They woke up CRAZY this morning

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by deek, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. deek

    deek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 4wk old chicks. Last night they went to bed as little angels. This morning, from the beginning, they've been acting crazy! The more dominant one was especially bossy. Didn't allow the others to say hello like they normally do. Pecked at several of them as they approached food and water. The lowest one on the totem pole, which normally ignores everything, is chasing others, and well...acting bossy too. The remaining ones are also acting out of character and playing a bit rough. No one is hurt, but, my goodness...what's going on? Do they start acting up when they are feathering- in?

    1-I believe that they have plenty of living space as there are only 5 in an extra large whirlpool tub. Plus they are still quite small.

    2-I monitor the temp several times a day. When it gets warmer than 80 degrees, if it's warm outside with no cool breezes, I take them outside for some R & R

    3-They have clean food/water bowls...almost all the time :0)

    Please help. I've had horses, cats, dogs, parrots...Just want to make sure it's normal.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm glad you're taking them outside. I suspect they're just ready to go foraging, all day. I'd start weaning them from the heat lamp if they are still under one, and plan to move them out very soon. They may actually be too warm. Where do you live? (Not a street address, of course -- northern New York? Southern Alabama? etc.)
     
  3. deek

    deek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for replying. Your suggestion was the answer. I've allowed them to be in their protected run from 11 am to 5 pm. Quite a change in their behavior. I too live in South Georgia. Our coop is about a week, if you ask my husband, and two weeks if you ask me, from being complete. I only needed a heat lamp their first two weeks. By next week the nights will start to hover around 60 degrees. I'm not sure how cold they can be between 5 and 6 wks old if there is a breeze. Does the 5 degree temperature subtraction for every week apply if there is a breeze? I will put a thermostat in their coop, once completed, and check early in the morning. It will be in a shady spot, but their coop is very ventilated and therefore breezy (I read the article on ventilation and got totally concerned about not having enough and redesigned the coop with twice as much ventilation given our location.) Your answer is very much appreciated.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You will be so glad you added the ventilation when summer really arrives!

    IMO, the 5 degree a week plan, in reality, results in chicks that are often too warm, once they have fully recovered from shipping stress, or hatching. A heat lamp for two weeks sounds right to me. The last time I raised a batch of chicks, they were in the coop from day one -- well, they were feed store chicks, probably more like day 5 or so. It was this time of year or a little earlier, 60's at night, and at 3 weeks I gave up and removed the heat lamp entirely, because they were trying their best (in a 5'x6' area) to avoid that one heat lamp. Go by their behavior. If they are running around, pecking and foraging, they are fine. Even if they sleep snuggled up to each other, this is more a social thing than a cold thing. If they are actually cold, they won't snuggle, they will pile -- and may well smother the one on the bottom. At that age all yours will need is a bit of a pile of hay or whatever, to snuggle into. I did not have a thermometer in there, I just went by their behavior. If you're concerned, drag yourself out of bed around 5 AM and see how they look. Bet they'll be perfectly happy.

    I would block off the breeze at least in a corner, though, so they can sleep out of it if they want, at least for a few weeks. Or let them sleep in a nest box if they want to, for a while. My coop is 4 sided but really as breezy as a 3 sided coop, with two walls partly wire, and an open area all the way around, between walls and roof. In the winter I cover the wire at the windward end because it blows onto the roost area -- but I'm not convinced they care, not as adults. My last chicks slept in a open top nest box (old plastic bin with a cutout on one side) for the first few weeks, then left it for a corner, which was not as protected from breezes as the nest box was.
     
  5. deek

    deek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for affirming what I'd been thinking, but was too nervous to trust my instincts. I will leave them in the run as much as possible during the day. Unfortunately it will be a week or so before they become big girls and move out. They are so much happier outside. They also love my visits since I check on them all day long. I appreciate the advice.
     
  6. nikka77

    nikka77 Out Of The Brooder

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    I need to figure out how to add more ventilation since I live in S. GA as well. I am building the Purina Mills free coop.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    IMO they really need a good breeze right on them, as adults, in the summer. It might be a draft on some cold winter nights, but most of the year it is not a draft, it is a necessary breeze.
     
  8. deek

    deek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We now have the entire flooring that is hardware cloth (4' x 8') and six "windows" (holes covered in hardware cloth, but trimmed on the outside to look like pretty windows. They are roughly 20 x 24 in. If that's not enough, I {of course you ladies know that "I" means my husband} can simply cut out more and change the hardware cloth). This will give us air flow on three sides and from the flooring. Since they have a 10 x 12 ft grassy covered run, I thought I could live with the cloth flooring. The coop is under two trees and the attached run is mostly shade with direct sun in areas that change throughout the day. My primary concern was our S GA heat.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    As it should be. We turned the box fan on today, and it will stay on all summer, as airy as this coop is -- plus it is oversized, there are 11 now but have been up to 50, when we raised a bunch for the freezer. Last year some people lost chickens to heat in the north GA mountains. I haven't lost any to heat, that I know of, because of shade and good breeze.
     
  10. deek

    deek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tell me about your box fan. Where do you have it placed...high/low near the perches...? What size is it? I feel certain we (again, my husband) could add power. He's finishing up studding the walls and could make one last change to include a fan. Or, perhaps the coop needs to be in our "shade garden". There is dense shade there with filtered sun. The run could be moved just outside the shade garden where it would get a bit more shade then where it is now. Right now it is under two trees. What do you think? Once again, thank you.
     

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