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Caring for you Shipped Chicks.

When receiving your chicks in the mail, their needs differ slightly from those you hatch at home or pick up from the breeder or feed store. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure your mail-order chicks succeed!

If you are ordering chicks directly through 3F Farms, you will receive an email with the expected hatch date before shipping and a tracking number by the end of day on your ship date. It's important to plan accordingly for the arrival of your new chicks.

24 hours before your chicks arrive, it’s important to get your draft-free brooder set up. It’s very important that the brooder floor be at least 95 degrees prior to the chicks arriving. It's recommended that you use a heating lamp for the first days after shipment as they admit plenty of heat. Unfortunately, heat plates do not put off enough heat to sufficiently reheat your mailed chicks.

You also want to make sure you have all your feed and equipment set up and ready to go. It's recommended that you purchase a waterer designed for chicks to avoid drowning. Pine shavings are also a great option for the flooring of your brooder. Cedar is not recommended as it can be toxic to birds.

Your chicks will need to be started on chick starters. There are many options to choose from when selecting a feed. It is important to note that the feed should be small enough for the chicks to consume. If your order contains silkies, we highly recommend a mash of 24% protein. If you don’t have access to mash, you can use a food processor or blender to make feed fine enough for your bantams. At 3F Farms, all our chicks, regardless of the breed, are started on a 24% gamebird starter.

It's also important to give the chicks enough space to move in and out of the light in the event that is too warm. They do a good job of self-regulating if they are given the proper setup. It’s recommended that chicks start with about 7 square inches of space per bird to prevent overcrowding.

Pickup Day

Your Postmaster should call you once your chicks arrive at the Post Office. It’s important to be prompt at picking up your chicks to avoid any more unneeded stress and get them under heat and drinking as soon as possible.

Once you get home, your brooder should be set up and ready to accommodate new chicks! 3F Farms sends an electrolyte packet with all orders, and we recommend that you use this to help your new arrivals. Your chick's water temperature should be about 100-95 degrees. Warm water helps raise their internal temperatures quicker and avoids any shock cold water can cause. Placement of your chick's water also is very important; the water should be near the heat source but not directly under it. If the water is placed under the heat source, chicks tend to lay in the water source, getting soaked and chilled. This can decrease the survivability of the chicks. When placing your chicks in the new brooder, gently dip each chick's beak into the water to ensure they recognize their new water source. It’s also recommended that you sprinkle your feed around the feeder, making it easier for the chicks to find.

We do not recommend mixing shipped chicks with older or other chicks you may have hatched. Shipped chicks can be slightly weaker for the first few days, making them a target to get bullied by older chicks or prone to coccidiosis of prior brooder tenants.

While it may be hard try to avoid handling your chicks for the first 48 hours. Handling can be very stressful, and it is important to decrease any environmental stress factors as they settle into their new home.

Finally, Sit back and enjoy your new flock additions!

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