The final countdown

This is where the chicks will chill.

This is where the chicks will chill.

Chicks are just seven days away!

We’ve been busy taking care of last-minute details, and prepping the brooder.

A couple weeks ago, Matt and I bought a new rabbit hutch that we converted into a brooder. It’s just big enough for the chicks to live in for their first six weeks, before transitioning to the chicken coop.

The rabbit-hutch-turned-brooder.

The rabbit-hutch-turned-brooder.

Today, we took out a divider in the hutch so the inside is an open space. Then Matt cut a piece of plywood to cover the wire mesh floor. Viola! The brooder was ready to be decorated.

First, I laid down a couple layers of paper towel, which is easier for chicks to walk on in their first few days. I also put in the waterer, and a shoebox lid. From what I’ve read, it’s easier for chicks to learn how to eat in the first few days if they can peck at their feet. So I will fill the shoebox lid with chick crumbles, and let them go for it.

I also hooked up the EcoGlow heater, which the chicks can walk under to warm up.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve also been collecting items for a first-aid kit. Matt teased me, asking why I never made a first aid kit for our dog, Charlie.

The answer is simple: aviary veterinarians who treat chickens are few, and hard to find. Most chickeneers treat their own chickens, even doing their own surgeries. On the other hand, I could take my dog to a variety of emergency vets at any time of the day.

So am I overprepared? Possibly. But I really don’t think so.

Better safe, than sorry, right?

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7 Comments on “The final countdown

  1. May I offer a suggestion? That paper towel will last about 15 minutes before they cover it with poop, scratch it to bits and eat it. If you lay a large piece of cardboard down against the plywood bottom, then you won’t have to scrub the poopy plywood every time you change the paper towel. The cardboard has some absorbent qualities and can be thrown out each week or as necessary. Baby chicks have a tar-like poop every fourth or fifth poop and it is nasty to clean off.
    You are in for some fun times! Enjoy!

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    • Thanks so much! I had read that using a puppy pad beneath the paper towel will work, as well. I plan on having a sub-surface in place before we get the chicks home! 🙂

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    • I have a question: When I have to clean in the brooder, is there a certain type of cleanser that is chick-friendly? I’m guessing I will have to clean poop off of the EcoGlow every so often!

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      • I don’t have a certain cleanser I use. While chicks are actively using the box, I clean with a very dilute dish soap and a scrubbie. Once the chicks are out of the box for good, I use ammonia, rinse it well and let it dry completely before using it again.
        I also use my brooder box for separating sick hens from the flock so it is always well cleaned immediately after each use. I just used it to break a broody and now I’ve got a respiratory sneezer going in!

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      • Thanks so much! I really appreciate the advice. I have a feeling I have some scrubbing in my future! I plan on using my brooder as a time out box, as well. I’ll put your suggestions to good use!

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