Brooding

From Incubator Into The World

So once you have hatched your chicks now is the challenge to keep them alive healthy and growing.

First step is transfer your chicks from incubator into the brooder and ensure incubator warmth is correct, a easy way to tell this is if chicks are huddled together it is obviously to cold and if chicks are scattered along way from heat source it is obviously to hot, we are looking to find a happy medium between both.

Your brooder should be away from drafts and secure enough not to allow any predator attacks, as chicks are very attractive food for anything from wild birds to your cat.

The biggest problem people encounter when raring chicks is the onset of Coccidiosis (please see planet poultry Disease page) this protozoan parasite can affect all chickens and usually helped to be brought on with damp, wet, dirty and humid conditions.Most chick starter crumbles claim to have anti coccidiosis additive, however it is my experience this is often not enough. Prevention of Coccidiosis is better than cure, keep brooder conditions dry and clean at all times and I like to treat all Chicks with a preventative amount of anti-Coccidiosis at about 2 weeks of age and about every 2 to 3 weeks up to 10 weeks of age. As your chicks mature they will build resistance to Coccidiosis.

When your chicks start to feather up they will no longer require a heat source, this process can be done gradually depending on the brooder style you are using. If you  are using a simple light bulb brooder it is as easy as lowering the bulb wattage after 3 weeks this will encourage faster feather development.

Chicks require space, so don't overcrowd your brooder which can result in chicks smothering each other and may also increase the likelihood of feather picking as they develop.

Chicks should have feed available to them at all times and daily fresh water a must.

Usually at about 6 to 8 weeks I will transfer chickens into grower pens, however some bantam varieties may require longer in the brooder.