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Most Important Thing



Friends, we have added the information below to help you get your baby poultry started correctly, and to eliminate any potential problems that might arise.

WARMTH/HEAT is the most important thing to fix first. Chicks must be warm (95 degrees the frist week), and they must stay dry. After temperature, food and water are the important factors. Take your job seriously, but remember, if the mother chicken can do this, so can you. The temperature where the birds are should be 90-95 degrees for the first week. Reduce it 5 degrees each week, until you get to 70 degrees, then you shouldn't need any more heat.
The best way to regulate heat is to watch the birds. If they huddle under the light and cry a lot, they are cold. If they move evenly around the box, and make small peeping sounds they are comfortable. If they are crowded in the corners and are panting with mouth open, they are too hot. Protect from drafts. Remember- the garage is not warm enough without a heat bulb near the chick box. This means "heat" bulb, not light bulb.

FEED: Use a complete Starter feed in the beginning. After 8 weeks Layer chicks will change to Grower. Fryer chicks should eat a high protien feed and have vitamins added to the water to avoid leg problems. Also, let the food run out over night so the fryer chicks are not eating around the clock. For a non-medicated feed, use DGC which is Duck,Goose,Chick Starter-Grower.

WATER: Never let the water run out. But don't let them swim in it either. One or 2 gallons per 50 chicks, depending on type, will work in the beginning will .

SPACE: About a half a square foot per chick is needed in the beginning.

FOOTING:This method saves a lot of work>> On the bottom of the box, use a thick layer of newspaper, covered with a light layer of straw or hay. Each day, roll up the top layer of soiled newspaper, then add more straw. At the end of the thick stack of newspaper, it will be time to get a new box anyway.

STRESSED CHICKS: If the birds have had a hard trip, or have been chilled, they will benefit from sugar-water. Add 6 tablespoons of sugar per gallon of water for a few days. If the tail area is pasted up with manure, gently wash it off in a stream of warm water. Keep the chicks warm. Pasting-up is caused from chick getting chilled.

DUCKS AND GEESE: Ducks and geese must have plenty of water; it helps to keep thier eyes from being infected, and it helps them to digest food. Waterfowl should not have any medicated feed or water. Ducklings from a hatchery should not swim until they are older; they do not have protective oil from the mother duck. They do need heat in the beginning as chicks do.

REMEMBER: Food, Water, Heat. Chicks have simple, but important needs.


Use one box per week. Get a larger box each week. The first day, spread newspaper on the bottom in a very thick layer. On top, lay a small amount of straw or hay. Every morning, roll up the top layer of newspaper and throw it away. Put on a new, thin, layer of straw. At the end of the week, the newspaper will be gone and the box will be too small. Now it is time to start over.

Extreme cleanliness will keep chicks healthy.
Daily Routine- Dump water, change paper, scrub water trays, fill water, fill feed, check for water accessibility, check for RIPS and Stucks, clean around floor, look for crowding, look for overheating (see below for signs).
  • Feed- Use the medicated starters (except for waterfowl). Keep trays full so birds don't crawl out.
  • Water- Treat with sulmet for first three days, i.e. Wed., Thurs., and Fri. (except for waterfowl).
  • Papers- Lay large sheets front to back, overlay with scraps. Use a *lot* of paper for Cornish and Ducks. For Banties, put paper and sprinkle feed on top of wire, and add an extra water dish on the wire.
  • Floor- Sweep daily, mop a lot.
  • Cleaning- Weekly- Scrub rust out of water pans. Vacuum area for feathers. Monthly- Soak floor grates, scrape roofs.
  • Signs of Trouble- Overheating- droppings are concentrated toward the front. Screeming- by one bird means stuck; by lots of birds means cold. Awful smell- means RIP.
  • Last Minute - Just before you leave: Check water grates again to make sure they are OPEN and accessible. Check Feed grates to see if latched. Investigate screaming; it usually means a Stuck. Look all over one more time.

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