It’s that time of year where people start seeing sweet little chicks at the store and end up with the cutest impulse purchases! This year, there has been a huge increase in demand for chicks as more and more people are thinking about raising their own food. Unfortunately with new chick ownership comes mishaps and failures that can end up with sickly or dead chicks. Nobody wants that to happen! So as a poultry owner myself, I thought I would share a few tips with my readers on proper brooding care!

  1. Brooding in a plastic tub is not ideal. It tends to get too warm for the chicks.
  2. Make sure your brooder has enough space for your chicks as they grow.
  3. Don’t get just one chick. They are social creatures and need friends.
  4. Don’t brood ducklings and chicks together! The ducks make a watery mess and get the chicks all cold and wet!!
  5. Have a back up heat lamp!! This is especially important if you are brooding chicks outside of your home in a coop. I keep a secondary heat lamp on in case the main one goes out.
  6. Make sure you have 4 designated areas for your chicks. A warm area under the lamp, a cooling area in case they get hot, an area for watering, an area for feed.
  7. Place a thermometer under your heated area so you can keep ideal temperature. I have a hangable Producer’s Pride thermometer that works great. It even has marked spots for the appropriate temperature at each growing stage.
  8. Try to keep cool drafts to a minimum.
  9. Make sure bedding is clean and most importantly DRY.
  10. Place flat cardboard pieces under your feeders and waterers to prevent bedding from getting into dishes.
  11. Don’t limit feed your chicks or laying hens unless told by your veterinarian. Only think about limiting rations if you are growing broilers as they can and will overeat.
Example of a small brooder. The heat lamp should go on the left side of the container.
Red heat lamps are said to help with the natural cycle of laying hens as it is highly dependent on light. My opinion is as long as they are warm it doesn’t matter what color you have.
This is the brooder in our coop. I waited a couple weeks to move them up to this larger brooder. Feed is on the right, water is on the left, and heat lamps are in the middle.
Another brooder picture before we added chicks. Be sure to do your best to proof your coop from predators.

Another great resource for information on your chicks’ health is at cacklehatchery.com. It is where I ordered my chicks from this year. They have great articles and YouTube videos on proper chick and chicken care! I’d love to hear any questions or comments about your brooding setups or about raising birds in general. Feel free to comment below or contact me!

Until next time…

The Ag Wife

3 thoughts on “Chicken Brooding 101

    1. Does your TS use the new brooding system? Some people really hate them but I thought the chicks looked comfortable and kept people from reaching and grabbing them. 🤷‍♀️

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      1. Yes, I noticed they had a new setup this year instead of the tubs. I didn’t get a good look at it because I was trying to get in and out quick, but next time I’m in there I will take a closer look.

        Liked by 1 person

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