The new chicks were ordered from Cackle Hatchery on January 1st, 2017. Seems ages ago now but they are almost here, due to ship with a February 22nd ship date.
In preparation for the event, we have been building a new and much larger chicken house. We are re-using our brooder box from last year, and have moved the brooder box from the shop/barn building over to the new chicken house.
We lined the brooder box with plastic sheeting that covered the sheet metal roofing panels for shipping. Pine shavings filled in on top of sheeting. The plastic sheeting makes cleaning the brooder much easier, just lift the plastic out with all the soiled pine shavings, carry the contents to the compost pile and replace with fresh shavings. We did the same last year with a plastic tarp. It works pretty well. The chicks will scratch the plastic and create enough holes in it that the bottom can become wet under the plastic. Seems the solution for that is deeper bedding with the pine shavings. We covered the pine shavings with newspaper as it helps the little ones get their footing for a day or so before removing it and exposing the pine shavings.
The brooder lamp plugged in, turned on, and warming the brooder. It is my impression the red lamp doesn’t heat as fast as the standard heat lamp we used last year, but it does seem to spread the heat out in a larger area, not so concentrated a spot. The weather should hold fairly warm – mid 50’s to low 70’s when the chicks are due in and for a day or two later, then dropping down to near freezing the next few nights. Weather forecast changes though, so no telling what to really expect. I have the second heat lamp available and if needed to maintain brooder temperature will turn it on, perhaps using a thermal switch that switches on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees. Time will tell how that will go.
So now just add feed and water and the baby chicks when they arrive.