Acquired: Bred animal myself,
Worked with animal (didn’t own)
Simpsonville, Kentucky, United States
Posted Apr 19, 2015
In anticipation of your chick eggs hatching, you must prepare a brooder at least a couple of days prior to hatching. We constructed a rectangular wooden box and lined it with newspaper. However, I must note that something needs to be laid between the chicks and the newspaper. Not only do you not want your chicks eating ink, there is also slipping hazard that can seriously injure them. We covered the newspaper with the type of bedding many people use for hamsters. Atop that we put down a layer of pellets. Your baby chicks will peck A LOT so they need something to peck. You are going to need a lot of these pellets because it is nothing for them to peck through an entire layer of pellets in one day. Now, the pellets do not substitute food. You obtain chick feed and fill up a little trough that goes into the brooder. They will climb inside it and all over each other so make sure it is long or wide enough to accommodate that. They need fresh water and it needs to be changed frequently because they get bits of food and pellet pieces in the water. They drink a surprisingly large amount of water so we used a water feeder, which is a plastic bottle that "fed" into a bowl screwed into the bottom of the container. At this age, chicks can very easily succumb to disease and illness so keeping the brooder clean is very important. The bedding needs to be changed often - I think we changed it every other day - and it needs to be changed completely. The urine will soak through the layers all the way to the newspaper at the bottom. Heat at this stage is just as important as when they were in the incubator. A heat lamp must be strung above by wire or affixed to the side of the incubator to keep the chicks warm. The average temp is around 90-95 degrees. We always kept a corner of the box unlit and unheated so in the event the chicks felt overheated they had a place where they could cool off. One their little feather start coming in, the heat lamp can be reduced by about five degrees each week. Last but not least, a top of some sort over the incubator is a good idea. We used removable chicken wire (image that!) to keep the chicks from jumping or "flying" out of the brooder. These babies grow really fast and they will start trying to fly-jump onto the side of the brooder. A topper will keep them inside where it is safe until they can be moved in with the adults.