Taking care of your new chicks

Temperature: One of the leading causes of chick mortality is over heating. For optimum chick comfort, it's a good idea to have more than one temperature zone in your brooder container. If you can place your heat source so that you have a range of 70 degrees F to 98 degrees the chicks can decide where they are comfortable. Be observant. When chicks are cold they will pile up on each other. When they are too hot, they will try to avoid the heat source. Use an appropriately sized heat lamp for the size of your brooder. Be especially careful with the 250 watt heat lamps since they are too hot for small brooders and can pose a fire hazard.

Water: It is essential that your chicks have clean water at all times. If you are using a standard chick fount change the water often as they will soil the water. If their bedding material gets wet, replace with dry regularly. Wet bedding invites the growth of mold, cocci, and bacteria. An alternative is to use one of our QCU Poultry brooder bottles which is easy to keep clean and the bedding stays dry

Bedding: For the first few days we use non-slip shelf lining material or shop towels while they learn how to eat their crumbles. Thereafter, we use sifted pine shavings (sifted to remove dust), straw, or cleaned masonry sand. Avoid using cedar shavings as it will cause respiratory irriation. Newspaper or puppy pads can be placed under the bedding if desired, but it can be too slippery to use without something on top for the newly hatched babies. Slick surfaces can cause splayed legs in young chicks.

Feed: We don't use medicated feed, but if you are raising chicks that have been shipped, if the brooder is going to be near adult poultry or where adult poultry has been, or are raising babies from a variety of sources then it might be a good idea. Please note that ducklings should not be given medicated feed, only chickens, turkeys, and game birds.

Bio-Security: Every environment has its share of native bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Birds that are born to a specific environment have a chance to naturally develop immunities to what they are exposed to. When moved to a new place, their immune system can be challenged by exposure to new varieties. This is normal, but for this reason, when introducing birds from an area off your farm, it's always advisable to allow for a quarantine period for the safety of the new birds and the birds you already have. A period of at least 3 weeks in a clean, stress free enclosure is recommended so as to not over-expose either group to new organisms. In this way their bodies can make the necessary protective antibodies. Provide all birds with a clean/dry environment free of drafts and age appropriate temperature range. Proper nutrition is also very important.


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