Date: January 20th, 2011
Typically when you get your chicks they will only be a day or two old. At floor level your new chicks will need to have an area directly under a heat source that is between 100 – 101 degrees Fahrenheit (use a thermometer to determine floor temperature). The chicks will need to have a big enough area that they can get away from the heat if they get too warm. Typically a brooder lamp with a 125 or 250 Watt incandescent bulb will accommodate 25 chicks. The lamp should be 18 inches above the floor. Reduce the temperature 5 degrees per week until you reach 70 degrees. You should not need to provide heat after reaching 70 degrees.
The first water given to the chicks should be 98 degrees F and one tablespoon of sugar can be added per quart of water. Drinking water that is too cold will make your chick’s body temperature drop and could potentially make them sick. Before turning your chicks loose dip their beaks in the water. After 8 hours you can provide water without sugar and on the third day you can use room temperature water.
Large pine shavings, rice hulls, straw or hay make good litter. If you use small pine shavings or sawdust the chicks may ingest it, which may cause them to die. DO NOT use cedar shavings; it is highly toxic to poultry.
Your chicks will need to be fed a chick starter/grower feed. The feed can be placed in a trough or round feeder that is very low to the ground. The chicks should have feed in front of them at all times. Your chicks should stay on this feed and ration until they are between 4 ½ - 5 months of age. If you have Jumbo Cornish Cross chickens you may need to limit their feed intake if they are growing too fast. You can feed your grown egg layers an egg layer feed after they reach 4 ½ - 5 months.
Your chickens will need protection from the weather and predators. They will need to live in a barn, hutch or other structure.