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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:33 am 
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Location: Burpengary, QLD
Hi,

We recently got 2 chicks from my daughters kindy (egg hatching experience) and I have quite a few questions if someone would be kind enought to help me out!

The chicks hatched between the 15-19th March, and are just some sort of cross breed "mutt" type chicken. They are partially feathered (wings, each side of their chest but still fluffy down the middle) I was wanting to find out -

When they no longer need a heat source? They go out in the yard during the day (I'm in QLD so nice warm days) and come into the brooder before dusk.
Do I get to the point where they will be in the brooder without heat before they go outside for good, or will they need heat until they are fully feathered?

Is there any way to sex them? One is a bit larger than the other, but is this male / female thing, or maybe just an age difference?

I'm sure I had several more questions, but they have escaped me for the moment! Any help would be appreciated though!
Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:41 am 
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Golden Robin
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Location: Tuross Head, NSW fsr south east coast
Hi

Chickens need heat until they are fully feathered - usually about six weeks of age. this is mostly regardless of the enviroment.

Chickens vary enormously in size depending on breed characteristics and size is not an idicator of sex unfortunately. Usually the best indicator is the reddening and the size of the combs and wattles on their heads. its hard to distinguish if you only have two chickens and both look the same but if the combs and wattles are already beginning to become red then its a good chance they are males.

Mike

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Retired Now. Have moved and now officially a Tuross Head resident.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:43 am 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Location: Canberra
Hi :)

The chicks hatched between the 15-19th March,
So they are about 3 weeks old now.

When they no longer need a heat source? They go out in the yard during the day (I'm in QLD so nice warm days) and come into the brooder before dusk.
The rule of thumb is 6 weeks of age, or when they are covered with proper feathers (not just fluff). If they are happy without heat during the day that should be fine (while the weather is warm), but keep the heat up to them at night for a few more weeks (gradually moving the heat source higher as their need for external heat decreases each week).

Do I get to the point where they will be in the brooder without heat before they go outside for good, or will they need heat until they are fully feathered?
See above :) You may want to put them outside 24/7 before long as they grow (and keep pooping) so look at the possibilities of rigging up a heat source in their outside coop (I used a ceramic heat lamp on an extension cord from 4 weeks of age).

Is there any way to sex them? One is a bit larger than the other, but is this male / female thing, or maybe just an age difference?
A size difference could be an age thing (if they hatched a week apart, say) or a breed thing. It can be hard to tell at three weeks old...over time it gets easier as their combs and wattles develop. Combs and wattles vary across different breeds though - it is easier to tell sex from the type of bird that has a classic 'single comb' (just one row sticking straught up). Boys will have larger and pinker combs than girls. if you take a few pictures of their heads (side on, front on and from the top) and post them in the part of the forum called 'what is it?' then people will mostly likely give you an opinion :)

I hope that helps a bit :)

ps. What Mike said :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Location: Burpengary, QLD
Wow, that was quick! Thanks for the replies :)

Their little outside pen is 3/4 in the shade and 1/4 in the sun. When they are not running around all crazy like, they tend to lay in the shady part, and they are laying a bit apart from each other, so that would indicate they don't have issues with being cold right?

They both have little skin coloured combs still, so will be interesting to see what happens there over the next few weeks.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:11 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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It sounds to me as if they are not cold :) As you imply, they would be huddled up together, or sitting hunched up and looking miserable, or cheeping very loudly and continuously if they were cold. They sound fine. If they are running around having a good time in between periods of sleep/rest and eating/drinking then that's good.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:58 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
I think we require photos.

Mostly because, of course, chicks are just CUTE and we like seeing photos ;)

However, it can sometimes be feasible to tell some of the background even of mutt-chooks (I like that one!! - I have lots of mutts :) ) from a relatively early age, and take some guesses as to development of feathers, colouring, and potential gender. And if not, it's a fun game to play.

So ... photos!!

And yes, as 70%cocoa said - if they're resting in the shade and apart from eachother, they're pretty comfortable.

Being as you're in Brisbane, are you feeding them medicated chick raiser? There's a nasty disease called coccidiosis ("cocci") which can be fatal in chicks, and warmth/humidity are its ideal conditions. It's sort of like the human cold, in that all chooks are exposed to it and have resistance/immunity to it, but sometimes the amount of cocci in the environment can be more than a chick can cope with all at once.

Chick raisers often have a "coccidistat" in it, which acts like a tiny dose of coccidiosis and hurries along the immunity process without overwhelming them. Very strongly recommended for keeping them healthy.

Don't want to bring you down but cocci is unpleasant and easier to manage if prevented ...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:22 pm 
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Location: Burpengary, QLD
Yeah, it really didn't take long to find out how much fun little chicks are!
The kids are having a blast with them, and it's certainly helps keep them occupied during school holidays!

Took me a while to work out how to get a pic on here. The pic isn't great, but I will work on getting the right angle ones to post in "what is it" as suggested tomorrow.

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:25 pm 
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Location: Burpengary, QLD
And thanks for the heads up on the cocci.

I honesly don't know if the feed is medicated. I only got a little 3kg bag to get started, which the produce store bags up themselves from bigger bags, so no labels.

I have to go in for bird seed tomorrow though so I will check with them then.

Thanks!


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