Capper's Farmer

Anyone Can Raise CHICKENS

Raising baby poultry is easy – and it’s also a great deal of fun. Many people start with chickens, but you might also consider ducks, guineas, turkeys, or geese. You can order chicks from a hatchery, buy them at a local farm store, or allow a hen to hatch eggs and raise the chicks for you. While raising purchased chicks is simple, you need to remember that they rely on you for their every need.

Mail-Order Chicks

Just before hatching, a chick absorbs and stores the last of the egg yolk it has been feeding on throughout incubation. This last bit of yolk can sustain the chick for several days before its first drink or meal, providing a window of opportunity for shipping chicks from a hatchery to your front door.

When your chicks arrive, open the box in the presence of the postal clerk or carrier. Shipments from a reputable hatchery are insured, and the hatchery will likely replace losses if there are a large number of fatalities. Although that sounds scary, I’ve rarely had any problems. It’s not unusual, however, to have a couple of losses – either in transit or within the first day or two – of weaker chicks that just didn’t have a good start. Even in the best of circumstances, transit through the postal system is stressful for chicks. Provide them with warmth, water, and feed immediately.

Setting Up a Brooder

A brooder is a warm, draft-free environment to replace a mother hen’s body heat.

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