Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Care & Keeping of Newborn Chicks

Our Chicken Coop
With the chicks hatching anytime this weekend I have begun to research how we can keep them comfortable and happy their first few weeks here in this world. Here is a little bit of what I have found out, what we have done and what the farmer suggests. Enjoy!

Chicks spend 21 days in the incubator. Ducks spend about 28 days. 


Before they're born- Prepare:

  • Get a brooder box. You can do like us and find a box or container or buy one in the stores. 
  • Get bedding. Now I don't mean getting a pillow or anything crazy like that. Just get some wood shavings and put in there. Wood Shavings can be bought at like pet stores or somewhere like Tractor Supply.
  • Food is a must for a growing baby! So buy chick starter to start them out on. For ducks it's a little different. You have to add Niacin into their diet so they will have strong leg muscles to hold themselves up. 
  • Temperature. You need to have a thermometer and a heat lamp. Between 35 degrees Celsius and 27 degrees Celsius is the perfect temp for their initial growth and development. 
  • Water. Our babies need plenty of water for their health so keep it coming and keep it clean! 

The First Days & Weeks:

  • Watch the chicks behavior. If the babies are eating, sleeping and pooping then they're normal. Watch for anything that seems odd. 
  • You can hold them! The Farmer used to get onto me for wanting to snuggle them but actually, you can hold them and it helps them socialize! BUT don't keep the out of the brooder too long to the point that they're cold and also, don't hold them too tightly or be rough with them. 
  • Let them stretch their legs. If you have a bunch of babies, give them a bigger area to run around like maybe a small pen with enough room for everybody to roam around and play. 

At Three Weeks:

  • Field Trip! Let the babies go outside and with you watchign them closely, let them walk around and introduce themselves to the great outdoors! But be sure to bring them back in after a fun day of playing! 

At Six to Eight Weeks:

  • Your babies are ready to graduate to their new home! The coop! Our babies will be headed too their little coop then once they're fully grown they can move to the "Hen House" as we will call it. 

While doing my research I found a few interesting things in forums and stuff. Here's my findings:

  • If in the brooder they will pile one on top of the other -- actually this can lead to suffocating the ones on the bottom, in the extreme case.  When too hot, yes, they will pant with open mouth -- they also hold their wings a little away from their body, as if airing out their "armpits."
  • Try to minimize any touch to your chicks on the first few days of arrival, as hard as it may be. This is because your chicks are in a completely new environment, and they should first get used to their surroundings before human contact.

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