Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chicks: Waterers and feeders

Your new brooder will need waterers and feeders for your incoming baby chicks. Although chicks don't need feed or water the first 48 hours after hatching, both should be provided as soon as the chicks are transferred to the brooder. 

Standard water base

Farm stores have waterers that can be used with pint canning jars. These work well, but might not be easy for kids to handle. Some can also be used with more durable plastic peanut butter jars. 

A small dish—with marbles or pebbles added to keep the chicks out of the water—can be used for a waterer. Place the waterer on a block so the chicks don't get shavings or poop in the water. You can also use a saucer with an inverted cup placed over it. Replace the water twice a day, or more frequently if necessary to keep the water clean and fresh. Clean the waterer each time you make the change, and refill it with lukewarm water. 

 Standard feeder base
Standard feeder base
You can purchase a feeder, or just use a small box or tray for a feeder. Let the chicks scratch around in the feed for the first few days so they get off to a good start on the feed and don't eat too much litter.

Chicks are best started on a 18 to 21% chick starter Meat Chickens 23 to 27% starter. For other poultry, use the appropriate starter feed for that species, of bird, if available. 

Rapidly growing chicks must have a well-balanced starter diet for proper growth and development. 

As always, post questions in the comments section.

--Dale aka Turkeyman