What is a brooder? A brooder has 2 main components. First is a heat producing device to keep your new chicks, ducklings, goslings or poults warm. A temperature of about 90 to 95 degrees two inches off the floor is idea. You should plan to use a brooder for the first 5 weeks. Reducing the temperature 5 degrees every week until you reach a brooder temperature of about 70 degrees. Brooders can be heated by natural gas, propane gas or electricity where available.
Second part of a brooder is an area large enough to allow about 1 square foot of floor space for each bird. A container that will contain your birds, a water source and feeder(s). A container with rounded corners works best and must keep your birds out of cool/cold drafts and be covered to keep your birds from jumping out of your brooder. Hint: Birds that are only a few days old can often jump over the sides of a 1 foot tall brooder if it is not covered with something like poultry net wire.
Feed and watering your birds. Never allow your birds to run out of food or fresh clean water. Check them morning and night. Dispose of any soiled feed, replace with clean feed. Clean and sterilize feeders as needed. Empty and refill water containers every morning and night with fresh clean water. Clean and sterilize water containers weekly or more often if needed.
Clean and sterilize feeders and water containers using 1/4 cup chlorine bleach in 1 or 2 gallons of soap water. Rinse well and allow to dry before refilling and placing them in your brooder.
Medicated chick starter feeds are fed by many to their new birds. This feed is very expensive so only purchase enough to feed your birds for about a week or so, then change over to grow mash, chicken egg crumbles or lay mash. Grow mash, crumbles and lay mash has trace minerals and vitamins for your new birds health. I never buy chick starter, I start my birds on crumbles from day one.
Brooder litter. I do not recommend, let me say that again, I do not recommend putting any kind of litter in your brooder before week 2. New hatch-lings will try to eat anything they see to include saw dust, pine or cedar shavings. Best solution is to line the bottom of your brooder with heavy weight plane white paper towels. Do not use news paper or any kind of slick paper. Remove and replace the towels daily. Old towels can be put into your compost pile.
**Hint: News paper or slick magazine paper can cause your chicks to develop serious leg and feet problems. If this occurs they will have to be destroyed and disposed of.
Sprinkle a small amount of feed around your feeders, chicks will see and eat the feed on the white paper towels and soon find the feed in your feeders.
Introducing your new birds to your brooder. Carefully check their little butts for crusting, ‘poop’ that has dried on and around their little butts. If you find crusting, wash with warm water to remove. Give your birds a quick visual check daily for crusting. Crusting is common in birds that have been handled ruffly or have become stressed from handling, brooder being to cold or to hot as well.
Dip each birds beak in your watering container once or twice so the bird knows what and where to find drink water. Watch your birds carefully over the next few hours to insure they are eating and drinking water. Monitor the brooder temperature and lower or raise heat light as needed to achieve and maintain a temperature of 90 – 95 degrees 2 inches off your brooders floor.
Sexy Chicks. This is a good time to wing feather sex your birds. This only works on (chicken) chicks and then only when the chicks are 1 or 2 days old. Feather Sexing Day Old Chicks After sexing your birds, paint the toe nails of your pullets with finger nail polish or use a leg band to make it easy to identify your pullets from your cockerels (roosters).
More chicken poop next time.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Why is common sense so uncommon?
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