3.) When the chicks arrive
When the little babies arrive they will be VERY thirsty.
- You must immediately take each on of them and dip their beaks into the water bowl so they will drink water. This is most important and can be fatal to the chicks if you don't.
- I added electrolytes and probiotics to their water for the first couple weeks to help their tummies acclimate and give them proper hydration. Here are the ones I used.
- Place the baby chicks in the brooder.
4.) Heat lamp
- Make sure your heat lamp is on to provide warmth. This whole topic confused me because I didn't know exactly how high to hang it etc. Here's some pointers. I hung the lamp on a ladder next to the brooder. That was my easiest way to clamp it to something and then raise it up and down.
-Keep the lamp on just one end of the brooder. This way if they are too hot, they can move to the opposite side and cool down. I placed their food and water on the right side and the heat lamp on the left.
- Learn from the chicks. If they are constantly on the warm side of the brooder, they are probably on the colder side and need the warmth.
- If they are hanging out on the opposite side of the light, they are probably too hot and it's time to raise the heat lamp.
- Every week for the first 5 weeks they will need this lamp. Each week just raise it higher ( by like 3-5 inches ) until the chicks have their true feathers in and they can regulate their body temperatures. You want the weather outside to be around 70 degrees and definitely not lower than 60 at night
5.) Brooder cleaning
- I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep the brooder clean.
-I changed out the pine shavings at least 3 times a week.
- Change their water out twice daily to ensure it is fresh without food or poop in it.
-The worst thing for their respiratory system is to have wet bedding. This produces an ammonia like smell which can damage their lungs. Be a neat freak for these first 4-5 weeks.
-Tip for cleaning the brooder which helped me a TON. Have 2 Brooders!! The chicks will all be in their dirty one. Simple get your second brooder filled with fresh pine shavings and have it ready. Then just move the chicks over to the clean one, and move their water food etc. Now you can easily empty the dirty brooder and really clean it. It's VERY hard, almost impossible to change out pine shavings etc with all the chicks in there. Get 2 plastic tubs, trust me, it will help you a TON.