We are new to raising chicks

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by kbryant1968, May 21, 2019.

  1. kbryant1968

    kbryant1968 In the Brooder

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    May 21, 2019
    We have 63, 4 week old chicks. We have many questions, but here is our “housing” information for them:

    They are all in a 8’ X 4’ stall in our barn, until they grow larger. It has a concrete floor, but we have a nice layer of straw down. We have 2 heat lamps for them, as well as their feeder and waterer. We live in Western New York.

    Here are our questions:

    We don’t know the gender of our chicks. How do we determine that?

    Do the chicks need scratch?

    Can we give them fresh greens or dandelions yet?

    Can we let them outside, once they are grown, during the Winter months?

    Our barn is not insulated. Temperatures in the Winter here drop to as low as 0 degrees, or lower. Should we put in insulation for the Winter?
     
  2. CarpCharacin

    CarpCharacin Cyprinus carpio

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    Welcome to BYC! We're glad you decided to join our wonderful community! :welcome
    Here is a good article that might help you: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/tips-for-successfully-sexing-your-chicks.72033/
    You can also post here once they're 6-8 weeks old if you need some help determining their genders.
    They can have scratch if the pieces aren't too big for them, but I wouldn't say that they need it, chick starter should be fine.
    Yes, I think they're old enough.
    Yes, I'd let them decide for themselves if they want to go outside when it's cold, you shouldn't keep them closed up.
    I'm not sure if you'll need to insulate, you want to avoid moisture buildup in the coop. Here is another article that might be helpful with regards to insulation: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/to-insulate-or-not-to-insulate.65153/
     
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  3. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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  4. Leahs Coop

    Leahs Coop Free Ranging

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    Hello,:frow and a warm welcome to Backyard Chickens! It's great to have you here with us and I hope you'll enjoy this site as much as we all do!
     
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  5. Kuntry Klucker

    Kuntry Klucker Thekuntryklucker.blog

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    :welcome Hi and Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens.

    It depends on the breed. Some genders are easier to identify than others. People claim that you can tell this or that and know that its a hen or rooster. I just want till it lays an egg or crows. Sometimes you can tell by the comb. Some breeds if they are roosters will grow their combs early and you can tell pretty quick if its a hen or rooster.

    I would not feed your chicks anything other than their chick feed for the first 10-20 weeks. Reason I say this is because they are growing, anything that you introduce to them food wise will be taking away or diluting the nutrition that they need to be getting from their feed. Personally I do not allow my chicks to eat anything other than their chick starter feed for at least the first 10 weeks. At that point I can allow them some free range time. But I don't give treats or anything while they are in this crucial growing phase.

    I allow my flock free range everyday in both warmer and colder months. The only times that I lock them in their pen is when we have severe weather coming or bird flu scare. In the spring months we can get some nasty storms with large hail. During these periods I absolutely keep my flock in the shelter and safety of their coops and covered pens.

    Its really a judgement call when it comes to supplemental heat during the colder months. chickens come factory installed with down coats and are able to regulate their body temperatures quite well. I think that the biggest mistake that chicken keepers make is judging their comfort by our comfort levels. Chickens have an internal body temperature of about 107 degrees F. They can acclimate to the cold weather quite well. If you get to something like -20 F you might want to consider a radiant heat plate. Heat lamps are dangerous due to the possibility of coop or barn fires they many time cause.

    If their coops are kept too warm in can actually be dangerous for them. If they are kept too warm and they get used to it they can actually die if there is something like a power outage turn off their heat source. Additionally, if they are kept too warm sometimes they will not want to leave the coop in search of food or water. Keeping them too warm can disturb their natural ability to acclimate to the colder temperatures naturally. If anything all you want to do is just take the edge off not so much blast them with a high heat source.

    I have never given my girls supplemental heat. They have been through 10 winters now and have come through all of them just fine. They only thing that I do for my girls as far a winter preparedness goes is to wrap their pen with construction grade plastic. This acts as a wind break and keeps the rain and snow out of their pens. The key for over wintering a flock is to be sure to keep their digs clean and dry, they do the rest. I have found the the less I intervene the better they do.

    I hope that this helps you.

    Pleased to meet you and Welcome to the Coop!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2019
  6. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Enabler

    Hello, and welcome! Glad that you joined! That's a lot of chick's! Good luck with them!
     
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  7. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    Welcome to our FUNomenal community! :celebrate Best wishes and have lots of fun! :wee
     
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  8. Mybackyardpeepers

    Mybackyardpeepers Crowing

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    Good evening and welcome to the BYC flock!!!
     
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  9. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    Hello and welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.
    My 3 & 4 week olds are out in their outdoor brooder run now. They have a brooder plate for heat when they want it.
    They don't need scratch.
    They do need grit.
    They can have greens after they have been on grit for a few days.
    I am in south central NY. You do not need to insulation the coop. You need to have draft free roosting space, lots of ventilation and the coop must be kept DRY.
    You will need to wait until the chicks are about 7 or 8 weeks old to more accurately determine gender.
     
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  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    Welcome to BYC, and good luck with that flock. That's a big 'starter' flock.
     
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