Brooder Essentials and Maybe Even Some non Essentials.

To raise baby chicks inside you will need a few essentials to keep everyone warm and happy. If you don’t have what you need you can order everything you don’t have.

Box or a large container: This can be a homemade wood box, a plastic tote, a kiddy swimming pool, or a metal stock tank. Anything you can find or purchase except cardboard because it will absorb moisture, which could start to rot or mold and make your babies ill.

Bedding: Pine shavings can be used. Larger pine shavings are preferred for smaller birds such as quail as they could inhale the smaller shavings. Also do not use cedar as the oils in the cedar can be bad for their lungs. You could also use shredded paper. Do not use flat sheets of newspaper alone, as it is too slick and won’t help babies develop proper ankle strength.

Thermometer: Baby chicks have a specific temperature they need to be kept at. A wireless indoor\outdoor thermometer is great. You can leave the outdoor temperature sensor with the chicks, in the warmest part of the brooder and can have the monitor in a different area for remote monitoring.

Food: You will need chick crumble as well as a dish for the food. While just about any dish will do, the feeders that screw onto the top of a mason jar work well. The feeder attachment keeps the chick from standing (and pooping) in their food and they are easy to clean. Even in the dishwasher.

Heat source: This can be a heat lamp, a heating pad, or a chick heating plate that they can go underneath. Either one works great. Baby chicks need warmth. The temperature for a comfort zone should be 95 degrees F. Adequate room should be available for the chicks to get out from under the lamp if it gets too hot. After week one, gradually reduce heat by 5 degrees F each week until reaching a minimum of 55 degrees

Water: To prevent accidental death by drowning the water dish should be shallow. Just like the feeder bases can be bought that fit on a mason jar. Even shallower bases can be bought for tiny birds like button or coturnix quail. You can use apple cider vinegar in their water as it has probiotics and antibacterial properties and enhances the flavor of the water thereby encouraging them to drink. Older chicks and poultry enjoy fresh herbs in an open bowl. It enhances the flavor and they can also munch on the herbs themselves. A real treat !

Some ideas taken from Carissa Bonham author of “Keeping Healthy Chickens”