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CHICK PROGRAM

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHERE SHOULD I KEEP THEM?

If you have limited space and plan to keep them in the house, a plastic tote works well. They don’t have the ability to jump over the sides (10-12 inches) until about 3-4 weeks if they are really ambitious.  The plastic on the bottom allows them to make a mess inside the tote and will not fall apart like a cardboard box will. A pet crate may also be an option, or your biggest cardboard box lined with something waterproof like a plastic shower curtain. 

As the ducklings grow, you may want to increase their living area (bigger tote, dog crate, baby enclosure over a tarp, etc.) If you choose to keep the ducks, you will want to explore coop ideas that have both an indoor and outdoor space. Google has lots of creative designs!

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WHAT TEMPERATURE DO THEY LIKE?

Young chicks like to snuggle and cuddle. Keeping them warm is important for the first few weeks. They will enjoy the 25-28 C temperatures. You will know if they are too cold if they are shivering (not out of fear) or not up and about ready to explore. As they age, they can tolerate cooler temperatures as a baseline. It is normal for them to explore (see activities below) and then come back to the heat for some rest.

A few ideas:

  • Keep them in a warm room in the house such as a bathroom that is less frequently used, or add a space heater.

  • Keep them under a heat lamp or incandescent light bulb that provides some heat.  As they age, raise the heat lamp or increase their space so they have the option to get away from the heat or come closer.  If they are trying to get away (huddled in the corner away from the heat or are panting), it is too hot.

TELL ME ABOUT THE BEDDING!

Ensure there is 1.5 - 2 inches minimum of bedding on the bottom of their habitat. This should prevent them from slipping.  Feel free to gather and change the bedding whenever necessary.  It is best to keep it mostly dry. If you find that it is constantly wet, consider adjusting your watering strategy so they play less and focus on drinking. If you do not have a garden or compost to dispose of waste, this can be collected in a garbage bag and returned to the farm. We highly recommend that you stick to the bedding provided, as newsprint and other bedding options can be too slippery, and can lead to leg problems. Do NOT use cedar shavings if you have them from other pets - they can be toxic to ducklings! Additional bedding can be purchased for $15 a bale if you need it.

TELL ME ABOUT FEEDING!

A custom starter feed has been supplied. It is anticipated that the supplied feed will easily last you 4 weeks.  Additional feed is available for $15 for a small bag and $30 for a large bag. Free feeding is the best approach, which means having feed available to them whenever they are in their tote. They do a great job at regulating their food intake themselves. You can simply take a margarine container or Tupperware and fill it with feed.  You can place a stone inside to reduce spillage as they may enjoy digging in the feed.

WHAT ABOUT WATER?

Keep water available to them as much as possible, similar to free feeding. You can use a shallow margarine container or Tupperware. If you find they play and waste a lot of water, this is ok, but if it gets too messy and bothers you, feel free to place a stone inside the water container that takes up a large portion of the container.  This will prevent them from jumping in.

GIVE ME IDEAS OF THINGS TO DO WITH THEM!

  • Your chicks will love to explore, they will show high activity and crash for sleep like most toddlers.

  • On warm sunny days, take them out into the yard or grass, let them pick at weeds, grass or bugs! Always give them the option to get out of the sun if it's too warm. Water should also be close by at all times.

WHAT DO I DO ABOUT SLEEP?

No need to turn off the light to put them to sleep; they sleep when they want.  A normal day/night cycle is ok, but leaving the light on will not disrupt their sleep cycles.  If your environment is busy and noisy, consider giving them some quiet time.

WE HAVE A TODDLER / WE HAVE PETS...

Don't worry - we do too!

 

Teaching your kids how to handle chicks is very helpful right away.  When the chicks are small, have your kids to sit down and keep the chicks on their lap, or use their hands as a ‘nest’ with 2 hands together.  If your kids are afraid of being pooped on, be sure to keep an old rag or towel handy.

As for pets, you know your dog/cat best. Many are totally okay and gentle with chicks as long as they are introduced carefully and monitored. Our dog is lovely with the chicks; our cat can't handle it. So we make sure that the cat is never alone around them; indoor chicks are kept behind a closed door at nighttime.

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CAN THEY MAKE ME SICK?

Like all birds, chicks potentially carry bacteria in their guts that can make you sick. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your chicks or their environment. Also, we know it is tempting, but we would advise not kissing your chicks.

CAN WE POST ON SOCIAL?

ABSOLUTELY! We would love to see pictures of your family with your foster ducklings! Please tag RiverBound Farms on Facebook or @RiverBoundFarms on Instagram so we can share in the fun and cuteness!

HOW DO WE RETURN BIRDS?

We will accept chicks back at the farm anytime before September 4th, 2023 with no rehoming fee. After that date, there will be rehoming fees as described in our pricing

Please contact us on social when you're ready to come back to the farm.

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT ON PICK UP DAY?

When you arrive at the farm, we will meet you outside and have all of the available chicks in an outdoor brooder box. We will have some bedding for you to put into your travel box, and you’ll scoop up your chicks for the first time! We will be available to answer any of your questions, and will have examples of housing and feeding that you can recreate at home. 

We will have a bag of custom feed and a wrapped bale of shavings for you to grab off of the back of our truck. 

WHY SIX? CAN WE TAKE LESS OR MORE?

We set up the program with the assumption that many participants will want to keep the females and start a backyard flock. So, given that 50% are expected to be male, Six chicks should leave you with 3+ hens for your flock.

You can certainly choose to take less than six, but we highly recommend taking at least 3. We have found that two chicks may pick on one another (particularly if one ends up being a rooster), but three will keep peace. 

Individual chicks can be added to your package for $10/chick. Please let us know early if you think you'd like to add chicks, so that we can ensure there are enough for everyone who has booked for that hatch.

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