What should I do to prepare for new babies??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bec, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen


    I am getting 6 buff orpington chicks on April 9th. The local feed store said they should have them in that day is everything goes as planned.[​IMG]

    What should I be doing to prepare for them?
  2. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    The most important things are Food and Shelter.
    The chicks will need food: Chick Starter and water. They'll need a water dish that they can't fall into and drown. Chick starter has antibiotics so that they don't get cocci.
    They'll need a draft free place to stay. A large cardboard box will work fine. They'll need a heat lamp which you can get at the feedstore or at the petshop. Petco sells them for $30 and I bought mine at a yardsale for $2.[​IMG]
    Don't use newspapers on the bottom of the box because it's slippery for their little feet. Paper towels have much better traction.
    When I got Tom and Jerry as 3 day olds, I had them in a cardboard box that I put in front of the TV and I covered them up at night with a blanket. You have to make sure that their temperature is correct. 100 for the first week, then I think it's 5 degrees less each week...until they're completely feathered.
    You should also go to the bookshop and buy Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. It has information on all aspects of Chickening...
  3. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    How old to they have to be before they can go outside? I am planning on keeping them in my kitchen or family room until they are old enough. Last year I raised 3 guineas keets in the bathroom, but that got a bit messy..our 1 bathroom isnt very big..[​IMG]
  4. I found heat lamps at tractor and supply for just 8.00, more if you need the clamp (around ten dollars)
  5. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    You'll need to wait till they are fully feathered. I took my standard breeds out of the brooder at 6 weeks.
  6. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I always begin with a large cardboard box, cuz they love to run and play whether there are a few or a lot. I got a clip light with a reflector at Walmart for under $10 which I clip onto a board that I ran across the top of the box. I also make it more secure by taking wire and wiring the lamp securely to the board it's clipped onto just to be sure it doesn't fall and hurt a chick. I also take hardware cloth and make a screen to put over the front (the bulb area) so a chick can't get hurt on the hot light bulb. It's surprising how early they try out their wings. I try to get the light part to where it's about a foot above the bedding at one end of the box. Next, I put a couple of rows of aluminum foil across the box covering the light to focus the heat back down to keep them warm. Of course, this is all adjusted as they grow since week by week they need less heat. Then I put down pine shavings and cover them with paper towels for the first few days until the chicks learn that the shavings are not food. I get a piece of board, usually a 2x6" that I set the waterer on so it doesn't get shavings in the water as bad. I always get the chick waterer at the feed store cuz it's made for chicks. Then I put some marbles or gravel in the water trough part so a chick can't drown or stand/sit in the water and get it's down wet and get chilled. This isn't always necessary if you get a large breed of bird, but I deal mostly in bantys who drown easily. Once this is set up, I sprinkle some of the chick starter around on the paper towels until the babies get the idea then I put it in a chick feeder. I like the long trough kind with the holes cuz they don't seem to knock as much feed out of it. Once the chicks are in their nice new brooder I just keep an eye on them. If they are cold, they will pile up on top of each other under the light or in a corner, often chicks suffocate this way. If they're hot, they'll go as far as they can from the heat or sit and pant with their beaks open. If there are a few here and there, some sleeping under or near the light, some feeding or drinking, and there's a lot of soft peeping, then the temp's about right. But we cool our house at night for sleeping so sometimes I have to cover the box more, esp in winter, to keep them warm. Chicks are so much fun! Have a great time with them!
  7. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    Ok..what great information!

    I work at Tractor Supply so it will be easy for me to get exactly what I need!

    One more question is, what watt bulb do I need? I don't know a thing about raising chickens!! I have done ducklings, geese and guineas, but never chicks!

    Thank You All for Helping Me!!!
  8. pegbo

    pegbo Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    I just got the standard red heat bulb in shade with clamp at tractor supply that seemed to work well and get a temp. for regulating the tempature. I can't spell today!!![​IMG]
  9. Llysse

    Llysse Songster

    Mar 11, 2007
    I got a 250 watt heat bulb, but other people use a 150 or even a 100 watt bulb. The difference will be how close you have to have it to your chicks and how many chicks it can warm at once. 250 watts is way more than I'll need with just the few chicks I'll have, so I'll probably have it further away from the chicks than i would if I was using one with less power and heat. Make sure your little chicks can't jump up and get burned, though... using some sort of wire guard is a good idea, and many brooder lights come with one. BeckyLa's advice was very good: just watch to see how your chicks are behaving and adjust the light accordingly.
  10. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I just use regular bulbs. I usually begin with 100 watt and go down from there. One thing I forgot to mention is that some people will set up 2 lights in a brooder, one at one end and one at the other. The purpose of this is to save the chicks should one bulb burn out at night or during the day if they're gone. Even new bulbs can burn out. Have fun with your new babies!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: