1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Official TEG Poll: What is your garden style?
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  3. Meet Pearl, New Horse - Discussion Thread
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  4. TEG Picture of the Week (POW) - Submit your Pics Now !!
    Click HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice

1st Time Raising Baby Chicks

Discussion in 'Gardening With Animals' started by Nyboy, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Nov 3, 2018
    Nyboy

    Nyboy Garden Master

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    21,067
    Likes Received:
    15,783
    Trophy Points:
    437
    Location:
    White Plains NY,weekends Lagrange NY.
    While I had a small flock of chickens before I always bought adults. Chicks seemed so fragile needing prefect tempter, having to be shown where water and food is. Feather lover farms sent me a email my chicks will be sent next week. I want to make sure I have everything I need. I have a 50 gallon glass fish tank I will use for brooder ( know it we be 100% draft free ) it has a screen top, I have heat lamp with new bulb plus extra bulb for back up. I will be picking up this weekend pine shaving for brooder and chick starter Does it have to be medicated ? Will also be picking up shallow bowls for water and food. Am I forgetting anything ? Any tips ?
     
    RUNuts likes this.
  2. Nov 3, 2018
    seedcorn

    seedcorn Garden Master

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    7,226
    Likes Received:
    4,858
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Location:
    NE IN
    Inside an aquarium, watch heat. How many chicks?

    I’d use newspaper (or paper towels) for floor. Easy to dispose of as you clean their aquarium daily.

    I use to buy commercial that may or may not have it-didn’t worry either way. I’ve also used layer feed-not recommended but will work as wife (who says she hated chickens) fed the treats. They will get all they need. Disease in your set up should never happen.
     
    Nyboy likes this.
  3. Nov 3, 2018
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    6,073
    Likes Received:
    3,964
    Trophy Points:
    367
    Location:
    Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
    How old will they be? Just hatched or a few weeks old? That tank is probably about 36" x 15", somewhere in that range. How many chicks are you getting, 4 or 6. I forgot? That is plenty big enough either way. Where are you putting it, somewhere it is climate controlled or somewhere you can have wild temperature swings? I raised mine outside where it sometimes went from below freezing to in the 70's in a day and a half. It can be done but in a climate controlled area is easier.

    Too much heat can be as dangerous as too little if not more so. My ideal brooder has one spot that is warm enough in the coolest conditions and cool enough in the warmest conditions. I find that straight out of the incubator chicks are really good at self-regulating their heat if you give them the option. Some mornings my 3' x 6' brooder might have ice on one end but the chicks would be on the toasty end. When it was warmer they might be halfway down the brooder away from the heat where it was cooler.

    How warm is warm enough and how cool is cool enough? There are formulas out there to calculate heat, a typical one might start with 90, 95, or even 100 degrees the first week and drop it 5 degrees each week after. That's a very safe guideline for your warmest spot that will keep you out of trouble but they can typically handle cooler. I find the first two or three days they spend most of their time under a broody hen or in a warm spot. After that they go exploring a lot, even if it is pretty cool. They go back to that warm spot when they need to warm up. How cool is cool enough? Broody hens can raise chicks in really warm weather or even if there is snow on the ground. You have a big window that can work. If you are in your house air temperature would be about right. The main thing is that they can get away from the heat if it gets too warm.

    Your chicks will tell you if it is too hot or too cold. I trust them more than any thermometer. If they are as far from that heat source as they can get and maybe panting, they are too hot. If they are crowded under the heat and giving a really pitiful plaintive cheep they are too cold. If they are kind of spread out you nailed it. At night they tend to sleep in a group in a warm spot, that's more for the comfort of sleeping with their buddies than because they are cold. Don't let that fool you into thinking they are too cold.

    There are different ways you can provide that warm spot. I'll assume you are inside. The bulb you got with your heat lamp is probably a 250 watt, that's probably too warm. You might only need a 75 or 125 watt. You don't want to turn that entire aquarium into an oven. Other than the wattage of the bulb a way to control heat in the brooder is height above the chicks. That may be a little challenging inside those glass walls. If it gets too hot in the entire area you can maybe hang it over the end so some of the heat goes in and some goes outside the brooder.

