Well I’ve got my brooder ready for chicks! They will be here in two weeks time and I can’t wait. I’ve got ten meat birds coming as well as ten layers. The meat birds will be Rock Giants, and the layers are Sexalinks. I have never had chickens before so this will all be new to me! I have set up my brooder in a spare room I have (with a door I can close to keep the rest of our pets out of).
Bedding: Inside the brooder the chicks will need some kind of bedding, insulated absorbent and nonslip. I have heard that little chickie legs need bedding that doesn’t slide around or else they get spraddle leg. I don’t know what that is, but decided to go with wood shavings for bedding. I got a whole bale of wood shavings for bedding. I put down about 4-5 inches in my bin.
Space: I have no idea if my bin will be big enough for 20 chicks. I have similar brooders with close to 20 in them and they seemed fine to me? I suppose if it becomes an issue I can always add another one and between the two they could share the heat lamp. Or I suppose I could finish building my chicken coop and move them all out there where there’s lots of space. We have had a problem fox family (of in which my neighbor feeds – gasp!) that we need to deal with first.
Food & Water: I decided to get non-medicated chick feed to start the chicks off with. I don’t see a need to medicate if their isn’t a problem at this point. My chicks are coming in the mail so they will need to eat and drink as soon as they get here. So there’s water and feed already in there. (I kind of feel like I’m super ahead of the game here..) I bought a chick feeder, because I’ve seen where other people just have the food in a dish, whilst the chicks walk in it, spread it all over and then crap on it (and eat it, maybe?!) I also bought a waterer and placed some rocks inside since I’ve read that the lips of most waterers pose a threat of drowning.
What book is that?: Why that would be “Keeping Chickens” by Ashley English. I bought it months ago on amazon and have read it front to back since then probably three times now. I feel like an overly prepared mama. But then I think, “maybe I’m unprepared since I’ve never done this before..” and then there I go reading the book again. I have placed it right beside the brooder so in a pinch I can look something up. Or just read the book again… (Oh yea, I should mention I’m a bit OCD…)
Supervision: Since I work part-time they won’t have supervision all the time. Oh wait, what! Yes they will! I have asked my boss if I can bring the brooder to work and I got a yes back. Oh yea! They will stay in the backroom in the shop so I can check on them now and again throughout the day. I’ve got three dogs and two cats at home though (and that damn pesky fox family) so when I am at home they will be under hawk’s eye supervision. Is there such a thing as that?
Well that’s my little brooder, wish me luck! Have you ever raised chicks before? If anyone has any suggestions or comments please leave some!