WHAT TO DO

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kristen84, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. kristen84

    kristen84 In the Brooder

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    So I just got 4 baby chicks, about 3 weeks old. Do I need to handle them? Can I feed them treats from the kitchen yet? Do I need to let them in the backyard or can they stay in the bin until I put them in the coop?

    Can rabbits and chicken share a coop?

    On another note, what's the best way to introduce my dog to these little guys?
     
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  2. Lovechickens!

    Lovechickens! Songster

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    hi
    you can handle them just not to much because you can stress them out.
    don't give them any thing from the kitchen yet until they are a little bit older.

    as for sharing coops with rabbits and chickens I have no experience with that.

    show your dog the chicks everyday. just be careful because some dogs like to play with new things. (I have had experience with that sadly)

    GOD BLESS ALL AND TAKE CARE
     
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  3. kristen84

    kristen84 In the Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2017
    marysville, wa
    Ok. Thanks. Do I need to bath them or anything? They are losing their baby fluff and their feathers look bare near the skin side. Is that normal?
     
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  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Do not bathe them unless you absolutely MUST (i.e. a chick gets into some sort of sticky substance or chemical) - chicks can get chilled very easily or inhale water from a bath and drown. As they grow they'll go through an awkward teen phase where feathers are trying to grow in and just look a little weird and sparse. That's completely normal.

    As for the other questions:
    Do I need to handle them? That's up to you, if you want friendlier chicks yes you should handle them. Even if you don't need them to be pets it's easier to care for chickens who aren't running away from you all the time.

    Can I feed them treats from the kitchen yet?
    You can if you want. I didn't give my chicks much in the way of treats, only a few mealworms when I was handling them. You do want to give them grit (if you haven't done so) if you plan on giving them treats.

    Do I need to let them in the backyard or can they stay in the bin until I put them in the coop? Depends on your temperatures. At 3 weeks they're starting to feather in but if it's too cold/wet I would not take them out yet if they've been raised inside the whole time. If you are going to take them out I suggest putting them inside some sort of enclosure just to keep them out of trouble, and to make it easier to round them up to bring them back in.

    On another note, what's the best way to introduce my dog to these little guys? What kind of dog and how well trained is it? I don't believe dogs and chickens should mix without a lot of training and a lot of precautions. My dog would definitely want to eat my chickens so I would never let them meet without a fence in the middle. If the dogs are out, my chickens are locked up, if the chickens are out, the dogs are inside the house.

    Even if the dog doesn't want to eat them it will probably give the chicks a good fright.
     
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  5. kristen84

    kristen84 In the Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2017
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    Thank you, this website is so helpful. Their feathers looked sparse like you said. Ok. I have a 5 month old husky. I don't plan on them playing together but I want them to be familiar that they're around, so hopefully when they get older they don't freak each other out too much. I would like them to be friendlier, I'm raising them for eggs and plan to keep them, if they're girls, for a few years.
    I might get some meals worms for them, and I heard oyster shells for grit.
     
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    With chickens it's usually not a case of "need to" but more of a "can if you wish". There are exceptions of course, but not with the stuff yo are asking. There are all kinds of different ways to do the things you are talking about.

    So I just got 4 baby chicks, about 3 weeks old. Do I need to handle them?

    What are your goals? If you want them to be pets you probably should start now, though others achieve that with chicks a lot older. The main ingredients for that is food and patience, but a calm demeanor helps too. If you are OK with them not climbing into your lap or riding on your shoulders it still helps to get them used to you but it's not as critical.

    Can I feed them treats from the kitchen yet?

    A broody hen feeds her chicks all kinds of treats shortly after she takes them off the nest so of course you can. But usually before that she takes them somewhere that they can eat some grit. That's usually a bare spot where they can peck at the ground. You probably already know this but they use small rocks in their gizzards to grind up food that needs to be ground. If you are in the US we call this grit. In the UK or some other places this is called insoluble grit. Soluble grit is oyster shell and you do not want to use that for chicks. If you modify your profile to show your general location that can help us with several questions.

    Do I need to let them in the backyard or can they stay in the bin until I put them in the coop?

    An excellent plan! This gives them access to grit and helps them get acclimated to the weather. They feather out faster and may get started on certain immunities in your environment they might need later. Again it would help some to know your weather but I've seen a broody hen take her chicks out to eat in temperatures below freezing. They run around a lot more than people would expect and them go back to Mama to warm up. You need to be there to monitor them and Rose's idea of a pen to make them easy to capture is a great idea.

    Can rabbits and chicken share a coop?

    I don't have any experience with this but some people on here do. Their needs are going to be a little different so it may depend on how the coop is set up. Sometimes they get along and sometimes they don't. I've seen some set-ups where they share a run but have separate coops. It may be a trial and error thing to see what works for you. I think there is a rabbit section to this forum, you might try asking in there.

    On another note, what's the best way to introduce my dog to these little guys

    My brooder is in the coop. The way we trained the dogs was to regularly take them on a leash to the coop and let them sniff the chicks through the brooder wire sides. We did this as lot. Then when the chicks were let outside I made sure I was outside when the dogs and chickens initially met, they shared territory. The dogs had been trained that "no" meant no. I was kind of verbally abusive to the dogs a few times, especially one of them. One time I smacked that one across the rump with my hat to emphasize "no". Your biggest risk is usually when the chickens run from the dogs, that can trigger a prey drive. I managed to get them to the point where they could share territory but it took effort.

    Huskies are known to have a strong prey driven so yours may be a bit challenging. But if you can get him to accept them as part of his pack they might get along well or maybe he will just ignore them. So start introducing them as soon as you can but under controlled conditions. Don't trust him for quite a while.
     
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  7. Dayrel

    Dayrel Songster

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    Meal worms and other items are fine for treats (<10% of diet). Oyster shell is not grit. Oyster shell is basically calcium which is fine as a side dish for laying hens only who will voluntarily peck at it to supplement for egg production. Excess calcium for other birds that don't need it will have negative effects.

    Grit is undigestible small rocks (commercial bags are generally pulverized granite). Chickens don't have teeth to help break up food, so they use grit and their gizzard to break up things like mealworms (basically almost everything except pellets which is already ground up).

    You might benefit from watching this short video about the chicken digestive system:
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
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  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Others have explained the difference between oyster shell and grit, so make sure you get the correct one for your chicks! Chicks take a small grit usually labeled chick grit, about the size of sand, as they get older you want to scale them up to adult sized grit which would be about the size of a kernel of corn.

    Regarding the dog - I have a husky mix. Because huskies have a very high prey drive (mine gifted me with a freshly chewed mole the other day) I will never allow my dog to interact with my chickens. She spent a year barking at them through the fence, trying to make them fly. Nowadays she mostly ignores my chickens, but that doesn't mean she wouldn't jump on them if given the opportunity.
     
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