Jingle Bells! - Brooding Turkey Chicks

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!