As soon as they hatch, the chicks are nidifuges, that is, they know how to feed and drink on their own. But, dressed in a fine down, they remain beings fragile. To ensure their growth in optimal conditions and make them healthy adults, they will have to be pampered. Our advices.
Find a nest for the chick
If, after birth, the chick cannot stay with its parent, it will be a question of offering it a cocoon where to spend the first weeks of life. How to proceed ?
- You can install it in a incubator for about a month and a half. If you don’t have one, prepare a broiler for it that can take different shapes: a ready-made cage, a box in wood, a cardboard packaging, a plastic transport box whose maintenance is extremely easy;
- Plan a sufficient breeder big to welcome animals when they have grown up. If you plan to have chicks regularly, your best bet is to invest in a commercially available breeder;
- Install your chicks in a place protected from predators. In addition, its nest will be placed away from other hens in order to protect it from possible rivalries within the farmyard.
Arranging the chick’s nest
Once you have a broiler house, it is necessary to maintain a good hygiene birds by preparing them a litter that aims to:
- Absorb the droppings babies and splashing water. To do this, you will have to line its nest with various materials: shavings untreated and dusted wood (to avoid respiratory risks), finely chopped straw, flax fibers and paper newspaper. After a few days you can put some sand on the bottom which will help your chicks digest;
- Insulate from the ground, especially if it is concrete. Chicks critically need the warmth that their mothers usually provide. Therefore, the cold of the soil should not pass through the litter which, as such, should be thick and insulating. The nest will always be kept dry and well ventilated (beware of drafts, however). Be sure to change the litter every day so that it retains its insulating and absorbent qualities.
Provide a temperature suitable for the chick
Newly born chicks are very delicate. The heat is the essential element for its good health and development. This must spread throughout the passenger compartment, including the floor, through a lampe heat or infrared. From birth, babies need a warm temperature, usually between 32 ° C and 35 ° C. The temperature will be reduced regularly by around 2 to 3 ° C to reach 20 ° C when the chick is 6 weeks old. The room they are in should display a temperature constant and ambient from 15 to 18 ° C. Namely that the spring is the ideal season to raise chicks which will thus be able to benefit from an abundant food and to leave in meteorological optimal. At three weeks old, they can gradually start taking a few steps outside during the hottest hours of the day.
The behavior of chicks: a good indicator
It is essential to pay attention to the health of the chicks. Many signs will show you whether the temperature is right for them or not:
- If the chicks have cold, they will gather under the heat source (a single chick will come closer to the lamp); One trick is to touch their legs, which should never be cold;
- If the chicks have too much hot, they will move away from the heat source. It will therefore be necessary to reduce the temperature because the animals can suffer from severe dehydration;
- Chicks that chirp normally and distribute fairly in their space indicate an ideal temperature.
Feeding and watering a chick well
For your chicks to develop perfectly, it is essential to feed them and water them in an appropriate way.
- Thewater is distributed at will. Always clean, changed every day, it should never be too cold;
- Thefood commercially available may be suitable. These ready-to-use products of the crumb type for chicks are complete and well balanced in order to avoid deficiencies. The birds are fed in the morning and in the evening. After a week, you can add small blades of grass to their food. From 2 months, the animal can gradually switch to a special preparation growth and around 5 months, adopt a definitive adult diet;
- The drinkers and mangers must be adapted to the size of the chicks. These containers will be separated so that food and water are not quickly soiled. The drinker must be fitted with a cover to avoid any risk of drowning.
Integrate the chick into the barnyard
You can allow your chicks out alone in a grassy course when they are about a month and a half old. Our recommendations :
- Choose a day of walk without rain and at a mild temperature so that the birds do not catch cold. Do not leave them in direct sunlight either. The duration of the outings should be gradual;
- Wait until the chicks are at least 3 months old and older sturdy before integrating them into the farmyard. Relations between hens are very hierarchical and newcomers risk being mistreated, injured or even killed by their fellows. Ideally, the first contacts will be made through a wire mesh ;
- Gradually get the little ones used to being around adults. Monitor day after day relations between your herd. The chicks will eventually find a place in the big leagues.
Consult a veterinarian for the care of the chick
Your veterinarian must accompany you in your project because he will provide you with all the information relating to care of your chicks, in particular those concerning deworming and vaccinations. Its information will be essential for you to avoid, for example, an infestation of red lice or any other pathology. If you have a lot of chicks, it is highly recommended to vaccinate them against certain diseases deadly and contagious. Your veterinarian will also be able to provide you with advice on feeding and well-being for your chicks.