Our chicks are due to
hatch today, so I prepared the brooder…a week ago.
Along with my lesson on taping
the incubator plug,
I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t wait until hatch day to get
their new accomodations ready. In the summer, things dry faster,
but our first batch of chicks of 2012 were not at all thrilled to be
turned out of the incubator and into a still-damp rubbermaid bin.
Even with the brooder turned on full strength, a little bit of water
can make it hard for chicks to dry off and warm up, which meant pitiful
cheeping until Mark dug
out a space heater to speed things up.
Meanwhile, it’s a good
idea to test your brooder heat source to make sure it’s still working
several days in advance. In our energy-efficient household, we
don’t even have incandescent bulbs around as a backup heat source, so it’s best to know early
if you need to replace heating pads or heat lamps. Even though
chicks are supposed to pop out of their shells on day 21, day 20 is
quite common, and you could possibly see one even earlier if a hen has
been setting on the sly.
With the rubbermaid bin
clean, dry, and full of leaves; the Brinsea
heated up; and our chicken waterer and a simple feeder in
place, we’re ready for chicks. This photo is from a previous
batch to prime the pump, but hopefully cute balls of fluff will be
gracing the brooder soon.
additional simple (and not so simple) techniques to streamline
incubation and early chick care, check out my ebook.