We picked up our chicks from our local feed and supply store on Friday afternoon. They packed them up in a little box and we listened to them chirping all the way home; with one especially loud one drowning out the others!
We got them settled into their new pen with food and water, and all went pretty well. We did reduce the size of the pen initially by adding a cardboard barrier, so they could find everything more easily.
By Saturday afternoon we were able to remove that barrier and give them some more space. They scratched at their food for the first night on a paper plate, but that day they also found their feeder with no problem so we could remove the plate.
I have to tell you, there is a lot of information out there about raising chicks and everyone thinks their way of doing it is right. It can be a little confusing, so like with all of our other pets we just have to make the best decisions we can and hope it all works out! One thing I knew was good advice was getting that Brinsea Ecoglo brooder/heater (*affiliate link). The only other way to keep them warm is with a heat lamp. I only had to read once about the fire danger of heat lamps to know we wouldn’t use one. With the chicks in the house with the rest of the crew to start with, and us gone to work at times, I could never take the chance of a fire starting. The heater was a worthwhile investment, and they really do like huddling under it! It works by radiant heat, so is not a fire risk, and does not use a lot of electricity.
We are having fun with them. They were pretty quiet at first, but by Sunday they were really moving around a lot more. They flapped their little wings and got up on top of the brooder/heater much sooner than we thought they would! It’s fun to watch them darting around, and following each other. We put some weeds in there for them, and one of them picked up a piece and started running with it, it was too funny!
They’re still a bit skittish of us, but getting a little better all the time, and we’ll start handling them more and more as they settle in. We were told the more we handle them, the friendlier they will be. When I reach in with an old spoon to clean up, they will often dart right at it and peck at it.
There are a dozen altogether, 4 each of three different breeds. The brown ones are Rhode Island Reds, the plain yellow ones are Buff Orpingtons, and the gold ones with the brown stripes on their backs are Golden Comets. We chose our breeds to get the most prolific egg layers, but also for good temperament and cold tolerance so they’ll do well in the winter. It’s all new to us, so we’ll see if these breeds work out for us!
They are upstairs in our spare room, and our cat Samantha has followed us up there. As you know, she is mostly blind, so she cannot see them. We thought she would at least react to hearing them, but she didn’t. The funny thing was that she was wandering around the room purring and you could see the chicks listening to her, trying to figure out what that new noise was!
When we left, we thought she would follow us but she stayed up there and settled in. I wonder if she fancies herself a mother hen? Cats can be predators to chicks, but I don’t think Sam will bother them. They are safely inside the dog crate anyway, so we’re not worried, and I think it’s kind of sweet that she’s hanging out with them!
These girls are going to grow quickly, so we’ll keep you updated on their progress!
Debbie S. Sheegog says
Hi, I found your site earlier this year when searching out information about guinea hens; I am thrilled to have re-discovered you, (kept your spot in my online files), as we are actually starting my dream-farm-critter: chickens! The ten chickies are arriving sometime in January so it’s great to see how you had yours’ set up inside. Thanks for having this space and the blog up. It will be interesting to see how the months and years following 2017 with new chicks go!
Stay safe, peace and love,
Debbie S. Sheegog
Mebane, N.C. USA
I’m so glad you found us again, Debbie! How exciting for you to be getting your first chicks soon! One thing I can tell you is that you are probably going to get addicted! We could not stop at that original 12 and have added to our flock every year since.
There have been losses too (due to predators and some unknown illnesses) and we only have 4 of this original 12 left. But we now have over 20 altogether, and even a rooster! (plus more coming this spring)
Good luck to you, and enjoy!!
Debbie Sheegog says
Hi, Jan, so kind of you to answer me so quickly! I only just read this today,1/05/2021. It seems that time is either flying by or sort of like the past months having a strange sense of having lost time. I am so grateful to be living here safely on our farm, where I feel very grounded and yes isolated yet within 9 miles of civilization. It’s a perfect time to begin having chickens and perhaps later other animals. I am curious about goats though people have steered us away from them. I want to reach out to a friend in N. Z, who talked about how for 20 years she raised flocks of exotic goats/sheep for wool for exporting.
Oh, interesting, yes I understand addiction to chickens and also sadly learned lessons about losing chickens 20 years ago, when we inherited a lovely old fox-snake-proof chicken house and a friendly little flock of 5 chickens on our small farm back in the late ‘90’s, in N.W. N.J. It became even smaller one day when our-then JRT broke out of the dog “paddock” and killed 2-3. Another died a separate time. Heartbroken, I had reached out to our local farmer friends and learned that a solitary chicken can grieve and/or even freeze to death in the coming harsh N.J. winter if left alone; we were given a pair of beautiful black chicks by an empathetic kid at the local feed store. They grew up to be roosters!?! Of course they fought over and almost killed the solitary hen left. One rooster disappeared when we were away on holiday, (we suspected taken to our neighbor’s larger flocks by our well-intentioned neighbor), and interestingly without the competition the solitary rooster and poor beaten up hen healed & lived on. After moving soon thereafter back to N.C., I longed for but was unable able to have chickens again- until now!
I appreciate your shared experiences. We actually do not yet know our newer neighbors nor have any friends that are into farming. I have already learned a lot more from you about creating an ideal set-up for the chicks, as I loved your’s. We, too, have a kitty, who has definitely proven to be untrustworthy with any feathered friends.
