Would you rather buy day old chicks for your poultry farm for sale than starting with grown fowls? Here are 10 crucial factors to consider when buying day old chicks. When you are going into poultry farming for the first time, it is most likely that you would not have your own hatchery or incubator to make your own chicks by yourself. You would have to rely on other poultry farmers for your initial supply of chicks.
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2 Ways to Stock your Farm With Chicks
- Buy day old chicks
- Buy slightly grown chicks
There are two major ways to go about stocking your farm with chicks; the first option is to go for day old chicks and the other option is to go for slightly grown chicks. Each option has its own pros and cons which I would discuss below.
When you buy day old chicks, you have total control over the way your chicks would be raised; you can make a choice to go organic. You can have full control over their health and vaccinations. In fact, the history of your chicks from birth is all in your records and if ever there is a crisis; you would know exactly what to do.
However, buying day old chicks has some disadvantages. They require intensive care and attention and their mortality rate is very high. You would also spend extra money on providing facilities for them. Buying grown chickens on the other hand has its own advantages and disadvantages as well. The first advantage is that it saves you money. You won’t have to set up extra facilities to care for them.
It also requires less attention and time because they are not as vulnerable as day old chicks. Also, they have lower mortality rate compared to day old chicks but the problem with buying grown chicks is that there would be a learning curve period when you have to get used to them and learn how to care for them.
Also, you wouldn’t have full information on their health history and records or know how they were been fed by the previous owners. If you are the type of poultry farmer who prefers to raise organic chickens, buying grown chicks is not the best option for you because you can’t be too certain of the methods used to raise them by the sellers. Before you buy day old chicks, you should consider some important factors like-:
10 Factors to Consider When Buying Day Old Baby Chicks for Sale
1. Health History and Record
You must buy your day old chicks from a healthy source. There have been cases of poultry farmers losing all the chicks they bought because of some disease they were not aware of. You must ensure that the farm/hatchery you are buying from has a good history and day old chicks bought from there have low mortality rates.
2. Organic or Non-Organic
If you want to go into organic poultry farming, then you should ensure that you buy your day old chicks from organic farms. This is because for a chicken to be considered as fully organic, it must have been hatched from the eggs of an organic hen. Ensure that you make full enquiries about the kind of chickens that laid the eggs which the chicks were hatched from before you make your purchase.
Another factor you have to consider is whether you want chicks that have been vaccinated or not. You have an option of buying day old chicks that have received vaccination or give the vaccinations yourself. If you choose the latter option, then you must have a veterinary doctor on hand who would give the vaccinations to the chicks as soon as they get to you to prevent diseases or death.
4. Size of poultry
When you buy day old chicks, they are usually so small that a thousand of them can fit into a tiny space. But you shouldn’t allow this initial size deceive you; as they grow older, they begin to consume a lot of space and if you didn’t do proper space planning at the point of buying day old chicks, you would face a lot of space challenges.
You should be able to know the capacity of your poultry and then factor in mortality rate of day old chicks when making your purchase, so that you don’t have an overcrowded or underutilized poultry. Space and ventilation is very crucial to the survival, growth and egg production of your chickens.
Time is also a very important factor when buying day old chicks. This is because day old chicks require a lot of care and attention especially in the first 5 weeks of purchase. Therefore, you must clear out your schedule and ensure that you would have time to care for them when you buy them.
You must also plan for how you would feed the chicks when you buy them. Poultry feeds are classified into three main categories; starters, growers and finishers. The starters are meant for day old chicks and are to be fed to them for the first few weeks. The growers just as the name implies is to help enhance their growth and finishers are to make them healthier and stronger.
Another thing to put in place is a brooder where the chicks would be kept and raised until they are mature enough to be transferred to the main pen.
8. Heat Source
Day old chicks need a source of heat. You would need to buy a heat lamp which would be placed in their midst (preferably suspended) to supply heat to them. The light from the lamp should not be too bright so as to disturb their sleep or too dim such that it doesn’t supply adequate heat.
For the first week, the chicks would need up to 95 degrees and in the next week they would need 90 degrees with a 5 degrees reduction as they grow older. A good source of heating is very crucial to the survival of day old chicks.
You would also need good bedding for your day old chicks to absorb poop and droppings. Ensure that you lie where they would be kept with absorbent material, so that the poop can be easily absorbed.
Lastly, you have to figure out how to provide feeding and water to the new chicks. Buy chick feeders which are specifically designed for feeding chicks. Avoid using bowls because the chicks can easily drown in bowls of water or even mess the contents up. Their feeding and drinking troughs should also be suspended from the ground.