What to do with baby chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dragonchick, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. dragonchick

    dragonchick Songster

    Sep 30, 2007
    OK I have decided that I want some chickens, mainly for the eggs. McMurray has some good deals on the baby chick orders if I order now. We start getting pretty cold in early November and I am not sure the chicks will be able to stay warm enough in the coop we are building at this age. I can keep them in the house but that's 25 chicks + or - for 4 months. Will the smell run DH and I away? or will they survive outside with a little help? I have been reading about chicken care for several years and DH has wanted a few for 2x as long. I woke up this morning and decided it was time, but, its almost winter. Any advice is welcome as to my options.

    The finished coop will be 10x10 and an enclosed run. This can be made smaller quite easily while they are still small. The 10x10 can also grow to 10x16 if it needs to without much trouble.

    For the colder winter months I can place a small heater/heat light in our unattached garage and make an enclosure for them but this is not ideal and would be a PITA.

    I never plan things by seasons of when they should happen, but rather by the whims of my mind LOL. My mind says its chicken season NOW.
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Well, you can keep them inside for the first three weeks and by then they will be much stronger than day olds, although you could toss them out at arrival under a heat lamp but then you couldn't give them as much attention. You will have to keep up on the mounds of dust and litter cleaning if you want the house to be clean and smell free. Then once they are a bit stronger, you can put them in your draft free coop with a heat lamp to keep them warm. You can start phasing out the heat lamp at bout 6-8 weeks old and they should be good to go in the coop. Good luck!
  3. PeiTheCelt

    PeiTheCelt Songster

    Sep 3, 2007
    Central NY
    My week olds are living in the laundry room, which is also the downstairs bathroom, and by staying on top of the cleaning, the smell hasn't been bad at all. We are planning on moving them outside in probably mid-late October, and we're in Central NY, where we get first snowfall by usually mid-October, though it's not really common until later..

    Keeping them inside until they're old enough to take the cold is really not that hard if you're willing to do the work to keep things clean. [​IMG] (or at least it is so far, 7 days in.. [​IMG])
  4. Look around and you will find lots of post about using a big Rubbermaid tote as a brooder. ItÂ’s really easy to keep only 25 chicks in one of those for a week or 2. I would use shavings covered with paper towel for easy cleaning. Then put them out in the coop still in the tote, they will be so much stronger for having been assured the right temps for the first bit. All you need in the tote is one, maybe 2 regular household bulbs. Some folks use the lid with the center cut out over the top, I just use tin foil, the heavy BBQ stuff over about half the tote.

    If you can get a hold of a huge box, like one that a fridge or stove came in they are great for the transition to the coop too. The cardboard is a natural for insulation and keeps the drafts off the chicks. Line one corner with the BBQ tin foil and make a bit of a tent with it and have your light bulb in there so they can come and go from the warmer area as they need to. Have the feed and water just outside of that area and the chicks will harden themselves off to the outdoor temperature naturally.
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    Corydon, Indiana
    do you have a spare bedroom? bathroom?
  6. dragonchick

    dragonchick Songster

    Sep 30, 2007
    Quote:Yes I have a spare bedroom. This is where we were planning on keeping the baby chicks.

    Keeping the brooding room clean is not a problem but since my home is a single level, any smell would travel quickly throughout.

    The rubbermaid tote sounds like a great idea. I was planning on using a low wooden twin bed frame for afterwards. We had planned on creating an enclosure using 18" plywood braced on the inside of the frame to keep the babies contained. I have not decided what to use for the floor of the containment pen to keep the carpet clean though.

    I was mainly worried that the babies would not be able to survive outside as juveniles when the temps start to drop. Now I see that most do just fine without a whole lot of intervention. All the chickens I have seen raised have been older, mature ones. This will be the first time I have tried to raise them from day old hatchlings. For that matter this will be the first time I have actually tried to raise a chicken at all, much less one this size and age.

    Mr. Kitty, the resident inside cat will be a bit P.O. since he will no longer have free run of all the rooms. The brooding room will be off limits for the time being.

    McMurray sent an excellent what to do page with my order confirmation but I will still need help from the experts.
  7. nccatnip

    nccatnip Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    Piedmont area NC
    Suggestion for protecting the carpet: Buy a heavy duty tarp or better yet, a piece of scrap lineoleum, you can get a fairly large piece at Lowe's for around $20. You will have to line it with something as I don't think walking on it would be good for the chicks, too slick. Maybe put it upside down???? But you could use it as a barrier to protect your carpet, hose it off when you are done and roll it up to use again.
    I have not tried this maybe someone else will tell you if this is a good idea.
  8. Johnnyboy922

    Johnnyboy922 In the Brooder

    Jul 31, 2007
    i incubated 6 eggs from my friends farm and 5 hatched. i kept them inside for 3 weeks but this was during summer. make sure as they start to get older your brooder is tall enough otherwise they can easily jump out and make a nonsense mess.

    dont keep them to warm for to long otherwise the transition to the cold will be harsh on them.

    when they are a day old keep the temp in the brooder at about 95 and decrease it about 5-7 degrees a week by raising the heat lamps height. when if gets to room temp get rid of the lamp except for as light and then (i recomend you look for more infor on this part) you can prolly slowly open the window to get them aclimated to the cold temps. if i was doing it id lower it by only 3 degrees a week but dont go by me look for more info. the first part about 95 degrees is right tho
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    To keep your carpet in one piece, I say line the room with plastic of some sort, put linelonium down and make sure never to spill the water! The main problem with chicken brooder floors is a incident of spilled water and then it will smell to high heaven. I actually use a small kidie pool to house them in for the week or so if I choose to keep them inside.
  10. dragonchick

    dragonchick Songster

    Sep 30, 2007
    I had thought about using a scrap piece of linoleum and placing pine shavings on top of it. Newspapers would be placed on top of the pine shavings for a couple days to keep the chicks from eating it but then removed. I have a large room size piece of 6 mil plastic sheeting that I could put down first and then layer the other stuff inside the enclosure.

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