What to Consider Before
Purchasing Chickens

  • Make sure to find out if there are restrictions regarding poultry in your area no only in your county but your neighborhood/subdivision.
  • Consider your goals. Do you intend to raise chickens for meat, eggs, pets, showing or breeding? The are many chicken breeds: meat producers, egg producers, dual purpose (meat & eggs) and ornamentals.
  • Your geographical area. Some chicken breeds are more heat or cold tolerant.

Raising chickens is an American tradition.

Whether you raise chickens for delicious eggs and meat for the table or just enjoy them as pets, Horizon Acres can help you raise quality chickens and memorable family experiences.

Raising Chicks at a Glance

New chicks are very dependent on you and require special care. Daily maintenance is crucial. Here are some guidelines for raising healthy chicks.

  • Make sure your brooder is in a safe place away from potential predators.
  • Be sure to check the temperature of the brooder. New chicks should be kept at 95 -100 degrees for the first week. Every week thereafter reduce the temperature by 5 degrees until you reach 65 degrees.
  • Fresh water is essential. Make sure to allow free access to water at all times.
  • Provide Horizon Acres Broiler Life Cycle Blend for the first 6 weeks and Horizon Acres Chick Starter for the next 6 weeks. (Chicks raised for meat can be fed Horizon Acres Broiler Life Cycle Blend from hatch to harvest.) Feed your chicks free choice, do not let your feeder go empty.
  • Keep your brooder clean.
New Chick Checklist
Feeding Chickens Since 1934
New Chick Checklist
This checklist is designed to help the new poultry owner.

  1. FEED: Make sure to purchase a quality chick feed such as Horizon Acres Chick Starter for chicks intended for laying or Horizon Acres Broiler Life Cycle Blend for chicks intended for meat.
  2. BROODER: Make sure you have a brooder that is warm and safe.
  3. BEDDING: Your brooder should have bedding such as: pine shavings or shredded newspaper.
  4. HEAT: Make sure to provide a heat lamp to keep your chicks warm. Newly hatched chicks should be kept around 95 degrees.
  5. WATER: Young chicks need plenty of water. Be sure to provide clean, fresh water in a safe container. Chicks can easily drown in even shallow water.
  6. ELECTROLYTES: Electrolytes help prevent dehydration. Chicks that have to travel can become stressed and are more susceptible to dehydration.
Feeding Chickens Since 1934

Horizon Acres has been feeding chickens since 1934. We understand the importance that quality ingredients, vitamins and minerals play in producing a healthy brood of chickens and better egg production. No matter the size or life stage of your flock, Horizon Acres has a feed to fit your needs.


Housing Preparation

We recommend having your coop built before bringing your chickens home. Make sure all necessary equipment (feeder, waterer and heat lamps) is functioning properly.

To build or to buy a coop? There are many advantages to both building or buying a coop. In building your own coop, you can tailor it to your needs. Buying a coop requires less time and carpentry skills.

What is most important is that the pen remains clean, dry, warm and draft free. Always use removable bedding so the pen can be cleaned on a regular basis (daily is recommended). Pine shavings with newspaper lining makes ideal bedding and is easy to replace. Maintaining a clean and dry pen is necessary for disease control and footpad health. Make sure the brooder pen is designed to prevent drafts, but still allow introduction of fresh air.

Building Your Coop

  • Consider the size and location of your area. Standard, adult chickens require about three square feet of space per bird. You may not want your coop too close to the house due to odor and droppings however your neighbors may feel the same way. Try not to build your coop along property boundaries unless it is agreeable to your neighbors.
  • Area predators can do a lot of damage to your flock. Be sure to familiarize yourself with local predators and make sure your coop is designed to keep them out.
  • The base/floor of your coop must be predator proof and easy to clean. Some predators can dig through the earth and under the walls to get to your flock.
  • Chickens love light and will be more productive with longer periods of light. Make sure to let light in the coop with windows or skylights. In the winter a light can be turned on in the coop to simulate summer daylight which leads to better egg production.
  • Ventilation is important to your chickens health. Poor ventilation can lead to respiratory problems.
  • Roosting space is important. Each chicken needs 12-18 inches of roosting space. Make sure not to put roosts directly over others to prevent soiling of the birds on lower roosts.
  • Nesting boxes are essential for laying hens. You should have at least one nesting box for every three hens. You can build your own or buy pre-made nesting boxes.
  • Feeders and water containers inside of the coop will help encourage your chickens to come home to roost at night. Hanging feeders or mounting them on the wall above floor level (about breast level to your chickens) will keep them from wasting feed. Water containers should be elevated as well to prevent spillage.
  • Bedding in your coop can be of pine shavings, crushed corn cobs, compressed wood pellets (the kind used in horse stalls) or even shredded paper. Make sure to have a plan for soiled bedding.

Introducing Your Chicks to a New Environment

  • Newly hatched chicks are stressed and dehydrated.
  • Make sure their first sips of water have a soluble tetracycline mixed in to reduce respiratory stress.
  • Dip their beaks into fresh water to start drinking. Change water daily and keep feeder as clean as possible.
  • Add electrolytes and vitamins to water for quick hydration, immune system support and appetite stimulation.
  • Reduce stress by moving the chicks to a new pen.
  • Keep chicks warm and hydrated during the transition.
  • Make sure a quality medicated feed like Horizon Acres Premium Feed Chick Starter Mix is present 24/7 to prevent coccidiosis.


Temperature Control in the Brooder

  • Newly hatched chicks need to stay within 95°-100° F with a 5° F reduction for every week until a temperature of 65° F is reached. These temperatures can be obtained with an artificial heat source such as a heat lamp. WARNING: use caution with heat lambs as they can become a fire hazard.
  • Hang a 60-watt bulb 12-18 inches above the floor of the pen. Use the chicks to determine the optimal bulb and distance.If the chicks are huddled under the light, lower the bulb or increase bulb size to warm up the pen. If the chicks are hugging the outside of the pen, raise the light or reduce the bulb size to make them comfortable. When the temperature is just right, the chicks will be evenly spaced and active in their pen.
  • Always use a second light to help maintain temperature in case a bulb burns out.
  • Consider using a red bulb to reduce cannibalization.

Tips for Healthy Chickens

  • Make sure your flock has fresh water available at all times.
  • Feed a complete feed such as Horizon Acre Layer Crumbles or Pellets.
  • Provide Horizon Acres Poultry Grit free choice to help aid in digestion.
  • Supplement with Horizon Acres Hen Scratch to provide energy and satisfy you chickens natural pecking tendency.
  • If shells seem soft, provide Horizon Acres Oyster Shell free choice to supply extra calcium.
  • Keep coop clean, change the bedding often. (It is a good idea to have a plan for the soiled chicken coop bedding such as a compost pile.)  Keep your roosts free from waste as well. Be sure to check the nesting boxes for soiled bedding, straw or hay.
  • Remove eggs at least once a day from nesting boxes. This will ensure they stay fresh and deter chickens from pecking the eggs.
Horizon Acres Poultry Feeding Guidelines
Horizona Acres feeding guidelines

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