Last Wednesday, July 22, it was 90 degrees in the shade. The high humidity made it difficult to breathe, yet I found myself testing heat lamps to make sure they would work! Why? It’s hard to believe any living thing would need more heat during the height of summer, but it’s recommended that the temperature of the area where young chicks are housed is 90 to 95 degrees during the first few days.
Our daytime temps in North Iowa have been reaching 85 to 90 degrees during the past week, but nighttime temps have fallen to around 65 degrees. The heat lamps help keep the brooder house a constant temperature. After 48 hours, Hoover’s Hatchery says you can begin to reduce the brooder temperature by 1 degree each day. The room temperature where the chicks are brooded should be near 80 degrees the first two weeks.
It required a lot of manual labor to get ready to take delivery of these chicks, and fortunately I had a lot of good help! My mom and my daughter helped me move our laying hens into their new coop. Then I cleaned out the old coop while they cut cardboard to contain the new chicks. We contain them in a smaller space when they’re young, so they’re close to food, water and the heat source. Round corners formed by our cardboard “fence” also prevents the chicks from bunching in the corners and suffocating.
My mom grew up raising chickens, so she’s a great source of knowledge; my grandma raised about 250 layers and hundred more broilers (meat birds) each year. Because my grandma has always been a chicken lover, she wanted to be a part of the activity last Wednesday. Grandma will turn 91 in a few weeks, but she is still very active. Gram pulled herself into the cab of our pickup and buckled up for the ride! She got a kick out of the peeping coming from the box of chicks as we drove from Rudd to Sheffield.
Once we arrived at Enchanted Acres, we unloaded the chicks. My mom reminded me and my daughter that’s we had to give each chick a drink of water with electrolytes before we let it loose in its new home. Water is more important than food to chicks on Day 1! We also sprinkled chick starter (high protein food) onto newspapers to make it easy for the chicks to access. Grandma got a real kick out of watching how fast those chicks ran to the food.
Interested in farm fresh, locally raised chickens? Reserve your chickens by sending me a text (515-371-0450) or a Facebook message. You also can buy them on a first-come, first-served basis during our Fresh on the Farm event.
Why buy chickens from Enchanted Acres? You can’t get any more “local” than this! Our chicks are hatched in North Iowa, raised in North Iowa and processed in North Iowa. By buying fresh and buying local, you help keep the North Iowa economy strong!