Newly hatched chicks will require delicate housing to ensure proper development and health. The appropriate housing for these chicks is called a brooder. They will live in the brooder until they mature to an age where they can survive in a chicken coup. The brooder will need several items if you want your chicks to survive. There should be ample space for the chicks to move around while maintaining decent protection from outside elements that can threaten their survival. The brooder should be prepared with enough heat with a good supply of food and water. Aside from these conditions, there are other conditions that you will have to create to ensure that your chicks grow to become healthy additions to your chicken coup.
- Create a brooder. Ideally, a brooder is an area that will segregate chicks from the rest of the inhabitants of your chicken coop. The brooder can be a small area of your chicken coop that has enough walls to prevent the bigger chickens from flying in and messing with the chicks. In the event that you do not have space for this, you can purchase pre-built brooders or create your own by using cardboard box or plastic storage bin. The ideal brooder however is a small house that is elevated with an area cordoned off with walls to prevent the chicks from wandering outside of the brooder.
- Measuring a brooder. To ensure that you have enough space in the brooder for chicks to breathe in, you will need to follow certain measurement rationales. For chicks that are 0 to 4 weeks old, you will need an area size of at least a half square foot per chick. Once your chicks reach a maturity of 4 to 8 weeks, expand the brooder to allow 1 square foot per chick. For older chicks equivalent to 8 to12 weeks will need 2 square feet for each chick. Following these measurements will ensure that your chicks will have enough space to live in. Make sure to create a brooder that can be expanded easily to allow more space.
- Prepare the bedding. To provide the optimum comfort for you chicks, spread rice hulls or pine shavings on the brooder flooring. The whole floor should be line with these. To achieve the right lining thickness, make sure that when you spread the bedding on the floor that the floor will not be visible anymore. The urine and feces that the chicks produce can become toxic. The bedding will absorb these to lower the toxicity level.
- Provide a heat source. Chicks can develop colds. If they do, this can decrease the chances of the chick’s survival. To avoid this, you will need to provide ample heat. Place a red and yellow bulb on top of the brooder to serve as a heat lamp. Make sure that the height of the bulb is adjustable. Turn on the light and let it warm up your chicks. Observe the chicks carefully with regards to the light. If the chicks are clustered near the lamp, then it is too cold. Make sure to adjust the lamp accordingly. As the chicks mature, you will need less heat.
- 5. Prepare the feeding structures. You will need a good supply of water and feeds to ensure that your chicks get enough nutrition. Place some waterers to provide continuous water for your chicks to drink. For the feeds, place some feeding trays. As the chicks grow, you will need to replace the feeding trays with feeding structures at the same level of their heads.
These are some of the most important aspects of a proper brooder. If you prepare everything properly and closely monitor the chicks, then you should increase the chances that your chicks will grow to become healthy chickens.