Tips and Tricks for those mailed in chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Shido Burrito, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Shido Burrito

    Shido Burrito Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey there experienced chick-raisers! I am hoping for some insightful tips and tricks for that moment when I have my peeping, tired, stressed chicks to take care of after their journey in the mail. I also hope this benefits other people who are ordering their first flock through the mail!

    For example: I have read that to help prevent pasty butt and to also make sure the chicks don't over-drink, introduce them to the water, let them drink for 15 minutes, and then take away the waterer for about 15 minutes, and then put it back in.

    Also, I have also read to use paper towels or that non-slip stuff you put in your pantries for the first week, and then introduce wood chips to the floor.

    Anyone care to share their tips or tricks for raising up strong, healthy chicks? What about vitamins in the water or sugar? What do you do that seems to work well with your day-old chicks?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
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  2. Slingha

    Slingha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would not take their water away. If anything I would encourage them to drink all that they can when you get them. I'd recommend the electrolyte powder you can buy at TSC and have it ready to go(make new daily).

    We went pine shavings, all you can drink water and chick starter and have not lost a one.

    Also, make sure you have a good red heat bulb. My chicks liked it hot when I first got them. Make sure your brooder is around 95 degrees before you receive them. Monitor them and see how they react to the temp. I learned through BYC to monitor how they are moving about the brooder. Huddled underneath, lower the light. Won't go under it, too hot.
     
  3. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, don't take the water away! I got a shipment of 40 chicks last year (to Alaska) and didn't lose any. I used rubber shelf liner for the first day and then started putting shredded newspaper/paper towels on top of that. After dipping their beaks in the water and food my mother in law (50 years experience with day old chicks) used a Q-tip and put a little petroleum jelly around their vents. She did this once again the next morning and once the 3rd day and had no pasty butt whatsoever.
     
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  4. tsiecz

    tsiecz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would NEVER take the water away or FOOD... They are on a mission to get bigger. Get them drinking sugar water or the electrolyte stuff for the first 2 days after that I added one tablespoon of Braggs apple cider vinegar( no sugar ) to the new water daily. No pasty butt. Bottom of my brooder was layered newspaper and minimal amount of pine shavings.
     
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  5. Shido Burrito

    Shido Burrito Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm, seems I read some bad advice then. Always water, all the time! Got it! Thank you! Petroleum around the vents too sounds like a good idea. See, I'm already learning! Thank you! Keep it comin'!
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Seems I've read something about taking the water away for ducklings, maybe? But never chicks. I don't use electrolytes as a rule, unless they had an especially long trip. I don't order in bad weather, so that could be a consideration, also.

    My birds never seem especially stressed or hungry/thirsty when I get them. They "ate" an entire egg yolk probably just hours before they went in the box, and that sustains them a good 48 hours or so.

    I use pine shavings and have never had splayed legs or other issues. Yes, the chicks to taste the bedding, they're babies and taste pretty much everything, including each other and their poop. It's all normal.

    I like to have the brooder set up, with a nice warm area, and they also need a cool area, so a large enclosure, or two boxes taped together. They won't get lost or not be able to find the food or water, trust me. They'll grow a lot faster than you think, and those tiny fluffballs that look so small and lost in that big container will soon be outgrowing it.
     
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  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    My advice is always to just keep it simple and don't stress! I see so many people on here stressing over their chicks and adding this, that and the kitchen sink to their chicks feed and water and just generally over thinking the whole process when it's really pretty simple. Chicks need food, water, warmth, and protection. Meet those needs and they should be fine.

    I keep Save-A-Chick on hand when I'm ordering chicks and I sometimes put that in their water the first day or so if they seem like they need a boost, after that just clean, fresh water and their chick starter. Many times they pop right out of their shipping box and go right to eating, drinking and running around, not seeming to be stressed at all. I don't feed much else other then their chick starter at first nor put anything extra in their water unless they obviously need it.

    You can use puppy pads or paper towels but pine shavings are fine too. Our chicks go on pine shavings right from day one, they make a nice, warm bed and are easy to keep clean. Do whatever is easiest for you to clean up.

    The other thing I'd highly suggest is keeping some Corid on hand in case of an outbreak of coccidiosis. It seems like you'll always notice symptoms when stores are closed and time is of the essence in starting treatment.

    Good luck with the new babies!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are some good people on this thread giving good advice, but I don’t do it that way. That’s something else you’ll learn on here, we all do it differently. It’s not that my way is right and everyone else is wrong, it’s just that we do things differently. I really like Cafarmgirl’s comment. Keep it simple and don’t stress.

    I don’t add anything to the food or water but mine have never been stressed when they arrive. If they did look stressed I’d probably dissolve a little sugar in their first water or maybe some hummingbird syrup. Just toss it after about 12 hours and clean the waterer. You don’t want it to go sour.

    I have a small piece of plywood, maybe 12” square with a raised lip around it. I scatter chick feed on that to get them started eating. Keep the regular feeder in there with it and in a couple of days they are eating out of that.

    On the second or third day in the brooder I take some dirt out of the run and feed that to them. Just scatter it on that plywood. Then every 4 or 5 days, give them some more dirt. To me, this accomplished three things. It gives them grit. If all they eat is chick fed, they don’t need grit but I think it helps set up their digestive system the way it is supposed to be. Secondly, they get any probiotics the adult chickens have. Third, they are exposed to whatever the adults have as far as diseases so they can start working on flock immunities. I’m specifically thinking of Coccidiosis which lives in the ground. To keep it simple, if you feed them dirt every 4 or 5 days and keep the brooder dry, they should develop the immunity they need in less than three weeks without ever getting sick from it. But if your brooder is wet or you have a really nasty strain, it still might be a problem.
     
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What is the very first sign of Coccidiosis?
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I don't know about the first sign, but I know lethargy and the hallmark, bloody diarrhea.
     

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