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Chick questions...

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horseymama View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote horseymama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Chick questions...
    Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 8:47pm
So our chicks are coming in a little under two weeks! We can't wait! I am working on getting things ready for them. I was in Tractor Supply yesterday looking at shavings and they had two different sizes - "fine" and "flake." Which one should I get? I don't want something so small they eat it but I also don't want something so big it's hard for them to walk on.

Can I use newspaper the first couple of days or do I need paper towels?

Do y'all use medicated feed or not? And how much feed will they go through? I'll only have four - should I go ahead and get a big 50lb bag or will they not go through that much before they move on to a grower ration?

I think those are the major ?s, I'm sure I'll be back with more.... Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote erinchelsea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 8:56pm
-I'd go with the flake shavings.
 
-you should use paper towels. The newspapers can get slippery and cause leg issues.
 
-We had our chicks vaccinated last time so we didn't use medicated feed. They got cocci anyway. So this time we're going to try not vaccinating them and using the medicated feed. It's up to you. I'd go ahead and get the 50 lb bag. Not sure, but I think they will come close to going through all of it.
Erin, happy wife of Jason (7/21/07) and mama to Abram (3/09) and Adrie (6/11)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stegmanjessica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 9:07pm
Use paper towels, not newspaper. If you have just a few girls you don't technically have to medicate but I am; wanted to be safe ;) half of mine are vaccinated with Mareks but none have te cocci vaccine. Mine seem to be doing well! Shavings, go with flake, fine will be soft but will have a lot more fine particles to eat and inhale, and/or create a TON of dust in your house, blech!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mommy2five0406070911 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 9:11pm
I use pine shavings that I think are the flakes they are bigger pieces. 
 
What's with the paper towel thing? I forget we got our chicks from TSC and they were in shavings there so we put them in them when they got home too didn't use paper towels.
 
I have 18 chicks that I supplement with oatmeal and lots of grass clippings throughout the day and they only went through one 20lb bag and we are now starting our 50 lb bag now that they are out in their coop and I only get them grass clippings twice a day and oatmeal sprinkled on the ground before they go to bed.  They actually aren't going through as much feed as I expected but thats probably because they really love the grass/clovers/weeds etc that I throw to them too.  They have had several worms and bugs thrown in that the kids find for them too:)  It's so cute to watch them run around chasing the one who has it!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sunsmiles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2012 at 11:02pm
We used paper towels at the beginning... It worked well for us, then switched to flake.

I have 5 chicks that are now 5 weeks old and we're getting to the bottom of our 40lb bag. I chose unmedicated (organic/non-GMO/locally grown and milled) because those things are important to our family. I would rather clean the brooder twice a day than use medicated feed, but it is obviously a personal decision. With only a few chicks and a relatively small brooder it isn't hard to keep everything clean if you stay on top of it.
Meghan



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gotchickens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 1:00am
I didn't even know they made different types of shavings! Learn something new everyday! The fine would probably be easier on their legs when they are little and under newspaper. I use the non-skid stuff for drawers instead of newspaper. The flakes would be better when they get older, less dust. I bought the 50lbs bag for the 5 now 4 chicks that I have. They will be through it before we need to switch. I use the medicated feed because I am not interested in dealing with cocci. Good luck with the new peeps!  
Sarah ~:>



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Post Options Post Options   Quote jessmomto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 10:29am
Get the flake shavings.  The fine are meant for pet cages and are likely to be eaten by the chicks.
 
Use the papertowels for the first several days to a week.  Mine are 4 days old today and still on papertowels.  I tried taking them out yesterday and they were eating them.  I didn't use them last year and i know TSC doesn't use them but if they eat too many it can cause pasty butt or even a blockage.  I have my papertowels over the top of shavings so they have some cushion.  Newspapers are too slippery which can cause leg troubles and they don't absorb well either.
 
Last year i didn't use medicated feed for my TSC chicks (used DuMor feed-comes in 10, 25, 50 lb bags) and we were fine.  This year i got medicated feed for the chicks (Purina Start & Grow) but i'm only planning to feed it for the first 8 weeks, then change to an unmedicated grower feed.  If you're planning to do the same you likely won't be able to use a 50 lb bag of feed for your small flock.  TSC should have the MannaPro brand of medicated chick feed in small bags.  If not i know i've seen it available to order at a few hatcheries and i think even on Amazon.
Jess

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Post Options Post Options   Quote stegmanjessica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 6:10pm
Jess, that's kinda my plan too. I am really hoping my 50lb bag lasts to 8 weeks with my 11 girls but if it seems like it'll be a bit short, probably around 6 weeks old I will begin mixing in our unmedicated, whole grain, locally grown and milled grower feed a little at a time until their tummies can handle it (with grit). I'll kinda eyeball it, I know it won't kill them to have the exact dates a little off.

Erin - the chart on this page (halfway down the page, it says: To view Scratch and Peck’s Recommended Feeding guide please click Here) was helpful to me in knowing how much feed to buy for my girls. It's created by the makers of Scratch and Peck feed, which is local in WA state, but might help you too!


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Post Options Post Options   Quote stegmanjessica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 6:13pm
I think I just realized (after looking at my own chart!) that I actually have too much chick starter to only go 8 weeks, so I'll probably start mixing half and half grower/starter at 8 weeks until about 12 weeks or whenever the starter runs out. Looks like I'll need 4 40lb bags of grower and can then switch to layer forever after that! 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jessmomto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 7:23pm
I had figured i'd probably use 1 50 lb bag for 17 chicks, but since i only have 11 left i'll be doing the same as you Jess.  At about 8-10 weeks i'll start mixing it with the grower i plan on using.
 
