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What are the most common mistakes?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bawkbawkbawk, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Don't get my chicks until June, but the more I read here about chick losses, the more concerned I get about my ability to do this. It seems there are so many ways to go wrong and lose babies or even grown chickens...

    Is there a "top ten" (or twenty) list of tips for beginners to help prevent fatal mistakes? I'll never forgive myself if I kill my chicks...

  2. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    Out of the four batches I've raised over the last year, I haven't lost any that made it to the brooder alive. Biggest mistake I made was not having enough room in the brooder. 1 sq.ft. per chick is min.
  3. chickensioux

    chickensioux Songster

    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    Hello! Just keep in mind that you may lose a chick no matter what you do., no matter how much knowledge you acquire. They just come to you with a problem genetically, physically, etc. that you can't fix and you shouldn't beat yourself up for it. Now, that being said, there are many things that can go wrong that you do have control over:
    Make sure they get the proper feed for chicks
    Make sure the brooder temp. is correct and is reduced properly over time.
    Make sure they are on the proper bedding, No cedar.
    Keep them out of drafts.
    Secure the brooder, coop properly to prevent predators.
    Scratch grain is not a main source of food but just a treat.
    Plenty of fresh water at all times.
    Vitamins and electrolytes in chicks water (sugar works too).
    Keeping the chicks clean (poopy/pasty butts).
    Keeping the brooder clean, dry as well as the coop for older birds.
    This is just a few things I can think of off the top of my head and I'm sure others on here will chime in and come up with stuff too.
    Good luck and stay on BYC and you will do just fine.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  4. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Songster

    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    They're not that hard to raise. When I got my first chicks 10 years ago, we didn't even give them a heat lamp! We didn't know, so instead they got a heatingpad under their cage set on low... it did virtually nothing to keep them warm.

    Here's my advice though...

    - Put pebbles in their drinking water so nobody drowns.
    - Feed medicated feed to minimize the risk of cocci.
    - Don't feed them scratch alone, they need starter more than anything.
    - Keep any loose threads or strings away from the brooder (they will eat them and choke).
    - Put a something rough down so the chicks don't slip. Newspaper will not work, but papertowel is good.
    - Don't put them on shavings right away. Sometimes they just don't know which is food... the chick starter or the shavings.
    - Watch and listen. Loud, shrill peeps and huddling under the heat lamp means that they are cold. Drouzy chicks that avoid the warmth like a plague means that they are too hot.

    Good luck!
  5. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    Quote:I guess I should have said I just got lucky. I'm not saying I'm some kind of chicken guru. [​IMG]
  6. ohiofarmgirl

    ohiofarmgirl Songster

    Jan 22, 2009
    yep - not that hard. there are a million things that may go wrong - but they probably wont provided you follow all the advice provided above and use common sense.

    i got my first 25 chicks a couple years ago and assumed i'd have losses - but aside from the 2 that didnt make the shipping everything went very well. i think the biggest things are to make sure the babies are kept warm and protect them from predators. take the extra time to really build a good solid coop and check it from time to time for anyway in or out.

    one other suggestion - read everything by Harvey Ussery at themodernhomestead - he has some great advice.

    good luck! you'll love having them!
  7. chickensioux

    chickensioux Songster

    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    Quote:I guess I should have said I just got lucky. I'm not saying I'm some kind of chicken guru. [​IMG]

    Azelgin-me either. I have been very fortunate over the years too.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009

  8. desertgirl

    desertgirl Roo Magnet

    Mar 29, 2009
    Boy-cool idea for a thread. I really wish I had gotten my head around the fact that no matter how stupid you think you are, chickens are relatively resiliant and will probably be fine (and if not there was not much you could have done anyway). They look so fragile, but they are actually pretty tough little critters.

    Apart from proviving feed,water,temp,cleanliness and security/love, just kick back and enjoy! Right?[​IMG]
  9. stephenkeener

    stephenkeener In the Brooder

    Apr 6, 2009
    I believe temperature is the most important. I made the mistake if you can believe it of tring to make it way more complicated than it actually is. For my first I tried to brood in a plastic storage container and get the temp. just so. It seemed I was too hot or too cold all the time. I have modified and changed several times but now I brood on shavings in a wire enclosed brooder with plenty of room for the chicks to move around and get close to or away from the heat lamp that I approx. 16" off the floor.

    Just don't make it any more complicated than it is just let good ole common sense prevail.
  10. This is very helpful.

    If cedar shvings are bad for them, does that mean building the coop out of cedar is a bad idea, too?

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