Managing Poultry Health And Disease Positively
Chicks need to be kept in a warm place until they are fully feathered. The temperature at the bottom of the brooding area should be 90-95 degrees for the first two weeks, and then reduced five degrees each week until chicks are a month old. Use a brooder lamp (we recommend a red bulb) clipped over one side of the brooding area so the chicks can choose whether to be under the light or not.
If chicks are crowded together directly under the heat source, then they are cold. If they are around the edges of the brooding area, then they are too hot. Adjust the height of the lamp accordingly and give them enough room to move in and out of the light to regulate their body temperatures.
Be sure any flammable component of your brooder is a safe distance from your heat source. For larger numbers, a metal stock tank can be used in an enclosed, draft-free outbuilding. Do not use a plastic bin as a brooding area. The brooder lamp can melt the plastic, fall into the pine shavings and start a fire. Chicks need one-half square foot of space for the first two weeks. But they grow fast, so you will need to expand the area as they grow. After two weeks, increase to one square foot per bird.