I have an order from McMurray coming in the week of April 4th. This will be my second time raising chicks. Our first batch is right at 17 weeks now. We got 19 and they all survived, several were just over a week old when we got them and the rest were 3-4 days old. We were actually quite surprised that we did not lose any.
My brooder is a 4' long, 2' deep x 2' tall box that I built. Solid plywood floor, solid back. One end has a solid wall and half the top is solid, the remaining areas are chicken wire.
I suspended the feeder and the waterer (using a jug and poultry nipples, they got that immediately). I used two 125W heat lamps and monitored the temps with a IR thermometer. On colder nights, I covered the chicken wire sections with older blankets leaving a top vent for excess heat to escape. I started them on medicated starter grower crumble and have kept them on starter grower until just this past week I started mixing layer pellets with it. (Got two eggs form them this week).
This first batch if chicks we got we purchased locally from a very small time breeder. Just a guy with a lot of chickens and he incubates and hatches about a batch every week or so, and has several breeds and types available at varying times.
This will be my first time getting chicks for form a hatchery. I have read several threads here lately about losing chicks and problems like pasty butt, etc. I am concerned that having a batch shipped in they may not be in as good of health as the last batch or the stress of the transport may be too much for a few of them and we may loose a few. I am not sure my wife can handle loosing some chicks.
So, what has your experience with McMurray been and what is your survival rate? I would like some reassurance that if I repeat everything I did before that will be the best methods for the best possible success. If there is something that I did wrong, tell me so I don't make that mistake and cost a chicks life.
BTW, we are getting 32, 7 roos and remaining pullets. Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, White Rocks and Delaware Whites. I am getting a least one roo for each bread so that we can grow our stock of the breeds, and I am getting 2 of the RIR roos because ultimately we plan on using these chickens to create more Golden Comets and BSL for maximum egg production. This plan for the breeding toward the eggs will go into place in 2017 and we might even become a local small time breeder by incubating and selling like the guy I got my first batch from.