© 9/21/20018 Abby Black
I will be honest and say that I had absolutely no idea that it was Chick Days at Tractor Supply when I proposed to my parents to see if they had four-foot culvert pipes to play with in our backyard. It's not true that I had ulterior motives. It is true that I and my brother soon had our greatest convincing arguement in years.
We ended up walking out with a box of ten balls of fuzz and several shopping bags' worth of supplies. None of us knew what we were doing. Some of the things that we bought ended up being returned. Here's some things I learned:
Low Dust Pine Shavings
- Put it down a couple inches thick on the top of paper bags. This way, when you pick out the droppings regularly, it takes a day or two before you need to put down new shavings. The paper bags are to keep fluids from going though and staining whatever contains the chicks.
- Don't get the tiny economy bags. It seems to me that chicks eat their body weight a day, so be prepared and get the 20+ pounders. Those bags will last maybe a month, but it depends on how fast your chicks grow, and of course, how many chicks that you have. We're also using only organic foods and treats, so our costs are a little higher.
- The plastic trays are meant to screw onto masonry jars. We got one for water and one for food. Put the one for water on a brick or something heavy and solid, because they WILL find a way to kick shavings into it or poop in it or something that makes you clean it a hundred times a day.
- This is completely necessary if you have chicks, because they need to be kept warm as they grow into pullets. The red light isn't glaringly bright if you're not looking at it. It does get insanely hot, so be prepared to adjust its height. When a chick starts looking like its gasping or panting, the bird is too hot and the light must be elevated. You can also create a shady area if your box is big enough, so there's a cool spot. Baby birds are like cold-blooded reptiles.
- Our containments graduated in size, corresponding with the growth of the chicks. We went to our local home supply store and asked if they had any free boxes that large appliances came in. Score! The birds get curious and hoppy around the time they discover their wings, so cover your box with mesh or something similar with large holes, just to block them from getting out.
Of course, we researched everything that could possibly go wrong with the chicks. See my post on Chick and Human Health.