The chickies have landed, and boy do I have some questions!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Pineywoods Peepers, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. Pineywoods Peepers

    Pineywoods Peepers Certified Poultry Accruer

    Today began my first official day of chicken ownership. It didn't quite start as I had expected. Everywhere I've read it seems the post office typically calls the new chick owner to let them know the little peepers have arrived. My chicks shipped out Wednesday a.m., so I slept with the phone by my bed the past two nights, so I wouldn't miss the post office's wake up call. No chicks yesterday I found out after I called. According to our post office's answering machine the post office opens at 7:45 a.m., but I guess no one bothers to answer the phone until about 7:55. That's when I called this morning. (I've gotta be honest. I was getting worried that the chicks still weren't there after I didn't receive a call from the PO). After finally reaching someone at 7:55, he told me to call back in 10 minutes. Called back in 10 minutes, and I was placed on hold for 5 minutes while they tried to find Mike (the original phone call taker). I explained why I was calling and left my name and number for a return call. Another 10 minutes passed, and the PO called to tell me the chicks were[/] at the post office. She said I could come pick them up, or they could... That's when I cut her off, and told her I'd be right there. The only thing I can guess is that she was going to tell me the carrier could deliver them??? I'm just wondering what would have happened to them had I not been proactive and called to see if they were there! The box was even clearly labeled to call my home number upon arrival. Ah well.

    The chicks are doing well. They're very active - much more so than I thought they'd be. I have 4 Delaware pullets, 4 EE's, 4 New Hamp pullets, 4 Welsummers pulletts, 1 Welsummer rooster, 3 (supposed to be 4) RIR pullets, and a straight run of 6 Blue Silkies. Total chicks for this first timer - 26! I told my hubby originally that I only thought we needed 6 so they'd produce enough eggs for us to eat, but as more people (mostly family) found out we were getting chickens they told me they wanted eggs from me, so here we are with 26. I bought the Silkies mostly to be the pets for my nieces and nephews, and I only plan on keeping a couple of hens.

    Is 18 hens too many for one roo?? I'm mostly want hens for egg production, so I tried to stick with breeds that I'd read were not prone to broodiness. Of course, the Silkies are broody queens, but again they're for the kiddos not eggs, so we'll just deal when they go broody.

    Next question - a couple of the Delawares are getting picked on by the other chicks. We went to dinner, and by the time we got back these two Delawares had very raw and bloody looking beaks. That's when I whipped out the infrared heat lamp and got it hooked up. But I'm concerned about tomorrow when the sun shines through the garage windows and the other chicks can see the redness again. Heck, even with the red light on, some of the chicks were still picking on one particular Delaware pullet. Poor little gal! What can I do to keep them from picking on her?? Seems like all the chicks except the Silkies are pecking at her beak. [​IMG]

    I have the chicks in a 42" X 31" wire dog crate. I've read chicks need 6 sq inches of space, and if I'm calculating correctly they've got enough room. Just wanted to double check with everyone to see if indeed they do have enough room. I've read that overcrowding can lead to picking, so I'm wondering if that's why the delawares are getting picked on? I have more dog crates so I could split the bunch in half to give them more space, but then I worry about reintegrating them together when they get older.

    I've posted pics on photobucket. I took one of each chick, so I didn't want to post them all here. Here's a link to the album I created: http://s675.photobucket.com/albums/vv118/rlkennerly/chicks man/

    So far I'm loving chicken ownership. I'm ready to install a chick cam and sit around and watch them all day. And then, of course, pet them, and hold them, and squeeze them, and never let them go, and call them George. [​IMG]

    Thanks for listening and for your insight!

    Rachel
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    [​IMG] Rachel! You've come to the right place!!

    First, for the future, if you're looking for fertility (hatching chicks) then the ratio of roos to hens is 1: 10. LOTS of folks have larger flocks with only one rooster. I had rather hoped I wouldn't have more than 1 rooster, myself. I hadn't planned for ANY but when my first mis-sexed pullet chick turned out to be a roo, I couldn't part with him. (And then I made some straight run purchases which were not smiled upon by Lady Luck.)

    Isn't he beautiful??
    [​IMG]

    Secondly, I've never experienced serious pecking amongst my chicks, but I've never had more than 8 in the brooder at a time, either. I have read that Blu-Kote is the best cover for it, so the other chicks don't see the red blood any more.

    Your photos are wonderful! Thank you for sharing them. I cannot resist fuzzbutt pictures, or photos of chickens at any stage in their lives in any surroundings.
     
