Starting a Flock – Dunlap Hatchery

Before Buying: We highly recommend you are equipped with these basic baby chick necessities: 1 feeder plus 1 waterer for every 25 chicks (both specifically designed for baby chicks), 1 heat shield and a 250-watt bulb for every 25 chicks, a½ square foot area per chick sheltered from the elements with at least 18-inch-high surrounding walls. Recommended examples include cardboard brooding boxes or draft shields. We also advise keeping a thermometer on hand for temperature monitoring and using pine shavings for bedding (cedar and cypress shavings are highly toxic to poultry). All equipment is available for purchase locally or on our website listed above. All feeds are also available for in store pick up.

Feed: For all day-old poultry you will need a starter feed. All our starter feeds are medicated with amprolium, which is safe for all flocks. Different birds need different levels of protein in their diet to survive. We recommend a starter with at least 21 % protein for baby chickens. Gamebirds such as turkeys, guineas, pheasants, chukar, and quail need a feed with a protein level of at least 28% for best results. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese can eat either starter until of age. If you have a mix and match flock of chickens and gamebirds, we recommend the higher protein feed as it will sustain all your young birds needs in one. Between 6-8 weeks of age all birds need to switch to a grower or conditioner feed. This helps adolescent birds grow into laying or butchering size. Exception: Comish Cross broilers should be put on.grower at 4 weeks of age as they grow at an expedited pace. Comish should also be restricted to 12 hours of feed intake after 10 days of age as they will eat continuously, gorging themselves causing heart attacks. If left unchecked this can lead to entire flock fatality. For laying purposes, birds need to be put on a layer feed between 20-24 weeks of age through the rest of their lifespan. Scratch grain is a great source of nutrients for retired or elderly birds. Feeds often come in different styles, and birds can be picky just like humans. To avoid the possibility of your birds refusing to eat, we recommend staying with one style or mixing different styles together from a young age. Change in feed types could result in a decline in production. All feeds are available for in store purchase or from other retailers. It is important to have enough feed space so that all can eat at the same time.

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