Our beautiful day old chicks landed last Friday, they need serious baby sitting for the first week to get them up and running. Attention to detail is the key here; there is no margin for error. Here is a quick, short list of some of the key issues:
Hygiene – the brooder must be clean and free from all traces of any previous chicken/ducks/geese etc.
Heat – the area for chicks are kept in must be maintained at 36 degrees for the 1st week and gradually reduced afterwards.
Ventilation – there must be a good circulation of air in the brooder.
No Drafts – this has to be achieved without any drafts.
A Circle Draft Guard - Place around the chicks for the first 2 weeks
Feed – a 23% plus chick starter ration must be provided & clean feed at all times.
Feed trays – Lots of them.
Bedding – Wood chipping only can be used, a good 6 inches to start with; it must be kept constantly clean and renewed.
Water – fresh clean water must be provided at all times.
Water Drinkers – Lots of them.
Brooder Design - No corners to avoid birds heaping up.
Lighting – Good lighting must be provided.
A Timer – During the day turn the lighting off and on every 2 hours. This stimulates activity in the birds, for the first few days.
Sugary water – on arrival a drink of sugary water will help the chicks along.
Probiotic – in the water for the first 3 days helps the birds.
Cider Vinegar – in the water there after helps the birds along.
Time – checking the birds regularly is vital, as they will quickly tell you if there is something wrong. Be able to do so in a way that will not distract the birds. They need the chance to settle into there new home.
Taking Action - quickly to rectify any problems is vitally important.
Best of luck to anyone rearing turkey’s, that includes us. They are a beautiful animal and an excellent income generator for farmers wishing to sell direct in their local area. Turkeys can be a risky enterprise but with risk comes reward. Only 25 shopping weeks to Christmas!