We have had chicks for about two months now and have some questions...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by csaws, May 5, 2009.

  1. csaws

    csaws Out Of The Brooder

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    May 5, 2009
    Indiana
    We know we should've probably found this stuff out earlier, however we have been doing fine.

    We live in Indiana as an FYI if it matters for any of these questions.

    1. How long do the chicks need to be fed chick starter? Do the chicks need grit?

    2. We have 6 chicks that are about a month to a month and a half younger than the other chickens can we put them in the coop with the bigger ones? Some of the bigger chickens peck the smaller ones when they try to eat. Do they have to have all of there feathers before they can go outside?

    3. How do we make a chicken hook? My wifey chased three chickens around the yard last night trying to get them back in the coop.

    4. How many hens per rooster? We have heard anything from 6-1 to 12-1

    5. Do we need to put a heat lamp in the coop for the winter time? The coop is about 7 feet high in the center so we can hang it with no problem

    6. We found a coop we liked and built one instead of buying it by looking at the pics and figuring out how to build it and the dimensions we wanted, do you insulate them? How many chickens can we put in 42 square feet (we have heard vastly varying opinions on this too)?

    7. Anyone know of places in Indiana that sell organic feed?

    8. We were told several ways to "sex" chicks at our Rural king when we bought the first batch. Anything from "hold them upside down and if they just lay there it is a rooster if it tries to get up and roost it is a hen" to "count the rows of pin feathers 1 row is a rooster two is a hen" and "you can only truly sex a chicken by looking at its insides" (really confused by that one). So is any of this true? We have what we thought was 1 rooster and 8 hens but now we are thinking we may have more roosters than one.

    More as we think of it.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    1. How long do the chicks need to be fed chick starter? Do the chicks need grit? They will be on starter til they are feathered out then grow mash until laying age, then lay mash.

    2. We have 6 chicks that are about a month to a month and a half younger than the other chickens can we put them in the coop with the bigger ones? Some of the bigger chickens peck the smaller ones when they try to eat. Do they have to have all of there feathers before they can go outside?

    Here ya go:

    Up to 8 week in the house with the brooder and heat lamp
    At 8 weeks, we move them into this brooder outside with the heat lamp

    [​IMG]

    We leave them in there until they are fully feathered. You can see it is right next to the roost (to the left), so the chicks are visible to the other birds but separated to avoid injury. They are usually in there to about 12 weeks.

    To the left of the brooder, we cut a small opening in the wire and open it during the day, so the chicks can get in and out but the bigger birds won't fit in - a safety net so to speak. We keep that open for 4 weeks, and then put them in with the flock. There is the normal pecking order business but we have not ever had an injured bird following this method.


    3. How do we make a chicken hook? My wifey chased three chickens around the yard last night trying to get them back in the coop. Butterfly net

    4. How many hens per rooster? We have heard anything from 6-1 to 12-1 We have 16 hens and 1 roo and that is the MAX. Ideal is 10-12 to 1

    5. Do we need to put a heat lamp in the coop for the winter time? The coop is about 7 feet high in the center so we can hang it with no problem. Only if you have chicks that are not fully feathered out. Adult hens are very well insulated

    6. We found a coop we liked and built one instead of buying it by looking at the pics and figuring out how to build it and the dimensions we wanted, do you insulate them? How many chickens can we put in 42 square feet (we have heard vastly varying opinions on this too)? The rule for space is 4 sq ft per chicken. It does not need to be insulated but if it is very cold in the winter should be draft proof.

    7. Anyone know of places in Indiana that sell organic feed? Unknown
    8. We were told several ways to "sex" chicks at our Rural king when we bought the first batch. Anything from "hold them upside down and if they just lay there it is a rooster if it tries to get up and roost it is a hen" to "count the rows of pin feathers 1 row is a rooster two is a hen" and "you can only truly sex a chicken by looking at its insides" (really confused by that one). So is any of this true? We have what we thought was 1 rooster and 8 hens but now we are thinking we may have more roosters than one.
    No clue here
     
  3. csaws

    csaws Out Of The Brooder

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    May 5, 2009
    Indiana
    1. How long do the chicks need to be fed chick starter? Do the chicks need grit? They will be on starter til they are feathered out then grow mash until laying age, then lay mash.

    So our 2 month old ones should not get chick starter anymore?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'll tackle a couple of these.

    4. How many hens per rooster? We have heard anything from 6-1 to 12-1 We have 16 hens and 1 roo and that is the MAX. Ideal is 10-12 to 1

    This ratio is to pretty well assure all eggs will be fertile. A bantam rooster is more active than a full-sized. With your ratio, most will be fertile, but not necessarily all.

    6. We found a coop we liked and built one instead of buying it by looking at the pics and figuring out how to build it and the dimensions we wanted, do you insulate them? How many chickens can we put in 42 square feet (we have heard vastly varying opinions on this too)? The rule for space is 4 sq ft per chicken. It does not need to be insulated but if it is very cold in the winter should be draft proof.

    The 4 sq ft assumes you have a run that gives them about 10 sq ft per chicken.

