Infrared heaters for day old chicks
Infrared heaters are electric heaters that use an infrared bulb to keep the baby chickens warm. When you place day old chickens in a poultry house you will have to warm the chicken house first. A poultry farmer will begin to warm the chicken house a day before the day olds arrive. Keeping day old chicks warm is vital for the survival of the chickens and for a good growth rate later on. Preparing your chicken house correctly is vital! Poultry farming is a science – follow the rules.
When you heat a poultry house you can use gas heaters or electric heaters. Electric heaters for chickens come in various forms and shapes – one of the most effective heaters for chicks is the kind of heater that the chicks can decide to move close to or away from. The low profile of this heater means that you are saving on your electricity as you do not have to warm the whole chicken house. Chicken heaters are a vital part of any broiler house, and in very cold climes a poultry heater may be required for older chickens.
Preparing for day old chicks
Before your chicks arrive
- Your house will have to be prepared. Your chicken house should have been sanitised and cleaned, and have stood untouched for at least a week.
- New shavings should have been placed in the poultry house
- Cordon off a small area for your day old chicks – you will not need the whole house initially. You can use hardboard to separate the rest of the chicken house. You can use a curtain as well – this will save electricity or gas.
- Heat the poultry house the day before. The shavings should be warm and the air should be warm – at least 34 degrees C.
- Make sure you have chicken trays and water fonts – baby chickens will not be able to reach bell drinkers, chain feeders or tube feeders,
- Make sure you have enough starter feed that is specifically for day old chicks.
- Place a few sheets of newspaper on top of the shavings and place your chick trays with food on top of the paper – scatter some chicken feed on the news paper. (baby chickens usually have a mother hen to teach them how to eat – you are now the mom – because chickens are curios, when they walk on the newspaper it will make a sound – help the chicks by scratching the paper – they will come and see what is happening and scratch and eat. After a few days you can remove the news paper.
When your chicks arrive
- The first thing you do is check the chicks – while the driver who delivered the day old chickens is still there. Look for dead chicks or very weak chicks – make a note on the invoice of all anomalies so that you can get a refund.
- When the chicks arrive they will be very thirsty – so water and heat are the first priorities.
- Place them in your enclosure – check with your min max thermometer that the temperature is right. After an hour or so – feel your chicks feet – if they are cold it means that your shavings were not warm enough.
- Once the chicks have taken on water you can encourage them to eat by scratching on the news paper – once a few begin to eat they will all copy. They should be eating within 3 hours of arriving.
- The chicks should be wandering around and happy fairly soon. If they are bunching in anyway it could mean that your temperature is wrong. If the chickens are clumping directly under the poultry heater it means that they are cold – and if they are all standing around the edges of your enclosure – it means your heater is too hot. This will happen with gas heaters and infrared heaters. Raise or lower the heater – or change the heat settings.
- The firts 24 hours are critical – if they survive them you are on your way. I the chicks are not drinking – encourage them by wetting their beaks with a few drops of water.
NB – IMPORTANT – day old chicks are very susceptible to disease. Only one person should be in the house with them – and the same person for a few days – avoid loud noises – flapping curtains and banging sheets from a loose roof will upset any chickens. Follow all the procedures for Bio security – foot baths, movement between older chicken houses and newer cycles is absolutely foolhardy – especially in the first few days. FOLLOW THE EGG! Infrared heaters for keeping day old chicks warm and to heat a poultry house are available in South Africa from Chicken Shack Agencies. electric heaters and electric heaters for chickens can be costly to run – gas chicken heaters may be a better option.