Chicken supplies and feeds for your backyard flock are available at Wells Brothers Pet, Lawn and Garden. Whether you are new to raising backyards chickens or have a well established flock, Wells Brothers has the supplies you need to raise healthy, happy chickens. We carry a variety of chicken supplies and feeds including Purina Layena Feeds, , Luv Nest Herbal Blends as well as heat lamps, pine shavings, waterers and more. We even carry an assortment of chicken harnesses for anyone who wants to take their flock on a walk!
If you’re new to raising backyard chickens, read our tips to help you prepare and raise a happy, healthy flock. Before you pick up your first birds, you need to prepare their new home. The needs and requirements will vary depending on the type of birds, number of birds and age you are starting them. Chicks need one to two square feet of floor space per chick during their first 6 weeks of age. Ducklings, goslings and turkey poults will require more space due to their larger size.
The normal brooding period for chicks begins when they hatch until they reach about 6 weeks of age. At this stage, warm, dry and draft-free environments are critical as the young birds develop adequate body size and condition to self-sustain themselves in various environmental conditions. The brooder, a house specifically made for starting chicks, will need to be warm and dry. For a very small number of chicks, a large sturdy cardboard box equipped with infrared heat lamps for warmth will suffice as a temporary home. A commercially made brooder may be available from your Purina dealer or you can find websites that sell brooders of various sizes and designs to start small to large numbers of chicks.
Brooders should be placed in an area that offers protection from the elements, is well-ventilated (but free from drafts), and is safe from predators. This could be a garage, a basement, shed or some other safe place. You will want to check on your chicks often so keep this in mind when deciding where to keep them. Commercial brooders should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected several days prior to the arrival of your chicks to provide ample drying time.
Place 3 to 5 inches of dry pine shavings (not cedar), straw or other absorbent litter (bedding) should be placed on the brooder floor. Paper towels can be used to cover the litter for the first several days to prevent chicks from mistaking the litter as food. Newspaper and flat cardboard can be slick and should not be used as it can cause leg problems (spraddle leg) in chicks.
The heat source in the brooder or heat lamps should be adjusted to provide a 90°F temperature (at chick level) one day prior to arrival of the chicks. Turkeys require a higher brooder temperature of 100°F to start. A brooder guard ring (cardboard, plastic or wire barrier) should be placed around the brooding area for the first several days to keep the chicks close to the source of heat. If not used, the chicks may stray too far from the warmth and get chilled before they can find their way back to the heat source. The guard also prevents the chicks from crowding into corners and smothering, and provide enough space for chicks to move away from the heat if they get too warm. After a few days, the chicks will have learned where to find warmth and the guard can be removed.
When using a cardboard box to start chicks, an infrared heat lamp placed about 20 inches above the surface of the litter will provide a good source of heat. It’s a good idea to use two lamps so that the chicks don’t get chilled if one lamp fails. Be very careful to position the lamp so it does not touch the box or any other object and create a fire hazard. The lamp height can be adjusted up or down to achieve the desired 90°F. Be sure to check this with a thermometer placed at the level of the chicks.
Equip brooder with waterers and feeders. These are available in several different sizes and shapes to fit your particular needs.
Young bird checklist
Having all the necessary equipment and supplies on hand before picking up your chicks will make the process much easier.
- Heat lamps and/or brooder stove
- Litter and/or shavings
- Brooder guard
- Sanitizing solution
- Cleaning brushes
- Pitchfork or shovel (for large areas)
- Egg flats or shallow pans
- 40-watt light bulbs
- Purina Start & Grow® Recipe Feed