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Old Tack Box, Tripod and My Grandmothers Quilt Rack

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Ok you are probaly wondering why that is a strange title... Well sit a spell and I will explain.
I went into the feed store on Friday to get hay, and heard the peeps coming from the back room. Every year Billy and I look forward to the baby chicks coming in and spend time back there. We have never bought any, as I thought raising baby chicks are beyond my scope of chicken knowlage.
Well I rounded the corner and there were two big tanks filled one with ducks and one with Chickens... Oh the sight of them were awesome. Black, Yellow and Tan colors all running around peeping... I could not resist the temptation to pick up one. (Billy was not with me so I reached in)..

Well 10 minutes later after much debate, I had picked out 6 of the fuzzy brown with black trims...
They did not have any chick starter for sale, so they gave me some in a bad and said this should get me thru until they got their shipment. WRONG.... More on that to come.

With my hay loaded and the chickens in a box on the floorboard of the truck, I went to get Billy from school. OHH the look on that boys face when he saw the chickens was worth it. He gently petted each one and showed all his friends.

So I am driving home and it occurs to me where am I going to Put these little friends, what will it take?
I walked in the tack room and found an old tub I used for storage, pulled out all the tack and thought that might do for a while. I went out and cut a peice of old fencing and put on top to keep cats and dogs out. Put the Tripod from my Camera to weight it down so they could not lift it and fashioned my Grandmothers Quilt Rack so I could suspend a heat lamp over the top of it to keep warm. This contraption resides in the corner of my bedroom.


OK this is where I need some advise.
1) I am running really low on chicken starter and they have not gotten the shipment in yet, what can I give them?
2) I got a 250 watt heat lamp bulb, but am wondering if it is too hot for them during the day? There is a cover over half of the box that the light is not directly on them. Could I have not used a regular bulb when this heat bulb burns out?
3) is the tack box alright for them to move around?
4) how long do I keep them in the house?

Thumbnail by MissJestr
Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

My new friends

Thumbnail by MissJestr
Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Stripes

Thumbnail by MissJestr
Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Heres looking at you

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Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

You can chop up cooked eggs, or mash them into a sort of paste, and feed them that temporarily. You could also make a mushy oatmeal mixture (not dry oatmeal) and they can eat that.

If the 250 watt bulb is too hot for them, they will hang out at the other end of the box. Watch for them doing that. If they stay in the "cool" end, you know it's too hot. They should be around 90 degrees now, and then drop by 5 degrees each week. I keep mine in the house and after about 8 weeks, no more heat lamp. Our house is at 62 degrees overnight.

Tack box looks fine.

I keep mine in the house until they are fully feathered and able to stay warm outside on their own. Here, that wouldn't be until April. Where you are, it is probably sooner than that. I would still give them 3 or 4 weeks indoors, since they don't have a mom to cuddle them at night. Others in your zone may be able to offer more help in that regard.

And BTW, they are adorable!!

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

How about Corn Meal? or the Maze they sell at the store, isnt that ground up corn?

Ferndale, WA

Hey Miss Jester: Back in November I hatched two new babies and like you could find no Chick Starter due to the time of the year. I took a jar of regular chick crumbles and put them in our vitamix and ground them up. They have been on that every since, with no additional vitamins. They are healthy, large and full of vigor. In one more month they will be ready to be with the rest of the flock. Hay.

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Cool I will see if they have that, I only have a bag of laying crumbles left over from my girls.. never threw it out and it is not molded or anything.

Bridgewater, ME

TRY YOUR WALMART,MINE SELLS CHICK CRUMBLE UNTILL YOU CAN GET WHAT YOU WANT.WHEN I GOT MY CHICKS LAST SPRING I GOT MEDITCATED CHICK FEED BECAUSE THAT WAS WHAT THEY RECAMENTIED.

Bridgewater, ME

i forgot to mention it is in the dog and cat food section of walmart here

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

I think the protein level in layer crumbles is too high for the chicks and will be likely to cause them kidney problems.

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Is scratch the same as chick crumble?

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

No, scratch is seeds and cracked corn mixed together. Crumble is different.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Chicks need 18 to 20% protein feed, scratch has about 8% protein.

