Preparing for Chickens (Video)

Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief of GRIT Magazine discusses the basics of getting chicks started with Purina animal nutritionist, Mikelle Roeder.

A brooder can be constructed in numerous different ways, but the most important thing is to have a safe warm place for the chicks to grow until they develop their primary feathers. Each chick should have 1 to 2 sq ft. of space until they are 6 weeks old. Then, the space should increase to around 5 to 10 sq ft. Pine shavings are laid down to help absorb droppings and to keep the chicks from slipping around.

Place a heat lamp at chick level, and use a thermometer to keep the temperature between 90 to 95 degrees for starting chicks. As they grow, the lamp can be raised and the temperature reduced by about 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered. Then it can be removed completely, as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below 55 degrees.

Their waterer can be placed on a block so that it is about the same height as the back of the birds, and it can be raised as they grow. The feeders and waterers should be washed and disinfected at least once per week for the chicks' health.

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