Archive for February, 2019

4-5 Week Old Chicks

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Keeping 4-5 Week Old Chicksbaby chicks 2

Your babies are growing up! By weeks four and five, you begin noticing that your chicks’ fluffy appearance slowly disappears and their fuzzy down is replaced with feathers of a mature bird. Chicks will usually be fully feathered by 5 to 6 weeks of age. You also observe their wattles and combs growing larger and taking on a deeper red color.

As they mature, chicks naturally establish a “pecking order” which determines each chick’s social position in the flock. Their place in the order will determine who eats and drinks first and ultimately who “rules the roost”. Although establishment of a pecking order is normal behavior, you should be watchful for excessive pecking in chicks as it may indicate a more serious problem, cannibalism. This is when birds peck the feathers and other body parts of other birds and if allowed to get out of hand, can lead to bleeding, open sores and even death.

Cannibalism can occur at any age and needs to be controlled as soon as it rears its ugly head. It is costly and can spread through a flock rapidly if left unchecked. Cannibalism is usually the result of stress, which can be caused by poor management. Some of these stressors may include crowding, excessive heat, bright lighting, noise, hunger, thirst, the presence of sick or injured chicks, parasites, or other stress factors. Providing the correct living environment in terms of these factors will help reduce the potential for cannibalism from occurring in your flock.

Things to do for your chicks this week
Your chicks require less heat as time goes by and they grow larger and more able to regulate their body temperature. Continue reducing the temperature each week to keep them comfortable to a minimum of 65°F. Continue providing clean fresh water each day and providing unlimited Sunfresh® Recipe Start & Grow® feed in their feeders.As your chicks grow, adjust the height of the feeders and waterers. A good rule of thumb is to keep them adjusted to the birds’ back height while standing. This will help to keep litter out of feeders and waterers, as well as curious chicks. Around 4 weeks of age, ducklings and goslings will thoroughly enjoy the addition of a swimming area. Be sure if you provide this to keep any resulting wet litter cleaned up. Because of their water-loving, messy nature, it is best to separate ducklings and goslings from chicks.Tips to grow on
Maintain good sanitation practices to reduce the chance of disease. Bigger chicks make bigger messes, so be sure to keep up. As the chicks grow, make sure they have sufficient space to prevent crowding. Additional feeders and waterers may need to be added now to allow adequate space for all chicks to eat and drink at the same time. Keep a close eye on your chicks for signs of possible health issues. Chicks that are sick may appear droopy or listless, have diarrhea or be unwilling to eat.
Looking ahead
Your chicks will soon be mature enough to leave the brooder and move into more permanent living quarters, the chicken coop. If you don’t have one ready, now is a good time to start looking into getting one and preparing it for new occupants. You’ll be surprised at how fast your chicks will grow and how quickly moving day will arrive. Many types of poultry housing are available for purchase or you can venture to build your own. Whatever you decide, make sure that the house you choose is ventilated, predator proof and provides protection from extreme temperatures, wind and rain.

 

Source: Purina Poultry

Raising 2-3 Week Old Chicks

Friday, February 8th, 2019
2-3 Week Old ChicksRaising 2-3 Week Old Chicks

With a clean brooder, fresh feed and clean water, your chicks are settled in and off to a good start by weeks two and three. It’s time to enjoy them. Chicks are very social and will provide hours of entertainment. You will see their unique personalities emerge as each day goes by and they will grow into mature chickens before you know it.

Now, listen to them.  Chicks will emit a soft cheeping sound when everything is right in their world. This sound can be used as a means of determining their comfort status. A chick that is stressed due to conditions being too hot or cold, wet litter, or one that is hungry or thirsty will have a shrill or higher pitched cheep or may cheep very rapidly. Translate this as a call for help and look for the problem.

Things to do for your chicks this week
  • The brooder temperature should be reduced to 85°F (lower 5° each week to a minimum of 65°F).
  • Chicks should be exposed to at least 10 hours of light per day after the first week.
  • Brooder guard can be removed now if it hasn’t been already. Chicks should be able to find the heat source by this time.
  • After the brooder guard is taken out, the feeders and waterers can be moved further away from the source of heat. As the chicks become more active and continue to grow, this will give them more space for exercise and will help keep the feeders and waterers cleaner and keep them from being heated by the heat lamp.
  • Any paper or pans used to feed should be taken out if you are sure chicks are eating from the feeders. The level of feed in the feeders can be decreased a little each week until they are half full at all times. This will help reduce the amount of feed waste.
Tips to grow on
  • Keep checking on chicks to make sure they are comfortable. Again, chick behavior is the best measure of the ideal brooder temperature.
  • Continue to provide unlimited feed and water at all times.
  • Clean and refill waterers daily.
  • Remember, good sanitation is critical to avoid health problems when caring for young chicks. Keep litter dry by removing wet and soiled litter and replacing it with clean, dry litter.
  • Always store feed in a well-ventilated, dry area that is insect and rodent free.
Looking ahead

A complete and balanced feed will provide all the nutrition your chicks need to grow into healthy, productive birds. Feeding extra grains or scraps to your chicks can reduce the amount of complete feed they eat and may prevent them from getting all the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.

One of the most common and deadly diseases in chicks is coccidiosis. Caused by a parasite, it is spread through the droppings of infected birds. Coccidia love damp, warm environments so wet litter and unsanitary brooder conditions are a prime breeding ground for this parasite. Most birds will come into contact with coccidia at some time but appear to be most susceptible to the disease between 3 to 5 weeks of age. If chicks are healthy and live in a dry, clean, well-managed environment, they are often able to fight it off or may only get a mild case, which can even go undetected. Symptoms of coccidiosis can include diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, weight loss, no desire to eat, ruffled feathers and an overall sickly appearance. If you suspect coccidiosis, seek treatment immediately. Commercial vaccines and medicated feeds are available to prevent coccidiosis. However, the ideal prevention for this disease is maintaining a dry, sanitary, stress free environment through good management.

If you suspect disease or some other serious health problem in your flock, contact your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options.

Source: Purina Poultry

 

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