Nothing I say here is in any means accurate. It is how I do things either from self knowlage Or my peers here at BYC. I will begin with a step by step Guide to preparing for your arrival of new found friends. In this guide I Will teach you to run a good healthy operation. Lets first start with your Brooder. This can be anything you make it from a wire cage with a box around it to a swimming Pool With Plastic wrap as your Draft Protection. One very important rule to raising chicks is To cut back on the draft to avoid "Pasting Up" Pasting Up is where a chick has to much draft and it dry's out the poo to the vent Located on the rear of the chick Just under his little nubby tail. (there are several other causes for pasting up which we will cover else where.) This is very dangerous to a chick and needs to be removed Quickly. (also will cover later) Here I use 2 fish tanks as My brooder for chicks 1 day old to 2 weeks old. Required Items for a brooder include A heat lamp. I like to use a red bulb as seen in the pic it helps reduce Pecking, and is less stressful on there so curious eyes. Feeders and waterers I prefer 2 sets of the same kind for each brooder phase I go threw. These are simple feeders that can in some cases reduce feed waste. and the waterers are nice for small areas. I keep different sizes of waterers for different breeds and ages that might require more water then others. Cleaning supplys are crucial for a Brooder I like to keep a good disenfectant I use Roccal D Plus Bleach and Concentrated lysol. Before and after every batch of chicks you should clean and disinfect the brooder Also treating for bugs. I suggest D.E. or 5% seven dust. there are several different chick safe products adams makes a safe powder as well. Now for our bedding Alot of people just use wood chips, shredded paper, paper towels. I suggest using a good strong straw and setting a burlap sack down on it for the first day of feeding. This eliminates the amount of trash kicked into the food and water supply. Water, A cup of sugar to help the medicine go down so to speak. (not literally a cup but a small dose of sugar water can get a chick off to a good healthy start. Another important Item is our thermometer. day old chicks require 90-95 degree temps then you reduce it by 5 per week until its around 70 degrees. ( i never see those temps here till late in the year) I like to use a digital thermometer to help me regulate my heating elements better. If you live in Hot area's you can freeze Small bottles of water and place them in the middle of the brooder away from the heat and away from the feed and water. Chicks want to eat comfortably. If you feed your birds any medicated feed then introducing dirt to your birds is a must. Birds can develop Cocciliosis. More found here. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_coccidiosis_in_poultry By introducing dirt to your birds they are exposed to the tiny amounts that inhabit the dirt and there feces thus building up an immunity to cocci, If you feed them medicated food without the exposure in my experience your treating something that really isn't there. A few good things to keep around an old brooder house are Old pots, Water jugs, an old coffee pot or stinger. this is for when you get pasty butt. you can heat some water in the coffee pot use your jugs of water to adjust the temp. and use a soft cloth I like baby wipes non allerg, We want our chicks to be as happy and stressed free as we can. So (Ladys) when you grab that little baby in your hands and run around screaming omg omg pasty butt halp!!!! that isn't helping any. make it simple keep S/He close to his friends so he knows he is ok. this next pic is for you ladys out there. There isn't a chicken coop, brooder, or hen house that doesn't have The Worry chair in it. How many times have we sat there Hour after hour trying to figure out what we were doing wrong, when the answer is nothing? Ok now for the good stuff. Signs to look for when your heat levels are to Hot are birds that scatter far from the light. If there 2 cold they will all ball up under it. Heavy panting lifting wings away from the body are all signs of to much heat. change feed and water at least 2 times per day. ( on hot days add some ice to the water) Clean your coop and brooder at least every 2 weeks I like to do it weekly. Also make sure to remove any wet bedding in brooder daily and replace with dry. Chicks do not require alot of maintenance. (they require alot of attention) with that being said. Let a chick be a chick If you want to constantly stroke and pet something get a cat. or puppy. Disinfect your hands before and after each and every handling of your chics, resist kissing them if you can help it. I am sure I am missing a ton of stuff I will add more to this as I go Its been a long day here and I better get some rest Hope this helps someone, And sorry for the pics I used my cell phone lol It is also Good to keep a small medicine cabinet Equipped with a few things. my cabinet consist of Corid, (medication used in water to treat cocci.) Duramycin-10 For respitory pnumonia and several other situations. Vitamins and electrolytes,Asprin, Peroxide. Small scissors, A needle and black thread, Surgical gloves. Iodine, and Popsicle sticks and medical tape. 24 hours before you recieve your chicks you should place the waterer in there brooder fire up the heat light and regulate your heat to 95-100 degrees. In some cases chicks are really stressed upon shipping. A feather duster can be set under the heat lamp to act as a mother hen for the chicks to cuddle, Be ready to feed your chicks upon arrival to there brooder. Most cases you will need to dip there beaks in the water and feed I find this easy to accomplish by placing a burlap sack on the ground Pouring one cup of feed on it and filling there feeder as well almost full. Its in there nature to peck and scratch so they will soon find the feed and its chicken science after that. Always plan for more chicks then you ordered or decided on chicken math is a whole different world. If you notice one of your chicks not exelling like the rest remove it asap and quarinteen it. it is better to be safe then sorry. Run down your list of what might be the problem. ( few signs of consern Weak inactive, not eating or drinking, Blood in the stool. Sneezing coughing, runny nose,) thats to cover a few. One important thing i will add for today is. Never buy a chick on a spur of the moment deal if you have no experience with them. Research first. Ask yourself Do I have the room for them, Do i have the time it takes to get them to healthy birds. Also rememmber chics are only chicks for a little while so make sure you have adaquite space for the amount of birds you buy. I believe its 1 Square foot per bird I like to give em 2-3. Make sure they always have food and at every changing of water and food throw away any food left. Its better to waste a little then not feed enough.