BEFORE THE BABY POULTRY ARRIVES:
Have a clean, disinfected facility ready for the arrival of the babies,
which is free of rodents and has been sprayed with an insecticide such as Sevin or
Malathion. Iodine, Cresylic Acid or
Quaternity Ammonia products are satisfactory disinfectants.
Baby poultry may be started using a floor brooding plan or a wire floor brooder
Floor brooding plan
a. A variety of products can be used for
initial brooding to provide a draft free environment.
Most commonly used is a 12 to 18 inch
High, cardboard brooder ring formed
around the brooding area. A circle five feet
in diameter is needed for 50 chicks. Increase
the size of the ring proportionately to the added number of chicks to be started. Other products that have been satisfactorily used
include large cardboard boxes; stock tanks and childrens plastic swimming pools.
b. Cover the floor with an inch or two of
rice hulls, shavings, ground corncobs or other semi-coarse, absorbent products that do not
easily mat. DO
NOT USE CEDAR SHAVINGS,
cedar is toxic to chickens. The litter should be covered with burlap material,
cheesecloth, paper towels or other non-slick material for the first three days. This will prevent the babies from eating the
litter, reduce the possibility of the babies from becoming sprattle-legged and provide for
easy access of feed sprinkled on top of the material.
c. Provide an adequate size brooder or one
250-watt heat lamp with reflector for each 50 babies.
It is never wise to depend on only one heat lamp, so for insurance, provide
at least two heat lamps regardless of the number of babies.
Red heat lamps are preferred as they provide ample light without providing
excessive light that may lead to picking. The
heat lamps should be hung about 18 inches above the top of the litter. Check to be sure that they heat.
d. Have available feeder lids for the feed. A box cut down to have one-inch sides is suitable. For bantams and game birds, sides only one-half to
three quarters inch are preferred.
Wire Floor Brooder System
The wire floor should be made of wire
material not larger than the size of one- half-inch hardware cloth. For bantams and game birds one-fourth inch square
wire floor material is preferred.
Provide an adequate floor space as specified
by the brooder manufacturer. The manufacturer
generally recommends only the number of chicks that may be started in the brooder. After about two weeks, more space will need to be
provided if the maximum recommended number have been started.
Check the brooder to be sure it is
Most brooders have a small light to signal
when the heater is on and also a light for the babies to see at night. If the brooder does not have a night-light, one
needs to b provided, preferably a 15-watt red light.
Have available feeder lids for the
feed. A box cut down to have one-inch sides is
suitable. For bantams and game birds, sides
only one-half to three-quarters inch are preferred.
Most brooders are provided with
water troughs. It is wise; however to also
provide extra water founts to start the babies. Generally
the brooder water troughs provide too much water access for starting ducks, bantams and
Cover the wire for the first day or so
with a non-slick material such as burlap, cheesecloth or paper towel. Do not use newspaper, as it is too slick and the
birds will slide resulting in sprattle-legged birds.
recommended for the baby poultry that you have purchased.
Do not purchase more feed than will be
consumed within two or three weeks, as the feed will lose some of the nutritional value,
become stale and lose its palatability.
Commercial chick starter containing about 20%
protein is recommended for starting bantams and layer type baby chicks.
Chicks being raised for meat should be
started on a high protein high energy rations that will produce rapid growth.
Ducklings and goslings should be started on
starter containing at least 20% protein that does not contain any arsenic medication.
Turkeys, guineas, game birds and peafowl
should be started on turkey or game bird starter containing at least 28% protein.
WHEN THE BABY POULTRY ARRIVES:
If the babies have been shipped by U. S. Parcel
Post, examine them to be sure they arrived in good condition. If the shipment is an Insured shipment and the
poultry arrived in poor condition have a postal employee examine the shipment. Postal regulations require that a postal employee
certify shipment arrival condition when an Insurance Claim is being made.
If the baby poultry arrived in poor condition or if
there is any question regarding the shipment, immediately call Ideal Poultry and advise
them of the problem or questions you have.
Turn on your brooder or heat lamps and be sure that
you have a warm area for the babies. Proper
temperature at bird level under the brooder or heat lamp for the first week is 90 to 95
degrees. Reduce the temperature 5 degrees each
week for the first five weeks. After that time
the poultry will normally not require supplementary heat.
Remember, baby poultry need to be provided with enough space so that they
can move to the heat or away from the heat source according to their needs.
Fill the water fountains with fresh clean water. To help boost the energy of the babies, add ½ cup
of sugar to each gallon of initial water. Chicks
start better if additional chemicals are not added to the water. Ideal does not recommend the use of Ren-O-Sal or
If fine grit is available mix grit in the
ratio of 1 to 10 grit to feed. Fill the
feeder lids with a quarter inch of feed or feed and grit mixture and sprinkle a generous
amount of feed or mixture on top of the non-slick material covering the litter.
Live poultry can be a source of potentially
harmful microorganisms; therefore, precautions must be taken when handling and caring for
them, to prevent fecal/oral transmission among people.
Adults must supervise children when they handle poultry to make sure that
they do not put their hands or fingers into their mouth.
Do not keep baby poultry or mature poultry in the family living space. Always wash your hands with soap and water after
To help get the baby poultry off to a good start,
remove one bird at a time from the shipping box, dip the birds beak or bill into the
prepared water and place the baby into a feeder lid in a warmed brood area.
Turkeys are more difficult to start than other
poultry. It is wise to start a few chicks with
the baby poults. To help them get started, put
shinny marbles in the water and fine grit in the feed to help them find the water and
Ducklings, especially Mallards,
dehydrate much sooner than other baby poultry. To
prevent over consumption of water which results in water logging and death, provide access
to readily available water for about 15 minutes, remove the water for 10 or 15 minutes and
then, allow them to have water again. Do this
two or three times and the ducklings will adjust to proper water consumption. Limit the depth of water so the ducklings do not
get wet and spill water on the litter.
Watch the babies carefully for the
first hour or so to be sure they are finding the water and beginning to eat. Observe their activity relative to the heat. Chicks will locate where they are most comfortable. If they are comfortable they will be spread out in
the available brooding area. If they are too
cold, they will hover or crowd under the heat source.
If they are too hot they will try to move away from the heat source and will
pant in an effort to cool themselves. If there
is a draft, they will crowd away from the draft.
After two days of fresh water, give 3 days of vitamin and electrolytes
in the water at the manufacturers recommended dosage level. This can
be repeated for three days every other week. Ideal does not recommend
the use of vitamins and electrolytes on a continuing basis or their
use above manufacturers recommendations. The proper use of vitamins
and electrolytes in the water will help prevent leg weakness in
broilers and turkeys.
Keeping the brooding area dry is essential. Removal of wet or caked litter is necessary for
proper health of the flock. Proper
ventilation, providing as much fresh air as possible will help in keeping the litter dry
and reduce the concentration of ammonia.
Ideal does not recommend the addition of medications to the
water or feed for the sake of giving the birds medication.
Sulfa drugs used indiscriminately can lead to kidney damage. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to vitamins being
chemically tied up and the antibiotics become ineffective if needed for a specific