FEED: Use a chick starter for the first 8 wks. Sprinkle feed on a piece of cardboard in the area where the chicks will be. The chicks will find the feed more easily this way at the start. Do this for a few days. Then put the feed in troughs low enough so the chicks can see and reach the feed easily. Use a 2 foot feeder for each 50 chicks. Never let the chicks run out of feed. Adding chopped boiled egg yolk on top of the feed gets the chicks off to a good start and encourages them to start eating feed right away. Chicks should stay on a full feed ration of chick starter/grower until they are 3-4 months of age.
WATER: Have a 1 gallon chick waterer for each 50 chicks. Only medicate first water if there is sign of fatalities. CALL US BEFORE YOU MEDICATE. For the first 2 days add 3 tablespoons of table sugar to each quart of lukewarm water for extra energy. Use plain water after that. DIP THE BEAK OF EACH CHICK IN THE WATER BEFORE YOU TURN IT LOOSE. Your chicks will be thirsty when you get them. A taste of water right away helps them to find more water soon. Most baby chick loss is caused because the chick doesn't start to eat or drink. Never let your chicks run out of water.
HEAT: We have found that using a drop light with reflector shield is a great source of heat. Use a 250 watt bulb and use as many lights as you need to keep the birds comfortable. Hang the light no closer than 18"-24" from the floor. If too warm raise light higher. The temperature should be 90-95 degrees for the first week. The temperature may need to be slightly higher for Bantams and other small bodied birds. A thermometer will help a lot to ensure that you have the proper comfort for the birds. Reduce the temperature 5 degrees per week until you reach 70 degrees. they shouldn't need much heat after that. Start with 1 bulb per 50 chicks in cold weather. Then watch how the birds act - see diagram. The birds need a small light at night to keep them from piling up even when they don't need it for warmth.
SPACE: Try to provide 1/2 square foot per chick at the start. For starting 50 chicks use a draft shield (see above) and make a circle about 5 to 6 foot across. For 100 chicks make a circle 7 to 8 feet across.
THE DUCKS AND GEESE SHOULD BE RAISED SEPARATE FROM THE CHICKS AND TURKEYS
Other Important Matters: DRAFT SHIELD: Cardboard put in a circle about 12 inches high around the chicks helps cut down drafts on the floor. Be sure the circle is large enough to allow the chick to get away from the heat if it wants to.
LITTER: Sawdust, shavings or rice hulls make a good litter. Straw or hay will also work but not as good as the others. Put the litter all over the floor at least 1 to 2 inches thick. On concrete floors use 3" - 5" of bedding.
PICKING: Baby chicks will often pick each other if they are too hot, too crowded, with fresh air, or short of room. Occasionally bright light also causes them to pick. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to picking. Sometimes, however, they pick for no apparent reason. To stop it try putting in fresh green grass clippings several times a day and darken the room. Chunks of grass sod can also be set around for the chicks to pick at. As a last resort, try cutting off about one-third of the top beak with a very sharp knife or razor blade. Cut from top to bottom, straight down. Be careful to not crush the beak by pushing too hard on the knife or razor blade. Do NOT cut the lower beak, just the top one. For chicks that have been picked, smear pine tar or menthol based ointment on the area injured and keep up the treatment until healed.
AFTER FOUR WEEKS
1. Increase floor area to 3/4 square foot per chick.
2. Increase feeders to provide 2 1/2 to 3" of space per chick.
3. Increase waterers' to one 5 gallon fount for per 100 chicks.
4. Install roosts at back of brooder area. Allow four inches per bird with roost poles six inches apart.
5. Open windows in day time. Leave only partly open at night.
6. Prevent water puddles around founts. Place founts on low wire platform.
7. Chicks can range outside on warm sunny days, but only if clean range is available.
. SPECIAL SITUATIONS AFTER THE CHICKS ARRIVE.
IF THE CHICKS HAD A HARD TRIP. Instead of using the standard feed and water suggestions listed, try this: Put 5 tablespoons of sugar in each quart of water. then mix some of this extra sweet water with some of your feed to make a soupy mix. Give your chicks this special feed and water mix for 3 to 4 days to get them over the effects of shipping.
REAR END "PASTING UP". Sometimes the stress of shipping causes the manure to stick to the back of the chick. It is important to remove this daily. Pull off gently or, better yet, wash off with a cloth and warm water. it will disappear in a few days as the chick starts to grow. If chicks appear droopy add a sulfa type drug to their drinking water as directed on package.
BABY TURKEYS Need more heat than baby chickens about 99 degrees.
Use the basic instructions as for chicks, but watch more carefully as turkeys tend to chill quicker than chicks. Baby turkeys are known to be somewhat dumb...therefore you have to make sure they know where the feed & water is. It's helpful sometimes to put colored marbles in the water fountains and to sprinkle some feed on cardboard the first few days. If they do not get started eating and drinking properly you might have "starve outs". If the turkeys show any sign of diarrhea add a sulfa type (Sulmet, etc) drug to their drinking water as direction on package.
DUCKS AND GOSLINGS
Follow the same care as for baby chicks except ducks and goslings do not need the extra heat as long as baby chicks because of their size and rapid growth rate. They will require more care in that they are messier with water fountains. They can be turned outside at an earlier age depending on the weather. Goslings love to eat grass and weeds and will begin grazing as soon as they are turned out. Do not let baby ducks and goslings on a pond as they will drown, since they don't have a mother to get them off the pond. Their down absorbs water but once they have feathered out they can go on the pond. DO NOT MEDICATE WATER FOR DUCKS AND GEESE!!
QUAIL AND PHEASANTS
Use the basic instructions for chicks, however, watch them more carefully for piling up. The temperature may need to be slightly higher for the smaller bodied birds. It must be regulated closely. Special water founts can be purchased or if using regulated chick founts add clean gravel or marbles to take up space so they can't get in the water and drown or get chilled. It is recommended you use a colored bulb to help control cannibalism. SAFE HANDLING OF POULTRY
Live poultry can be a source of potentially harmful microorganisms; therefore, precautions must be taken when handling & caring for them to prevent fecal/oral transmission among people. Children should be supervised as they handle poultry to make sure they don't put their hands or fingers in their mouth. Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling poultry