Friday, April 27, 2012

How to get Chicks (the Poultry kind)

I have just received my second round of chicks. They are two Polish Crested, two Brown Leghorns, and two Rhode Island Reds. Since my first round of 12 chicks all lived, I'm batting 100% so far! Here is my set-up. Large rubbermaid bin (used to house Christmas decor), a heat light from Orschelns, a bag of pine mulch, a chick feeder and waterer, medicated chick feed (contains anti-protozoan medication), and a bungee cord to keep the water up off the ground. This is optional, but it really helps to keep them from pooing in the water dish!

Line the bin with pine mulch about one inch thick. It helps to keep smells at bay and you can dump it on your garden as it gets dirty. Weed control plus built in fertilizer, we call that a "two-fer", as in, "you get two good things fer one!". Keep them in a place where they will be safe and there is electricity so you can keep the heat light on them AT ALL TIMES until they are about 4 weeks old. Chicks must be kept at 100*F their 1st week of life. You may decrease their heat requirement by 5*F every week until they are about 5 weeks old. At this time they have "feathered out" enough to be able to be moved outside. While they are being kept under the lamp you can take them outside a couple of days a week while you clean out their cage. They must be watched over while outside and must ALWAYS be offered a constant source of food and water. Make sure they are not huddling up together, which can mean they are too cold, and be sure to put them in a spot where you can easily catch them like a corner. They are faster than they look!

You can get all of these supplies from a farm supply store, including the chicks! However, I got my first brood from a local seller I found on Craigslist. These were much cheaper and I would always prefer to buy used and local products when possible! You may even make a new friend who will give you some free heirloom tomato seeds! I just love how we can become inspired by the most unlikely people and live in a community that is so interconnected.

The set-up
Heat lamp that requires a special bulb

The feeder and waterer

Their feed with antibiotics

The chickadees!