Having nightmares about the baby chickens....

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Having nightmares about the baby chickens....

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    02-06-2011, 03:23 PM
Having nightmares about the baby chickens....

So, I'm one of the leaders of our stable's 4-H horse project. However, my lovely 10 year old daughter decided that she wanted to do a chicken project this year. I agreed, happy that she had motivation to do a project. However, I didn't expect that I would start having nightmares about it!

I suppose I should give you a bit of background. I did not grow up on a farm, although many friends did have chickens and horses, etc. My parents did have a few chickens when I was a teenager but that was it. So this has caused me to launch head-first into any and all information I can find out chicks and chickens. We ordered chicks and they should arrive around the 24th....(15 chicks, all different varieties, all pullets although I've been told not to count on that fact and that there is a good possibility that there will be a rooster in there.)

My daughter convinced my parents to let us building a chicken coop and run at their house....we built the large brooder and have the brooder lamp/red heat bulb/medicated chick starter/feeder/waterer/etc, etc. We have "Raising chickens for dummies"....and I feel like we are prepared....but for some reason, I keep having nightmares about the chickens dying! =-( I'm pretty sure that it's just anxiety over doing something new...but any advice any of you have for a new 'chicken momma' would be appreciated.

P.S.My daughter already has a list of names for the chicks...that I'm expected to remember. Lovely.....
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    02-06-2011, 04:19 PM
Hi there,
Im sure you'll be a wonderful chicken mummy to be ! We have raised chickens from egg to hen no worries, my only piece of advise would be make sure your run is COMPLETELY animal proof and if need be double wire (we recently lost two precious pets to our neighbours dog).

Make sure their brooder is warm enough - that's the first place you'll start to loose them , if they are all huddled together under the light they are too cold , if they are running away from the light and cowering as far away from it as possible , they are too hot. Both of which will kill them. If possible it is best to put the lights at one end so that if they are feeling hot they can move away from them , and if they are cold they can move nearer. We just had ours in the hot water cubard up in the attack with a double headed lamp on them and they do fine up there - but we are in a very warm and humid climate so you may need alittle more.

Chicks are stupid - if you give them an inch they take a mile and kill themselves! , make sure your've put some pebbles in the bottom of their water dish (unless you have a special chick waterer) so that they can stand ontop of them and poke their beaks into the cracks between the pebbles to drink. Otherwise they'll fall in and drown.

What are you bedding them on?? If using sawdust/wood shavings you are better to wait until they are a couple of weeks old and they know what food is otherwise they are likely to try and eat it , which will clog them up and kill them.

When they first arrive you may have to show them what food and water is - just dip their beaks into the food and water and they'll get the idea.

Make sure they have some traction to stand on , not just newspaper - otherwise they are likely to end up with spraddle/splay legs (which can be corrected , but it is a long road for a first time chick mummy) we use a cloth nappy flat for them to stand on , other people use wire (I don't like this as I think it is harsh on little chick feet , also their feet can get stuck in it) other people use straw - the possibilities are endless!)

Chickens like to scratch at food , chicks included - you are best to use a v shaped chicken trough to feed them , or a food dispenser with little compartments along as if it is in a bowl it will get scratched everywhere , and if you have many chicks in the same pen , the bigger ones will squeeze out the little ones , you will have to watch that they don't get pushed off the food. A v shaped feeder removes this problem.

You could put a little rescue remedy (we just put a tiny bit of whisky in ) their water to help calm them down after their travel and help them re coup.

Do sing out if you need any help at all - there are lots of us here with chickens on the brain :) good luck!
    02-06-2011, 08:14 PM
Thanks for all the ideas! I knew about the brooder light...but I didn't know about the rocks! I have some that I can toss in there. I got a waterer that has the smallest trough possible but it would still be enough for the babies to drown themselves in I think.

I was hoping someone would mention bedding! I am planning on using fir shavings but I did read about the no newspaper and splayed legs. I was wondering about those rubber crisscross mat things that you put under kitchen rugs or table place mats so they don't skid. Would that work?

And yes...I have the V-shapes food trough...=-)

I got Purina chick start and grow feed....most people I talked to said it was one of the better ones. In relation to the water and food, do I put that in an area just off where the main part of the light is or does it depend on if the chicks are warm or cold?
    02-06-2011, 08:36 PM
I put our water at the area furthest from the light - just because I don't like drinking warm water - don't actually know if it makes a difference , but our big hens like the cool water over warm water so I figure the chicks are probably the same. Again it is very hot and humid here so cool water helps stop the dehydration and over heating which we really have to watch - especially if they are cooped and not free-ranging.
Also shelter from the sun is important if they are outside (when theyre big)

News paper is great for easy cleaning and I put it underneath the sawdust/shavings I imagine the rubber mat would be fine (never actually seen one like what your talking about , but I imagine it is similar to what I put under our table mats to stop them slipping when my son is eating.

I don't know what purina chick start and grow feed is - not one we have here. I just use generic chick crumble from our feed store which they thrive on - and then change to pullet feed when theyre are older , and finally layers mash for our big girls as well as I feed bran , wheat and oats which they love.

