What all do I need to get?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by porkchop48, May 2, 2011.

  1. porkchop48

    porkchop48 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2008
    Malta, OH
    I will be purchasing my first chicks in the first couple of week of June.

    What all do I need to have on hand before I actually get them?

    any items that you all have found extremely helpful or totally useless?
  2. fshinggrl

    fshinggrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2009
    the edge of insanity
    Brooder (could be a dog kennel or a big enough rubbermaid container)
    heat lamp
    food (starter - medicated or not)
    vitamins for water
    Newspaper/wood chips
  3. ginger c.

    ginger c. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2011
    How many are you getting? How old will they be?

    1. A reflector lamp. Get one with a porcelain socket instead of plastic. The plastic can melt. Also, make sure there is a wire protector over the face. Picture here: http://www.tractorsupply.com/brooder-reflector-with-clamp-3208291

    . A red bulb if possible. We have a 250 watt bulb, which is getting a bit warm. Red helps prevent picking. Iv everything looks red, truly red things won't attract as much attention. You can get smaller bulbs, but remember: depending upon the age, you need to keep them warm. The first week they should be around 95 and drop 5 degrees each week after that.

    3. Thermometer... you want to know what the temp is, but really, watching the birds is the best thermometer you have. Make sure they are comfortable. If they pile up under the lamp, it's too cold. If they try to get far away, they are hot. Our brooder is warm on one end and cooler on the other. The babies use every inch. IMPORTANT: test the placement of your lamp to make sure it is not too hot before you put your new fuzzy butts in there. They will die if they get too hot.

    4. A brooder. We have a 54 gallon storage bin purchased from Home Depot for about $21. it is approx 21x42 and 20" tall. It is working great for 4 chicks so far.

    5. Pine shavings. You'll put in about 1-2" of shavings in the bottom. IMPORTANT: for chicks 1 or 2 days old, just line the bottom with a few layers of paper towels. Then move to the shavings.

    6. A chick feeder. Pic here: http://www.harrisfarmsllc.com/images/products/harris-farms-baby-chick-feeder-with-jar.jpg

    . Chick waterer: The come in about the same size as above, but you can also get a larger one. If you have the larger one and very small chicks, put some stones in the trough to keep your chicks from drowning. Here are some waterers: http://www.harrisfarmsllc.com/products/poultry-drinkers.php

    . Chick feed. We use the medicated. But make sure it is STARTER FEED. Chick starter is medicated and helps prevent coccidiosis. The starter feed has different levels of nutrients to keep your chick growing at the right pace. You don't want your baby to grow too fast or too slow.

    9. A lid... eventually, you will need something to keep the chicks in the brooder if the walls are not high enough. We built one from chicken wire and a couple of 1x2's.

    Hopefully, that helps.

    GC's DH
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  4. Anianna

    Anianna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2010
    N/E of Richmond, VA
    Tractor Supply had a "starter kit" that comes with a feeder, waterer, carry box, some starter feed and a cardboard "corral" which is really just a roll of cardboard you make a circle with. The corral is insufficient for a brooder in most environments, but we will be using it to add height to the round tub we are using as a brooder as they get big enough to hop out. You would still need a warming lamp and brooder if you bought this kit and if you use the carry box when buying your chicks, put some paper towels down in it because the cardboard is slippery and you don't want your chicks slipping (slipping can cause splayed legs). I also use some upturned bowls to put the feeder and waterer on so they are raised to keep their food and water cleaner. If you just set it down at their level, they will get into and poo in their food and water. If the feeder and waterer are about chin level, chicks won't get on them so much and shouldn't have any problem reaching what they need.

    Also TSC sells dried meal worms, which make much-loved treats, but if you want to give these to very young chicks, make sure you give them some chick grit. Grit is not necessary when feeding starter feed exclusively.

    I concur that you should use paper towels to line the brooder at first if you are getting very young chicks (less than 1 week old) and then use pine shavings. Do not use cedar as it causes respiratory problems in chicks. I don't like to get the fine shavings because they cause more dust. I prefer the larger shavings like the kind used for horses. The shavings are inexpensive, don't need to be changed as often as paper towels, and the chicks just love getting to scratch in them. Paper towels are not conducive to scratching and need to be changed frequently. As the chicks get bigger, they will just end up playing with, folding over, and generally moving the paper towels anyway, exposing their feet to the potentially slippery brooder floor, so paper towels are best for the youngest chicks.

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