Three Silkies and one Millie Fleur d’Uccle at one month, and six weeks old.
At Six Weeks…
Keeping these gals in the brooder a bit longer, probably until at minimum, eight weeks. Silkies seems to mature a bit slower than other breeds. The Mille Fleur up front is nicely feathered, but the Silkie behind still has open areas lacking fluff. Temps are mild here during the day, around mid 70’s, but at night temps drop to about 48. Still a little chilly for the Silkies in my opinion.
The chicks are in a large draft free brooder inside a shed with radiant heat available to them. The large double doors are open during the day, closed at night. The window provides natural light, preparing them for the transition to the coop. I do however provide a night light the first three weeks. The shed is insulated and heated, but the heat is rarely used, unless the chicks are really young or the temps drops below 60… which is almost never. Gotta love Arizona!
Eases the burden and constant concern over the proper brooder temperature. Uses only 15 watts of energy versus up to 250 watts used by a heat lamp. A resourceful and safer alternative to a heat lamp, and less fire risk. With radiant heat your chicks stay warm from direct contact with the heated underside of the plate. It’s not hot, it’s just right. 🙂
Adjustable and Available in Different Sizes
Easily accommodates the size of your growing chicks with 25 adjustable height settings ranging from 1”-7” and can be customized to fit your flock’s needs. Affordable price, around $50 for the smallest one. Available on Amazon. I’ve bought from this company and have been very happy with their products.
This is the brooder I’m using, been working great for years. Brooder for warming up to 35 newly hatched chicks. Safe 12 volt radiant-heated underside for producing uniform temperature. Price: Around $80. Available in Amazon
Rural 365 Brooder
Perfect for 10 to 20 newly hatched chicks. Adjust leg height so chicks can stand and have direct contact with the bottom of the chick brooder plate. Price: Around $50. Available on Amazon.
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 watt bulb if the brooder temperature drops below 60 degrees. 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 or My Pet Chicken. I’ve never had a shipping problem, and they both usually have those special hard to find breeds I’m looking for.
The March 18th chicks are growing fast and there’s work to be done before they leave the brooder and move into the coop. As long as I’m stuck at home, seemed like a great time to update the chicken coop. There’s always something I’m not satisfied with, this year I’m going to do something about it. My biggest pain in the butt are wild birds eating all my chicken feed. They squeeze through the tiniest hole in the chicken pen, and then can’t get out. They fly around inside bouncing off the walls, causing total chaos among the flock. You probably think this is no big deal, but chicken feed is expensive, and wild birds can easily eat 5lbs or more every single day. That means I’m buying a $14.99 bag of feed every 8 days or so. Taking that into consideration, it would be a lot cheaper to just buy eggs! The coop is a 10×10 covered chain link pen, inside an open air barn or shedrow at the back of our property. I had it completely covered with aviary netting, that was somewhat suitable, however, birds and lizards would get caught in it. That’s another problem I want to avoid so I took all of it off. One problem solved, but another was created. I was now committed to finding a favorable solution.
The Solution I bought 3 50ft rolls of 1/2 inch hardware cloth and have almost finished covering the entire coop. Talk about time consuming, OMG. My fingers are a mess, my nails broken, and my arms look like I’ve been in a battle zone. BUT, there will be no birds getting in my coop this year!