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Valley Hatchery Guide To Raising Chicks

 

The chirping of baby chicks is one of nature’s most pleasing and happy sounds. Now that you have decided to add these precious little birds to your home and ordered them from Valley Hatchery, it’s time to prepare for their arrival.

Starters pack Check List:

  • Brooder 
  • Bedding 
  • Brooder Lamp
  • Feeder 
  • Waterer 
  • Food

Brooder for baby chickens

A brooder can be any box-type or container space, big enough to provide your chicks with enough space to eat, drink, sleep and play. The brooder shouldn’t be too big as the temperature inside will be difficult to control. Chicks are not capable of regulating the heat on their own, so they depend on the environmental temperature.

The top feature of a suitable brooder is its accessibility for quick and easy maintenance.

When they are little, chicks don’t need lots of space. But considering they will stay in the same brooder for at least 5-6 weeks, sufficient space is necessary for a healthy life.

It is hard to say how much space chicken needs in different stages of their growth. It largely depends on the breed. Some breeds grow faster, some are more aggressive than others. The best advice is to observe your chicks, and when they start to look like they are being crowded, it’s time to move them to a bigger space.

Sanitize the brooder before place the chicks in it. It’s recommended to use chemicals with an all-natural enzyme that helps protect your birds from mites, lice, fleas, and ticks.

Bedding for brooder

Wood shavings or sawdust are the most practical bedding. The material must be dry and easy to replace regularly. Changing bedding should be more frequent as the chicks grow older. In the beginning, it can stay for several days, but as the chicks get bigger, they will make a bigger mess, so after the first ten days, it is recommended to replace the bedding every other day.

Once chicks arrive

Chicks are active and curious birds that eat and drink independently from the beginning. Have your waterer clean and full, same as your feeder. The required temperature should be established in the brooder before chicks are placed in it. The instinctively roaming nature of chickens will ensure that they find the food and water without any assistance, as long as it’s available.

Temperature of chickens’ environment

The brooder’s temperature is the most important in the first few days of a chick’s life. They hatch without the ability to regulate their body temperature. Brooder Lamp is an essential part of the setup. A thermometer should show 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the brooder before chicks are placed in it, and it should continuously remain on that level.

Observing your chicks will indicate the conditions. Chicks tend to chirp loudly, group, and pile up when it’s cold, which can lead to suffocation.

Reducing temperature over time

You will eventually move chickens outside, so it is important to adjust them to outdoor temperature gradually. It is best to lower the brooder temperature by 5 degrees every week until its matches the weather outside. The first week in the brooder, keep it at 95 degrees, the second week at 90, and so on.

Light

Brooder lamp will provide chicks not only with heat but also light. The lamp should stay on 24 hours a day. One week before moving chicks outside, you should turn the lamp off during the nighttime to adjust the birds’ night-day cycle.

Water

Clean water is essential for chickens at any stage of their life. Dirty water dishes are the source of the majority of diseases that can harm your birds. Chicks, especially waterfowl, contaminate water with bits and pieces of food. Valley Hatchery offers specially designed water dishes that will minimize contamination. Plastic or metal waterers are easy to clean and sanitize, and their design prevents birds from stepping into them.

Water must be changed a few times a day and sanitized every couple of days.

Water protector natural enzymes are also available at Valley Hatchery. Adding them to the water will prevent the buildup of film, residue, and natural contaminants (droppings).

Food

What do chicks eat?

Every farm store has a variety of chicken food, but it’s best to order the starter food from the hatchery where the chicks are coming from. That way, you will know the quality is consistent and compatible with your birds.

It is not recommended to give your chicks raw food, like vegetable leftovers, bred, or other human food. Those types of food can lead to many health issues.

Valley Hatchery offers high-quality chicken starters from hatch until laying age.

How much food do baby chickens eat?

Chickens are known for a constant appetite. They are always hungry and in search of food. It’s best to keep the feeder full all the time.

Where to store the food?

Whether it’s for baby chicks or mature chickens, any food should be stored in a dry, sanitized, and pests-free area. Mice and rats can contaminate the food with various diseases and parasites.

Purpose of different food

Depending on the purpose of your flock, there are different types of chicken food. Unique mixes created for newly hatched chicks, egg-laying hens, meat birds, or free-range chickens are available at farm stores.

The food for free-range end egg layers is recommended for chickens 18 weeks and older, while food for meat chickens is introduced at an early stage, during their first week after hatching.

Healthy chicks

Keeping a healthy flock is the ultimate goal of every breeder. Keeping a clean and the sanitized environment is the foundation for healthy chicken. No medication will help your birds if their water, food, or living space is dirty and contaminated. However, there is medicated food on the market and water supplements that will ensure good health.

Valley Hatchery offers varieties of Health Packs containing all-natural micro-organisms, enzymes, proteins, prebiotics, and water sanitizers that will assist with keeping your flock safe.

It is recommended to consult veterinarian specialists if you decide to treat the birds with antibiotics, any specific medication, or vaccine.

When to introduce chicks to outdoor?

When chickens start flapping their fully feathered wings and even fly around the brooder, it’s a good sign that they are ready to change the environment. This transition happens around 5-6 weeks of age. That’s the time when chicks also start to look like mature chickens, only smaller in size.

It’s important that the temperature outside is warm enough and the chicks are acclimatized.

Chicks should be alone together for a week or two to get familiar with the environment, know where the food and water are, and distress from allocation. After this adjustment period, it is all right to let them free-range and merge with the older flock.

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