I look forward to getting back to reading more here along the way. Stay safe, and happy new year, hoping it brings you and your’s prosperity, peace, and love.
Dolly the Doxie says
It’s going to be a lot of fun learning about raising chicks from you! Mom’s cousin has some so she hears some great stories from her. Sam, naughty or nice? Hmmmm. Love Dolly
The chicks are fun so far, but they are a bit of work! I’ll have an update next week. As far as Sam goes, we’re still giving her the benefit of the doubt and going with “nice”. But she doesn’t get left alone with them with the cage open or anything – just in case! 🙂
GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES says
I think I missed a blog post here… Why do you have chicks? Is it for the eggs?
Yes, it’s for the eggs. You must have missed the post where I wrote about how we’re starting a small farm (it was probably when you were in the middle of moving). Here’s the link if you’re interested in more details: http://www.afarmgirlsfinds.com/where-were-going-from-here/
I love my ecoglow heater for chicks! A piece of advice – they will poop on it. Put removable adhesive shelf liner paper on it. When it is poop covered, remove and replace.
Oh boy, they poop on it all right! It’s one of their favorite places to hang out. I’ve been trying some rubber shelf liner, but they just keep knocking it off. I’ll have to go the adhesive I think.
Monika & Sam says
Baby chicks are way too adorable. Let’s hope the noisy one isn’t a rooster. ????
Oh boy – I didn’t even think of that! They are supposed to all be females, but they don’t guarantee that! 🙂
Monika & Sam says
Boy if I had a nickel for every time I heard ‘they’re all supposed to be females’ I’d have a chicken farm! Seriously though, they are so fuzzy adorable…makes me just squeal with happiness whenever I see new baby chicks. ????
Lynn LaChance says
Ah, they are cuties, Jan! Love all the little things you have noticed about them already, they sound fun at this age!
They are really fun now, but all they seem to do is eat and poop…LOL. They are pretty active and fun to watch though!
Oh my goodness! They are too cute. I can’t pick a favorite picture because they all make me want to snuggle those little cuties. I love that Sam is purring near them, too! I’ll be curious to see what the pups think when they finally see them.
We are anticipating that Luke won’t do well with them, because he seems to have a strong prey drive. I’m not sure about Cricket, or what to expect with her! She doesn’t pay much attention to small wildlife like birds or squirrels, so it will be interesting to see.
Sam is certainly enjoying them…she is upstairs with them all the time now!
The Island Cats says
OMC! We think they would be so much fun to play with. 😉
Forest Poodles says
The first year we bought chicks Teddy assumed the role of nanny and watched over them dilligently. He has no prey drive, and his interest was genuine care. I’ve had good success with Buff Orpingtons and Rhode Island Reds. I’ll be interested in learning more about your Golden Comets!
Samantha definitely seems to have taken that role too. I can’t remember her ever going after anything, and I’ve always thought she would have made a good mother (she loves to lick).
I’m glad to hear you’ve had success with those breeds! I didn’t know when I ordered them, but I guess the Golden Comets are a cross between Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns (which are supposed to be very prolific layers). I can’t wait to see what they all look like when they grow up. The RIR’s coloring is changing already!
Two French Bulldogs says
So darn cute!!!!!
Lily & Edward
Mrs Lorna J Griffith says
Lots of luck with your chicks. They look gorgeous and hope you find a breed to work out for you. Love that Samantha is almost mothering them.
Thank you, Lorna! It’s going to be fun to see how they grow up and change. Samantha has been staying up next to them all the time now. ♥
Caren Gittleman says
They are darling!!!! Hoping you have good luck with them! You should connect with Colleen Richman on Facebook (and she has a blog)….she raised chickens for a few years (from the size of yours)……
Thank you, Caren, I will look into connecting with Colleen!
Brian Frum says
They sure are cute and they will grow up quickly!
Chicks are so dang cute. When we did chickens we skipped the chick phase, and bought some that were about 5 months old. So they were able to be outside in the large coop we built, and we got eggs within about a month. This was practical, but the little peepers would have been fun too.
I think that is a good way to do it too. We’ll see how all of this goes, but it is fun having the little peepers! But as they grow, we may find that it’s very impractical to have them in the house. 🙂
2 Brown Dawgs says
How long before you put them outside? They are cute.
4-6 weeks, depending on the weather. The warmer it is, the sooner they can go out. The coop still has to be built though, but they’re getting started on that soon.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
lol sam is the keeper of the chicks, they are so darn cute, they grow super fast I should take a picture of my chicks that I think are 3 weeks old, they are huge.
I’d love to see what yours look like at 3 weeks! Post a photo on FB and tag me if you get a chance. 🙂
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
They are soooo cute! But then, what baby animal isn’t?! ???? Seriously, tho, I’m looking forward to their growing-up pix! They are precious! ????????☀️❤️
They are growing and changing colors already! I want to enjoy this cute phase while it lasts!
Roby Sweet says
Oh, they sure are cute! Best of luck with them 🙂
oh how cute they are :o) and I can’t wait to see them outside in the sun :o) …and I will look for my recipe book…. ummm… I mean to look for some snacks for your little guys :O)))
They look so cute! Too bad they will grow into chickens, but that is life. Enjoy.
Oh, I know, they are only going to be cute for so long! It will be a new experience anyway, and at least they’ll earn their keep (with eggs), unlike our other pets. LOL
Edie Chase says
Good luck with them.
Thank you, Edie!!