Why this title? This is my first blog entry on behalf of Moyer’s Chicks. We started this blog to give you a resource and information on raising your chicks or chickens.
My name is Melody. My grandfather Ernest Moyer started Moyer’s Chicks in 1946, with his first hatch in January 1947. My parents and two uncles now own and manage the hatchery. I have the privilege of working in the office here at Moyer’s and I have been around chickens my whole life! I have also raised numerous flocks and currently have a great flock of laying hens. I also manage our egg sales to various farmer’s markets and farm stores. Any advice you find here in this blog is based purely on my own opinions and personal experience.
The most common question I hear is, “I want to get chicks, but how and where do I start?” First, you need to decide if you want to raise them for meat or laying eggs. Moyer’s Chicks hatches two types of meat birds, White Cornish broilers and slower growing colored broilers. We also hatch two types of egg layers, the Rhode Island Red/White Rock which lays brown eggs or a white Leghorn which lays white eggs.
When your day-old chicks arrive, they will need some basic care for the first 6 weeks. You will need:
- Heat lamp- For less than 50 chicks, use a 100 watt bulb. For more than 50 chicks, use a 250 watt bulb. Hang the light about 18″ above the chicks.
- Feeder - Use either a hanging style or a feeder bottom-heavy enough that it can't be knocked over.
- Waterer- For less than 50 chicks, use a 1 gallon size. For each additional 50 chicks, add another 1 gallon to the size you need.
- Bedding- You can use shredded newspaper or pine shavings
- Space - Allow about 1 square foot per chick up to 9 weeks.
- Perimeter- Please use discretion for the amount of birds you have. Allow (i.e. tub, box, large container, make your own by using brooderguard)
- Thermometer- make sure your chicks are at 95 degrees for the first week. Decrease by 5 degree each week until you reach a consistent 70 degrees. Put the thermometer at the same height as the chicks and away from the heat lamp, so you get the best temperature reading.
- Chick Feed- Use chick starter feed, which is formulated specifically for baby chicks with the proper nutrients, vitamins, and proteins. When you check the local feed store, such as Agway or Tractor Supply, there are several options for feed, medicated, non-medicated, mash, crumbles, or grit (sold separately). Medicated feed has antibiotics to help prevent coccidiosis, which is a potential disease they can get from dirty, damp bedding. Mash and crumbles are consistencies of feed. What consistency you choose first should be what you continue to use throughout the life of the bird. There is usually a percentage of grit in the chick starter. Additional grit in a self serve container is only needed if the birds are fed pellets or if they are inside all the time.
Enjoy your next 6 weeks of raising and caring for your flock!