Excellence Remembered Trust Inspired Since 1982

 New Chick Care

Now the chicks have hatched, they spend 24 hours or so in the hatcher, getting their "sea legs". My brooders are about as fancy as my candler - (I use Rubbermaid tubs ) bought at Walmart with a light suspended over them. Each chick is taken from their pedigree basket, banded with a numbered plastic bandette, and the number and pedigree info is written down for my records. Newly hatched chicks are brought into the house for the first few days. I line the bottom of the brooder with rubber shelf liner that is open-weaved (also a Walmart purchase) and I really like it because it provides a firm footing that helps with any leg or toe issues, and is easily washed and re-used. One roll provides me with enough to line 3 of my smaller brooders. The first few days, I watch each chick carefully to make sure that they are eating, drinking, that their crop is full, they are pooping normally, and acting normally. In the house, I use a 100 watt regular bulb suspended over the open top brooder and chick sounds are the best gauge for whether they are comfortable. Comfy chicks make the sweetest little sounds, almost like they are talking to each other. Chicks that are too warm will pant, sleep more than normal, stand with their wings out and just look miserable. Too cold chicks will cry plaintively. I raise the light about 3 inches after a day or so. For the first day, I sprinkle chick starter on the bottom of the brooder to encourage them to eat. I also add several teaspoons of sugar to the first waterer. I feed medicated chick starter only for the first 2 days, on the third day, I mash up a hard boiled egg, grind a carrot or two up in the food processor, add a couple of drops of olive or vegetable oil, and add chick starter to that. The recipe is not mine, it came from another successful silkie breeder, and it helps keep the chicks from getting pasty butts. It also seems to really help chicks that aren't thriving. Once in awhile, a chick is just smaller than the rest of the group and doesn't seem as strong. I've found that all the chicks love this meal and it seems to help those weak guys catch up. I alternate regular chick starter with the egg/carrot/starter mix every other day or so. I put their feed in a jar lid so it is low and easy for them to find and eat. After 4 days or so in the house, the chicks are moved to the silkie building and a larger Rubbermaid tub that is filled with shavings. They also graduate to a chick feeder and their waterer is raised on a piece of wood to keep it clean. Their light is provided by a suspended 250 watt heat bulb in a ceramic fixture with a metal surround and a protective shield. It is suspended over one end of the brooder tub, so that the chicks learn to go to the heat for sleeping, but can move to a cooler spot if they get too warm or as they feather out. I keep them in this brooder for 2 weeks, then they graduate to the chick pen. The chick pen is a run that measures 8 by 5 feet, it has a heat light for the younger chicks, and plenty of room for the others. It has an automatic waterer as well as a standard waterer that is raised on wood. Feed is now in a hanging feeder. There are chicks of all ages in this pen, and they stay there until it is warm enough to move them outside. This is the method that has worked best for us, but remember that we live in N TX, where it rarely gets super cold, and my building is an old store, that is well insulated and doesn't get much below 50 degrees.   ©2005-2008 Fawkes' Feather Silkies All rights reserved http://www.silkiechickens.com/new_chick_care.htm
© Amber Waves 2015 - Amber Waves Silkies - All Rights Reserved Liability |  Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions