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Blog posts tagged with 'chicks'

Clean Chicken Water Bucket and Dry Shavings

The FARMSTEAD chickens are doing great and growing quickly! Through weeks 2 and 3 they have started growing feathers and losing their fuzz. The easily adjustable legs on the Comfort Heating Plate for Chickshave been raised twice now to accommodate their growth and keep the heating plate at the optimum height for our birds. They are easily able to walk underneath the heating plate or lay on the edges to fine tune their comfort levels.


Chicks next to heating plate


In case you are trying to decide if the Clear Cover for the Comfort Heating Plate is worth purchasing, the answer is “absolutely.” Chickens have a natural urge to roost and desire to perch on an elevated surface. As your chicks become tall enough to see the top of the plate they cannot help but want to get up there. The slanted design of the heating plate cover prevents birds from perching on the plate and piling it with droppings. The small “streaks” from their tail ends sliding down the cover will be much easier to clean after the brooding process than an entire plate covered in poop!


Comfort Heating Plate for Chicks Cover
Our chicken drinking bucket with 3 nipples has been a huge hit and we know exactly why! When you compare the features and functions of our bucket to most other poultry drinking systems, you will quickly find that the drinking bucket keeps fresh, clean water available for your birds without requiring much work at all from you. In addition, when kept at the proper height for your birds, very little, if any, water makes it to the floor of your coop or brooder.


3 Nipple Bucket and Dry Litter


Other poultry watering systems can leak, get filthy or be knocked over very easily by your chickens or other poultry. The drinking bucket hangs out of the way and uses commercial grade poultry nipples to provide a consistent flow of water to your birds when they want it. This keeps your litter or shavings dry and helps your birds stay cleaner and healthier. As you can see in this photo, dry litter absorbs moisture and odors from the chicken droppings. Cleaner, drier litter also helps keep birds feet healthier and minimizes the occurrence of problems associated with wet litter.

“It just does what it is supposed to. That bucket is way better than what I was using before!” 

We received a photo from a happy customer who purchased the poultry drinking bucket with 3 nipples to put in his outdoor brooder. He is currently brooding a small group of mallard ducklings and a special wood duck duckling, which he rescued from the side of the road after seeing the rest of its flock get hit by a car while crossing a busy road. “If you’ve ever raised ducks before then you will agree they are much messier than chickens! The watering jars and founts I was using wouldn’t last more than a few minutes before the ducks had knocked them over or made a mess in them,” he said. “Ever since I installed the bucket I can fill it up and it will last 2 or 3 days. I don’t have to worry about whether my birds have water when I am gone during the day.”


If you’re currently brooding chicks, getting chickens soon, or just need a better, cleaner way to keep fresh water available for your birds, visit the FARMSTEAD Equipment section at and purchase yours today!


CBP Outdoor Brooder Setup

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FARMSTEAD Chicken Products in Action!

Broiler chicks using drinking bucket.

We’ve got chickens!

This spring we added a few new items to our FARMSTEAD Equipment product selection that have been very popular with our customers who raise small groups of chickens and other poultry. We always strive to provide the highest quality products for our customers and decided we would purchase and raise a small flock of broiler chickens to show everyone first hand how well the equipment we sell works.

So, we headed to the local farm supply store and picked up a dozen broiler chicks. We lucked out and ended up with a baker’s dozen, 13 birds in all. Until the chickens have feathered out and can move outside, we’re brooding them indoors. Chicks need a supplemental source of heat until they begin to grow feathers. Generally, the birds need to be kept at around 90°-95°F for the first week of life.

Our “brooder” is made from a small children’s swimming pool, which can usually be purchased for around $10 from your local big box store. The inside is lined with clean pine shavings and we put the chicken feeder on the floor to start out so the birds are easily able to locate their feed.

Many people use a heat lamp and heat bulb to provide the supplemental heat their birds need during their first few weeks of life. Using a heat lamp and bulb works very well, but for this flock we are using one of the new products we offer, the Comfort Heating Plate for Chicks, which you can see in the left side of the photo above. The great part about the Comfort Heating Plate is that it only draws 22 watts compared to the much higher wattage, 100-250 watt, that a conventional heat lamp uses. In addition to the energy savings you’ll realize, the Comfort Heating Plate substantially decreases the chances of an accidental fire that can occur when using a heat lamp.

Chicks under Comfort Heating Plate for Chicks

In addition to the energy saving and safety benefits the Comfort Heating Plate provides, the chicks absolutely love it! 

That is because the heating plate is designed to mimic mother nature. When a hen hatches her chicks, she keeps them nestled under her for heat and protection. The chicks can gather under the mother hen for warmth and then from time to time come out for water, a bite to eat or just to stretch.

As you can see in this photo, the chicks took right to the heating plate like they would a mother hen and have no problem dozing off for a quick nap!

You probably noticed that some of the chicks are actually touching the plate’s surface. The chicks can fine tune their comfort level by contacting the surface, laying down, and moving from the middle to the edges.

The Comfort Heating Plate provides enough heat to keep the shavings underneath warm and inviting. When we set the brooder up before moving the chicks in, we tested the plate’s surface temperature as well as the temperature of the shavings beneath with an infrared thermometer.

Infrared Thermometer Temperature of Heating Plate

A perfect, consistent temperature for your birds, and peace of mind for you knowing that the Comfort Heating Plate for Chicks has dual safety features; a 0.5 Amp resistance fuse and 248°F temperature fuse.

If you’re planning on raising your own chickens this year, already have some chicks, or just want to take advantage of the Comfort Heating Plate’s safety features and energy savings, visit to purchase yours today!

Also, don’t forget to check back weekly as we’ll be documenting our experiences raising this flock as well as telling you more about the drinking bucket and hanging feeder you see in the pictures above!

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Better Start for Broilers

One of the steps in adding new items to our product line is on the farm testing.  Mike Lucariello, regional manager for Georgia Poultry in Missouri and Arkansas, did the initial trials using starter feeders vs. feed trays in his broiler houses.  We talked on the phone recently about his experiences.

How did you set up the trial?

Mike: “We took two houses and randomized the birds evenly between the breeder flock sources to eliminate any possible differences.  In one house we fed the chicks on traditional feed trays and in the other we set starter feeders under the feed lines. We then weighted the chicks at 7, 14 and 21 days.  The chickens in the starter feeder house were routinely 8-12% heavier than feed tray house.  We repeated the trial this time, switching the houses between trays and feeders and had almost identical results…..starter feeders are now part of our routine.


Describe how you set up the house with starter feeders?

Mike: Each of our houses holds 23,500 birds and we aim to have one supplement feeding station per 75-100 birds.  We can place 150 starter feeders between the pan feeders under the feedline. We also like to remove the pan under the control pan and replace it with a large 3×3 cardboard tray so the chicks will activate the control pan quicker.   We add additional 100 paper trays under the brooders that we feed by hand for 3 days.  After that we pick up the paper trays and replace the pan on the end control and all the supplemental feeding is done in starter feeders.


Any ideas why the chickens were heavier in the building using starter feeders?

Mike:   Yes, it is easier to keep supplemental feed in front of the chicks.  Using feed trays requires the grower to manually operate the feed system.  They have to run the feed system several times a day to put feed on the trays.  This becomes increasing difficult, as the chicks get older and more aggressive and start scattering feed as it drops in the trays in the front of the house. The grower has to shut off the front drops as they fill the trays so feed will be delivered equally to the end of the brooder area.   With the starter feeders you simply position the feeders under the feedline and fill them up.  Within a couple of days the control pan is regulating feed delivery automatically and distributing it down the entire length on the house.   Supplemental feed is always available to the birds.


Most growers would like to put out supplemental feed for ten days but with feed trays this can be a challenge.  Since the system is manual it’s a little bit of a guessing game to know how much feed to run out.  The chicks lie in the trays, scatter and defecate in the feed.    A real aggressive flock will waste so much feed growers will stop supplement feeding after eight days.


With starter feeders the birds can’t lay in the feed, they aren’t scratching feed into the litter and feed is always available.  We can easily keep supplemental feed in front of the chickens for 15-16 days with very minimal wastage.


That early feed intake is critical.  The faster we can get their allotment of starter rations into the birds the heavier those chickens will be at settlement.


We understand not everyone is proponent of starter feeders?

Mike: Yes that’s true.  Some people will argue feed trays provide more eating space.  Consider this, when there are 100 birds lying in a feed tray, access is very limited.   We think their access to feed is increased vs. trays because birds are not covering up the feed.


Do you clean the feeders between flocks?

Mike: No, because the birds can’t mess up a starter feeder like they do a plastic feed tray.  We save quite a bit of labor not having to clean the feeders like we would if we used plastic trays.


Georgia Poultry is now offering an even better price on starter feeders than ever before.  Go to  Run a trial on your own farm.   Start birds faster and gain a competitive advantage at settlement.

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Clear Advantage for Clear Feed Tray

Hog Slat/ Georgia Poultry stores just received their first shipments of a new type of feed tray.  Manufactured from post-consumer waste, the Pur-Chick Clear Feeder Tray is different than the paper or plastic trays currently in use.


They are crystal clear, lightweight, disposable and appear to have some advantages over red plastic and paper trays.

There seems to be less Darkling beetle activity in the clear trays.  I asked several industry “bug experts”, and they weren’t sure why.

“Maybe it’s because they can’t hide under the clear tray.”

“The sides might be too slick for the beetles to climb.”

“They can’t eat through the plastic as easy as the paper tray.”

Watch the first part of the video and see for yourself.

Chicks seem to be attracted to the clear trays over paper or red plastic.  Again, not sure exactly why.

 “They can see the feed better because the trays are clear.”

“The reflective surface might look like water.”

“When they walk on the tray, it makes a crinkling sound which they are familiar with from the hatchery.”

Maybe. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

To order go to

Part # for individual trays is 521102-CLR
Bundles of 200 are part# 521102-CLR-BUND

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Pen Vise is the Right Tool for Cleaning Brooder Orifices

Having the right tool makes any maintenance chore easier and Hog Slat’s Pen Vise is the perfect tool for cleaning clogged brooder and heater orifices.

Pen Vise

Instead of  looking for a piece of wire or a drill bit close to the right size, the Pen Vise keeps tapered cleaning needles at your fingertips.  This tool features a screw-tightened jaw on one end with a 12-needle storage compartment on the opposite. An additional benefit;  you’re not as likely to lose the five-inch long Pen Vise if you happen to drop it into the liter.

Dan Yates, the hands and voice in the video, has used the same Pen Vise for over five years.  He offered these suggestions,

“The needles taper down to a smaller size than we need for our applications.  If you clip about 1/2″ off the end with a side cutter, you won’t bend the end like I did in the video.”
“A needle is just a better tool than a drill bit for cleaning heater orifices. Repeated use of a drill bit can enlarge the hole causing a weak, yellow flame with poor combustion.”

Click here to order your  Pen Vise today.


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Poly Lamp Improves Plastic Heat Lamp

poly-lamp-mainHog Slat’s introduction of the Poly Lamp improves several features of plastic heat lamp shades used in swine farrowing houses. Plastic heat lamp shades have become popular since being introduced several years ago. Polypropylene shades don’t dent or corrode like aluminum shades. Plastic shades also have a some cushion or “bounce” when knocked against the crate or creep panels reducing bulb breakage.

The Hog Slat’s Poly Lamp improves several key features of the plastic heat lamp, most notably to the nylon fixture.

poly-lamp-fixtureFirst, the nylon fixture screws together on the shade top, instead bolting. The two-piece fixture reduces breakage occurring with the bolt-on style of earlier models.

Second, we use a rigid fixture instead the flexible type used on other poly lamps. The rigid design eliminates cord twist when replacing bulbs.

And third, the porcelain socket resists heat damage better than plastic types.

The Poly Lamp comes with a choice of hanging options; adjustable sliding poly hanger on the 9′ cord or a wire hanger mounted on fixture top.


Rated a maximum 250 watts at 120 volts, the Poly Lamp is UL listed. The Poly Lamp also comes with an extended Three-Year Warranty.

Overall the Poly Lamp is an improved version of earlier plastic lamp shades at very attractive price. For ordering information go to

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