1. Have your brooder area set up and heat source tested before you get your birds.
2. Clean and disinfect your feeders and waterers.
3. A one gallon waterer and a 12" trough feeder will be enough to start 25 chicks
4. Make sure your brooder area is out of the way of cold drafts.
5. Have at least one square feet of space for every two chicks.
6. Make sure your heat source (most likely a heat lamb) won't crowd the chicks into a corner to get warm, causing a piling up of your chicks.
7. Use large pine shavings or straw as bedding for your chicks. Do not saw dust (chicks will eat them) or cedar shavings (cedar is highly toxic to baby chicks).
8. Have a gallon of warm water (98 degrees) with a tablespoon of sugar mixed in for the first day. Don't use cold water (or overly hot water). Cold water could chill a baby chick and could cause it to go into shock.
9. Take the time to dip each chick's beak into the water to help them start drinking.
10. Other than dipping their beaks, don't pick up the chicks this first day (I know this will be hard for the kids)😢 These chicks have had a stressful 12-24 hours, so the less they are handled the better it is for them.
11. Use a thermometer. The temperature one inch off the floor should be 95 degrees for the first week.
13. Use a high quality chick starter feed (like J & B's) and keep feed in front of them at all times.
DAY TWO TO 4 WEEKS
14. If you want to medicate your water, wait until the second day. The water for the second day should also be 98 degrees
15. On the third day the water should be room temperature.
16. Reduce the temperature 5 degrees per week after the first week ( do this for 4 weeks).
17. After 2 weeks of using a chick starter, switch to a grower feed (a lower protein and usually a lower priced feed)
AFTER 4 WEEKS
18. Increase their area to 3/4 sq ft per bird.
19. Increase feeder space per chick and the amount of waterers/water available ( depending on your situation, you may have to do this earlier than 4 weeks)
20. Chicks can range outside (in a predator safe environment) on warm sunny days
21. NEVER LETS YOUR CHICKS RUN OUT OF WATER.
22. Always wash your hands after handling poultry. Live poultry can be a source of Salmonella infections.
23. Try to prevent water puddles around the waterers. This will save you a lot of clean up.
24. Ducks and geese should be raised separate from chicks and turkeys.
25. Do not use newspaper or cardboard with turkeys. They slip easily causing sprattled-legged poults (baby turkeys).
26. With broiler chicks, take their feed away at night after three weeks. This will allow the skeletal growth to catch up with their fast muscular growth, hopefully saving some broken legs later in their life.
27. HAVE FUN WITH THIS PROJECT, IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.