Grilled Chicken

How to Make Grilled Chicken

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“Slow-grilling over indirect heat keeps this chicken moist and tender. Giving the drumsticks a long rub with seasonings makes them taste great. Always baste at the end of grilling to prevent the legs from burning”

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 large cloves cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons  sauce

Directions

  1. Mash brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a mortar and pestle to form a paste. Spoon paste into a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, coat with the paste, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight.
  2. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir, bring to a simmer and cook until flavors blend, about 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.
  4. Cook chicken on the preheated grill until lightly browned on all sides, about 1 minute per side.
  5. Turn off one of the grill burners or move the coals and move chicken so there is no heat source directly below it.
  6. Baste drumsticks with the sauce and cook another 10 minutes; turn again and baste chicken with sauce. Continue to grill drumsticks until juices run clear, 10 to 15 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
              Cook’s Note:
  • You can also blend the brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor to make the marinade paste.
  • Nutrition:
  • The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the marinade ingredients. The actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.
  •   Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

    Grilled Chicken
    Grilled Chicken
Brooder

HOW TO MAINTAIN A GOOD BROODING MANAGEMENT

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BrooderThe brooding period – the first 14 days of the chick life – is the most sensitive period because the bird is changing from an immature thermo regulation system to a mature one because at day old the adipose tissue (surrounding tissue) is not well develop. One common mistake is to think only of maintaining the proper temperature. We need to take care of other issues, too. A way to define these other issues is the 80-20 rule (Pareto’s Law), which means that 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes. We should always think in our brooding about temperature, air quality, water and feed. Proper management of these areas will be the key factor to uniformity, which results in good performance. We will assume that we receive good quality chicks from the hatchery, which means that the day-old chicks are active with bright eyes wide open, with strong and shiny shins, navels healed, without physical defects, no pathogens and with good maternal immunity.
The first week corresponds to 23% of the life of the 1.75g broiler, according to the latest Cobb Weight Supplement (April 2012). This first week represented 11% of the entire life in 1978 to achieve the same weight. So the proper commitment to a good start is very important for the broiler, and each good point achieved will be rewarded in good performance. In many countries, some producers think that by the second week the birds are adults already and stop giving them external help to maintain good conditions. This could lead to one of the worst situations in the brooding period.
Temperature
Litter temperature is the most important because day-old chicks are extremely dependent on floor contact to help regulate the changing temperatures. The ratio of body surface to body mass is large in the day-old chick and it decreases with age, so the young chick will therefore lose heat faster than an adult bird.
The young chick’s body is covered in down which has a poor insulating value, so if temperature is not controlled it will lose heat rapidly through radiation and conduction. We suggest having the litter preheated and stabilized 24 hours before placement which means preheating of 48 hours in many broods, depending on the season, region and outside temperature.

A comfortable chick will breathe through its nostrils and lose 1-2g of moisture in the first 24 hours. The yolk contains this amount of moisture – they will lose weight but not become dehydrated.
If the birds are exposed to cold temperature, they will try to save or make heat by huddling or by burning feed to keep warm, which affects feed conversion ratio and this is the most expensive way.
If the ambient temperature is 26ºC (78.8ºF), the same moisture loss (1-2g) in the yolk will last the chick three days. This is why, in practical terms, when we see large yolks we can say that the bird was cooled in the first few days. In the opposite case, with temperature too high, the birds will try to remove heat or avoid producing heat, pant to lose heat (losing FCR) and stop eating. If chicks start panting they can lose 5-10g of moisture in the first 24 hours and then dehydration will occur. The correct temperature will also influence the bird health and immunity because immune system development and stress is costing energy and when the birds are not comfortable during this development they will be more sensitive to infections and less immune competent. The chick’s internal temperature (cloaca measurement) should be maintained between 40.4-40.6ºC (104.7-105.1ºF); below 40ºC (104.0ºF) is cold and above 41ºC (105.8ºF) will lead to panting.

