Monday, February 25, 2013

Brooder Maintenance Day 6

Welcome little ones!
    Our broiler chicks arrived last week during one tremendous storm. Their quizzical glances and dainty peeps have kept me balanced this past weekend as I faced the daunting task of seeing my oldest get married. Today found us at day six of their journey on the homestead..let's take a peep at what they have been up to since their arrival.
Old sheets were placed over the shavings right after this picture.

     Upon arrival their little beaks were dipped in the water fountain before we released them into the brooder to explore and warm up. Once everyone became acquainted with the fountain and its location a light scattering of starter crumble was placed in disposable pie tins for them to eat. Satisfied with their warmth and behaviors, we checked on them regularly to refresh their nourishment and upkeep their mess making.
      *Note..many recommendations are made to give chicks electrolytes upon their arrival. I do not. If the chicks are 'pasty butt' or just puny, I add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to their water fountain for a day to perk them up.
Setting up for wing band maintenance.
      As we head to the end of their first week, the little ones are thriving and growing well. Daily cleaning has become quite a task causing us to realize it's time to remove the cloth bedding cover. Feeders and water fountains are removed and the heat lamp is raised up giving me plenty of room to work unhindered. To streamline my tasks, I spread and turn wing bands as well as clip their nails the same day the cloth is removed. In order to bring chaos to calm, I pull the bedding cloth up dividing the brooder in half and secure it with clamps.
Help! I am all alone.
     One by one the chicks are picked up, band turned and spread, to nails checks and clipped if need be, then placed on the clean shavings. This way I know which ones are finished and which ones need my attention. This is also a great time to check for pasty butt or other ailments and treat them.
One on one work.
     The point of wing band maintenance is to spread any crimped bands allowing for wing growth. Personally, I also prefer to turn the bands making it easy to read the numbers. This chick's band is pointing toward his breast, numbers facing me... as he grows the numbers can be seen without stretching out his wings.
      Maintenance and grooming all complete the little peeps are exploring their new arrangement. Fluffy, large flake pine shavings have replaced their smooth sheets and fountain feeders now replace the pie tins. Some fresh water and a warm light..they are good to go. On the topic of shavings, let me say I do not use cedar shavings for two reasons: 1. One of us is allergic to cedar. 2. Some studies indicate respiratory issues with chicks raised on cedar. Another personal preference is the size: I use large flake because they seem less likely to eat them and choke.
      There we are..refreshed and prettied up. My treks to the brooder are fewer, but still very frequent. With only their down fluff to cover them, staying warm is still a necessity. If I were to be honest I would have to say, necessity or not, I would hike out their to see my teeny tiny babies anyway. Have a beautiful and blessed day, and remember whatever it is you are growing enjoy it, love it, and thank God for the privilege of doing it!