[FONT=verdana,geneva]Brooding Baby Chicks in the Composter
Since I got my chicks in the warm weather of late June/early July, I put them out inside my half-filled black composter during the day, starting when they were about 3-4 days old. Even as babies, they liked rooting around in the compost, and quickly developed a taste for all the little bugs in the compost.
Water, chick starter, and some sand (for baby grit) accompanied them on their daily migration inside -- to a more conventional plastic-container brooder -- and out -- to the composter. Since these were my first chicks and I was raising them in warm weather, I gave them medicated chick starter. I still had a bit of a scare when my dad, unbeknownst to me, fed the chicks some beet scraps. Big juicy red poops! Fortunately, we determined the dietary source.
We continued in this cycle on warm, sunny days until the chicks were about 4 weeks old, when they moved out to the chicken ark (aka chicken tractor). By 4 weeks, my 4 chicks were getting a bit large for the composter, anyhow. The composter is about 2'x2' square.
I also gave them small twigs, and they started practicing perching at only 1-2 weeks old. They didn't sleep on the perches, but they liked sitting on them during the day.
While I know that many people like getting chickens in the early spring, this composter method made those early stinky weeks inside much more bearable. The chicks also really liked being in the composter -- so much to see! so much to do!