According to Muchacka and Herbut (2007), reduced and elevated air temperature during the first period of rearing reduced the rate of growth, with clear differences observed in the group of birds reared at lower temperature. Baarendse, et al. (2006) reported that rearing chicks during the first five days of life at 28°C (82.5ºF) has a long term negative effect on further growth and development. Ideal would be 32ºC (89.6ºF) with 30-50% relative humidity (RH) in the litter at placement.
For the first two weeks the chicken house should feel too warm for the caretaker – if not, the temperature is likely to be too low for the chicks. We suggest the air temperature in the brooding area at placement, with 30-50% relative humidity, begin at 33ºC (91.4ºF); at seven days, with 40-60% RH, 30ºC (86ºF); and at 14 days, same RH, 27ºC (80.6ºF). If the humidity is less than above , increase the temperature by 0.5-1.0ºC (1ºF). If relative humidity is greater than above, reduce the house temperature by 0.5-1.0ºC (1ºF). Always use bird behavior and effective temperature/humidity monitor as the ultimate guide to determine the correct temperature for the birds. Chicks from smaller eggs (younger breeder flocks) require higher brooding temperatures because they produce less heat (about 1ºC) for the first seven days. According to the seasonal climate it is very important to have tools to heat and cool the air, and options to provide correct air flow and distribution. Do not forget that the broilers in a brooding phase do not need air velocity more than 0.3m/s at floor level.
Air quality
Ventilation distributes heat throughout the house and maintains good air quality in the brooding area. An ideal for birds is oxygen 19.5%, carbon dioxide less than 3000ppm, carbon monoxide and ammonia (NH3) less than 10ppm and dust levels less than 3.4mg/m³.
There are different levels of oxygen availability at different heights (above sea level), with the highest farm having the lowest availability.
The highest levels of carbon monoxide are caused by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, but the major problem is a combination of concentration and exposure time. Birds can tolerate levels of 600ppm for 30 minutes, but 3000ppm is lethal in two hours. The normal air carbon dioxide concentration is 400ppm. In winter when we see chicks sitting near the outside wall, we think first of high temperature, but the problem can be carbon dioxide. This is because the level of carbon dioxide is too high inside this house, mainly because of the low air rate exchange rate.
The pressure in the house is too low, and with leaks and cooler air falling near the sidewall, the chicks will migrate to where more oxygen is available near these leaks. However, the litter is cold there, with draughts on the chicks and no feed/water present.
High ammonia levels in the house are detrimental for the birds. This is a colourless gas, soluble in water, with a pronounced odour and toxic to the animal’s cells. Water is needed to transform broiler faeces to ammonia, so it is important to reduce the RH levels in the litter to reduce ammonia emissions.
The main purpose of minimum ventilation is to provide good air quality without air velocity at bird level. Inadequate minimum ventilation and the resulting poor air quality can cause increased levels of NH3, CO2, and moisture levels and an increase in production related syndromes such as ascites.
It is important to always evaluate NH3 levels at bird height. The negative effects of NH3 include foot pad burns, eye burns, breast blisters/skin irritations, decreased weights, poor uniformity, disease susceptibility and blindness.
Often producers argue why can we not control temperature while we change the air properly? The answer is because we do not control the air velocity of the air that we are changing. Proper inlets are a great help in this issue. Another tool is having a prewarm chamber in a tunnel ventilation house without inlets. The use of double curtain also helps in maintaining good brooding conditions.
Water and feed management
We can call water an ‘invisible’ player in brooding – it can be both enemy and friend! Many times we see this component forgotten by the broiler industry and farmers. Water is an essential nutrient that impacts virtually all physiological functions. According to Viola et al. (2003), a 40% water restriction decreases the feed intake (542-338g), body weight (471-295g) and FCR (1.28-1.37) at 14 days. We need to guarantee 24ml of water per bird in the first 24 hours.
Watkins, 2011, showed the importance of cleaning and disinfecting the water lines. The use of 40-50 micron water filters is always suggested to maintain good water quality. The oxi-reduction potential (ORP) of 650- 750mv is a good goal; more than this can result in equipment corrosion, less than this will not disinfect the water properly. The flushing procedure is also a good tool to maintain proper water temperature for the birds.
Correct stimulation of activity during the first 5-7 days of age is necessary for optimal feed consumption, digestive and immune system development.
It is recommended that a light intensity of 25 lux in the darkest part of the house, measured at chick height, be used during brooding to encourage early weight gains. Optimum light intensity at floor level should not vary by more than 20%. Another good tool is having a 100 Watt bulb hung over demand pans at the end of the line. At seven days (standard weight) we need to start regulating darkness. The amount of dark hours will vary according to the market specifications for weight. The seven day weight is a good tool, but more crucial is uniformity.
The best way to improve flock performance is not by increasing seven day weight of the faster starting chicks, but by decreasing the number of slower starters! A good coefficient of variation is 8-10%. A good tool to do is the Chick Check evaluation! It consists of having 100 birds evaluated by looking at the crop consistency. The crop is palpated after six hours (chickcheck 1) and again at 24 hours post-placement (chick-check 2). A good goal is getting 95% of birds with water and feed in the crop. We should not forget that birds are the best sensor in a house.
Some chicks should be eating, some drinking, some resting, some playing, with all the birds evenly spread throughout the house. In the first 24 hours after placement a chick needs to consume 20-25% of its own body weight in feed and 40-50% in water. These are important goals; and remember that intake of water and feed are linked together. The objective is to achieve 4-5 times the day-old weight at seven days and the breed standard at 14 days. The maximum seven day mortality should not exceed 1% cumulative.
Summary
Good brooding management will always result in better flock uniformity. Uniformity is the key to good and consistent results and cannot be achieved after doing a bad brooding job in the first 14 days. The critical factors are temperature, air quality, water and feed. When these are correct, 80% of your success will be achieved.
‘Always remember never to sacrifice temperature for ventilation and never to sacrifice ventilation for temperature.

