Housing and Environment
📌Ideally the temperature for the first few days should be kept around 32-33ºC (AT CHICK LEVEL). For a heat lamp or gas brooder the hottest area under its centre should be 40 ºC with the coolest area being 24ºC.
📌You can use a thermometer to check the air temperature at chick height. You will notice even if you do not have a thermometer your chicks will tell you if they are too hot or too cold.
📌If the chicks are too cold they will be huddled under the heat source and if too hot they will be at the edges of the pen to escape the heat.
📌Your chicks should be evenly spread around the pen with some eating, some drinking and some sleeping. As the chicks grow the temperature should be reduced by around 3ºC per week.
📌Switch on the heat source 4 to 6 hours before placing the chicks so their environment including bedding is warmed to the desired temperature prior to their arrival.
📌It is important to provide your chicks with fresh water daily. Ensure your drinkers are thoroughly cleaned and that they are low enough for the chicks to drink out of but make sure that the chicks cannot drown in them. Do not raise drinkers on bricks for day old birds…atleast wait when they make 2 weeks.
Chicks should have fresh starter crumbs / pellets placed daily in clean appropriately sized troughs. Always ensure the crumbs are in date or not expired as out of date crumbs may have less vitamins leading to deficiencies in your birds. In its first week a chick will eat around 12 grams of feed per day. Feeders should cover around 50% of the brooding area. Its advisable to start with plastic trays to use feeders as chicks cannot eat from raised feeders.
📌Ideally feeders and drinkers should be red to encourage the chicks to peck them and discover their food and water.
📌When you have your chicks in their new home watch them and listen to them.
Happy chicks will be eating, drinking, sleeping and making a low pitched cheeping sound. High pitched cheeping occurs when a chick is not happy e.g. has been pecked by another chick or its environment is not correct. Observe the chick’s distribution.