Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Brooding Chicks

Once your chicks are hatched from an incubator you will need somewhere to keep them until they can go outside into a coop. I like to keep mine simple.. I am no good at woodwork. The easiest way I had seen was a simple plastic box (the one i used is from ASDA for £4) and a oven grill for £1.50 (they are attached by zip ties) In a panic I had to buy two clip on lights (£3 each from ASDA) which turned out to be perfect!!
The light bulbs are red for quail to prevent them attacking each other but the main reason is for heat. Use two 60w lights or one 100w heat bulb (£4.29) to go with a glowlight by Exo Terra (£23.99) (both from petsathome in the reptile section)
From the top: The grill tray makes a perfect place to clip the lamps to. 
The brooder box needs to be lined with something none slippy (or you will get some splayed legs which will need treatment) I line mine with newspaper and then Lizard Cage Carpet on top (I bought it because I can wash and reuse it) but you can just use an old towel or something similar you have at home. You  need to add water and food in small shallow dishes. I make sure to add plenty food on a plate or tray and a couple jam jar lids for water (quail are quite clumsy and can easily drown, if you are using something deep add some stones to the bottom) Make sure your lights aren't directly above the water or you will have to replace it all the time.

The temperature in the brooder should be;
1st Week - 32-35oC
2nd Week- 29-30oC
3rd Week - 26-29oC
4th Week - 23-26oC
5th Week - 21-23oC

Imagine that the red is the heat source
and the brown are your new chicks
If your birds are huddled together it's too cold, if they are near the side of the brooder it's too hot and if they are running around cheeping then they are perfect.

Your birds will be ready to move out outside when they are mostly feathered. Quails can go out after 2-3 weeks and chickens 4-5 weeks depending on the weather and if they are expected to mix with other birds (be careful introducting quail before they are similar size as they can be very violent)

Please keep your fingers crossed that the chicken eggs hatch on Wednesday!! Photos if they do!!


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