Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Annual Chick List

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

It's that time of year again - chicks have been ordered and are arriving any time now.  I know lots of you are old hands at raising chicks, but new readers stop in, so this post may be a refresher, or a good list to have on hand.

My Chick List is as follows:

Chick starter.
Boiled eggs for an extra nutritional boost.
Number 1 grit.
Carbo Vegatabilis homeopathic just in case there are shipping problems.

Wash and sanitize feeders and waterers, and make sure they work!
Inspect heat lamps, have extra on hand.

I make sure the brooder is well bedded, well-rested, and all my supplies are in place, so when the chicks arrive at the post office I am ready for them.

If you're new to raising baby poultry, you're going to be mama, so it's up to you to make sure your brooding area is clean, warm, draft-free, and predator proof.

In addition, heat lamps are a somewhat dangerous way to provide heat, necessary, but caution needs to be exercised.  Many barn and garage fires have resulted from poorly installed heat lamps.  The most dangerous, I think, are the clamp on type.  Sockets for heat lamps can be installed in chick hovers, or you can make sure your lamps are hung securely so there is no chance the hot bulbs can come in touch with the bedding.

Chicks need 90F degree temperatures the first week, and turkey poults need 95F degree temperatures the first week, so any attempt to treat them the same results in too high of temperatures for the chicks and too low for the turkeys.  And ducks fall in somewhere in between those temperatures. 

Let the chicks and their behavior be your guide instead of a thermometer.  If the chicks are huddled under the lights, they are too cold, if they are huddled away from the lights, the heat is too intense.  If they are running about or taking naps you probably have everything just right.  Make adjustments as needed - raise or lower lights, add lights, or turn off a light, check for drafts. 

My rule of thumb is if the chick dies within 72 hours of hatching, it is the hatchery or weak chicks fault, after that I figure it's my fault and I do my trouble-shooting to ascertain the problem so I can make corrections.  The goal is low mortality - if you have high mortality - figure it out and don't blame the chicks.

Raising your own poultry is a rewarding experience and gets easier the more you do it - Happy Chick Raising!


Allison Preiss said...

Hubby and I brought home our first set of laying hen (chicks) 3 weeks ago. Total novices, it was such a nerve wracker for the first few days trying to keep the temperature consistent and just right! But now, we're ready for them to move out of the brooder and into their coop! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

Wombat said...

Arrive at the post office ??? Are they mailed to you or is that the courier drop off point ?

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Allison, congrats! In about 17 weeks you'll have your first eggs!!

Wombat, they go to the post office and we pick them up. They won't fit in the mailbox ;)

Pam R said...

Ours arrived Monday morning at 7AM. We did the clean/set-up, etc thing all day Sunday. We got 50+ and so far all are doing well.

We use our cold room because it's so well insulated. Not hard to keep the temp at 95F for the first 5 days. We use the old 1940 style hover, with heat lamp sockets securely fastened to the sides. We adapted it and added a thermostat to control the temp. (We built it, it's not 1940's in age.)

Here's our set-up:

Click on thumbnails.

Brian said...

I just got my chicks in on Sunday. I got a text from the supplier that they were shipped from Iowa at 5 am on Sunday and the USPS delivered at 10:30 am that morning in Virginia. Needless to say the healthiest chicks I ever received. Go big government!

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Pam, R, Nic! Much fancier than mine for sure, it's just in the greenhouse.

Brian, it's always nice when it goes so well :)

HeadFarmSteward said...

Skip the grit and just use creek sand.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Don't got no creek sand...

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Don't got no creek sand...

XTrail DayTripper said...

We are lucky and have a hen that regularly goes broody. We can't have a rooster where we live so we buy fertilised eggs from one of the good breeders nearby and let her do all the work. She loves having chicks to fuss over and when she gets bored with it all (about 6-7 weeks) we advertise what we don't need to keep on the Internet and make a little spare change.

Jen said...

I live in a town that does not allow backyard chickens, so I made an arrangement with the lady we get eggs from. She is growing out 25 meat birds for me. I ordered the chicks entering my billing info and her address as shipping info. At work the morning of delivery I got a frantic call from my daughter. "Mom, we have chicks, why do we have chicks, what do I do with them, theres alot of chicks mom, like 30, mom why do we have chicks, can you hear them", she said in a single breath. She did a great job and no chicks were lost. Put them in a big rubbermaid container, gave them water and put them in the bathroom with a space heater. Our 3 cats and 2 dogs were sad to see them go my husband said that evening, they thought they were getting chicken nuggets.