How We Care for Our Flock
We take an organic approach to the health of all our flocks by boosting their immunity naturally and only offering them the very best. Our birds are provided large clean dry housing, access to free range with lots of room to roam, clean fresh water and organic feed that is both non-medicated, non-GMO and containing no soy or corn. In the cooler/wetter months we give raw apple cider vinegar in their water to help reduce the risk of Coccidiosis. We strive to provide our birds with the best life possible with lots of love and care.
How are chicks are housed
Our chicks are housed inside large plastic brooders with only their hatch mates first 2 weeks of age. These brooders are washed and sanitized between each hatch and housed in our new chick house. Around 4 weeks of age unsold chicks are moved to larger brooder to have more room to grow. These brooders will have both hatch mates and chicks from previous hatches. At about 6-12 weeks (depending on time of year) any unsold chicks are then moved to grower pens. The chicks are never housed near or with adult chickens. They are also not put on the ground until they are move to the grower pen. This is to allow them to slowly build up their immunity to the natural bacteria in the soil. Lowering the risk of being exposed to Coccidiosis. The only exception to this is if the chick was hatched by a broody hen. Chicks hatched by broody hens will stay with the mom hen until sold or until about 6-12 weeks of age. At which time they will be moved to grower pens. You will be made aware before hand if your chick was broody raised.
How we care for our chicks
Like with all our flocks we take a organic approach to the health of our chicks. After our chicks hatch they are examined thoroughly to ensure they are in good health. Once it is established they are healthy, they are then placed in a clean sterilized brooder, with organic non-GMO chick starter and fresh water that includes vitamins/electrolytes. Our brooders are cleaned out every week sooner if needed and water is changed daily. Chicks are handled often to ensure they become calm around people. To us our chicks are more than just something to sell, they are something we give a great amount of love to. It doesn't matter if pullet, rooster or meat bird all lives have meaning and deserve to be loved.
For chicks hatched by broody hens, care is given in the similar way. Before hatch the broody hen and eggs are moved to one of our clean broody coops(maternity ward). This offers the hen a clean calm place to hatch her eggs and raise her chicks. The coop is stocked with organic non-GMO chick feed to give the hen extra protein and be there for when the chicks are ready to eat. Fresh water is also offered, with vitamins/electrolytes being added only after the chicks hatch. After the chicks hatch all unhatched eggs along with hatched shells are removed. The chicks are examined thoroughly to ensure they are in good health (the hen is not always happy about her chicks getting this exam done). All healthy chicks will stay with mom until 6 weeks old or until sold.
Here are some tips that have helped us and will hopeful help you successfully care for and raise your chicks.
Chick Supply Checklist
Ideally you want to have all the items in place before your chicks come home.
Brooder Box – A large box or tote. Cute little chicks grow quickly to the size of a football! It is important to have the brooder ready and warm to 95 degrees before your new chicks arrive as they are highly susceptible to being chilled. Clean the brooder daily to remove soiled and wet shavings. Chick health is directly linked to the cleanliness of the brooder, water and feeder!
Heat Lamp – Invest in a quality lamp and a 250 watt red bulb. Secure it well as heat lamps can cause fire
Thermometer – To monitor the temperature in the brooder.
Litter – Pine shavings work great. For the first day or two, place layers of paper towels on top of the shavings until chicks learn the shavings are not food. NEVER use cedar shavings because they are too aromatic and can kill you chicks!
Feeder – A multi slot chick type is best chicks.
Waterer – 1 gallon size for more than 5 chicks. Provide clean fresh water at all times!
Food – Never use adult layer feed for chicks, the higher levels of calcium is known to shut down their kidneys. Use Chick Starter from day 1 to 8 weeks, Grower for weeks 8 though 20 and feed Layer from week 20 on. Sometimes you can find a feed that is a starter/grower in one that can be used from day 1 to week 20.
Chick Grit – Add it sparingly, like salt and pepper, to the feed 4-5 times per week. Grit is required for chickens of all ages for optimum feed digestion and to develop healthy gizzards. If you are feeding a process commercial crumble
Tips to Keep Your Chicks Warm
Begin heating your brooder 24 hours before you bring your chicks home
It is recommended that you place the heat lamp 20 inches above the litter surface
A thermometer placed at the chicks' level is an accurately way to gauge the temperature in the brooder
You'll know if your chicks are comfortable if they are happily walking around (Too cold and they will huddle around the heat. Too hot and they will sprawl out around the brooder away from the heat)
You can use a dimmer switch to lower and increase the heat from the heat lamp as needed
A good rule of thumb to follow to keep your birds comfortable is to reduce their brooder temperature by 5 degrees per week, as the chicks begin to develop feathers
To keep your birds happy, do not reduce the brooder temperature below 55 degrees and avoid drafts.
Turkey poults are susceptible to chill and the #1 cause of death. Please be sure to keep them away from drafts.