What do I need to know about raising bantam chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by iamcuriositycat, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    I have raised several batches of ducks, and a few geese, but never chickens--and right now I've got six little teeny bantam chicken eggs in the bator from the neighbor's banties--and I want to know what I need to know when they hatch.

    Do they need more consistent heat than ducklings? They'll be so tiny, and I've heard chicks in general are less hardy than ducklings. Right now, I used a heat lamp in a brood box. The box is hard-sided so no drafts, but with a wire mesh top for ventilation.

    After a few days, the ducklings (in good weather) move outdoors to a brooder built kind of like a rabbit hutch, with a heat lamp hanging in one corner. At what age would banties be ready for that? (Assuming outdoor temps above 60 degrees).

    What about bedding--can I use a towel for a few days then switch to straw?

    My ducklings eat unmedicated crumbles--do I need to medicate chicks?

    Ducklings can be handled regularly after a day or two to build strength--what about bantam chicks?

    Anything else I need to know?
     
  2. chickensducks&agoose

    chickensducks&agoose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Bump! I want to know too!
     
  3. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    I haven't raised ducks, so I'll give info about my experience with my three banties vs my ten standard sized chicks.

    For the first 3-4 days, I did use a towel covered by puppy pads that I changed twice a day. I liked the puppy pads better because they're bigger and seem more obsorbant. Then I switched to peat moss until they started doing a lot of scratching, then I switched to wood pellets. LOVE the wood pellets. Smell good, obsorbant - dries out the poo within minutes.

    The banties liked the brooder temp to start out with at 85'. The big chicks liked 95'.

    I put the chick starter crumbles in a baggy and hit it with a rubber mallet to make the bits smaller for about 1 1/2 months. The banties mouths are much smaller than the standard chicks.

    My buff silkie had pasty butt for about 4 days. I only had 3 of the standard chicks come home from the feed store with pasty butt the first day that didn't return after the first cleaning.

    I handled all my chicks from day one and spent hours sitting at the brooders talking to them.

    They are all very friendly, come running when the see or hear me, don't mind being picked up with the exception of the buff silkie who ended up being a roo.

    Good luck with your little ones.

    PS. Use a red heat lamp or bulb in the brooder. Red is calming and they sleep better.
     
  4. farmin'chick

    farmin'chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2009
    Rocky Mount VA
    Do they need more consistent heat than ducklings? They'll be so tiny, and I've heard chicks in general are less hardy than ducklings. Right now, I used a heat lamp in a brood box. The box is hard-sided so no drafts, but with a wire mesh top for ventilation.

    That's the kind of box I use.

    After a few days, the ducklings (in good weather) move outdoors to a brooder built kind of like a rabbit hutch, with a heat lamp hanging in one corner. At what age would banties be ready for that? (Assuming outdoor temps above 60 degrees).

    When they have their feathers, usually about 4 weeks, is when I move them outside. Starting temp is 95, lower it 5 deg peer week until you reach the ambient temperature.

    What about bedding--can I use a towel for a few days then switch to straw?

    You can use paper towel for the first few days -- change it often like you would ducks. If you use the really absorbent kind the poopies will dry out fairly fast. You sprinkle your first couple of feedings on the paper towels until they learn what feed is. Then, if you want to use straw you're supposed to clip it to two inch lengths for the first few weeks.

    My ducklings eat unmedicated crumbles--do I need to medicate chicks?

    a lot of people use feed medicated to prevent coccidiosis -- If you don't want medicated, you can actually feed them the game bird starter at the beginning.

    Ducklings can be handled regularly after a day or two to build strength--what about bantam chicks?

    People disagree about this -- I start handling my chicks when I take them out of the incubator, but very little for the first day or so until they're running around freely. After that, daily, multiple times a day.

    Anything else I need to know?

    Be prepared to have FUN. The first time the first rooster crows with their squeaky toy voice, you will giggle out loud.

    Enjoy!​
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  5. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    Texas
    I've only raised bantams, so I know no other way. I can tell you to put your starter crumbles in the blender (I use the magic bullet) and pulverize them. Even down to a powder is fine, you can make an awesome warm mash for them by adding a little warm water till pasty. I add ground flaxseed and it helps prevent pasty bums. They will only need this done for about a week, then their little beaks will be big enough for the crumbles.


    I prefer non-medicated feed, but that's a personal preference and either way is fine. I also do the paper towel thing for about 2 days and then onto pine shavings (although I also have discovered pine pellets and they are WONDERFUL)! Straw would be fine, too.


    I handle all of my chicks daily. If they've been shipped I give them a day alone. After that I pick them all up frequently, even the teeny tiny ones.


    I have 18 chicks outside and they've been out there since they were 3 days old. It gets down to about 55 at night, 80 during the day. They have a 250w heat lamp in one corner and they are all doing great. Feathering out beautifully and all super healthy. If they were going to be in a hutch type brooder outdoors, I would suggest a solid floor or a piece of wood placed inside to keep drafts from coming up through the wire floor(assuming it has a wire floor). You don't want the wind or drafts getting to little babies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Fleetwood, PA
    I am raising bantams for the first time. Got them in June, they are 12 weeks old now. I didn't crush the Start & Grow and they did just fine. They had to go in their coop by 4 weeks & were without a light since 5 weeks. They didn't seem to mind when the temperature was slightly lower than it was supposed to be. It was a cold summer, so they were at 60 or so degrees at night by 5 weeks. Good luck.
     
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    Thank you thank you thank you! These responses are VERY helpful. But, what exactly is pasty butt and what do you do about it? I mean, I can sort of guess what it looks like, but what does it mean, how often does it happen, and of course, how do you treat it? I've never had anything like it with ducklings.

    Thanks!
     
  8. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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