Requesting advice on raising baby chicks

happy_fl_gardenerDecember 4, 2010

I have 16 chicks that are now about 5-6 weeks old. When can I feed them greens from the veggie garden? And, when should I give them some purchased grit?

The chicks are in a 2'x3' brooder cage---unfortunately in my living room. They are getting crowded in there. I need to step them up to something larger. Any ideas??? They aren't feathered out enough to put them outside. I can put them in my attached garage but what kind of enclosure should my husband and I make for them?

The chicks are growing so fast that I am having "nightmares" that they will be squished together without any elbow room.

We also have 13 two year old chickens in a 10'x10' coop with a 10'x16' run that are still producing eggs, but not as much as last year, of course. We were given these chickens just before egg laying age so I am unfamiliar with raising chick from just a few days old. Thanks in advance for any information you can be provide. It is much appreciated.


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Naomi Miller

Hi Christine, I am surprised that at 5-6 weeks, the chicks are not feathered enough to be outside. In my zone 7 weather, I would not but I see you are in Florida.... I can relate with the issue of trying to keep up with growth and space issues, lol.....I have hatched over 80 chicks this summer and I currently have 26 in my office, all under 5 weeks. I use various sized aquariums to step them up to a final indoor stage and often I have used a child's wading pool with a surround of cardboard with a chicken wire cover to keep them from flying out..... and yes, in my house, lol..... with 16, depending on breed, you may need two of these....I keep a couple on hand just for this purpose and with standard breeds at the age of yours, I can house 8-9 chicks to about 10 weeks of age in this set up.

As far as grit, I normally do not offer this as long as they are on a starter ration.... and I keep them on starter for about 5-6 months.... my chickens free range so I do not have to offer grit once they are outside... as for the greens, I offer my chicks treats of greens and mealworms at a very young age but only as a treat so that I know they get their primary nutrition from their starter ration.

Good luck and let us know what you come up with..

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 3:46AM
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My husband built a brooder about 5' long 2' wide we had the heat lamp and all the lid lifted up.It was nice the sides were wood,top was wood wire.They did fine in there,kept the litter clean,water,food.
One note I tried in the house I got very sick,not good soon as we got them in barn I was fine.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 11:01PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I've got a chicken info site with loads of stuff here that might help:

Enjoy your chicks! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 4:44AM
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hartzlink --- I looked for a wading pool today but that's not going to be possible until the stores restock in late winter. Using a wading pool sounds like a very good idea. What do you use for bedding? The chicks are now at the age where they shred up the newspaper that I put down.

bulldinkie --- Yeah, I wish that my brooder was as large as yours...or I shouldn't have bought so many chicks! You know, it's funny that you mentioned that you got sick because I vomited for about 3 hours last night with no other symptoms of being sick. The thought of becoming sick from cleaning out the brooder cage twice a day did enter my mind.

velvet sparrow --- Thank's for your website address. I surely will read it. I do enjoy these little chicks. They are so cute!


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 11:06PM
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