Wednesday, March 12, 2008

3-day-olds in the brooder

This photo was taken a minute after feeding at 6:30am this morning. Little dudes are crowding around/on top of the feeder. Once a few get full the feeders will be less crowded but constantly attended to by the hungry Cornish Rocks. A few look up at me suspiciously. They are still afraid of me but soon they'll learn that I'm the guy with the feed. Each time we get new chicks (every 2 weeks) a clean layer of pine shavings is applied to the bedding that is kept aerated to ensure a good carbon ratio. Otherwise ammonia will build up and the chicks health will be affected. Once they get out on the pasture and are moved daily we have no need for bedding.

A 250 watt heat lamp keeps them warm on these cold March nights with another late winter this year. We have two going for each brooder at night to ensure they're comfortable. On a warm day like today we'll turn one or both off in the daytime and they can get some sunlight coming through the sides of the peaked brooders.

After two weeks they are ready for the field provided it's warm enough at night. We've had to rig up some more lights in one of our movable pens as a transition from brooder to field because of how cold it's been at night.

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