Many folks in our area are taking a gander at raising backyard chickens and you decided to be a chicken rancher too. So you get some chicks, now, what? The first thing they need from you is a place to stay, water, warmth, and food. A brooder house is anything that holds baby chicks. Coolers, small swimming pools, plastic totes and cardboard boxes can be a brooder house. Some “peeple” will cover the bottom of a brooder house with either newspaper, straw or pine shavings. There is not a correct choice.
The next step is getting them water. Don’t just put a bowl of water in the brooder house. They will play in it and just make a mess. There are very specific waterers designed for poultry. The most popular for the chick is the quart or gallon size. As the birds get older you increase the size of the waterer. Most back yard peeple use the 3 or 5-gallon size of waterers.
Keeping the chicks warm is accomplished with a brooder lamp with clamp fixture that holds a red or white 250-watt heat lamp. Most peeple will use the red lamp. The white light simulates daylight for the chick and they won’t sleep. However, chicks do need about 18 hours a day of sunlight for the first week or so. The brooder lamp fixture is attached to some type of structure above the brooder house. This structure can be anything from a chair to something you built. Once everything is in place turn the light on and watch the chicks. If they move away from the light it’s too close, hence too hot. If they move into the light huddled in a tight group then it’s too far away or too cool. You are looking for something in the middle. Once the proper distance has been reached, double secure the brooder lamp clamp to the structure. This means use a piece of rope, wire or even tape. The last thing you want is for that heat lamp to fall into the brooder house and start a fire. The last step is to add some starter feed in a feeder and you are good to go.
Wells Brothers Pet, Lawn & Garden Supply has everything you need to get started raising backyard chickens. We’ve got chicken feeds (of course) but also stock chicken waters, heat lamps, feeders, shavings and straw and even have a couple chicken coops. Stop by and let our experts help you get started raising backyard chickens.