Expecting healthy and fluffy chicks is always exciting and the best way to get started is to prepare a brooder box right away. This brooder box will be essential in making sure all of your chicks stay dry and keep warm. A typical brooder box has walls so your chicks are safely contained along with a brooder lamp and a bottom surface with optional shavings. Don't forget that these chicks need to eat food to survive and drink water so be sure that your brooder has the necessary space.
Starting with the brooder's body is recommended because you can use any material for it. It can be a fish tank, storage tub, kiddie pool, or even a cardboard box. Any of these things can pass as a brooder box as long as the chick is in an area of at least two square feet.
Cover is also a vital component of the brooder box if the depth of your chosen container measures over a less than a foot deep. This becomes optional if the box is much deeper. A cover also keeps your chicks safe from harm which may be necessary if you have pets around the house. Any full cover will do as long as your chicks have breathing room. Keep your chicks well ventilated by ensuring that the cover is made of breathable materials.
The purpose of the brooder lamp is to keep your chicks in optimal temperatures. You can achieve appropriate temperature by simply installing a single infrared lamp with a 200-watt bulb. To prevent the dangerous possibilities of starting fires, add a wire guard running underneath the lamp. Make sure that your purchase includes a clamp and reflector as well.
It is up to you on how you want to place your brooder box lamp. Just keep it at a level that looks right for chicks. It also helps to make the lamp accessible to just in case you need to fine-tune the temperature by adding or subtracting five-degree intervals.
You won't be able to figure out the exact temperature unless you have a thermometer. A wire makes things easier in putting the thermometer in place while making it readable too. Another trick is to put a sensor just beneath the lamp.
Next you can move on to the bedding where pine shavings are a smart choice. Place these pine shavings on the bottom portion of your box. Don't worry if you notice your chicks eating them because pine shavings are safe. Just make sure that the shavings are pine and not cedar because cedar shavings are toxic to chicks. Avoid using newspapers as well because their slippery surfaces may cause your chicks to have spraddle legs. If newspapers are your only possible option, the least you can do is to shred them to tiny bits and pieces. Otherwise, consider some alternatives like rice hulls or clean sand.
You can create your own feeder with ease too if you have egg cartons lying around. Just use the egg part and you are all set. If you want to add some style to your brooder box, you are free to pick from various styles and designs that are available in different markets and feed stores. Online sources have even broader selections.
Your chicks will need some encouragement to drink and that is the purpose of the waterers. Rather than getting soaked, the chicks will drink the water instead. The chances are greater if the waterer is in a red hue as it is a lot more visible to the chicks.
These steps are very simple to perform and after a few minutes, your brooder box is all set providing that you start with a complete set of materials.
Suzie O'Conner owns and manages the website ChickenHousePlus.com. Based in sunny Florida, the site offers a variety of quail eggs and fertile chicken eggs. Other fertilized eggs including egg incubators can be found on the site too. It completes the essentials by offering some organic chicken feed, chicken houses, and brooder boxes. You can contact customer service by dial 888-595-5306 or by checking out the live chat located at ChickenHousePlus.com.