This post contains affiliate links. If you buy through these links, I may earn a small commission.
I went to the local Post Office this morning and picked up 25 chicks, sent to me by a hatchery in Alberta. Normally, a hatchery will add a chick or three to the order, in case some die during transit.
The chicks, after hatching, can live up to 3 days without food or water, due to the nutrients they received while in the shell. The order this year contained 26 chicks and 1 was dead on arrival. I’m hoping for no more failing chicks!
What to have ready when meat bird chicks arrive
We set up a small brooder this year, because we ordered only the 25. In years past, we have ordered over 100 sometimes, so we made a brooder using a 4 x 8 sheet of OSB as the brooder floor.
You can also buy a chick brooder – they have several choices on Amazon.
Here’s the brooder we made in 2010, you can see it is a lot larger, but you need to have your brooder large enough for all the birds to have a bit of space. It was so large that we used OSB for the sides of the brooder, instead of cardboard.
You can see there is lots of room there for the chicks. They will be just fine in here for about two weeks. Eventually, they will get moved to the barn.
Here’s a picture showing just what you want to see when you look into the brooder. How do things look to you? Do you see anything out of the ordinary? Do the chicks look all right?
All of the 4 important things are shown in the picture:
1) Some of the chicks are at the feeder eating.
2) Some of the chicks are at the waterer drinking.
3) Some of the chicks are resting.
4) There is a thermometer inside the brooder so temperature can be easily checked.
Keep a careful watch on the temperature. If you see the chicks crowding around the outside walls, it means the chicks are too hot and we would need to raise the heat lamp a bit. If the chicks are crowding under the heat lamp, that means the chicks are cold and are trying to warm up.
Want to read more about how to raise meat birds? Check out our book – it has everything you need to know!