  3. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2010
    Pflugerville, TX
    Baby chicks can be more prone to picking on each other when something is off in their environment and their needs aren't being met. Are they being kept at the correct temperature, which is between 90 and 95 their first week, and 85-90 their second week? Do they have continual access to clean water and chick feed? Is it calm and quiet where they're being kept so they can feel safe and sleep? Do they have a comfortable surface with good grip? And yes, being overcrowded can cause it as well. The amount of space you mentioned - 6sqin/bird - is accurate for their first week. By 6 weeks of age they will need about 3/4-1sqft per bird. They may still be getting over the stress of the trip, hopefully this will change tomorrow as the pecking order is better established and they get refreshed from their journey.
     
  4. Pineywoods Peepers

    Pineywoods Peepers Certified Poultry Accruer

    He is a beautiful Roo!! I would have kept him too! What color eggs do your EE's lay?

    I think I'm gonna have to get some Blu-Kote. I may be spending a good deal of time (and money) at the local feed store over the next few days, months, years. [​IMG]

    Rachel
     
  5. Pineywoods Peepers

    Pineywoods Peepers Certified Poultry Accruer

    Thanks, Tigerjane. They've had access to feed and water since arriving this am. Flooring consists of paper towels, and I haven't noticed any splayed legs, and they seem to have pretty good grip on the floor when they go running across it. Temps been good too.

    I do hope they'll calm down tomorrow and quit picking on that poor little Delaware. I've tried to limit my handling of them today to reduce stress, but I have been peering over at them every chance I get. hehe

    Rachel
     
  6. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2010
    Pflugerville, TX
    Mine were antsy and peckish their first day too, and have been sleeping about 90% of the time since then [​IMG] I really think that first day, and being in that tiny little box they were in when I picked them up from Ideal just really stressed them out. There were two in particular that were antagonizing the other chicks to the point of the others backing away from them on approach (wasn't any blood, though), and I even posted on here freaked that I had aggressive birds. But some time to chill and eat and get comfortable, and they're all doing really well, lots calmer. I didn't mean to come off critical, just going through the checklist of possible causes I went through on my first day. Congratulations on your little cuties!
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I only have one laying EE right now; the rest are not old enough. Rebecca lays a lovely light green egg (an example is in the photo below). She also is the biological mother of my first GrandChick, but not the pullet who hatched her - that was Buffy the Vampire Slaying Buff Orpington.

    [​IMG]

    The little bitty egg is the FIRST egg laid by Ellen, a bantam lavender Cochin. The dark eggs are the first two from my Welsummer, Shirley. The white egg came from either Millicent or Minerva, who are Lakenvelders.

    The employees at two different feed stores know me by name. I started this Chicken Thing just this past October, 2009. What does THAT tell you??? [​IMG]
     
  8. Pineywoods Peepers

    Pineywoods Peepers Certified Poultry Accruer

    Thanks for the checklist! I was running through that in my mind too. That's why I was worried about the size of the brooder.

    I just checked on them to make sure they were warm enough, and they were all zonked. Perhaps after a good night's sleep they'll play nice. *fingers crossed* Cuz I really don't want to have to clean to separate brooders.

    Think they're okay to leave in the dog crate for 2-3 weeks? After the crate I plan to move them up to a 4' X 4' exercise pen that has a top. Hopefully by the time they outgrow the ex pen my husband will have my coop finished, and I can put them in their coop.

    Rachel
     
  9. Pineywoods Peepers

    Pineywoods Peepers Certified Poultry Accruer

    Vampire Slayer? Sounds like one tough chicken! [​IMG]

    Love the itty tiny egg. So precious! And the Welsummer eggs and EE egg is lovely too!! Now I can't wait til my girls start laying. Only 5-6 months to go before I start getting "free" eggs. yeah right!

    Rachel
     
  10. ZepChick

    ZepChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2008
    coos bay OR
    Hi ! Hhaha! You are one of us now [​IMG] Good idea with your red light, that helps decrease pecking, but doesn't prevent it. We had one baby that almost got pecked to death by the other little monsters, but i think they just see the blood and want to peck it, I don't think they were like killer chickens or anything. We put Blue-Kote on her and it worked, but we also set up another brooder...and then thought she needed a friend so put a couple other non-pecky chicks in with her. They all grew up to be happy, healthy girls. Mind you they still peck at each other from time to time, but it is not the horrible bloody mess it once was. Good luck with your new babies, is there any way to create an isolation area within your current brooder, then she would still be under the light?
     

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