Pick your Chicks
- Calculate the date for the arrival of your chicks based on the date of your fair.
- You will need several chicks to cull from to produce a show pen. A good number to start with for a pen of 3 is 20. The more birds you have, the more selection you have for your pen when it's time for the fair.
- Select breed and order desired number of birds from poultry breeder or hatchery. Find a hatchery.
Prepare Brooder/House for Chicks
- Confine chicks to brooder. Brooder should have minimum 18 inch sides to keep drafts down. Provide six square inches of floor per chick. At finish you will need 1.5 square feet per bird.
- Cover brooder floor with pine shavings, 4 inch base is recommended.
- Temperature should be kept at 90°F to 95°F for first week. Provide one red heat lamp per 25 chicks. Use two lamps in case one burns out.
- Provide one feeder per 25 broilers. Use smaller feeders on younger chicks and switch to larger feeders as chicks grow to avoid feed wastage. Allow 1 inch of feeder space per chick to 4 weeks, 2 inches to 8 weeks. As Broilers grow, raise feeders so broilers have to stand to eat.
- Provide one waterer per 15 broilers; water should be 80°F for first five days. Allow .25 inches of waterer space per chick for the first 2 weeks, .5 inches per chick from 2 to 8 weeks.
- Clean and disinfect feeders and waterers regularly.
- Keep lights on 20 to 23 hour per day for first two days, then reduce to 18 to 20 hours per day. A 40 watt or equivalent bulb will work.
- Keep fresh air available, but avoid cold drafts in the brooder. Air that is too hot or too cold will affect broiler performance. Monitor birds for comfort. If birds are huddled together, they may be too cold. If they are spread out against the walls panting, the temperature is too hot. If they are comfortable, chicks should be spread out in the brooder when eating, drinking and sleeping.
- The day before your chicks arrive, set up the brooder and turn on heat and heat lamps and adjust lamp based on temperature.