Baby chicks are so cute!!! It is really hard to get any work done because all we want to do is crowd around the brooder and watch them!
|Sunny – our Welsummer Rooster Chick|
The heat lamp should be suspended about a foot above the brooder floor to keep the temperature at about 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the first week. As the chicks grow, raise the lamp higher to decrease the temperature by about 5 degrees per week.
We put their water tank on a piece of wood to elevate it a little, but we still have to swish the pine shavings and sometimes poop out of it (and onto our shrubs outside) a couple times a day. Four or five hours before you introduce feed, you are supposed to dip the chicks beaks into water and let them drink. I noticed that under the piece of wood, the pine shavings were getting a little wet, so I rotate the position of the water tank and the heat lamp occasionally so the lamp can dry out the pine shavings. Make sure that fresh water is always available to the chicks.
The chick starter feed can be spread on the brooder floor at first and then put into a feeder. We just started with the feeder and the chicks started eating from it right away. Keep chick starter feed available to the chicks 24/7.
Another super important step is to check for sticky butt, which is when the chicks poop sticks to it’s back side. This can plug the chick up and cause it to die. You want to be really careful about getting it off though, because you don’t want to make the chick bleed. I’m not sure about chicks, but I know with grown chickens, if one is bleeding the others will peck at it. I just used warm water to clean off the poop.
Each day we just add a thin layer of pine shavings, pick some pine out of the feeder and add more feed, swish out the water tank and add more water. Next week we will begin adding vitamins and electrolytes to their water, and the week after that we will sprinkle a little chick grit on their feed to help them with digestion. When they start trying to “fly the coop”, we will roll some screen material (like you would use on a window) over they brooder and secure it with strong magnets on the outside of the brooder.
For now, we get to enjoy hearing the adorable chirping sounds coming from our kitchen, feeling their soft down and baby feathers, and watching them scamper around and then get so sleepy they literally face plant onto the pine.
|Goldie – our Buff Orpinton chick|
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