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Just Food City Chicken Meetup NYC Message Board General Discussion › A few questions....

A few questions....

A former member
Post #: 9
How many weeks do the chicks have to be for me to give them some veggies/fruits and what are the best veggies/fruits?

How many weeks until I can put the girls outside in their coop? I have 3 that are 4 weeks old and 3 more that are a few days old. I live in it's still cold out :-(

Do I have to give them grit? I feed them Countryside Natural soy-free feed. I called the Countryside, they said some people do it and some people don't.

When I move the girls to another box to clean their brooder, my silver laced wyandotte seems to squat and make these funny movements (I call it floundering). Anyone know what it is and why she does it?

How many weeks until I can introduce my new borns to the older girls. They are 4 weeks apart. I have them in separte brooders now.

Simone M.
user 9418605
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 19
Hi Theresa
I did not give my chicks anything else but feed and grit until they were older. If I remember correctly they were not interested in anything else till they were a few months old.

The chicks cannot go outside till they are fully feathered in during this weather. You should still have a heat lamp on them... all this info is available on line from places like Mc Murray's and My Pet Chicken web site. I have not done this in awhile but I think they start off at 85 degrees and as the feathers come if the temperature drops little by little

Yes you need to give your young chicks grit. They do not have teeth and the grit helps them digest their food. When they get older you will need to also give them calcium.

Don't know about your silver laced Wyandotte but she may have something wrong with her. When they are still young chicks I remember reading that you should not be using just newspaper because they could not walk on it and their legs some tome splay. I think I used paper towels with newspaper under it till they were several weeks old. Then I used hay or wood shavings.. NOT CEDAR

You should be keeping both sets of chicks separated but so they can see each other. Big hens pick on smaller hens I assume the same is true of big chicks and little chicks. When you do put them together you need to watch and make sure that the big ones are not picking on the little ones and that the little ones are getting enough to eat and drink. I would not put them together till they are around the same size and feathered in. But it really is a little by little process. You can't just do it all at once.

I really suggest you take a look at one f the web sites I mentioned and read about all this as soon as possible.. Hope that helps
A former member
Post #: 10
Thank you so much for responding!

I have read tons of websites, books, magazines, watched videos....maybe I've reseached too much because some of the info is conflicting that is why I was looking for "local" answers.

So far I'm doing everything right :-)

My silverlaced wyandotte is fine except when I take her out for the few minutes to clean the brooder. She doesn't make the funny moves the entire time she is in the out of the brooder.
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 64
Sounds like you're fine.

Just to add my 2 cents in here. . .

I think it depends on the breed in terms of weather, but yes, they should have feathers or you need to heat their coop.

Chicks should be at 85 until feathered out/poults (5 weeks I think?). I have a restaurant heat lamp and a thermometer. My book had a good indicator--if the chicks are piled on top of each other huddled around the lamp, they are too cold, if they are avoiding being under the lamp, they are too hot. Having a lamp you can adjust distance from the brooder/box helps to control this.

I would disagree about chicks and grit. IF you are feeding them crumbles/starter then that is highly digestible and they do not need it. Same with pellets--it's made for them to digest. When they're outside, you might want to supplement with grit b/c they'll be picking about but it's not really necessary if you're feeding them complete feeds. Same with calcium--if you are feeding them pellet/crumble, you'll see on the nutritional label, that it is a complete feed and they don't need extra calcium. Save your $. If you're having them *only* range and just feeding them kitchen scraps, then you probably want to give them Ca+, vits, salt, etc. They self-regulate so they won't be just gobbling that stuff up unless there's something else tasty in it.

As for integrating them, I introduced a hen to much older hens and so that's very tricky. I would say let them SEE each other all the time as soon as possible, but keep them physically separated. I actually think having them see/interact when they are younger is easier/better than keeping them separate--again this depends on age. For example, chicks all born on the same day from 2 different batches can be integrated right away, but as they get older, even if they were born on the same day but kept separate, they will peck. Interaction/visual connection will help them acclimate (and if they are young enough, some imprinting still may occur). I agree, you can't just dump them together. Some people have suggested that you can put them together separated physically by a fence for 2-3 weeks and then supervise some interaction to minimize the pecking order/harrassment. I would say do that earlier rather than later. If you can put the brooders side by side and they can see each other, that's great. The pecking/chasing--it's gonna happen, it's just a matter of how much. You can try it now and supervise what happens--if they peck, separate them!

Also, if they are the same breed, one person suggested integration by sneaking the others in at night. This is what I did. I had to introduce a RIR into my flock and she was 3-5 months younger than the others (also RIR). But chickens can't count and so in the a.m., they knew something was not right but they didn't know exactly what and there was some chasing, but she had a place to hide/be safe and after a couple of weeks it was fine. I believe it definitely helped minimize the pecking (none) and chasing (some). Giving birds space/safe areas to go to get away is important (or supervised interactions for a couple of hours each day and then separating them but keeping them together).

As for the crouching of the Wyandotte--are her legs and feet straight? She *only* does it when you move her out of the brooder? Is she displaying any other symptoms (head shaking, etc.?). There is a thing where their feet turn in, but that would be all the time, not just when you move her.

If you have more questions, I can ask on this listserv I belong to that includes chicken farmers from OK, TX, etc. that manage several hundred chickens, etc. That's where I get my best advice. Let me know.

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