For a brooder i use a normal 30x20 inch box some pine shavings and a desk lamp..the idea is to produce some heat enough for them to stay warm but not dehydrate them..keep the lamp facing one way so that the other side of the box is cool for them and are able to regulate the temp not to hot or not to cold..the "ears" of the box or top lids i cut off so i can possition them in a way where only a small area is open so i can see them and check up without leaving the entire top open a lose alot of needed heat..chicks are left in an inch of pine shavings since day one once they have 30 min outside the egg i transfer them from the incubator to here and let them finish drying of..this way i have always had fuzzys dry and puffy in about 3 hours better than in the bator wjere they cause mayhem and move the other eggs and disorient the other chicks..
in the brooder i keep two small 1 inch deep 2 inch wide saucers for feed(chick starter feed 23%)which i continue to feed until 4 months of age..and one 3 inch wide 1 inch deep saucer for water..this has to be changed daily due to chicks stepping in it or throwing pine shavings in it.Chicks are to be monitered for the first 4 days to make sure they dont bully others and that they are all in top health..they can eat,drink,stand,sleep,chirp,maintain balance,and energy levels..
Chicks since day one are watched closly checking everything..(eat,drink,stand,sleep,chirp,maintain balance,and energy levels)once those days pass to me the crucial days they can be fed daily and change the water same as feed..clean the shavings every seven days for the first two weeks or depending on the level of need of cleaning..once they start to grow they are moved to a bigger brooder with higher walls as they start to use their wings alot and can be trouble once they start jumping out.at 3 weeks i start taking them out to sunlight depending on heat and preparing them for outdoor living..feed is kept at 23% along with some other treats to help them grow much better and stay healthy..physical contact with these chicks is very important as along the way they will be calmer and much more managable..a chick that is left to grow on its own will later on be too wild to control and cause cause damage to you and itself.
at first its just moving my hand around the brooder slighty toughing or petting them no fast movement to get them use to a hand.with time is holding them on the palm of my hand or on my finger..by 4 weeks they are very managable and will come up to me to hold and since they injoy the outdoors by then they know its to go outside and play..continue the handling from then on but it will be much easier due to early managing..from there its just enjoy the ride watching them grow and mature into the beautiful birds they are..
Incubation for me is usually like everyone else fertile eggs from a male and female y normally have 3 females per male..makes for better fertility and also so i dont hatch more than i can handle..after a male does his job with the hens for 4 days i separate him and start to continue collecting eggs from the second day since i took him out,,i see my hens will continue to produce fertile eggs for about 18 days..mean while i am collecting i keep eggs in a 36 count egg carton from a left over store bought..eggs are rotated 180 degrees once a day until day of incubation..once i have been collecting eggs for 7 days on the eight to give the last time to settle i set them in the bator at 99.5 degrees with 55% humidity..check every other day to make sure humidity levels stay between 55 and 65..other than that its just a waiting game..on day 18 i take eggs of turner and set them on the incubator for their last 3 days of incubation..some will hatch before the 21st day some later i give them a total of 25 days..