Basic Tips & Tricks for Raising Your Chickens
Arriving Home with Your Chicks
Place the chicks in your prepared brooder with a heat lamp and about 2 inches of pine shavings. Chicks are started on organic non-medicated chick starter and are drinking water and eating prior to leaving the farm.
My recommendation for a heat source is any type of hover heater. It acts like the Mama hen or as we fondly refer to on the farm as "The Mother Ship" Chicks go under the heater and the height can be adjusted upward as the chicks grow. This type of heat is gentle and SAFE!! (Premier One Supply has an excellent model)
Newly hatched chicks require a temperature of about 90-95 degrees. Reduce the temperature 5-7 degree per week until you reach about 75 degrees. A thermometer is helpful. However, it is important to watch your chicks. If they all crowd tightly under their heat source, they are probably too cold. If they avoid the heat source, stay to the sides of the brooding area or pant, they are too warm. The brooder should be placed indoors or in a heated barn or garage. However, I strongly encourage you to keep the chicks indoors where they are under your watchful eye. At this age, anything could happen and they are extremely vulnerable to predators.
Things to Watch for in the Brooder
Are they too hot or cold? Are they cheeping excessively? Are they alert? Do they seem lethargic? Are they crowding under the heat lamp because they are cold? Are they panting or gasping for breath?
Condition of Litter
PINE shavings should freshened daily and brooder should be cleaned out at least once per week. If a strong odor of ammonia is present, bedding should be changed.
Besides heat, the next most important thing for your chicks is water. A small water container specific for small chicks is crucial. If a water source is too large, chicks can fall in and drown. Make sure water is fresh and clean at all times. Chicks 1 day to 1 week can be started out on "chick tea" for the absolute best start for their gut health. Recipe can be found in our shout out pages. Water should be room temperature, not cold. In addition to herb water, offer clear water with a touch of Apple Cider Vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is a great additive for gut health. Adding this mild acid to the water helps alleviate heat stress. It has also been shown to have beneficial influence against heart attacks, ascites, sudden death syndrome, and digestive tract illnesses. There is also belief it has a positive effect on feed digestion.
Adding garlic to the water helps your chickens fight disease and overall infections. One clove cut lengthwise per 5 gallons of fresh drinking water. Allow it sit overnight and let the allicin in the garlic release into the water. Garlic has been used in ancient medicine as an antibiotic, antimicrobial treatment.
If pasting appears around vent, CAREFULLY remove paste build up with a warm, wet cloth, making sure that vent is wiped clean. After 1 week, offer Vitamin and Electrolytes one day per week until age 7 weeks and discontinue. (Electrolyte water should be offered during extremely hot weather in addition to plain water) Once pullets are moved to coop, feeders and water buckets should be hung as to keep scratch and droppings from polluting food and water.
Chicks are started on an organic chick starter food. If you chose to use a medicated feed, then chicks should be fed this medicated feed until 7 weeks of age. After 7 weeks, they can be put on an un-medicated grower feed until 16 weeks.
At 17 weeks, pullets should be placed on a diet of cracked corn and layer mash. DO NOT feed your chicks any treats (mealworms, nuts, etc.) until at least 3 weeks of age. This is just junk food for chickens at this age. Once they have surpassed the 6 week mark, it is perfectly fine to shake a bag of marshmallows or mealworms to train them to come to their coop at night, or to just get them to come to their Mama hen (you) but only in very small amounts.
Chicks around 4 weeks are old enough to be offered chopped spinach, arugula, pomegranate seeds (not the peel) mashed potatoes, cantaloupe on the rind, and their very favorite: watermelon on the rind. Be careful with table scraps, as chickens that are fat, tend to lay very large eggs; which could cause a chicken to become “egg bound.” This can be very painful and cause a hen to die.
When storing feed, always use an airtight container with a snug fitting lid. Food that is contaminated by rodents will cause serious illness or death to your flock. Take the extra step to purchase a metal can with lid- it will last for years and is absolutely rodent proof.
Non-GMO Layer Feed
As keepers of rare and heritage poultry, we created our NON GMO layer ration for the sole purpose of providing our flocks with a nutritious, freshly milled feed that is free of GMO grains. After years of working with top livestock nutritionist, we have developed a superior product!
We are grateful for the opportunity to earn your business and trust by providing you with some of the freshest, NON GMO chicken feed in the industry! One look at our feed and you will see quality FRESHLY MILLED grains that can actually be identified! .
We understand the need to provide our flocks with the best possible life and feeding NON-GMO plays a big part in providing that life. Our experience has shown that feeding NON GMO results in a healthy digestive tract, a more productive egg layer and a chicken with gorgeous, full feathers.
Baby Chicks can be given tea from day one that will assist with boosting the immune system and offer a vast array of benefits. Tea can be made by steeping them in hot water for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and offer. A small pot can be brewed and used for several days. Do not worry about removing the herbs as they will be soft enough and small enough for the chicks to eat.
The following herbs can be used in the brooder, finely chopped or added to water to make a tea:
Poultry studies have proven that the use of oregano will assist in combating coccidian, E. coil and Salmonella. Oregano is packed with vitamins, calcium and antioxidants. It also helps support better immunity and respiratory health.
Garlic not only has antibacterial properties but helps treat infections and respiratory problems. Garlic is also known to improve chicken's appetite and the quality of the eggs they lay.
Basil acts both as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also promotes a healthy mucus membrane. The respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and immune systems are all benefited by the consumption of basil. A proteinaceous plant, Basil also contains a healthy dose of Vitamin K and iron.
Cinnamon reduces inflammation, is antibacterial, and has antioxidant properties that can help prevent neurological diseases. Cinnamon helps circulatory systems by thinning blood which improves blood. This helps prevent frostbite in winter.
Offering these to your chicks will result in stronger, healthier chicks. Giving your chicks a natural, organic start puts them on the path to a long, productive life
Preventing B2 Deficiency: Chicks that are deficient in Vitamin B2 can develop neurological issues; which can lead to paralysis, anemia and death. Be sure that your chicks have adequate amounts of riboflavin in their diet. Good Sources include brewer’s yeast, wheat bran, sesame seeds, seaweed, spearmint, parsley and coriander.