Broiler

How to Keep Chickens

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Broiler

Think you want to keep some chickens on your small farm or homestead? Maybe you’re looking for laying hens only, or a combination of laying hens and birds for meat, but you’re not sure you know how to care for them? I’ll take you step by step through everything you need to know.

Should You Raise Chickens?

Chickens are a great species to start with on the farm – they’re easy to care for, inexpensive, and rewarding.

But there are a few really good questions to ask yourself before you order your baby chicks. Are you ready to be Mother Hen for several weeks and give them the hourly attention they need? Is it legal to raise chickens in your city?

Pick Your Management Method

Will you let your chickens roam your fields, or will you keep them confined in a coop and/or run? Your space limitations may determine the answer to this question. If you live in an urban or suburban setting, you probably want to keep the birds confined – with a fenced run outside their coop for fresh air and sunshine.

Chickens will eat and scratch in flowers and garden plants, so you’ll need to be careful if you let the birds free range. If you want them to eat fresh grass and have room to roam but want to protect your crops and garden, you can build or buy a chicken tractor and use portable electric net fencing to enclose a perimeter around the tractor.

Then every few days to a week, depending on how many hens you have in how much space, you move the portable fencing and chicken tractor to fresh ground.

How to Build or Buy a Chicken Coop

There are many possibilities for chicken coops. They can be small and simple, made from salvaged material, massive and complex, or beautiful enough to exist in a city backyard.

They can be purchased pre-made or built yourself. The important features are adequate size, protection from predators, roosting poles, adequate ventilation, and ​nest boxes.

Select the Right Chicken Supplies

There are a few things you’ll need for your pullets once they’re out of the baby chick phase — waterers, feeders, bedding/litter, feed, scratch, and grit. Remember that many of these items can be made from things you may already have; it’s easy to fashion a feeder out of a 5-gallon bucket, for example.

Choose the Best Breeds for You

There are over 400 varieties of chickens available today! When choosing a breed or breeds for your flock, consider climate, breed temperaments, egg production levels, and whether you want a “dual-purpose” bird that is good for eggs and meat, or purely an egg producer.

Combining multiple breeds in one flock is fine. They’ll all get along, and whether you have one breed or seven, they will establish their pecking order. If you’re planning to breed your flock and you want purity (you want to hatch purebred Buff Orpingtons, for example), you’ll want to stick with a single breed or house each breed separately.

