It is getting closer to when we will be receiving chicks to start a new flock here on our little farm! We are getting chicks by mail this round, which I have never done before. Because of this I have made some changes to my original chick starting plan. Instead of putting them immediately into the brooder in our coop, I’ve decided to make one out of an old water tank we had lying around and put it in our laundry room. They will need extra care after being shipped by mail and on top of that, we have been seeing extremely cold temperatures here in the Midwest, so the further from the weather the better they will thrive(hopefully). You can click here to see a short video about how I set the inside brooder up!

I have cardboard placed underneath the waterer and feeder so that shavings don’t get in the troughs and inhibit intake. I also placed them on the other side of the tank further away from the heat lamp. I did this to keep them from loitering around the feed and water. This will hopefully allow for easier access to trough space as well as clean and dry chicks.

I also have a red heat lamp that I will be conducting tests on soon to make sure it will be the ideal temperature for a warming space. Red heat lamps are recommended if you want to avoid interfering in the chicks natural light/dark patterns. Light plays a huge role in a chicken’s reproductive process. I talk about this a little in my other article Chick Days.

The only real issue I have with the set up is that it is a little small in terms of floor space. The recommended floor space per chick is about 6 inches. I have not done exact measurements of the trough but I am pretty sure it’s not going to allow that much space for 15 chicks. So, my plan for now is to keep them in this small makeshift brooder just long enough for them to bounce back from their travels and then move the to a more permanent brooding space in the coop.

The other thing I have done in preparation for these chicks is purchasing a bag of feed. This may seems like an easy task but there are some things you need to think about before just grabbing a bag of chicken feed. You need to make sure it is chick starter feed. You also have to decide if you want to get organic, medicated, or not medicated starter ration. I decided to start them off with a medicated bag that contains an antibiotic called Amprolium. I am usually not a huge fan of medicated feed but I will be using this to ensure my chicks bounce back quickly when they arrive at the farm. Once they do, it will not be necessary for medicated feed to be used unless they get sick. This of course is my personal decision for my flock. It does NOT mean it is the only and correct way to start birds. It’s really up to whoever is growing them.

This is the tag from my start ration bag.

The hatch date for our chicks is scheduled for February 22nd and arrival will be 1-3 days from hatch. We are ready to go and super excited to receive them!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

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