Raising chickens #1: setting up the space
Time: 1:46 | Chicks need a space that is free of drafts, heat lamps for warmth, bedding (wood shavings, peat moss, or rice hulls), starter feed, and plenty of clean water.
[Wayne Martin, University of Minnesota Extension educator]: If you're thinking about raising chickens, you need to prepare a space for them and have it ready to go upon their arrival. And I've got a couple of batches of chicks that have already arrived; they're over in the pen right next to us. But first of all what we're going to do is show you how to set up a pen in preparation for their arrival.
So first of all you need to have it clean, you need to have bedding: peat moss or pine shavings, or rice holes. Any of those work really well. I would recommend that you do not use paper because paper gets wet and greasy and slippery and the chicks can fall on it. And if their legs get spraddled, that is a condition that they won't recover from.
You should have at least, for 50-100 chicks, you should have at least two one-gallon containers and it's about half-full that you can see right now. This needs to be changed a couple of times a day because it does get dirty. You need to have feeders, enough feeder space to make the chicks be comfortable while they eat. Here's a feeder full of prepared feed and it's about 20-22% protein.
Another thing you need to do in preparing the space is to have heat lamps. The chicks will need about 95 degrees of supplemental heat at their ground level. You'll want to have a thermometer as well to make sure you are getting that temperature close to 95 degrees for that first week of their life. You'll also need to make sure that space is protected from predators. And what I've done is put chicken wire all the way around it and tied it on very tightly and that way it will keep the predators out and keep the chicks in, healthy and happy.