Do You Need a Rooster?

The short answer is no. You can get eggs from hens without one. But there are some reasons you might want a rooster — or two. If you want to hatch your own chicks, you’ll need a rooster. And the rooster does offer some predator protection for the flock.

Raising Baby Chicks

Caring for baby chicks in the first few weeks is a time-intensive but fun process. You’ll need to keep them under a heat lamp, monitor their temperature and make sure they have food and water. Each week you lower the temperature until they are comfortable at outside temperature, and then you can remove the heat lamp and move them to the main coop.

If raising day-old chicks is not logistically feasible for you, you can purchase started pullets.

Maintain Your Flock

Ongoing chicken care is fairly easy. Feeding, watering, gathering eggs and periodically cleaning bedding are the main tasks. The key is to be sure you keep your schedule regular – hens can’t go very long without water.

Broiler

How to Raise Chickens for Meat

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Broiler

If you’re interested in raising chickens for meat, not eggs, you’ll need to do things a little bit differently. There are some additional steps to consider as well — for one, slaughtering, processing or butchering the birds when they are fully grown to market size. Chickens raised for meat are commonly called “meat birds” and are usually a different breed from laying hens.You’ll have a lot (usually 50 or more, although you could just raise a few) of fast-growing birds, which means a lot of poop. And the biggest question to answer: can you handle saying goodbye in six to eight short weeks? Whether you slaughter them on-farm or take them to be processed, if you’re a new farmer, you will need to face this reality, or be a vegetarian farmer. It’s up to you – but it’s cruel to meat birds to let them live longer than a few months as they are heavy-breasted and can die of heart failure if they grow too big.

Should You Raise Meat Birds?

  • How to Choose a Meat Bird Breed

    Meat birds are truly a breed apart from laying hens. Although a hundred years ago, laying hens were truly dual-purpose, meaning most people kept a flock of hens and roosters and killed older birds as needed for meat, older chickens tend to be tough and stringy, better for stew or soup than a roast chicken like we eat today.

    Cornish Rocks, which are a cross between a Cornish and a White Rock, are the typical meat bird breed, used in factory farms all over the US and on many small family farm operations as well (both pastured and conventional). They are extremely efficient converters of feed to muscle. However, other breeds more suited to pasture are also becoming available.

    You will need a coop for your chickens, just like for your laying hens. Coops for meat birds are often larger so that you can raise 50, 100, or more birds at a time. Many people raise meat birds just during the summer season, so they can often be more temporary shelters like hoop houses or tarps. You will need to make sure your birds have protection from the rain and wind. They don’t need roosts because meat birds don’t really like to roost. If you’re pasturing your chickens, you will want to have something movable or use a day ranging method.

  • How to Start From Day-Old Chicks

    Most likely, you will buy your chickens as day-old chicks from a hatchery or feed store. Baby chicks require a bit of specialized care: they need a brooder area and heat lamp to keep them warm; they need their brooder temperature monitored closely; and they need to be prevented from developing issues like pasting up.

Processing Chickens on the Farm

When your birds have grown to full size, typically 5-7 pounds depending on whether you’re raising broilers or roasters, it’s time to process them into chickens for the freezer. You can do this on-farm, or you can find a poultry processor and transport the birds to the site to be slaughtered and processed. If you plan to sell your birds at a store or farmers market, you will need to have them slaughtered at an approved facility.

Source: The Spruce

Start a Chicken Broiler Business on Your Small Farm

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Broiler

If you’ve decided to start a small farm business raising chickens for meat, you’re probably wondering where to begin. Sure, get some chicks, raise them to slaughtering size, process them or get them processed, and sell them, right? Sounds easy. But organizing your chicken broiler business takes some work. Follow these steps and you’ll be off and running – and making money selling delicious, fresh pastured chicken – very soon.

Know the Laws

I think you should begin by investigating your state and local laws around poultry sales. This is going to feed into the next two steps, where you will determine your market and write a business plan.

What do I mean by the laws? Many states require that meat chickens be processed in an approved facility in order to be legally sold to the public. However, in some states, if your poultry operation is small enough in scale, you can sell whole chickens directly to restaurants. And you may be allowed to sell whole chickens to the public as long as you sell them direct from your farm.

