With the rising costs of eggs, many people are starting to think about starting their own back yard flocks this year. While chickens can be very easy to maintain, here is a list to get you jump started on your new hobby.
• Heat: Suspend a warm bulb about a foot above the brooder floor for warmth – and have a second bulb on hand in case one burns out. Keep temperatures in the brooder about 90-95 °F for the first week, then decrease the temperature about 5 °F per week. Raise the light as chicks grow.
• Environment: Be sure your brooder is big enough so your chicks can move about comfortably. Keep it out of drafts. Stock tanks, plastic tubs and homemade brooders are all possible options. Do not allow the brooder to become wet or damp. • Bedding: Pine wood shavings are ideal. Avoid straw and newspaper as these become slippery for chicks. Clean the bedding daily.
• Water: Be sure clean, fresh water is always available. Dip chick beaks into water and let them drink 4-5 hours before introducing feed. Elevating the waterer several inches off the floor will help it stay clean and prevent bedding from contaminating it.
• Feed: Scatter feed on the brooder floor so chicks can find it at first. Then place it in a feeder. Have chick starter feed available 24/7. Your chicks will eat just what they need. One chick will eat about 10 pounds of chick starter in its first few weeks of life. There are some great options available when considering chick starter feeds. We will be getting our first shipment of baby chicks at our locations starting in March.
We will continue reordering throughout the spring, but keep in mind, everyone is trying to start their own flocks, and supplies will be limited. If you have any questions, feel free to stop by and talk us about how to start your own flock.
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