Why? It’s much easier to keep baby chicks warm then trying to keep them cool… which is impossible.
Most parts of the country raise chicks in Springtime when the weather is mild. This gives the birds plenty of time to mature through the summer months and be fully feathered by Fall. Not the case here in Phoenix because extreme temperatures of 100+ can start as early as May and by June, reach 110+.
These conditions are not suitable for baby chicks, being this hot in a confined brooder is not only stressful, but can be life threatening. Chicks need to have a heat source, yes, this is true, but also need to be able to get away from it to stay comfortable.
Improper brooder temperatures also increase the onset of pasty butt (fecal impaction.) For these reasons, in Phoenix, it’s best to start chicks in November, and by April they are mature enough to slowly acclimate to our rising temperatures.
Remember, It’s much easier to keep baby chicks warm then trying to keep them cool… which is impossible.
Chicks are Best Kept Outdoors
Raising chicks outdoors in a shed, barn, or garage is the best place to keep your baby chicks in November. They will most likely only need a radiant heat source. If the weather turns colder at night, a low wattage heat lamp may assist in keeping the brooder temperature steady. You can buy low wattage heat bulbs in the reptile section at your local pet or feed store. I usually use a red 75 or 100 watt bulb if the brooder temperature drops below 60 degrees.
Assuming you have your chicks in a small brooder, the standard 250 watt bulbs are way to hot for the moderate winters here. If they’re in a large enclosure, a 250 (red) watt is okay in a corner, just make sure your chicks have enough space escape from the heat. More on using radiant heat & heat lamps.
Where Do I Buy My Chicks?
If I want a particular breed and can’t find it locally, my #1 source is Ideal Hatchery. I’ve never had a shipping problem, and they usually have those special hard to find breeds I’m looking for.
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