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Top Tips for New Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MBCrissman, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. MBCrissman

    MBCrissman New Egg

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    Hi all! I'm new 'round these parts. My husband and I own about 10 mostly-wooded acres in central North Carolina, complete with three dogs and one young cat who thinks she's a dog.

    We'll be bringing home 4-6 new Rhode Island Red and Ameraucana chicks on Friday night, and I'm curious to know your best tips for raising the new additions. I grew up in the country, but I've never owned my own chickens. Any sage advice and shared wisdom would be greatly appreciated to this chicken newbie!
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Enjoy and welcome!!! Get a book or two, and read up on management. It's not complicated; good basic chicken feed for their age, plenty of space, and PREDATOR SAFE housing. That includes your pets; everyone loves chicken! Biosecurity so you don't have diseases that can be avoided. Safe housing again. Hardware cloth, NOT chicken wire. Mary
     
  3. Tony A

    Tony A Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, what age will these chickens be. If they are very young you will need to have a brooder heated to the correct temperature for them.
    Tony.
     
  4. MBCrissman

    MBCrissman New Egg

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    They'll only be a few days old. I've been doing lots of research and reading a lot. But I figure you all are the real experts, so I'm eager to hear your real-life insights! :)
     
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome, and you will for sure find lots of help here. Any specific questions? If you want to describe your plans, I'm sure people will make suggestions. Many things that seem obvious to us "old timers" could be something you know or not, like covering newspaper with paper towels because it is too slippery and can cause spraddle legs.
     
  6. MBCrissman

    MBCrissman New Egg

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    That's exactly what I'm thinking about! I know I need a brooder box (I'm using a big galvanized metal tub) and galvanized feeders and waterers as well. I know to use a red light in the warmer to prevent the babies from getting peckish and aggressive.

    But what is the best kind of bedding? I've heard sand or pine shavings. And now the newspaper and paper towel trick! :)

    What's the best feed? Do I need to worry about the medically-treated food or will the regular variety be fine?

    Do I leave the light on 24/7 or turn it off at night?

    What other tricks are there to help ensure their health and survival?

    :)
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    I use pine shavings for bedding, available in bales for horse bedding. If the chicks are already several days old it will be fine. Medicated chick starter is recommended for the first six weeks, unless your chicks were vaccinated for coccidia at the hatchery. I generally don't use it here, as that parasite hasn't been a problem in my flock. Your ground might be different; I'd use it because you don't know. The red heat lamp is best, and then normal room lighting during the daytime. Don't leave the room lights on all night. SECURE the heat lamp really well; I double or triple attach it to prevent fires. If you are using a stock tank as a brooder, make sure to have a sturdy hardware cloth top so nobody gets in or out. Have your coop and run ready; those birds will grow really fast!!! Make sure your birds are coming from a safe source; some diseases will never go away. Mary
     
  8. Pinkaboo

    Pinkaboo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use shavings in the brooder with kitchen roll over it for the first week, makes cleaning easy and stops them eating the shavings
    Prepare to use a kitchen roll a day

    I love the electric hens they use less electricity
    Chicks can sleep half under half out to keep right temp
    They can then just live by normal daylight hours

    I think its makes for happier healthier chicks
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  9. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens

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    Lots of different ways to brood chicks (as well as all the other aspects). I use plastic containers, either rubbermaid-type, or large water tubs. In warmer times, I skip the heat lamp and use a 60w bulb, but this is the basement, where temps are pretty stable. For just a few chicks, a 60w bulb hung fairly low is economical and they can all get under it if they get cold. For the first week or 2, I use newspaper and paper towels - cheap and easy, but switch to shavings after that. For the temps, you will hear the 90 degrees, minus 5 degrees a week rule. I don't bother with the temp, just watch the chicks and adjust the height/wattage based on whether they huddle under it (bad sign, get it warmer), or sleep as far as they can get from the lamp. I've also found tabletop lamp dimmers to be wonderful for reducing the heat as they grow.

    Like this: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-C...NLH-BL/100478442?keyword=tabletop+lamp+dimmer

    Red lights are not needed, IMO, unless you are dealing with hundreds of chicks and have issues with cannibalism. I've never used one and don't recommend them. The light performs 2 functions, heat (so you must leave it on all the time until they are old enough to not need heat), and light to see to eat and drink. In a dark area (like my basement), I switch them over to the compact flourescent bulbs when they are a few weeks old and mostly feathered. Obviously, that is done later in the winter when the basement is even cooler.
     
  10. SoupytheChicken

    SoupytheChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm wondering, how do u make ur chickens nice enough to come to u. With all of my chickens I spend time with them when they're chicks but they still don't love me
     

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