Research the laws that apply to you, because knowing where you’ll get the chickens processed and how much that will cost will affect your business plan.

Learn How to Raise Chickens for Meat

If you don’t already know, research research research. How will you raise your chickens? On pasture or confined?

Learn how to keep baby chicks healthy and raise them to market size without losing too many to illness or predators.

Know Your Market

Figuring out your market is the next step for your new chicken business. Who are your local buyers? Will you sell to consumers directly from your farm (and if so, how will they know where to find you)?

Will you sell to restaurants?

Also consider whether you will sell conventional Cornish Rocks, the fast-growing cross that is the large-scale poultry industry standard, or go for an heirloom breed or hybrid specially designed to forage on pasture, like Freedom Rangers. Your market will determine this; are you selling to people who know the difference and care? Birds raised on pasture may take longer to reach market weight, ultimately costing you more money. Will the market support the price per pound you’ll need to charge to be profitable?

Write a Business Plan

Identifying your market is part of your business plan, but you’ll need more information than just that to create a guide for your business as you move along toward its creation.

Another part of the business plan is making specific, measurable goals. How many broilers will you raise for your first run? What is the market size? What equipment will you need for them: fencing, housing, waterers, and feeders?

Also, make sure to consider capital. Specifically, how much of it do you have? You’ll need to factor in any equipment costs such as the construction of a coop. Another cost is the chicks themselves. And you’ll need to pay for all the feed they will gobble up at an alarming rate until they reach market size.

You may need medications or supplements as well.

Raise Your Chicks

Once you have your chicks, you can get underway. Baby chicks need some special care – the temperature must be kept constantly warm, just like if their mother hen was there to keep them warm. And you’ll need to prevent early problems like pasting up and monitor for illnesses such as coccidiosis.

Process the Birds

Depending on the laws, your markets, and your comfort level, you may decide to slaughter and process the chickens on the farm. I’ve done it both ways: myself and taking them to a slaughterhouse. While the slaughterhouse is far easier, it’s also incredibly expensive and adds a lot to the cost of each bird.

There are also mobile slaughterhouses in some areas – a trailer or “mobile poultry processing unit” comes to your farm and processes the birds on-farm for you.

Some of these have a minimum number of birds, so be sure to consider that when making your business plan.

Sell the Chickens

Your birds are processed, packaged, and in the freezer – so now it’s time to put that marketing plan into action and sell them. Whether you’re bringing them to the farmers market, selling to restaurants, or direct to consumers, you’ll need to refer back to your business plan to sell the chickens you’ve so carefully raised.

Reassess and Reevaluate

Like with any business, you should regularly reassess and reevaluate to see if things are still working. Did your marketing plan work or does it need to be retooled? Do you want to raise more birds next time or fewer? Did you find on-farm processing to work well, or will you hire out that job next time?

I wish you luck in your chicken broiler business and all your small farm endeavors.

Types of Commercial Chicken or Poultry Feed

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When you select a commercial chicken feed for your egg-laying flock, you’ll find several different types of feed available. Each brand name of feed may have slightly different ingredients as far as protein and other nutrient content goes. Besides these daily rations, you can feed your birds supplements and treats. You might get brave one day and make or grow your own chicken feed.

Types of Chicken Feed

The correct type of feed for your chickens depends on two things: their age and whether they are meat birds or laying birds.

