What do I *really* need to raise chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SpeckledPullet, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. SpeckledPullet

    SpeckledPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2010
    Northeast Florida
    I am thinking of ordering some chicks from McMurray. I have a rubber horse tub that I thought would be great to use. I see the feed stores using them and figured, why shouldn't I? As for a light, can I use one of the heat lamp lights you can buy from a hardware store? I also saw that Walmart sells the red bulbs specially made for animals. Would that be better than a 100watt bulb? I'm thinking of using pine shavings for the bottom of the tub and the entire esembly would be inisde my home. Is keeping it inside asking for trouble? Will it get stinky?

    I have heard stories of people ordering 25 chicks and getting 50!! Is this normal? To be honest, I only want to keep 5 or 6 out of the order and would sell the rest. Is it fairly easy for these guys to sell? Or should I plan to have to sit on them for a while (haha) before they finally sell and I can get down to my chosen 5 or 6?

    Oh, do I really need to give them shots? I saw the hatchery gives an option where I can get their boosters. Should I do this? Can you tell I am clueless?

    Am I asking too many questions? Sorry!!
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    1. If you order 25 most often you will get 26 or 27.

    2. You should have a bulb that will keep the chicks at 95 degrees for the first week, 90 for the 2nd week, 85 for the 3rd week.. etc... until they are fully feathered.

    3. Pine shavings are good, but inside more than 2 weeks is NOT good. Yes they get VERY stinky and they create a huge amount of dust/chick dander.

    4. You can have the hatchery give them the injections they need before they are sent to you. (Mareks, coccidosis etc..)

    5. As for selling them, if they are all pullets you can sell them on Craigs list.

    Congratulations. You will love it and you'll more likely than not want to keep more than 5 or 6.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Quote:I have nothing to add, Mahonri covered it all.
  4. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    If you are only looking for 5 or 6 then you might want to consider checking with the local feed stores to see what breeds they will have. Some feed stores have a great selection and others only bring in a couple of breeds. Most of the feed stores sell sexed chicks.

    I am fortunate to live in an area that has many feed stores. I bought 18 chicks last year. They were all from local feed stores. I was very happy with all of them. Only 1 turned out to be a rooster. This year I am adding 24 more chicks. 11 will be from a local breeder and the others will be from feed stores.
  5. tcp97b

    tcp97b Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 3, 2010
    Abilene, TX
    I'm a first timer - but I can comment as far as keeping them in the house goes. I got ten from my local feed store on Dec. 25 (Christmas present from my wonderful wife!). They were to go in my "Man cave" (spare bedroom we keep closed off) until I got the coop ready. I put them in a 6 square foot plywood box (they were 4 weeks old), and they quickly outgrew it. Went to Lowes, got a refrigerator box, (21 square feet). They were in it until the MLK day weekend when I finished the coop and our weather improved enough for them to go out. I raked the pine shavings a couple of times a day and kept the sliding door open as much as possible when I was home. If the room had windows I would have left them open.... The smell was not horrible, at the end it got pretty bad when you went in the room, I couldn't smell it outside of the room, but my wife said she could smell it when she walked in the house. What did surprise me was the *HUGE* amount of dust/dander they produced. It covered everything. I have yet to clean the room thoroughly, I think I will have to remove everything, cleaning it as I take it out, then dust mop the walls, vacuum, clean the carpet, then dust again.. I could not begin to imaging the amount of dust that 25 would produce. By the end they were also flying from the top of the water dish to the top edge of the box. I had screen over one half of the box, and cardboard over part of the other end, but they are tricky and could still make it out. My local feed store also takes orders, so you might check that.
  6. mrloring

    mrloring Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2009
    Uniontown, PA
    Quote:I bought 6 chicks from the feed store last April. My local feed stores only carry them in the spring.

    Quote:I used an 85 watt red flood light from Walmart and my chicks did fine.

    Quote:I used shredded newspaper to try to keep the dust down. My 6 chicks started out in an 18 gallon rubbermaid tote. They outgrew that in a couple weeks and I moved them to a larger brooder. I used a 2'x3' piece of plywood with 2"x2" corner posts and cardboard stapled up for walls. The chicks lived in my bedroom in the tote and in the basement in the larger brooder. I cleaned out the brooder at least once a week and had to vacuum up the dust and dander every time. It is amazing how much dust and dander they produce.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  7. Soccer Mom

    Soccer Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    West of Crazy
    I've raised them in horse tubs, plastic totes, kiddie wading pools, and a giant cardboard box that delivered a refrigerator to my house.

    I use the plain old red heat lamps from the hardware store. I've never been picky about the temp. I don't measure with a thermometer or anything, just watch the chicks. If they all clump up under the light, it's too cold and I move it closer. If they all try to hide in the far corner, it's too hot and I move it farther. If they are active and move all around, it's good.

    I use pine shavings from day one. Heck, it's what I use in my coop too. I cover the shavings with paper towels for good traction for about the first week. It also makes things easier to clean. After I take the papertowels off, I mix Stall Dry in with the pine shavings to keep things fresher in the brooder.

    I've always brooded birds inside. It's just easier to control the environment. Yes, after a couple of weeks they get stinky and dusty. Don't put them in your fanciest room with the lovely plush carpet.

    I don't mess with a lot of vaccines, but I do have the hatchery vaccinate for Mareks.

    And yeah, get the 25. This way you can choose the ones you really want and sell the rest on Craigslist. I've never gotten more than one extra bird with an order of 25.
  8. Hozer

    Hozer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    Homer, Alaska
    I have a spare walk in shower...maybe 4 feet by 4 feet. I just boarded the entrance up a couple feet with cardboard and put newspapers over cardboard on the floor. I changed out the newspaper every couple days. I suspended a shop light with a heat lamp. I used a cheap aquarium thermometer (the kind that float) to monitor temp. When they were feathered up, they went outside to a temp tractor (with the heat lamp) and I hosed down the shower. Everyone is right...they put out a bunch of dust. My favorite part is how they sleep... like they all partied all night and "crashed out" all over the place.

    Don't forget to give them vitamins w/ electrolites and organic apple cider vinegar in their water and give them some live culture plain yogurt.
  9. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I used plain tap water. No Vitamins, no apple cider vinegar, etc. Just tap water and chick starter feed for the first weekly. Then very slowly started to introduce a very little bit of treats once in awhile.
  10. Bantimna

    Bantimna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    Quote:I have nothing to add, Mahonri covered it all.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by