Last minute questions before the chicks come tomorrow. Help!?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by backyardfarm, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. backyardfarm

    backyardfarm Hatching

    Jun 20, 2010
    We are getting our chicks tomorrow, and I have been researching like crazy! But, there are a few things I haven't been able to find. Help!

    How far away should the heat lamp be from the top of the brooder?


    What should I use for the bedding? Newspaper? Shavings? Hay?
  2. FarmerJamie

    FarmerJamie Songster

    Mar 21, 2010
    For the first week or so, I've just spread out newspaper flat (not shredded).

    With the heat lamp, you'll need to experiment find the right height to maintain the temp you want. I'm sure the height I use in Feb would not be good this week.
  3. backyardfarm

    backyardfarm Hatching

    Jun 20, 2010
    Thanks so much!
  4. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Songster

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    I like to use shavings in the brooder. Newspaper is too slippery for their little feet. Place paper towels over the shavings for the first couple of days so they don't eat all the shavings right away. As they grow, place your water on a small piece of wood or something to elevate it so they don't fill it up with shavings every 10 minutes.

    As far as the heat lamp, hang it up and turn it on over the brooder (test it now) and keep a therometer below to check that the temps are correct. Then just adjust it higher or lower to get the correct temperature. As the weeks pass, just continue to raise the heat lamp to lower the temps in your brooder.

    [​IMG] and best of luck with your new babies!!!
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Heat lamp distance depends a great deal upon the wattage, plus the amount of space it needs to warm. Most folks set up the brooder a day ahead of time, to check the temperature and get it set right. The 'rule' is 90-95 degrees the first week, 85-90 the second week, 80-85 the third week, etc. They should have regulated heat 24/7 until they are fully feathered. If daytime temperatures are warmer than the suggested temperature for a particular week, you don't need to turn on the lamp until night-time.

    Pine shavings are the best, in my opinion. Newspaper is bad for baby chicks, is slippery and can lead to spraddled legs. Some people put paper towels over the pine shavings for the first day, so the chicks don't try to eat the shavings. Plus, it makes it really easy to monitor the condition of their poop. After that, the paper towels are removed and just pine shavings (not cedar!) are used.

    I'm one of those people who has never utilized paper towels in the brooder.
  6. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    I wholeheartedly agree with the paper towels over shavings for a day or two. Many benefits--you can see the little fuzz butts poo better (if blood, diarrhea, etc.), they don't slide, gets them used to the chick feed easier as they can see it spread on the toweling near the feeder and easy to tell if water spilled near the waterer.

    Set up your heat lamp now if you haven't done so. Put a thermometer at chick level in the brooder and check it every half hour or more to set the temperature. If you can't put the thermometer at chick level, put it on the paper towels. It should be stable at 93-96 degrees. I found a 250 watt red lamp needed to be ~ 20 inches above their brooder floor!

    Be sure they have an area that they can get away from the heat to cool down if needed--usually where you put the feeder and waterer. It helps to put the lamp directed closer toward one end--about a third of the way from the wall.

    If you have electrolytes for the water put them in it and be sure you fill the waterer a couple of hours before you get the chicks so the water is not too cold as they need to drink as soon as you get them home.

    Check the chicks a few times a day for pasty butt. Chicks can get poo stuck on their vents and if it blocks their vent they will die from not passing any waste. If they have any--use a cotton ball moistened with warm water and gently clean them. Don't get them too wet as they can chill so dry by blotting their bums and put back in the brooder under the light ASAP.

    Spread feed in front of the feeder so they'll find it.

    Dip only the front of their beak (not their nostrils) in their water when you first put them in the brooder as they need fluids ASAP.

    Sit back and watch the cuties! [​IMG]
  7. dieselgrl48

    dieselgrl48 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    You can use paper towels over the shavings or some of the rubber type shelf liner works great too.I found this best used with ducks geese turkeys and guineas but have used it for chicks as well.Its good and gripy for their feet and they cant eat it and the feed you sprinkle at first pretty much stays in place..If you have a local Dollar Store you can get a roll for a buck and it can be sprayed off sun dried and reused as well. Personaly I dont use the red brooder bulbs as I usualy brood mine now in a rubbermaid tote with a shop light clamp and a Lower heat Brooder bulb wired securely to the box.Lowes here actualy sells a frosted BROODER bulb for around $4.TSC here sells Brooder bulbs at a fair price and they less hot than a heat bulb you can pick up at Walmart they get TOO hot!.It's best to set your brooder up a day or so in advance and put a thermometer in the bottom to see how warm it is.I am setting one up Tue Weeee I have one egg due to hatch this round lol.But If it doesnt hatch will put lid on box take light down and wait until next hatch date.Im sure they will do just fine yep just watch the Booties for pasty butt's and they will do great.Let Us know how they do.
  8. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

    Good luck! Enjoy the babies....they are so fun!!!!!!!!!!!! We love ours

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