  • Chick starter.  Exactly what it sounds like, chick starter is for the first (usually six) weeks of your  baby chicks’ lives. This is typically 22 to 24 percent protein for meat birds (called broiler starter) and 20 percent protein for laying breeds. You can buy medicated or unmedicated chick starter. Most people use a medicated feed, but organic and pastured small farms often use unmedicated feed.
  • Grower pullet. After chick starter, young pullets that are destined for a laying flock are put on a lower-protein diet to slow growth to allow strong bones and adult body weight before laying begins. If the protein is too high, development happens quickly and the birds lay too early. Grower pullet rations typically have 18 percent protein and are fed until the chicks are 14 weeks of age.
  • Pullet developer or finisher. At 14 weeks, young pullets can be lowered to a 16 percent protein feed until they begin laying. Some feed lines don’t distinguish between this stage and the grower stage and just have a grower-finisher that is somewhere in the middle protein-wise.
  • Layer rations. Laying hens at maturity (around 22 weeks of age) require a 16 to 18 percent protein level and extra calcium and minerals for strong eggshells. Don’t feed layer rations to birds younger than this age as it damages their kidneys due to the high amounts of calcium and phosphorus. However, roosters can eat laying rations.
  • Broiler rations. These high-protein feeds are for meat birds, particularly Cornish X Rock crosses that grow extremely fast. Broiler rations are typically 18 to 20 percent  protein. This is sometimes called “grower-finisher” feed. For heritage and pastured meat birds, protein content can be lowered to 16 percent after 12 weeks of age until butchering. Some may choose to keep the heritage meat birds on the higher grower-finisher rations until slaughter.

If you want to reduce the amount of feed you need for your chickens, raise them on pasture. They’ll be able to find enough insects, bugs, weeds, grasses and seeds to stay healthy. They’ll still need some supplemental feed, though.

Forms of Feed

Chicken and poultry feed comes in three forms: crumbles, pellets and mash. Crumbles are excellent if you can get them, but pellets are sometimes the only form available. Mash is usually used for baby chicks, but it can be mixed with warm water to make a thick oatmeal-like treat for chickens. However, it must be fed right away or else it spoils and becomes moldy, so don’t let mixed mash sit around.

Source: The Spruce

Chicken Brooder

Chicken Brooder: A Definition

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A brooder usually refers to some type of heated enclosure for raising baby poultry, whether they are baby chicks, turkey poults, or goslings. Typically, a brooder includes a heat lamp, a source of food and water for the chicks and bedding such as pine shavings. A screen enclosure on top can be very helpful to keep out curious pets and children. These brooders can also be called mini-coops.

Chicken brooders are available pre-built, but you can also make your own chicken brooder.

Tips for Using Your Brooder

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you build your own brooder or are using a pre-built brooder:

  • Baby chickens need least one square foot of space per chick. A part of that space is fine for a few weeks so you can move them into a larger space as they grow. That’s just the basic rule of thumb, especially if you do not want to transition them int a larger coop.
  • Building your own poultry brooder? Make sure the space is at least 12 inches tall for chicks in weeks one to three. Chicks will need 24 inches of height when they are six weeks old in order to stop them from hopping out. Whatever you use, make sure they get fresh air. So you may want to add a screen that protects them and allows air in the brooder.
  • Place the brooder in a place where the chicks can be warm, dry, and safe. Keep it out of the elements.
  • For bedding, don’t use newspaper and stick with pine shavings instead of cedar shavings. Cedar can release oils. You’ll want to spread abut an inch of bedding on the floor.
  • A heat lamp should go in the brooder on one end of the brooder. If the chicks are in the living room where it’s 65​F, a 100-watt incandescent bulb in a clamp-on utility light with a metal reflector will ensure they are warm enough. If the chicks are in a barn or other cold-weather location, make sure you give them a heat lamp. Play with the spacing of the bulb, as it may need to be a few feet away to keep the space at the optimal temperature. Make sure the heat lamp cannot get the shavings too hot and cause a fire hazard.
  • Speaking of temperature, note that the chicks should stay at about 95°F for their first week. If you get them by mail, they are typically less than 48 hours old. Try to ensure you know how old the chicks are when you bring them home so you can adjust the height of the bulb. Keep a thermometer to constantly measure the bottom of the brooder.
  • Once you know the chicks’ ages, you can lower the thermometer by 5°F each week.
  • Make sure they have ample food and water. Use a special starter feed, and make sure it does not get wet — so you will need to keep the coop clean to prevent mold development.
  • The portable chicken brooder isn’t needed after six weeks. That’s when the chicks’ feathers should be filled out and they can be moved to the regular coop. At that point, they can handle cooler temperatures.

Source: https://www.thespruce.com/definition-of-brooder-3016966

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