Any suggestions how to prepare for one-day old chicks? 25 due to arrive soon. Help!
Excellent! O God, I wish I was you. You'll need an incubator type set up. Lots on info on the web...
I live with alternate energy and have had to return to doing many things the old fashion way. What did people do before electricity for incubators (too much wattage)?
You need a cardboard box, or something to keep them confined. It has to be big enough they can get under the heat lamp or get away from it. They should come with instructions. You will also need newspaper to line the bottom, a heat lamp, a chicken waterer and feeder, feed, and possibly a vitamin supplement to add to their water.
Chickens are easy to raise, although you may lose a few, don't worry, that's normal. Make sure they have constant access to fresh water and feed (a chick starter feed) not corn. Good luck!
First of all, Congratulations!
There is a pretty good list of what to do here
Your birds will be cold and hungry when you get them. You will know they are hungry because you will hear them before you see them! When you pick them up, take them straight home. Don't leave them in the car or anything while you do errands.
Bedding should be newspaper to start-shavings after 2-3 days only, they will be hungry and anything that looks remotely like food-shavings, they may eat and the enough may be fatal. You'll need the 250 watt heat lamp centred on one end of the brooder. TSC has them and other farm supply places.
We use the biggest rubbermaid tub we can, or some people even use a kiddie paddling pool, but after a few days they will try to explore as the sides are too low. the rubbermaid tubs are nearly two feet and if they can't see out they don't try to get out. They don't need perches for quite a while so don't worry about those.
So Light, tub, newspapers-a few days worth, "chick grit", ask at your local feed store fr that and chick starter. Medicated chicks starter is probably best but not a necessity if you have never had any hens before.
Follow the McMurrays instructions. Dip each chicks beak in water (don't dip nostrils in) and watch to make sure they do a little swallow after. If you slowly sprinkle feed as well as have a feeder, they will be drawn to the movement and start eating. Usually when one figures it out, they all do. They will go quiet when content, and if warm enough they will sleep and it too cold they will cheep loudly. Get a cheap indoor outdoor thermometer with a sensor wire and pout the sensor end right under the light. It should be 90-95 F to start. If they huddle under the light they are cold, if they squash away from it in to the corners they are too hot and you can raise it up.
Have fun, enjoy them and remember not every one will survive and sometimes it is just genetic or they had a long trip and not your fault.
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