Chick Care


Caution!
Always wash your hands well after handling birds, their equipment and poultry manure. Do not kiss or nuzzle any of your birds. Keep birds outside, away from human habitation and food preparation areas. Always supervise young children around birds, making sure they wash their hands well.
Water
Have a one gallon chick waterer for each 50 chicks. For the first two days, add 3 tablespoons of table sugar to each quart of WARM water for extra energy. Use plain hard water after that, never use soft water, especially with turkeys. Dip the beak of the chick in the water before you turn it loose. Your chicks will be thirsty when you get them. A taste of water right away helps them to find more water soon. Most baby chick loss is caused because the chick doesn't start to eat or drink. Never let your chicks run out of water.
Feed
Use a commercial chick starter for the first 8 weeks. Cover the floor with several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle the feed on top of the paper towels all around the area where the chicks will be. (Use plenty. Better to waste some than not have enough.) The chicks find the feed more easily this way at the start. Change the paper towels daily. Do this for 3 days. Then put the feed in troughs low enough so the chicks can see and reach the feed easily. Use a 2 foot feeder for each 50 chicks. Never let the chicks run out of feed. Be sure that the feed that you purchase is a brand name and has had a short shelf life. Feeds will get old and will lose many of the vital nutrients that baby chicks need.
Heat
The temperature where the chicks are should be 95 degrees for the first week. Reduce the temperature five degrees per week until you get to 70 degrees. They shouldn't need any heat after 70 degrees. Use a thermometer to measure temperature. Do not guess. We use a 60-75 watt regular light bulb in our brooders and after the first 2 weeks change the bulb to a 40 watt. The heat lamp size depends on many factors. Where you have the chicks, the temperature of the area, the time of year and the distance the lamp is from the floor. The area also needs to be draft free.

Precations

Litter

Peat moss, shavings, or ground corn cobs make
great litter. If you are using shavings for litter, be
sure they are kiln-dried and not fresh. This is very important. Place the litter over the floor at least
1-inch thick. Keep the litter covered for the first three days with paper towels or old bedsheets
to keep the chicks from eating the litter instead of
the feed. This is especially important for pheasant chicks. It is important to remove the paper towels after three days.

Pasty Butt

Sometimes the stress of shipping causes the manure to stick to the back of the chick.
It is important to remove this daily. Pull off gently.
Or better yet, wash off with a cloth and warm water. It will disappear in a few days as
the chick starts to grow. Make sure the
chicks have access to water at all times.

Turkeys & Wild Game

A higher protein feed is needed by the above - 28% to 30% Protein-a must! Many feed companies make an excellent line of gamebird feeds with the needed higher percentage of protein. But if you cannot get this gamebird starter ration, then a turkey starter will be sufficient. For day-old quail, the feed must be ground fine to avoid "starve outs". Quail chicks do best when the brooding floor is warm. Draft free brooding, drinkers with narrow founts are a must for starting quail chicks. Some quail hobbyists add 1-2 T. of red KoolAid to 1 qt. of water for the first few days. The red color seems to be attractive to the quail chicks and encourages them to drink. Turkey poults are slow to start and they like to be warm. Poults have poor eyesight so make sure you have extra feeders and waterers in the brooding area so they can always find one.

Ducks and Geese

Do not feed a "medicated" feed to them - ask your feed dealers advice on this! All major feed companies do make a duck and goose starter. You may have to request your feed store special order this starter feed. If using a non-medicated chick feed, add vitamin-niacin to feed or water. Chicken layer ration has too much calcium for young waterfowl.