I would love to use a local feed but i only have 2 options.  One is organic but it's only available in mash, which is not duck friendly and i've had too much waste with my hens in the past, and it's $24 a bag!  That's twice what my current feed costs.  The other is too high in protein for either batch of my babies at 22%.  I just changed my hens over to a new feed that they're really liking, and although it's not totally local it is a regional company, which is better than national.  I think i'm going to use their grower feed too.  It's what i fed my chickens when i still lived at home and my girls did wonderful with it.  It's a very, very good feed ingredient wise.  I've been looking for it for a year and finally found a store that carries it and is one my DH can get to easily.
Jess

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Post Options Post Options   Quote jessmomto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 7:31pm
Holy cow.  I love that chart but if it's remotely close i'm going to be going through 64 lbs of layer feed a week!  That's just for the chickens.  With the ducks that's 84 lbs of feed a week!  The organic is definately out of my price range now that i know how much we'll be needing.
Jess

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Post Options Post Options   Quote horseymama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 10:40pm
Jess, what is the regional feed you'll be using? If it's regional to you I might have it near me too...

There's another feed store relatively nearby I need to visit too and look at prices and options.

If that chart is right I would supposedly need 12 lbs of feed per week, so almost 100 lbs of starter to get 4 birds to 8 weeks?! That seems way high compared to others' experience...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stegmanjessica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 11:06pm
I think you read the chart wrong, some were per week and some were for the entire time period per bird. Trust me, you won't need more than a 25 lb bag probably!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jessmomto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2012 at 11:07pm
Erin, i think you'd only need 12 lbs of starter.  I think the chart is 3 lbs per bird for the whole 0-8 weeks time frame.  Or maybe i'm reading it wrong?  The feed i always fed my girls when i lived at home and have switched back to for my layers now is Blue Seal Feeds brand.  If you go on their website you can search for retailers.  Some might now be on there though.  Some of the stores here only carry certain feeds of theirs and others carry them all.  I happened to accidentally find a TSC that my DH drives by a few days a week who carries their layer feed.  And i found another store i can get to once or twice a month that carries all 3 stages of chicken feed.
Jess

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Post Options Post Options   Quote horseymama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2012 at 8:29am
Oh, the other feed store I haven't been to yet does carry Blue Seal - at least their horse feeds! I assume they have the chicken feed too. I'll have to check!

I wondered if that was the case with the chart but didn't see anything stating that specifically - good to know! That sounds a lot more reasonable. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jessmomto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2012 at 1:05pm
I've been pleased with the Blue Seal feeds in general.  I've used a lot of them through the years and used to work at a feed store that carried them.  The layer for instance has Brewer's Yeast and Probiotics in it just to mention a few good things. The label also gives you more ingredient information and generally has better ingredients.  I feel like everything is a secret with DuMor brand and Purina (who makes DuMor) isn't much better.  Purina is very corn and soy heavy with a lot of bi-products.  Purina is also in with Monsanto and that deters a lot of people alone.  When i finish the bag we're on i won't be using Purina anymore as my birds just aren't doing as well as i'd like them too with it.
 
Agway and Nutrena might be available in your area too.  Both are owned by Cargill so they're essentially the same thing.  When i compared their nutrient values i even foung their values to be indentical on more than one of the feeds i was looking into.  If i hadn't found the Blue Seal i was going to go with Agway.  Agway just came out with a new Soy-free layer ration. 
Jess

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Post Options Post Options   Quote stegmanjessica Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2012 at 2:17pm
Jess I'm so glad you said they do not doing so well on Purina...mine aren't thriving like I thought they would. Some of my friends have much larger and healthier looking 4 week olds than I do. I can't wait to start switching over to the organic whole grain soy/corn free grower, I have a feeling theyll be so much healthier!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jessmomto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2012 at 2:29pm
I have a few who aren't growing quite like i think they should either.  I think mine were bigger by this age last year, but i can't remember for sure.  I have one who's much larger and then a couple who are very tiny.  I hate to waste the money but i am considering changing them to a different brand of chick starter.  I'm going to have to start switching my ducks over to grower in another week so i'll be making the trip for their feed anyhow.
When i switched to the Purina layer my eggs got better than when i was feeding DuMor.  But the hens didn't improve and they didn't care for the feed and were down to eating only 3 cups of feed a day for 9 chickens.  That's why i have switched them. 
Jess

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Post Options Post Options   Quote horseymama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 2:29pm
We use Nutrena horse feed, the TSC near me carries it. I didn't see Nutrena chick starter there though. There are a couple of Agways not too far away; I would love to have something soy-free! I think one of my friends uses Agway and said when she asked they told her it was GMO-free as well, which would be great. My other friend uses Green Mountain poultry feeds, which are organic (and quite expensive, at least around here). Ack, this is getting almost as complicated as figuring out what to feed my family! Tongue

Thanks for all the help ladies!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jessmomto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2012 at 4:47pm
I've spent months trying to figure out what to feed my babies.  It is almost as bad as feeding ourselves.  Especially when you know you'll be eating the eggs so whatever the hens eat you will in turn get like quality from them for your food.
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