If you don’t already follow my YouTube Channel shame on you, but I forgive you and now would be a great time to start because I’m getting ready to start a weekly series on raising baby chicks. Check out the first episode in the series : Brooder Set Up and Supplies.
Woohoo! Congratulations you’re finally getting chickens. Whether or not the whole family has been looking forward to chickens for years or you hog tied your spouse and bought them against their will everyone will soon be in LOVE with these tiny little fluff balls. No doubt you have devoured every bit of information about chickens that you could get your hands on. Now you’re a week away from your babies arriving at the post office (chirping mail is the best mail) and you suddenly choke and want to make sure “just one more time” that you have everything that you need.
- A brooder- I chose a 120 quart rubber/plastic tote but you can you can really use anything. Just be sure that it’s deep and has high sides so that they can fly out. And they WILL try.
- A heat source- I really like this heater and have used it in the past with great success for both chickens and ducks! But it does take up a lot of room and make it harder to see your wonderful babies (not to mention the chicks get on top of it and poop and it gets baked on–yuck!) So this time around I’m going to be trying a heat emitter bulb with a temperature controller so that the chicks can have a little more space.
- Lamp Stand- This time around I am trying out this brooder light stand from My Pet Chicken and I can’t wait to let you know what I think. I felt like this would make having a heat lamp safer and more secure.
- Feeder and Waterer- I wasn’t terribly picky about feeders/waterers and just went with cheap plastic ones. I know some people are against the use of plastics and use glass or mason jars on top, it’s all personal preference. HOWEVER for your waterer be sure to get the small fountain at the bottom so your chicks don’t drown. You can even add some stones (large enough that they can’t swallow them) to prevent downing in the water dish.
- Bedding- For the first few days I used puppy training pads in the bottom because they are absorbent and they are not slippery. Your babies can injure their legs if they’re slipping and sliding on the bottom of the plastic container. After a few days I go ahead and add a layer of PINE shavings (NOT cedar) on top of the dog pads (they help with absorbency and heck you already bought a whole pack you might as well use them). Be sure to use the bigger flake pine shavings the chicks may eat the fine shavings and get impacted crop.
- Chick Starter: I buy a small bag of chick starter. This comes in medicated and non medicated. I personally buy non-medicated but you need to do your research and form your own opinions on that. Chicks aren’t on starter long before you switch them over to starter/grower so I wouldn’t bother buying a 50 pounds sack of starter.
- Nutridrench- Nutridrench is a poultry nutrient booster supplement. I put a small drop on each chicks beak as I take them out of the box and put them into the Brooder to perk them up from their journey.
- Electrolytes- I also like to add Sav a Chick Electrolytes to their water the first couple of days to make sure they’re hydrated and peppy.
The supplements are optional but I think they really help the chicks recover from their journey. After all being hatched is hard work. Imagine breaking out of your familiar shell and some stranger looks at your butt (vent sexing), shoves you in a box with a bunch of strangers, and sends you on a dark two day journey. Then the first ray of sunlight you see is some crazy chicken lady squealing in your face. So they have definitely endured some stress.
Next week I’ll discuss how to set up the brooder. The baby chicks will arrive so you’ll get to meet them and you’ll see how to care for the chicks right after arrival!