We recommend for the first day to have the drinking water at 98 degrees (or very warm) because the birds are small with little weight to them on arrival. They will drink a lot of water, which if too cool, can rapidly decrease their body temperature and put them into shock or make them sick
WARNING! Teflon Coated Light Bulb fumes can be toxic to birds. Be sure you Do Not use any teflon coated light bulbs!
Always use brand new bulbs. We have found that using a drop light with reflector shield is a good source of heat.
From days 3 through 7, the temperature in the brooder should be 95°F at floor level. Then you will reduce it 5 degrees per week until the temperature reaches 70°-75°F.
Use the basic instructions for chicks; however, watch them more carefully for pilling up. The temperature may need to be slightly higher for the smaller bodied birds. Usually 99°- 100°F for the first week, then lower it 5 degrees per week until about 70°F. The temperature must be closely monitored.
A thermometer is highly recommended. Special game bird water founts can be purchased. If you are using regular chick founts, add clean gravel or marbles to take up space so they do not drown or get chilled. You should use a colored bulb to help control cannibalism. We do not recommend wire flooring at a young age because it is a good possibility that their legs will get caught in the wire.
Do this for the first day. Then put the feed in troughs low enough so that the chicks can see and reach it easily. Use one foot of trough feeder or one round feeder for every 25 chicks. Never let the chicks run out of feed.
We do not recommend adding grit because the chick starter/grower feed is formulated for what the chicks need to digest the food. Chicks should stay on a full feed ration of chick starter/grower until they lay their first egg.
Start with a 1 gallon low profile chick waterer for each group of 25-50 chicks. Do not medicate water with anything on the first day.
The first water given to newly arrived chicks should be very warm at 98°F. The next 2 days the water should be warm and by the 3rd day it can be room temperature.
Most baby chick loss is caused by the chick not starting to eat or drink due to them being too cold to move. Never let your chicks run out of water.
Large pine shavings make a good litter. Rice hulls, dry straw, or hay can also make good bedding. Do not use small shavings or sawdust because baby chicks that are learning to eat will eat it and possibly die. Do not use sand because it can also be eaten by the birds and can cause their craw to have impaction, which may cause health problems and/or death.
Put the litter all over the floor at least 1 to 2 inches thick. On concrete floors, use 3-5 inches of bedding. Do not use cedar or cypress shavings as they are highly toxic to poultry.
BEWARE OF PREDATORS!
Live animals and pets can be a source of potentially harmful microorganisms (germs including salmonella and bacteria). Therefore, precautions must be taken when handling and caring for them to prevent fecal/oral transmission among people. Children should be supervised as they handle animals and pets to make sure they do not put their hands or fingers in their mouth. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling animals.
For information and free materials, contact “United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov