Chickens 101: Keep the Growing Going
Your chicks are growing—they are now two weeks old! You’re probably noticing they are very social and can provide hours of entertainment. Each day, you will get to know their unique quirks and personalities. Things to do this week:
Provide light: After the first week, reduce the day length to 10-12 hours per day.
Adjust temperature: The biggest change you’ll need to make this week is temperature. Older chicks do not need it to be quite as warm. Starting at week two, lower the temperature by 5° each week until you reach a minimum of 70°F at week six. If using a radiant heater, adjust the heater height to account for the growth of the birds.
Remove brooder guard: Chicks should be able to find the heat source by day ten. At that time, you can remove the inside brooder guard if you have one.
Move feeders and waterers: After the brooder guard is taken out, move the feeders and waterers farther from the heat source. This will give chicks more space for exploring as they become more active. It can also help keep the feeders and waterers
cleaner and from being heated by the heat lamp. Raise the feeders and waterers until they are at the back height of the growing birds.
Remove training feeders: If you haven’t done so by now, remove the training feeders. Make sure chicks always have complete starter feed and water. The level of feed in the feeders can be decreased a little each week until they remain at least half full. This will help reduce the amount of feed waste.
Keep it clean: Remove any foreign material in the feeders and waters on a daily basis. Wash the waterers once a week with soap and water. Keep bedding dry by removing wet and soiled litter each day and replacing it with clean, dry bedding.
Listen to your chicks: When everything is right, chicks will emit a soft cheeping. A chick that is stressed will have a shrill, higher-pitched, or very rapid cheep. Translate this as a call for help and look for the problem. Stress could be caused by chicks being too hot or cold, wet litter or they may be hungry