Raising Chicks and Brooder Basics
Getting chicks this season? They need a warm brooder to stay happy and healthy. Start between 90-95ºF and drop the temperature by 5ºF each week by raising your chick-safe heat place or brooder lamp by a few inches 🥳
Chick Temperature Chart
• Week 1 – 95ºF
• Week 2 – 90ºF
• Week 3 – 85ºF
• Week 4 – 80ºF
• Week 5 – 75ºF
• Week 6 – 70ºF
• Week 7 – 65ºF
Brooder basics for new chicken keepers
When you bring your chicks home, as tempting as it will be to play with them, they need to stay under a heat source for their first week of life. Set their brooder up in a quiet, draft-free area. They’ll need plenty of clean water, and will eat starter/chick feed for the first 8 weeks of life.
If your chicks are day-olds, make sure to dip their beaks in their water to show them how to drink. Adding vitamins and electrolytes to your chicks' water is also a good idea, especially if your chicks were mailed to you.
When purchasing vitamins and electrolytes (such as Sav-a-chick), make sure the package includes selenium. This will prevent illnesses like wry-neck, and keep your chicks feeling strong and healthy.
You can alternatively add honey and salt to your chicks' water in a pinch if you do not have a vitamin and electrolyte mix on hand. This can make a world of difference in helping a chick or adult chicken make a successful recovery.
I like to introduce our chicks to black soldier fly larvae or dried mealworms when they're a few weeks old. I feed the treats routinely because it teaches the chicks that very tasty things come from 'chicken lady'. You can crumble it up for them at first, or watch them try to smash the dried bugs into smaller pieces.
How to Build a Brooder