Happy Chicks in a Brooder Unit
A brooder unit is required when hatching eggs using an artificial incubator. When removing the chicks from the incubator they will need to be transferred to a suitable brooder.
The primary objectives at this stage are to keep them warm and away from draughts, and to get them feeding and drinking happily.
The brooder provides the chicks with a self-contained, safe and warm environment, offering food, water and the necessary heat.
Temperature is a key issue, so a controllable heat source is essential. as the feathers develop, the temperature in the brooder must be reduced.
Infra-red lamps are the most popular source of heat; they are easy to use and relatively cheap to buy.
The temperature in the brooder unit is controlled simply by raising or lowering the lamp.
From day one food and water must be easily available in the brooder.
Bigger brooder units need multiple feeding and drinking places. Place chick crumbs and water in shallow dishes.
A dust-free environment is important. Use clean, dry softwood shavings as the bedding material, never sawdust, hay or straw.
Avoid overcrowding in the brooder unit.
With natural incubation, using a broody hen for hatching, a short-term brooder unit can also be used but without an artificial heat supply. The hen will teach the chicks how to eat and will keep them warm.