If you can get layer crumbles at that % of protein level, they could have that.

I can't remember what causes the kidney problems and I can't find it now....I think it must have been something else I was looking at. For chicks, high protein is needed for good growth.

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Oh CMoxen you are my Chicken Hero...

I do think with help from my chicken friends, Billy and I will be having chickens running around the yard, and he will have his chores back to do. Water and feed chickens and hopefully gather eggs...

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

MissJestr, those are adorable babies!!! I know Billy is in heaven!
I have seen laying crumbles at 16, 18, and 20 %.
How long before they get the chick starter in? My walmart does not have anything for chickens. I am jealous!!!

Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

It's hard to resist those lil peeps! Your babies are adorable. Did the feed store say what type they are?
Wow that was bad planning on the feedstore! You'd think since the chicks were coming in they'd been stocked up on the starter. Hope they get it in soon for you. Do you have a TSC nearby? We've picked up feed there before too.

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

I went to Wal Mart yesterday, and found chick starter at 18% protein. It is the Medicated like Green 04735 said. I looked at the other feeds they had there and none of them were that high... It was only 3 bucks for 5 pounds, so I bought me 20 pds.
The chickens are doing well. We have named 4 of them, Stripes, Chipmunk, Happy and Pickles. Still have two more to name. Billy is naming them, hence the intresting names. I looked when I got home and sure enough they were out of the light in the box, so I raised up the light. It is going to hit 70 degrees here today, with our lows in the 30's. I will lower the light at night, and raise it in the daytime.
They said they were Americana's, I have done some research on them and it is my understanding they lay different color eggs... That would be cool and yep Billy is in chicken heaven....

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Yay! I love the fun color eggs. I have Ameraucanas (well they are technically Easter Eggers, which probably yours are too, but I don't want to get into that whole discussion on genetics and all). They lay light blue eggs, some more turquoise blue than others. I also have some that lay light olive green eggs, and some that lay a kind of pinkish egg.

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Easter Eggers intresting, too bad they would not be laying by easter, that would save me from having to color the eggs. Are the Ameraucanas hearty chickens? I plan on moving them from the house when I can to the front yard until around may or june when I will move them to a coop, they should be about 5 months by then.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

Oh how cool MissJestr! I was thinking Ameracaunas.. or EEs cause in your first pic I see that lil hint of a muff..

Here is a pic of mine when I first got her!

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Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

I'm not sure if this is the exact same chick.. (I had 4) but the other one was the same color.. (roo) so I sold it..

They are the blue/redish ones.. the others are Rhode Island Reds.

edited to add.. they are 3 months old here.. and they are Feed Store Chicks.. :) I'm so happy for you!!!

This message was edited Feb 3, 2009 6:49 PM

Thumbnail by ZZsBabiez
Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

ZZ! Those blue-red ones are Ameraucanas/EEs? Totally cool! Mine don't look like those at all! I love the way they all look so different.

Yours look like my blue laced red wyandottes (before they got the plague of 2008 and died).

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

They sure are beautiful! (Blue ones) They almost look like the blue Andalusion mix I have. Foofoo broody pants! Lets see if I can find a pic. I love EE and Ameraucanas. I would love to have the colored eggs!!! sigh...

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Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Oh wow! Foofoo Broodypants is Gorgeous!!

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

I only have one left.. and I've got to get a better pic of her.. she has huge muffs and is my favorite of all for holding.. she is so quiet and sweet.. She is about to start laying now.. she is making nests, going in and out.. acting just a bit confused.. I just love her!
Yeah.. I got her at the feed store for $2.80 Last August.. :)

Here is another pic of one of them..

Thumbnail by ZZsBabiez
Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

I can't decide if those are partridge markings or not....very cool!

I wonder what color eggs she will lay for you?!

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Aww the chick pictures are awesome and those are some awesome looking adults.
I got these for 2.50 a peice. We are having so much fun with them, we talk to them everytime we pass the cage, Billy gets to pet them every day and they are starting to respond to us talking to them. He has named the other two chickens, and I swear I must have the strangest chickens names ever..
Stripes, Chipmunk (Those are the two I named)
Pickles, Happy, Spiderman and Speed (These are the ones that Billy named)
I found out when I got them on the 30th of January, they were 2 to 3 days old so we are saying thier birthdays are on the 28th of January. The Healer dog watches with and wants to play with them, so far she has not gotten into the cage. I am hoping that she will loose intrest in them as the newness wears off. The cats have lost intrest already.

Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

They must be very active with names like those. :-) Billy must be a very happy boy! My nephew, 5yrs, just found out that the turkeys and Cuckoo Marans are coming in a couple of weeks. Now he's calling the Post Office the chicken store again!
I'm so glad that you found some starter for them. It must have been nerve wracking trying to figure out what to give them. I'm going to the feed store this weekend to pick up the starter. After reading what you've gone through I want to make sure I have some on hand!
Pics of my brood from last oct(australorp in the very front, then the two directly behind are EE's:

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Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

I hope they are colored.. I do see some pretty bluish legs now.. Funny how they change color as they mature.

Darling chicks there sandy!

I'm so glad Billy has chicks to watch them grow.. it's so great for kids. :)

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Right now I can tell them all apart, Chipmunk and Speed look alike, but Chipmunk is fatter. Stripes has diamonds on her head, and Happy has alot of Yellow on her. Spiderman and Pickels look too much alike and will have to wait to see who comes to thier name.
LOL not sure when they get older if we can tell them apart, we will see.

saanansandy, If you have a walmart, you can check there for the feed. I was suprised at what our walmart is carrying in the way of feed not only for chickens, (they have scratch and lay feed and cracked corn) but for livestock and horses as well. Our walmart even has a small section of fly spray and small tack items that are really cheaper than the feed store. Thanks for sharing the pix of your chick...

Billy is happy and has a blast with them, but I will let you in on a secret, I am having a hoot watching them grow from day to day. I notice little changes in them, how they crane their necks to listen to us when we speak, to the wing growth and how I think soon they will be flying. I can sit there for hours just watching them. Today we will change out the hay in the bottom of the tote, and It will be Billys job to line the tote with the fresh hay and set the feed back in there. It is great for him to do this, and I enjoy the fun we have together.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

I try to find marks on their beak to tell them apart. That will stay the same for a LONG time.. . The colors, size, etc is going to change so fast, if you are away from them for a day.. you will get mixed up! LOL

Don't you love the way they do lil "poppin cock fights" ?? LOL It cracks me up.. like.. I'm bigger, No, I'm bigger, NO I'm bigger.... okay.. LOL

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

LOL I watched that too, its like they try and stand up on thier toes to make them taller and fall over.. I will look tonight for the beak signs.
I was reading somewhere you can tell the sex by the top of the head color, is that true?? How do you tell the sex at this young age? I was told they requested all hens, but well I really dont want 5 roos and one hen. So am I just going to have to wait?

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Depends on the breed as to whether you can tell by the top of their heads. For example, barred rocks have white spots on top of their heads. If they are smaller and well defined, more likely male. If they are larger and diffuse, more likely female. With yours...I'm not sure....

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

MissJestr,
They are SO adorable! I love their markings. I also love my Americauna. I hope they are just as sweet and productive and she is. She is truly a doll. I also really like Billy's names. That'll be so fun to holler in the chicken yard. HA!

Looks like Claire, et al, to the rescue and you are doing great chicken-mama!

Kristin

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Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

I used the chick flipping method this last time and it was pretty accurate...now where is that thread?!....

Kingman, AZ(Zone 7a)

Question..
The chicks are starting to fly about, is the tote going to be big enough for them until I move them outside in 4 weeks? They have room to move around right now, and when they try to fly they sometimes hit the sides. I know it is tall enough, but have conserns it is long enough.

Thanks in advance
Roseane

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

I would play it by ear. You have 5 in there. I have the same tote and have 6 in mine. I am hoping it will last but if not I will have to split them up into another tote. That would be sad. Mine are not flying in the one batch yet but they will begin practice soon. ;)

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

I'd give them something they can fly up onto, like an old cardboard box (tissue box?) or something. Just to give them something to practice flying up and down from. I don't think it's a problem hitting the sides - they are just learning.

Elbridge, NY(Zone 5a)

Absolutely!! I still bump into walls walking! ;)

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