeks
    Bail of pine shaving 5.00
    red party lamp 8.00

    Already had
    a cling lamp
    and an old wire dog crate that I put cardboard around so no drafts (and to keep the mess in)

    The extras I have bought
    grit dont remember the price but thinking between 5-10
    and freeze dried meal worms 5.99-6.99

    Now inside I have only kept the light on them for 4 weeks and that was 24/7
    I just had to move them outside and its still a bit to cold outside so I have had to put the light back on them at night

    Hope this helps I understand where you are coming from we too do not have a ton of money but want fresh eggs
    you do not have to do this expensively. Some people spend 700-800$ on a coop mine is less then 100. Just make sure you have the basics covered and they will be fine
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  8. cashdl

    cashdl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2008
    It is really very inexpensive to keep chicks. I use a plastic tub for my brooder boxs for the first 4 weeks depending on how many chicks.

    A brooder heat lamp is important they are about $8.00 but use a regular 60 watt light bulb clip it to the side of the brooder box and angle it almost down on the bedding so it warms the chicks but not the bedding. Keep the brooder box in your house which helps.

    A small bag of chick feed will run you about $11 for 25 lbs.

    1 bag of pine shavings will be a life saver and make clean up easy. Don't replace the bedding just take out the wet stuff around the water dish and add more on top of the old. The urine from the chicks poo will help kill cocci so you actually don't want your bedding too clean. Sounds wrong but its not.

    A qt chick water bottle and the bottom, plus a qt chick feeder bottle plus the bottom will set you back maybe $10.00

    If you use a cardboard box for a brooder you are only out maybe $30.00 tops for supplies. You can use just about any thing for a feeder that is a shallow dish. The waterer is more important because chicks can't really drown in it and they are easy clean.

  9. SecretChickSam

    SecretChickSam New Egg

    Apr 3, 2012
    We repurposed a plastic tub - $0
    Pine shavings - $7 for 40 lbs of the stuff
    Clamp light from Home Depot - $7
    Cost of keeping the heating lamp on for 24 hours a day - about 25c a day
    Feeder - made my own using a plastic screw top tub, about the size of a Coffee can, cut a hole in the side and inserted a plastic cup, cut an opening in the cup - cost $0 (similar idea to this )
    Water bottle - cleaned out a 2L soda bottle, and punched holes in the bottom, set into a flattish plastic bowl - cost $0

    So we spent less than $20 for the brooder.
  10. MineAlways

    MineAlways Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 27, 2012
    SW PA
    Ohh yea I forgot about the feeder and water. I just bought the 1 quart bases I think they were on sale for 3$ or less and I used glass quart canning jars. I already had them but if you dont have any you can find them at thrift store for .50-1.00 each

    and since they are glass they dont tip as easy

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