Tracy introduces newly arrived Turkey chicks to their new home.
Unbeknownst to us, a few nights ago (on the coldest, windiest night of the year thus far), we lost the heat lamp on the chicks. It happened in the middle of the night.
Fortunately, the “chicks” are about 6 weeks old right now and have full sets of feathers. Typically, if you have chicks in the Spring the heat lamp is kept on them until they develop feathers and/or the weather is warm enough to sustain them, whichever occurs last.
Raising chicks in the winter is a different story. You might need two heat lamps to provide the necessary heat in a situation that would normally require just one in warmer months and you’ve got to be wary of drafts.
It’s also a good idea to have an extra bulb on hand at all times. The heat must be provided around the clock; even newborns, kept in the house, might not have enough heat to sustain themselves without the use of an infrared bulb.
These were the babies that came home with my daughter from school (fourth-graders hatched the chicks using incubators) at the tail-end of Fall—not exactly the ideal climate for raising chicks!
Thankfully, the “babies” had their feathers and everyone made it. We’ll keep them in their pen inside the coop until they grow a little larger. This serves two purposes: their size will mirror the size of the adult birds and will hopefully preclude the “oldies” from picking on the “newbies” and they’ll come to understand the coop as “home.”
A trip to a hatchery! I’ve wondered about these magical places ever since our after-hours pick up of our first box of day-old chicks from the local post office (and I bet you thought chicks came from hens).
Leon Moyer, co-owner (with his brother, Ivan) of Moyer’s Hatchery in Quakertown, Pa., gave us the grand tour! We witnessed each stage: the uncrating of the eggs arriving from southern egg farms, the placing of the eggs onto trays ready for the incubator, the carefully-timed rotation of the eggs (mimicking mama’s instincts), the transfer of the eggs to “baskets” readied for hatching chicks, to the boxing and shipping of the new babies!
The Moyer family is one that has always believed in a commitment to community (which was the biggest reason Leon’s father wanted to begin his agricultural-based business in the late 40s). Leon, his brother Ivan, and their families have carried on their father’s tradition.
The Moyers have reached out internationally to contribute to communities around the globe, spending years helping people to develop poultry operations in Bolivia, Haiti, and Uzbekistan, to name a few. I was very happy to have had the pleasure of a hatchery tour…and very proud to have met such a generous person. Thank you, Leon!
Be sure to visit www.moyerschicks.com