Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Glenda L Heywood, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    Glenda L Heywood

    Fanciers here is the way I used to raise chicks along
    with a brooder box design, though very normal is
    reasanably cheap to make and maintain. Always use two
    1x4 inch boards with a ceramic light fixture screwed
    on the board with plug in cord. Lay this acros the box
    for warmth.
    If one bulb burns out then there is a back up light
    bulb so the chicks don't pile up and smother.

    First you need to decide what amount of chickens you
    want to raise at this time. Then purchase the chicks
    at either a hatchery or a breeder. The breeders will
    have the pure breeds.

    You should have made up some kind of brooding
    arrangements before you buy the chicks. If you have
    the brooder house with a nice brooder and lights
    that is great. If not this is what you can make to
    get you started.

    I used a brooder box with a lighting fixture like
    this. Using a 1"x4" board the width of the box for
    length. Use a ceramic light fixture secured to the
    1x4 board. Now build a brooder box for say 2 dozen
    chicks about 4ftx6ft and using 1"x12" lumber cut to
    fit and nail 4 sides together and then use the 1x12's
    for the flooring. Nail the light board with fixture
    (should have two boards as two lights are best)
    across the top of the width of the brooder. One
    board with fixture for light bulb at the front back
    about 1 ft and the other at the back of box about 1 ft
    from rear.

    Now have some type of covering for at least half of
    the brooder box. I used a large sheet of formica cut
    to fit the brooder box half way up. If it is cold use
    a little more of the covering. Leave a nice size
    space for the ventilation of the brooder box,
    especially at night.

    I used play school sand for bedding it is very good,
    using a cat litter cleaner to sift out the manure
    regularly) and cleaned them at least every
    5 days. Adding back new sand when cleaned.

    Using 100 watt bulbs to keep the box 98 degrees ( or
    if in house where warm may take less wattage.) You can
    tell if chicks are cheeping and running from light it
    is too hot, if they cheep and run towards the light it
    is too cold)

    The first week and then cut the amount of wattage of
    bulbs the 2nd week. Should be cut about 5 degrees a
    week. It should be about 90 degrees the 2nd week. You
    can tell if the chicks start to cheep that
    they are hot they will try to get as far away from
    the light as they can. If they are cold they hug the
    bulb and cheep also.

    The area for the brooder needs to be kept where the
    temperture of the building they are in is nice and
    compfy, out of any draft or wind.

    I had a large glassed in porch that I kept my
    brooders in for the first two weeks of the chicks
    life. The afternoon sun made it really nice for the
    chicks. I would use lesser wattage bulbs in the day
    time if needed and up the wattage at night.

    Becareful not to use a heat lamp as they need to be
    at least 2 ft above the floor of the brooder or shed.
    I liked regular light bulbs best. Always becareful to
    not cause a fire.

    The reason for two bulbs is that if one bulb burns
    out during the day or nite they have a back up light
    bulb and won't try to pile up and sufficate.

    I also used the pieces of 1x12s for a piece of wood
    under the waterer. Now have the waterer and feeders
    in the box where the chicks can get to them and see
    with the lighting.

    Have the feed & water there for around the clock
    and the chicks will eat and drink and eat and drink
    around the clock. I always left the lights on the
    chicks for at least 3-4 months and this gets them a
    better start in life.

    FIRST HATCHED CHICKS I used a large wheaties cardboard
    box ( gotten at the grocery store when they fill the
    sheves, they throw these away.) for the chicks
    freshly hatched for about 6-7 days then I would take
    the chicks and move them to the larger wooden
    brooder mentioned

    Keeping back a couple of the smaller chicks from the
    hatch the week before. These would automatically eat
    and drink and teach the newly hatched chicks to eat
    and drink, like the hen would if she was tending

    Generally the smaller chicks from the week before
    would be a couple of pullets and would not bully the
    newly hatched chicks.

