This is becoming increasingly popular. All you really need is:
- a box with chopped straw or shavings
- a heat lamp and a ruby red bulb
- a small chicken feeder, a small chicken drinker and a regular supply of chick food
- The box needs to be big enough to allow the young birds to move away from the heat lamp when they are too hot, so that they don’t overheat.
- The heat lamp should be hung about 12 inches from the floor. If the chicks are cold, they will crowd together under the lamp, if they are hot, they will move to the outskirts.
- They should stay 3 to 4 weeks under the heat lamp; after that, they should stay inside for a further week without the lamp. They will then be ready to go into the outside world.
- When they first go outside, it can be a good idea to cover their enclosure with a net, because they will still be small enough to be a tasty tip-bit for predatory birds like crows.
- A small chicken drinker is necessary because young birds can drown or get cold very quickly if there is a bowl of water into which they can jump.
- Chicks eat chick crumbs until they are 6 weeks old. They should then go on to eat grower/rearer pellets until 16 weeks. After that, they eat layers pellets for the rest of their lives. Some chick feed will have an additive called ACS. This helps stop chicks having coccidiosis, which is a common bug that can kill them easily. However, please note that ACS it is not good for ducklings.
Last, remember to keep an eye on your other pets, particularly dogs and cats, which might be a little bit too interested in the new young birds. Again, you could perhaps put some netting over the top of the box.
Young birds are not hard to rear if you follow these basic guidelines, although having said that it is always useful to read up on things as much as you can.
If you need further help, or if you would just find it helpful to talk through any concerns you might have, do not hesitate to call us: 01454 323258