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well i just did it went and got 4 road island pullets. I did my homework but im worred it mite get to cold for them im in and tonight it will be in the 50s they have shelter but should i provide heat i'd hate to have them suffer the frist night HELP!!! Shaun

-- shaun cornish (, March 14, 2000



What kind of conditions were they in at where you bought them? Did they have a lamp on them? Or were they with a hen? If they had a lamp outside in S. California, you should probably put one on them again tonight, and gradually wean them off of it. Are these chicks a week old or? Maybe a little more information would help decide.

You can always tuck them inside your shirt while you think of something to do. I was just looking at my chicken book, and they like it pretty warm.

Where's Gerbil when we need her?

I'll look up the chick info I got from Murray McMurray and get back to you. Maybe someone else will catch up to you first.

-- sheepish (, March 14, 2000.

sheepish they were inside with a lamp that advice was enought to let me know to put a lamp in with them. not shur how old they are just getting some sizeable feathers on their winges and tail seem happy at the moment sending this now standing by thanks

-- shaun cornish (, March 14, 2000.

Hi Shaun

Let me just tell you what we've done here. When we have brought home chicks, we have put them in a big circle of cardboard, inside of a metal rabbit cage (the kind that has the pull out tray). We put newspapers down, covered with some shredded newspaper. Then we positioned a heat lamp above them, first inside the cage, and gradually over a week or so until it was above the cage. We put a tiny chick waterer and a chick feeder in with them (you said you did your homework so this has got to be familiar). You can tell if the chicks are too hot if they go as far as they can from the heat source (make sure they have enough room to do that. If they are too cold they will huddle and mash all together. Did you know that if they are mail order chicks you have to teach them to drink? Just dip their little beaks in water as you put them in the cage. Hmmm, can't think of anything else, except to make sure you feed them chick starter type food, not layer mix or any cracked corn. I think there's some real fine grit for them too, not oyster shell yet. Don't just put slick newspaper in the cage as it's too slippery and hard on their legs. If their vents get all stuck, gently wash the area with a paper towel in warm water, or sometimes you kind of have to grab the dried stuff and pull it off. Ouch. My chicken info says baby poultry should start out at 90degrees F, but again, you didn't say what they were used to. Old timers used to keep them in a metal tub behind the woodstove. Just keep an eye on them, and enjoy their little peeps. Good luck

-- sheepish (, March 14, 2000.

ok im off to the get things together thanks just nervos on there frist night i will make then cofortable thanks again i will let you know.

-- shaun cornish (, March 14, 2000.


Sounds like your girls are a little past the baby stage if they are starting to get some feathers. My advice was more for tiny chicks. Sounds like if they are happy, you are happy!

Good luck. I enjoy your posts, by the way.

-- sheepish (, March 14, 2000.

I have the big coop ready just have to grow them into it . I am realy enjoying yours and most post on this site and fell im making new friends thanks for all your help (I need it as a beginer ) look foward mybe some day being able to contribut more Shaun

-- shaun cornish (, March 14, 2000.

Try to remember to keep their coop safe and clean (rake it daily), clean and scrub the waterer regularly (daily is good), keep them in fresh water and feed (and grit) and they will do fine. The books often make it seem harder than it is. Most of the time the birds have no problems.

-- Anne (, March 14, 2000.

Yes, give them heat in the form of a heat lamp or high wattage light bulb safely placed in their housing. They will go under the ring of light/heat as needed. Make sure there is no draft either. Sorry I forgot that in the post just before!

-- Anne (, March 14, 2000.

Hi Shaun, Just looked in Gail Damerow's book, and she said that once the chicks are developing their adult feathers and look really scuffy it is time to wean them off of the lamp. 50 doesn't seem to bad a temp. I love my chickens and enjoy them so much. Not to mention the eggs. My boys ate a dozen this morning and I never worry about using all the eggs. They always remark at how orange our eggs are. We got some extra ones from a friend and his were light yellow. Ours are free ranged and are bright orange. We love it. Have fun. Karole

-- Karole Schoepf (, March 15, 2000.

I got such a chuckle out of this posting because I know exactly what Shaun is talking about. I am going to be getting chickens this year for the first time and I am scared to death that I will do something wrong when I first get them home and I will be responsible for them dying. I'm confident that I can build a good coop and fenced yard for them so I'm not nervous about critters gettng them but I'm just nervous about keeping them warm and fed and watered properly. But, like all things, you just have to jump in and get your feet wet. I'll post what happens once I get them but it won't be until May or so before we are ready for them.

-- Colleen (, March 15, 2000.

The cheapest way to be sure they have enough heat is a light bulb. A plain old 100 watt bulb works, but a "floodlight" that directs the light (and heat) is better. There is no need to go to the extra expense of a "heat lamp". Suspend it so it hangs about 10" above the floor. A cardboard box works well for an enclosure, and I recommend cutting the bottom out. What you want to avoid is getting it too hot under the bulb and risking a fire. Be sure you have the light fixture well secured so it cannot slip or fall. Watch the chicks. When they are at rest, they will huddle under the light if they are cold. They will spread out in a circle at the perimeter of the light if they are comfortable, and will form a very large circle if they are too cool. If yours have feathers they are a week old or older. By about 3 weeks they have pretty well feathered out, and will be pretty independent of external heat sources. A good rule of thumb is 95 degrees for the first week, reducing the temp 5 degrees each week until they are 4 weeks old. Good Luck!


-- Brad (, March 15, 2000.

Shaun: pretty good advice from everyone here. We got chicks this year for the second time, but half the first order arrived DOA, so the hatchery replaced the entire order. Now, we have chickens everywhere! Yikes! It is a real challenge to keep them all warm, as we kept them in the basement under lights for the first two weeks,then moved them to the chicken house, still under lights, but gradually moving them higher. They are getting crowded, so we have to get something else worked out and fast! Good luck, they are fun to watch, and the eggs are so much better than those store-bought types! You'll get nice brown eggs at about 5 to 6 months of age from the rhodies. Jan

-- Jan B (, March 15, 2000.

Now that you've gotten the best advice you could get, don't forget to enjoy your chickens. They are so much fun to watch and each has it's own personality (or is that chickenality). Also, I was in Montana a few weeks ago. They feed their chickens barley and wheat and the egg yolks are almost white. We feed ours corn and the yolks are very orange. Theirs are fine, just not what I was used to. Enjoy!

-- Cindy (, March 16, 2000.

About teaching the chicks to drink: I read that it helped to put marbles or pennies in the water to attract their attention, since they like to peck at shiny things. I tried it and it worked!

-- Shannon (, March 21, 2000.

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