    Now when using the cardboard box, I had the 1x4 with
    the ceramic light fixture and a bulb in it, laying
    over the top of the box. Secured with some weight.
    Then cover the back half of the box and leave a
    opening for ventilation. I had play sand in the
    bottom of the box for bedding. I always used the box
    if it wasn't soiled or damaged two settings of
    chicks, cleaning it each time I used it. Moving the
    chicks on the day I took the chicks out of the
    hatcher. So as to keep the two smallest chicks
    for teachers.

    On Day one till day 5 I used to put either a
    teaspoon of Jello ( this makes red color and attracts
    the chicks to it.) or sugar in the water and as it
    is colored you can see why the chicks would drink it.
    The 5-6th day you can use plain water. Besure and
    take each chick and dip its beak in the sugar water,
    as you take them from the hatcher, as then they will
    go back for more.

    Have the feeder and waterer toward where the light
    is as this attracts the birds to the light.

    The 2nd week they were moved to the brooder boxes
    made from wood then after the 3-rd week I would move
    the chicks to the brooder house where it had metal
    hovers with lights in it and the chicks could go to
    and from the hover at will and eat and drink.

    I always had a light around the drinking and feeder
    area. I was not much on heat lamps as they are so
    dangerous. 100 watt bulbs worked fine.

    One can keep moving chicks together after 3-4 weeks
    and then this allows the new batch to catch up. One
    idea I always used for putting new chicks in the
    brooder house was that I had the corners of the
    brooder house blocked off with a bale of straw or

    When all the chicks didn't want to scatter and hide
    in the corners like a week or so then I removed the
    bales to another building to store till the next
    mixing of chicks. Chicks want to hide as they are
    scared and this prevents them from piling up and

    Some breeders take a piece of hail screen and cover
    the corner areas with that. I liked the hay bales my

    I can remember when raising Modern Game bantams that
    it was so cute that in 2-3 weeks you will have some
    of the cockerels coming up on the top of the light
    bulb on the 1x4 and trying to crow! You knew it was
    time for them to go to the brooder house. I loved
    them so.

    The little Frizzle chicks were so cute as the first
    thing you know it, after a couple or three weeks
    they have the little frizzled wings feathers growing
    out and look like they could just fly if given time!

    Always keep the area around the waterers dry and
    clean. As this is where the chicks get the
    coccidiosis, from the bacteria growing around the
    waterer. Remember that there are 9 kinds of
    cocciiosis for them to get.

    Use some kind of Amporolum if you can find it. If
    you can't get Corrid or Amproyl 128 use Sulmet
    as the bottle says.

    We always used the medicated feed for chicks and
    then about a month had to give Amporol. Always watch
    to see how every chicken is thriving and not setting
    in the corner humped up with ruffled feathers. Also
    drinking only water this happens for about three days
    and then they die if not medicated for Coccidiosis.

    Medicated feed does not keep them immuned to
    coccidiosis just prolongs the time they may not get
    At 4-6 weeks is the time they generally come down with
    Have the medication handy and give for at least a
    week to 10 days. Using Amproyl 128 or Corrid is the
    best there is. Also can use a wet mash for them to get
    jumped started when sick with coccidiosis

    1 qt of dry chick feed ( medicated is okay to use.
    1-2 cups water
    1 tsp of corrid
    mix good and give in plastic feeder enough for each
    chick to get 3 tsp at one time.
    Do this for 3 days then quit. All the time have the 1
    tsp per gallon of water of either corrid in their
    drinking water for 7-10 days.

    As the chickens mature selection will take place at
    about week old for defects and thru the growing off
    period. Don't cull any birds that don't have obvious
    defects too soon. Let them molt out for third time and
    then cull the bad ones.

  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Lots of good advice here! Thanks for posting this, Glenda. And I'm glad you said what you did about the chicks getting cocci in spite of medicated feed. That's been my experience in the last two years. The first year I had chicks, they didnt get cocci for some reason, but the next year, it started. Could be a different variety somehow appeared than was here before. Anyway, thanks for your post! [​IMG]

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