The pine shavings should be fine so long as they are bigger than the chick can eat - it is really sawdust that you have to watch. Once they have established what 'food' is. It dosent take long for them to figure it out.

When ours are a little older we start to introduce other things to eat like ham and apples - cut up into little pieces and mixed into their crumble - they eat it by accident and then think 'oh , that was tasty!' and will eat it next time.

I put the food and water as far apart as possible , other wise food ends up in the water seconds after yourve put it in - just ends up a big mess!

I never give ours alot of food at once (I don't full it up fully in one go) as they poo in it immediately and so instead I feed and water a couple of times a day to keep it clean. It dosent do them any good eating and drinking their own poo.

If you get a splayed leg one (sometimes it happens in transit while there being posted) don't worry as it can be fixed, let us know if it happens and I'll pm you a step by step on how to correct it.

Handle them frequently and they'll be your best mates - ours come running when ever they see my son or I coming, it is nice to hear them clucking at you when ever you come into their sight.

Don't let your daughter handle them without supervision - they damage easily if handled wrong - especially while theyre little, once they get to about 6 weeks theyre pretty robust . But while theyre small their legs are easy to get caught in things and easily broken. Better to be safe than sorry. We have one little guy who had a splayed leg and hip and he spent so much time being handled that now , rather than being outside he still prefers to sit in my sons lap being stroked and eating apple slices out of his hand.

Do let us know if I can be of any help :) Birds and bird rescue is a bit of a hobby for me.
    02-24-2011, 12:49 PM
Hello again!

Well...bright and early at 6:15 am, we got the stork call....

From the post office. =-)

12 happy and healthy baby chicks arrived and are settling into their new home. They all made it just fine and seem to be doing well. The brooder we made is 4ftx4ft and wayyyyyy too big for them right now so we walled off half of it until they are bigger. They seem quite content with their little home. I cleaned off their behinds and dipped their beaks in water when they arrived, got them warmed up and let them be. They found their water and food rather easily. They were a bit sluggish at first but once they got water and food, they perked up a lot!

Enjoy the pics...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg chicks1.jpg (41.8 KB, 612 views)
File Type: jpg chicks2.jpg (45.8 KB, 575 views)
    02-24-2011, 01:04 PM
Full of good information and lots of help for new chickie mamas
    02-24-2011, 01:26 PM
Just a tip: When they are big enough to be in the coop and the run, do be sure that the open areas have a roof. They may not be much for flying, but they can, and will.
My dog, Beauty, who lives with my parents, was let to run loose until the neighbors got so pissed at us and threatened to shoot her because she kept killing their chickens, but then, they let them run loose, all over their yard, in the woods, across the road. They finally built a coop, but it didn't have a roof of any sort on it. Beauty figured out that if she just walked around it, the chickens would get so scared and riled up that they would attempt to fly to safety, and would fly out of the pen, where she would catch them.
    02-24-2011, 01:52 PM
Salila - a few years ago neighbours of my parents had a dog who would do just this to their flock of chickens. He ended up being shot for worrying livestock. It sounds like you need to fence your dog it - I hate people who don't control their dogs - sorry I really really do. It is the most incredibly selfish thing. If your neighbours have cooped their chickens in they have done their bit , and it is not ok to let your dog chase them in their run - the stress could easily kill them even if she does not get her teeth into them.They will also go off the lay. They can become egg bound from stress which is in many cases a death sentence.

A few years ago we had our neighbours dog put down by court order (they failed to see the problem in their dog killing our livestock). They were upset - their dog was their pet , but he was a problem dog and they failed to contain him and so it is what it is - he was put down after several other farming neighbours as well as our selves took them to court over damages and under the dangerous dogs act he was taken by the authorities and disposed of. They also were forced to repay the cost of every lamb/goose/guinea fowl he killed as well as the fencing he tore down.

In recent times I was nice about a problem dog attacking my sons chicks - I was nice about this for various reasons relating to the specific dog and the circumstances around it. But I can honestly tell you that if your dog was doing this -repeatidly coming across the road and onto our property and harassing and killing our livestock - you would not have a dog for long. Your neighbours have been more than nice in warning you to contain her - alot of farming people I know are not.

Bottom line - control your dog or get rid of her. Your whole post just disgusts me im sorry.

Actually , im not sorry - dogs like yours are a blight on the farming community, and do not be suprised when you find a dead dog on your door step. I wont be.
    02-24-2011, 01:56 PM
Yeah, she's been on a chain most of her life by now. Even if we were to let her loose now, I don't think she could kill them anymore; she's so old now that she's deaf and has a hard time walking. :( She only got a few of their chickens before we paid them for their losses and tied her up, but they didn't do the courtesy of doing the same of their dog, who then proceeded to terrorize and steal my barn cats, strew our trash all over our yard, and poop on the front porch. No kidding.
    02-24-2011, 02:02 PM
Your nicer than me

Friends of ours have a good system - their fenceline has a electric wire that runs around it. Their dog has a collar on that when she strays off the property (past this wire) her collar zapps her. She only ever did it twice before she learnt that it was better to stay inside. It has a remote control that they can press the button if she is worrying the livestock. Again , she only ever did it twice before she learnt if she behaved herself life was peachy

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