    8. We were told several ways to "sex" chicks at our Rural king when we bought the first batch. Anything from "hold them upside down and if they just lay there it is a rooster if it tries to get up and roost it is a hen" to "count the rows of pin feathers 1 row is a rooster two is a hen" and "you can only truly sex a chicken by looking at its insides" (really confused by that one). So is any of this true? We have what we thought was 1 rooster and 8 hens but now we are thinking we may have more roosters than one.
    No clue here

    Professionals can look at the vent of full-sized fowl chicks and be right 90% of the time. At least that is the guarantee from most hatcheries. Most don't try to sex bantams. That may be what they meant by looking inside. My personal opinion is that any other way will be right about half the time, other than sex link chicks.
     
  5. csaws

    csaws Out Of The Brooder

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    Indiana
    Ridgerunner... response to question 4.

    We aren't at this point going to put them in a run. We have 1.7 acres and they will mostly have full run of the yard.
     
  6. noitulover

    noitulover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Virginia
    first of all, here is a great website that answers a lot of your questions at length...

    http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKRaisingChicks.html


    1. chicks don't really need grit until they're off of chick starter. i've started mixing just a tiny bit in with mine since they're about to go off of it... when they will REALLY need it, is when they start eating pellets or free ranging. they can get off of chick starter or grower when they are near laying age or right after they lay their first.

    2/5. chicks are capable of going outside on their own around 4 weeks in fairly warm weather. some wait until 5 or 6 weeks. once they have all of their feathers of course, they are completely capable. some people that live in mild to cold climates wait until they are completely feathered so they are more protected. you can definitely put in a heat lamp in if you think it will be necessary. it really depends on how cold it gets where you live. if winters get particularly cold, a heat lamp is definitely not a bad thing. although it really all depends on where you live and what breed of chicken you have. some are very cold hardy and others are not. to introduce new chickens to the flock may take a little time for everyone to adjust. if the pecking is really bad and drawing blood, you may need to separate the chickens and reintroduce them slowly (putting them inside a cage inside the coop, letting the chickens see each other but not peck)... or if it doesn't seem to bad, it could just be normal pecking order stuff...

    6. no insulation needed, general rule is 4 sf per chicken.

    7. i'd buy it offline. i think it's hard to find at an actual mill. google search "organic chicken feed" or "organic poultry feed"... you can buy it at mypetchicken.com or shopthecoop.com or etc.

    8. take pics and post them in the "what breed or gender" message board area!
     
  7. melissastraka

    melissastraka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2009
    Hoquiam, WA
    Here are some answers:

    1. Chicks need to be on chick starter till they are laying and yes, chicks need grit if they are unable to find small sand, gravel, or pebbles on their own. If you give your chicks treats, anything other then chick starter then make sure you have grit avalible at all times.

    2. For your two ages of chicks...are the younger ones fully feathered? Have they been introduced to the older ones? Are they in the same brooder? If the answer is yes, then they could all go out at the same time.

    3. I dont know how to make a "chicken hook" but we use a fish net to catch the little buggers. It works double duty!

    4. I was told 1:12 but it is not "the rule". I have 60 hens in one pen and 10 roos (which will be heading to frezzer camp soon) and it is fine. With that said, they were all raised together from day olds.

    5. It depends on how hard of a winter you have. When we built the other coop we had an option of putting on there if we need it. I only add the heat lamp if it goes below freezing. My hens laid all winter without one.

    6. You can insulate them but you dont have too. It is a personal preferance. Mine is not. The general rule is 4 square feet per chicken though i have heard 3 per chick so for 42 square feet at 4 feet per chicken you could have 10-11 chickens. If you use the 3 rule then you could have 14. Make sure that you watch for picking and feather plucking.

    7. I live in WA so i dont know but Glenda Heywood has a formula to make your own organic. She has it posted on a thread here.

    8. Sexing is harder. Hatcheries have highly trained people that do sexing and are paid thousands of dollars a day to do this but normal people have different ways. If you purchased a sex-link bird it is easier to tell. These are Red sex-links, Black sex-links ect. You can also tell the sex of BR by the way the dot is on the back of their head. Do not try to vent sex your chickens!!!! Like i said before, these are highly trained people and you can squeeze their insides out if you do it wrong. It is better to wait till they are 3 weeks or more and then post in the breeds and gender section if you have any that you are questioning.

    I hope this helps. I have learned all of this from this board. These are extermely helpful people and you will get some more answers to all of your questions. Good luck and have fun with your new babies!
     
  8. csaws

    csaws Out Of The Brooder

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    May 5, 2009
    Indiana
    We have tried to post pics but I can't get them to show up. Is there a post limit before you can post pics?
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Then you have way more than 10 sq ft per bird. That will work. But consider winter time. How much will they be confined? If it is only a few days at a time, you could be OK with 4 sq ft, but if it runs into weeks, you will possibly have problems.

    We all use these rules of thumb as they are good guidelines of what usually works. These space questions are really hard to answer because many different things factor into it. In some conditions you can get more that one chicken for every 4 sq ft. Under different conditions, twice that space is not enough.

    If you can let them out with that much space, you are in good shape.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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