    If you use a heat lamp throw away the clamp that came with it so you are not tempted to use it. Use wire (not fiber or plastic string that can burn or melt) and firmly attach it so you, your dogs, or that ghost that's decorating your wall cannot possibly knock it over. Then use a second wire and do it again. I think that clamp is responsible for a significant number of the fires you can get with a heat lamp. I used heat lamps in my outside brooder and had no more worries about it starting a fire than anything i would run electricity to but I was very careful.

    There are several other ways to provide that warm spot. They come with their own risks and benefits. Heating pad caves are real popular over on the chicken forum. If I were raising a handful of chicks inside my house I'd probably use a heat plate, Brinsea sells a popular model. I'd look on Amazon instead of Craigslist. It's basically a raised heating plate that they can get under. I've never used one but they seem so simple.

    I'll write some more chapters on your other questions soon. I know I can make it sound complicated but it really isn't.
     
    RUNuts, baymule and Nyboy like this.
  4. Nov 3, 2018
    catjac1975

    catjac1975 Garden Master

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Messages:
    7,618
    Likes Received:
    5,745
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Location:
    Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
    I use a big plastic tub. I hang a light bulb towards one end of the tub using a hanger and duck tape to secure it. I lay the cover on so there is a large air escape. The chicks will stay as close to the bulb as they need self regulating the temp. If they lay in a heap it is too cold. If they are far from the heat lamp it means it is too hot.Of course everything must be very secure so you do not have the bulb cause a fire. We use medicated feed for the first bag of feed. I would never get chicks at this time of the year however. Make sure the water and food feeder are for chicks so they don't spill. Where are they going after they get bigger? The green top might have to be partially blocked off.
     
    Nyboy and Ridgerunner like this.
  5. Nov 3, 2018
    ninnymary

    ninnymary Garden Master

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    10,778
    Likes Received:
    7,886
    Trophy Points:
    397
    Location:
    San Francisco East Bay
    I've done numerous chicks starting but I didn't do anything fancy. I used a cardboard box with chicken wire on top. I used a regular table lamp without the shade and had half of the box covered with a towel. I used shavings and changed the box every morning and evening. To make it easier I had a fresh empty box already prepared where I would put the chicks in to clean the other box. Never lost a chick. But my house is pretty temperature regulated 24/7.

    Mary
     
    Nyboy and Ridgerunner like this.
  6. Nov 3, 2018
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    6,073
    Likes Received:
    3,964
    Trophy Points:
    367
    Location:
    Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
    Medicated Feed

    What medicine is in your medicated feed? With the vast majority of the medicated feed sold in the US the medicine is Amprolium so I will assume that is what you are talking about. Check the label, if it is something else none of this applies.

    Amprolium is not an antibiotic. It is a thiamine blocker that interferes with the reproduction of the Protozoa that caused Coccidiosis. In the dosage in medicated feed it does not cure anything or have an effect on anything other than the ability of that protozoa to reproduce.

    The problem with that protozoa is not that it is present, the problem comes in when the number of that protozoa gets out of control. There are several different strains of protozoa that causes Coccidiosis, they affect different parts of the digestive system so some are more dangerous than others. If the numbers get large enough they can cause severe illness and often outright kill the bird. The chicken does not always poop blood when it is infected, it depends on what part of the digestive track is affected.

    The general reproductive cycle is that the protozoa gives off spores called oocysts that can pass out the rear end of a chicken. In warm damp soil with manure in it the oocysts develops to a point that if it is ingested by a chicken it will develop in the gut and repeat the cycle. To interrupt this reproductive cycle you need to keep the brooder pretty dry and don't let the poop build up. Also keep the water clean. Chicks can poop in water and those oocysts can develop in there. It takes a couple of days for those oocysts to develop so make sure you change water at least every other day. For other reasons daily is even better.

