What to look for and what to avoid when buying baby chicks from a farm

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by likkatron, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. likkatron

    likkatron Out Of The Brooder

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    So I'll be going to a farm Sunday the 11th, and I already have my breeds and the money I'll need selected. I have the feed, the box, the waterer and feeder, just need the pine shavings and the chicks! BUT.. there's one problem. I can't afford to deal with sick chicks/potentially future sick chicks. I've been nonstop researching, so I know what not and what to do with caring for them, but I just can't find a good article on how to pick the healthy chicks, and how to spot the not so healthy chicks.
    It would also be nice to know how to tell if the chick will be friendly if that's possible, and how to check if the chick is a boy or girl.
    I know it's called vent checking, and checking the wing feathers but I want to know how to do it, how to hold the chick, etc.
    Advice on chick caring would be helpful as well, and how to handle them on the ride home.
    (4-5 hour ride home, going out of my way for these rare breeds! and during a packer game straight through green bay too yeesh)

    The breeds I'm taking home incase specific problems/mutations for breeds are an issue:
    Ameraucana
    Blue Splash Maran
    Blue Double Laced Barnevelder
    Buff Brahmas
    Salmon Faverolles
    Black Copper Maran
     
  2. Zinniah

    Zinniah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do not think you can do the vent checking. Hatcheries have to pay a lot to hire professionals to do it. Vent checking literally pushes out the sex organ, and the organ can look very different from chick to chick. Its hard to do and for obvious reasons can be dangerous. Try at your own risk, you could accidentally kill one or injure it.
    You should check their bottoms, get ones that do not have any feces built up there. Of course it can be washed away but it is better to get chicks that don't have a pasty bottom. They should be dry, fluffy, and clean. Make sure they can walk and run around, they should be chirping. Get ones that you see are eating and drinking well, and being the most active. Get the bigger ones as well. For the ride home you should have a big enough sized box or carrier with bedding in it so they can keep warm, you don't want the box to be to big, you just want it so they aren't squashed together. You can also bring hot water bottles and wrap them in a towel so they can huddle there if they get cold. You could even bring some chick crumbles and water for them to drink.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  3. likkatron

    likkatron Out Of The Brooder

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    Should I give spreading the wings a try and looking at the feather length of it? We cant afford to waste money on a flock of roosters really.
     
  4. Zinniah

    Zinniah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, i would, no harm done there. I don't know if its accurate at all, but might as well give it a go. I think the way it goes is that the boys will have a lot less, if any wing feathers vs girls who would have wing feathers. They would have to be near the same age as well. Good luck likkatron, pick some good ones!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  5. Talithahorse

    Talithahorse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With all due respect, if you bring home even the healthiest of chicks you will eventually end up dealing with illness, and injury. That being said having a well stocked first aid kit, researching and know the most common injuries and illnesses can help you plan ahead and be prepared. Many cannot afford expensive trips to the vet and if that is the case you must be prepared to handle the situation as fits your morals and beliefs.

    That saying, the fact that you are traveling to the farm and have prepared for their needs ahead of time says something about your willingness to do what is best for your new baby chicks. To limit the possibilities of illness and loss, bring them home in a box just big enough with supplemental heat if it is to be a long haul and cold as Zinniah suggested. Once you get them home, settle them in and let them rest. You might consider (if your budget will allow) buying some electrolytes (usually only a couple of dollars), or investing in a bottle of nutridrench (about $8-10 around here). This will give your chicks a little boost and help their immune system as they go through the stress of moving. Good healthy chicks usually do well through the process.

    Good luck with your new chicks, they are lots of fun!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Frankie Ruiz

    Frankie Ruiz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wing sexing won't work unless a male with slow feathering genes is bred with a female of fast feathering genes. Hatcheries specifically choose their stock so they can do this. You won't be able to at a breeder. The wing sexing won't be accurate. In all honesty if you are worried about the roosters I would just go with auto sexing breeds because with the breeds you mentioned you are going to be paying a pretty penny and will be buying straight run so you will definitely get roosters
     
  7. likkatron

    likkatron Out Of The Brooder

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    I can afford things like that, just not big vet bills like you mentioned. I plan on treating my chickens like royalty as much as possible. :)
     
  8. likkatron

    likkatron Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm fine with one rooster, but more than that and it's trouble, for my pocket (since they'll have to eventually be given away/sold/culled), and for the girls. I'm too far into the process to turn around, and too attached to the breeds, if I get roosters I get roosters, and I'll just wait till next year and try again. I'll still give wing sexing a try as a guesstimate and hope for the best.
     
  9. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To substantially reduce the risk of disease, be sure you're buying chicks from a farm or breeder that is NPIP certified.

    Rooster are SUCH a pain to deal with that I'd highly recommend purchasing these breeds from a hatchery that will sex them for you. You won't be able to sex any of the breeds you've listed. The sexing accuracy at hatcheries is around 90% and most of these breeds would be readily available in the spring. Nobody seems to want cockerels and they will harass the pullets unless you separate them.
     
  10. likkatron

    likkatron Out Of The Brooder

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    We've built our own coop that is designed for 48 sq ft that can be divided in the middle for cockerels until they can be dealt with. Still working on the run, but well either have it built in or make it so that it can easily separate chicks, and both sides can have a chicken walk. This fall ill give these chickies a try, and I'll probably end up buying more pullers from hatcheries. It's also an option to get slight older chicks that she can sex, but who knows.
    Would you recommend feeding them anything besides their feed and some electrolytes?
     

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