First, I noticed that our Premier 1 Supplier heat lamp with a red 100-watt bulb did not appear to be working. The one heat lamp used to work for 15 chicks, but perhaps is not enough coverage for 34 chicks. When I went in the first night, all the chicks were “balled up” pressing for space under the one heat lamp. The right way for chicks to be is spread out over the box fairly comfortable. I got the old thermometer out, and sure enough, it was a bit low at 80 degrees. So what I did was to buy a good metal chain, and hung it from the barn. Chains ensure the heat lamps do not fall and start a fire.
Notice how well the Premier 1 Lamp is secure compared to the cheaper model. I should do a blog post on that alone. I like Premier 1 equipment and support. Anyway, I still pressed our cheaper heat lamp into service, put a 250-watt bulb in and provide more heat for the chicks. Good night.
Second day. I wake up first thing with an upset seven-year-old girl next to our bed with a dead chicken in her hands. Ug. Huh? The kids get up fairly often and do their inside and farm chores without much direction, which is a great way for them to grow up. Thus my daughter had gone outside to feed and water the new chicks.
I noticed that Murray McMurray sent us one “exotic” chick. I think this is part of their The National Poultry Improvement Plan. I don’t see the usefulness of sending one chick of anything. I believe that they should send a breeding pair of anything they are trying to save, what am I going to breed this “exotic” chick with? Also I do not know what type of chick it is. It was the only black chick in the entire 33 brood of yellow chicks. Thus, of course, my daughter likes the smaller different one. Well, it did not last two nights. I think if we deal with this next time we must keep the smaller chick separate from the Cornish Cross.
Even after I added the extra heat to try and relieve their stress, it seems when you have a normal chick in a larger batch of hybrid Cornish Cross the fast growing larger chicks just are so much bigger even on day 5 or whatever it is. I think they crushed the little black chick to death. I don’t know that, but it is what we suspect. My daughter made me bury it. Ok, shovel out. I had her say the prayer. She said something like:
“Thank you for trying to be our food. I am sorry your sisters and brothers killed you.”
Well actually they were not technically the different chick’s relatives, and also I got all males for our first attempt at broilers, but as an older more experienced father and husband, I figure now is not the time. She cried. She said in her best Catholic Nun educated words. “I am not proud of these chickens.” That was profound. It was a lesson, not sure what lesson, but it is farm life.
However, I will tell you, I kinda of know my Wolf Daughter. She had 7-year old murder in her eyes for the chicks. I could tell. I have raised her from day one, to carry on without me, so this is pretty much what I expect. Thus I made her promise not to kill chicks yet. She could help me kill them in 8 weeks. My Wolf Daughter said ok.
Well the freakin’ next night, seven dead chicks! What are they dying from? Now in comparison when we ordered heritage Plymouth Rocks, not one chick died, not one. I knew the Cornish cross would be more difficult, but man, seven chicks out of 33 in the first couple of nights? We do not understand. I hope you can see from the photos that the chicken brooder has a wood door on the top, so they can escape the heat if they want (and we can reload the food and water). I do not believe rats are getting in, but we do not know why so many are dying. Any ideas would be appreciated.