Monday, March 18, 2013

Prepping For Peeps

Boxes taped together for brooder.
It is time to prepare for baby chicks here. Our first set will be coming to live with us on Friday. With an addition every Friday until the 5th of April. If all goes as planned. We all know how best layed plans can run a muck. But this is what we will be going with for now and will make adjustments as needed. We already have on hand a small feeder and waterer.  We also have a warming lamp, for this we are using the the silver dish light shroud that is used for shop lights and a 75 watt light bulb. We have tested it in our brooder to make sure that we can get to the needed 95 degrees for the peeps first week. For the brooder we are using two cardboard boxes taped together with an extra piece of cardboard taped to the floor of the brooder to cover the empty space created by taping the two boxes together. This is where our little peeps will call home for the next month or so. We added large pine shavings to the bottom of the brooder for bedding and to soak up their little messes.                                                                                                                                    We also have on hand Chick Grit and I will pick up some chick starter feed from the feed store when I collect the chicks on Friday. I will get a nice big bag that will last us for awhile. A good rule of thumb for keeping chicks warm and comfortable is to adjust the warming lamp so that the chicks are comfortable. How do you know when they are comfortable? If they are huddled under the lamp in a tight ball then they are cold -lower the lamp a little. If they are hugging the edges of the brooder then they are too warm - raise the lamp up a little. If they are moving around and acting like peeps then they are comfortable. Key brooder temperatures to keep in mind: Week 1-  95 degrees, week 2- 90 degrees, week 3-  85 degrees, week 4- 80 degrees and so on and so forth dropping 5 degrees each week until the chicks reach about 6 weeks or your brooder temps match the lowest night time temperature outside. One could start keeping the peeps in their coop if the temperature can be managed. Keeping in mind to always be careful of the warming lamp and possible fires it could cause if not secured properly or by being to close to something flamable. We will be keeping our peeps in our basement for a month or so because we have an exsisting flock. We don't want our clucks beating up or killing the peeps. We don't want the peeps bringing home some sickness and giving it our sweet clucks.                                                                                                   

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