HEAT: If purchasing BABY CHICKS please have your brooder facilities ready in advance making sure that the temperature level at the level of the baby chicks DOES NOT exceed 90 to 100 degrees.
Your chicks will need to be under a 250 watt heat lamp until fully feathered out well or till about 8 weeks and overnight temps are 70 degrees. A light bulb is NOT warm enough nor is room temperature warm enough for day old. If chicks are too cool they will not be able to maintain weight and all energy goes into staying warm. PLEASE secure your heat lamp to where heat is not too close to the chicks where they get too hot or whereby newspaper or wood shavings will catch on fire. Place a thermometer down at the level of the chicks and do not exceed 90 degrees temperature. It is important that the box is big enough to allow the chicks to move from one end of the box to the other if they should get too warm!
FEEDING: Providing good quality chick starter for your chicks to not exceed 18% protein is recommended through the laying age of 6 to 8 months. Upon laying the birds can be switched to 16% layer. Keep in mind that scratch grains and crack corn are only 8 to 10 percent protein. Please use a feeder that does not allow the chicks to get stuck. Even with a lid that has little holes for the chick to eat from will be a death trap for a chick. Once the food reduces the chick can hope through the hole and not get out.
DRINKING: Please do not put a water dish in with the chicks as it is very important to provide a automatic water such as a base attached to a quart jar. A waterer as such will keep the chick from getting into the water and possibly chilling.
DO's and DON'TS:When you get your chicks it is VERY important to provide fresh water and food at ALL times. If you have your chicks with other baby chicks make sure that they are of equal size. Larger chicks will push other chicks out from getting proper nutrition and your babies will NOT receive proper nutrition and will not reach its potential. We recommend NOT to grow your chicks out with GEESE or DUCKS as geese are feed hogs and are extremely messy and both geese and ducks play with their water. Excess dampness is not could when raising birds. A damp environment will create sick chicks!
MIXING CHICKS WITH OTHER BIRDS: It is important to keep all chicks and/or birds with like sizes. Younger birds will either get pecked on by older birds and will not grow as well due to lack of necessary food. If the older birds are not pecking on younger birds in most all cases a younger bird will just be afraid due to size of the other birds and will therefore not eat as they should rendering a small or malnourished bird. If the immune system is compromised this can create illnesses,
HOUSING:and BROODING: Please provide a large enough area for your birds as they grow. Overcrowding means that there will be feather plucking and birds will walk over each other leaving the backs of chicks featherless.
ENVIRONMENT: Provide light for your birds, sunshine, and good ventilation for your birds. Lack of ventilation renders an unsafe environment. A dry area for your birds will prevent a moldy environment. We recommend folks to use wood shavings when growing birds out. Birds in cages can get sores on their feet and feed is not utilized properly if they are scratching food out of the feeders. This not only creates lack of nutrition but also wasting of feed.
VACCINATIONS: Please keep in mind that our baby chicks have not been vaccinated where some hatcheries vaccinate. Vaccinated birds will shed the virus through waste whereby LIVE vaccines are used and could render sick or dead chicks. (while vaccinated birds are protected, unvaccinated birds can become ill). To vaccinate is a personal choice as it is intense requiring updated shots or water treatment for every bird. Some vaccinations are for 1000 or more birds. Once vaccine is opened it needs to be used then and there. Any remainder vaccine should be thrown away, This can be costly and intense. We have chose to have good bio-security verses vaccinating.
ROOSTERS: As your chicks reach maturity it would be good idea to separate out roosters from the pullets by four months of age. Too many roosters with hens will create an unhappy environment for hens with roosters bothering them. Once mature..........We keep a ratio of one cock per 6-8 hens to achieve good fertility. Too many roosters will mean that your hens will be afraid to be on the floor eating for fear of being attacked by a rooster. A hen that is not getting nutrition will render a weak unhealthy bird with poor laying production. Too many roosters can mean over mating for the hen and can even cause death.
PROTEIN LEVELS AND SHOW POTENTIAL:
With baby chicks you can possibly have Pet, Breeder, and/or show potential birds. Now it is up to you to feed them appropriately at the protein level of 18% and later supplying 16% protein level.
Feeding protein levels over 18% can cause leg problems . To feed scratch grains and/or cracked corn only contains protein levels of 8-10% and will produce a less than satisfactory bird.