    If the chicks are exposed to small amounts of that protozoa for two to three weeks constant, they develop an immunity to that specific strain. They do not get immunity to any other strain of that bug, just the one they are exposed to. That's one of the reasons I feed dirt from my run to the chicks in the brooder, starting about the second or third day in the brooder. I keep my brooder really dry so I have to give them more dirt every few days to keep that exposure constant to strengthen their immune system.

    The medicated feed does not give them any immunity since it does not have any of those protozoa in it. The dosage is low enough that they will gain immunity if they are are constantly exposed. A fairly common occurrence over on the chicken forum is that someone feeds them medicated feed while they are in the brooder and have never been exposed to that protozoa so they have not developed an immunity. Then when they hit the ground and are exposed to it they stop the medicated feed, the chicks come down with Coccidiosis, and they rant that the medicated feed did not work. The medicated feed worked fine, it just wasn't used right.

    I never used medicated feed, I kept the brooder dry enough that I did not have to. I fed them dirt from the run so they had immunity when they hit the ground. My chicks raised by a broody hen get that exposure automatically. I had a problem with Coccidiosis once with broody raised chicks when the weather set in wet for weeks just as they hatched. Those ooccysts thrived in that wet run. I could have used medicated feed then if I had suspected.

    I see nothing wrong with medicated feed. I don't think it does any harm at all. If used right it can do some good.
     
    baymule and Nyboy like this.
  7. Nov 3, 2018
    murphysranch

    murphysranch Garden Addicted

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    1,317
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Nyboy likes this.
  8. Nov 3, 2018
    murphysranch

    murphysranch Garden Addicted

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    1,317
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    The Co-op recommended wood stove pellets. That was nice, but as they got older, OH MY GOSH the dust as the pellets broke down from their scratching!
     
    Nyboy and Ridgerunner like this.
  9. Nov 3, 2018
    murphysranch

    murphysranch Garden Addicted

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    1,317
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    I got my chicks in late October and they didn't go out to the coop until months later when they had lots of feathers!
     
    Nyboy likes this.
  10. Nov 3, 2018
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    6,073
    Likes Received:
    3,964
    Trophy Points:
    367
    Location:
    Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
    There are different ways to water your chicks. I never used them but some people really love a nipple waterer system. From what I've read the horizontal nipples don;t leak as often as the vertical ones but that may depend in quality or how they were installed. I don't know how to train them to use them either. I think for the most part they train themselves.

    This photo shows a very common type. It also shows why my brooder stays so dry, I raise them on wire. This type of waterer has to be really level or the water will drain out. It relies on the water forming a seal at the bottom so a vacuum is created inside the jar. It only lets water out when the water level where they are drinking drops enough to let a little air in that hole. There are some issues with this type of waterer. As you can see, they can poop in the water where they drink so you need to change it out at least every two days, daily is better. When the chicks get bigger they can knock it over when they are playing in the brooder. That's why I rigged up that wire to keep it upright. I used a hinged wire when it was in a corner. You might come up with something velcro, you have an active imagination. Or you may find that not necessary. Another issue in most brooders is that chicks scratch. They will scratch bedding or whatever you have on the floor into the water. You can build a platform above the bedding to minimize this. See the next photo.

    Chick Waterer.JPG

    I finally went to the system you see below. I used this in my brooder, grow-out coop, and even with the adults. I cut a hole in a piece of plywood and built it up on 2x4's to raise it above the floor so they don't scratch nearly as much trash in it. Set down inside like this it does not turn over when larger chickens perch on the rim. To keep baby chicks from drowning I put rocks in it. If you feel like you have to buy something you can buy marbles or maybe some of those cute rocks they sell at souvenir shops. Over on the chicken forum I was told I don't love my chicks because I used free rocks instead of buying something. The chicks will walk on whatever you put in there and poop so again regularly change it out. Fresh water is important.

    Grow out Water.JPG

    When I first put my chicks in the brooder I hold them in my hand individually and dip their beak in the water. Don't drown them, just the tip of the beak is enough. That shows them where the water is. Most seem to learn from that. The ones that don't will earn by watching the others.
     
    baymule and Nyboy like this.

Share This Page