Purina® Flock Nutrition E—Newsletter

FEATURED STORY | Chick Days/Great Starts

With harsh winter storms happening across the nation, it's hard for some of us to think about spring, but it's almost here and so are the baby chicks! Beginning this month, Purina dealers across the country are kicking off the Great Starts™ program and Chick Days, a series of special events providing new chicks, savings and expert advice for both new and longtime chicken owners like you.

Dealers will be offering advice and guidance on how to raise baby chickens from freshly hatched chicks through laying, including details on proper nutrition to provide the best eggs. They'll also be offering savings on the supplies you need to get started. Purina caters to both the smaller backyard flocks with five pound packages of Purina® SunFresh® Recipe Start & Grow® and Purina® SunFresh® Recipe Flock Raiser®—two products formulated specifically for baby birds—and Purina® Layena® product in a twenty-five pound and fifty pound bag since adult laying hens, even in small flocks, consume a quarter pound of feed per day. A twenty-five pound bag is ideal for a small flock's monthly feed requirements.

To keep both beginners and seasoned poultry owners up to date on care for their new chicks, Purina is continuing the "Register Your Chick" program. For more information and to get started, visit www.purinamills.com/newchick. From there, you can sign up for a free e-newsletter program that gives you time-released management and care tips through your chicks' first year. It provides information about how to keep chicks healthy and growing, producing eggs when they are mature, and how to keep them safe from predators. It also includes basic management tips like hand-washing and sanitation practices like cleaning the eggs.

We all like the taste of fresh eggs, why not have fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables, too? The 2011 Great Starts program is not only focusing on chickens' abilities to produce fresh, homegrown eggs, but also their role as garden composters, tillers and exterminators. The combination of chickens and gardens are part of the locavore movement—people's desire to manage the freshness and quality of their family's food and reduce their carbon footprint. With both a flock and a garden, you not only get fresh vegetables and eggs, but the chickens will produce fertilizer after eating the garden waste in addition to their feed, help control the pests and prepare soil before planting.

Ready to add more chicks to your flock? Contact your local dealer as soon as possible to reserve your chicks. To find a participating dealer, check out www.purinamills.com/rewards or www.poultrynutrition.com.

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FLOCK TIPS | Raising Baby Chicks

With Purina's Chick Days program right around the corner at your local Purina dealer, it's easier than ever to start or add to your flock. Be prepared when you pick up your chicks with these simple tips.

Having everything set up and on hand before you pick up your chicks will make the process much easier. All the necessary equipment and supplies can be obtained from your Purina dealer.


  • Heat lamps and/or brooder stove
  • Litter and/or shavings
  • Brooder guard
  • Feeders
  • Waterers
  • Sanitizing solution
  • Cleaning brushes
  • Rake
  • Pitchfork or shovel (for large areas)
  • Egg flats or shallow pans
  • 40-watt light bulbs
  • SunFresh® Recipe Feed
  • Dust masks for cleaning the brooder and coop
A chick's first home is a brooder. Chicks should be kept indoors or in a heated brooder until they have their feathers (5 to 8 weeks old) and should not be housed with older birds. The brooder should be warm, dry and ventilated but not drafty. It should also be easy to clean. Cages for rabbits or guinea pigs or even aquariums are some easy to find options.

If you have a small number of chicks, warming them with heat lamps placed about 20 inches above the flock works well; however, for a larger group of birds in a large room such as a shed or a garage use a supplemental heat source like a brooder stove.

A few days before you pick up your chicks, clean and disinfect the brooder and other equipment so it has time to completely dry. Dampness can result in chilling and increase the risk of disease. Once the brooder is dry, place four to six inches of dry wood shavings or a commercial absorbent litter material on the floor.

Adjust the brooder stove and/or heat lamps 24 hours before your chicks arrive and make sure the temperature is at 90°F. Chicks can get overheated, which can be as dangerous as getting chilled. Although a thermometer can be helpful, watching your chicks' behavior will tell you if you need to adjust the heat. Chicks that are huddled under the lamp are too cold. Chicks that are sprawled away to the brooder's edges are too hot. Chicks moving around all parts of the brooder area are comfortable. The temperature can be gradually reduced 5°F per week to a minimum of 55°F.

Fill feeders and waterers with SunFresh® Recipe feed and water. Place them around the edges of the comfort zone. This will keep the water and feed from getting too hot and will help keep them cleaner, since chicks under the warmth source could kick bedding and feces into them. This also encourages the chicks to move around and get exercise. Chicks drink a lot, so be sure to have at least two one-quart or one one-gallon waterers for every 25 to 50 chicks. You can dip the beaks of several chicks into the water to help them locate it and others will follow.

Feeders on the first day should be clean egg flats, shallow pans or simple squares of paper with small piles of feed on them so it's easy for the chicks to access. You can put proper feeders in once the chicks learn to eat from the flat feeders. Waterers should be emptied, scrubbed, rinsed and refilled daily. Wet litter around the water should also be removed daily.

As your birds grow, adjust the height of the feeders and waterers to the height of the back of a standing bird. This will help to keep the chicks from defecating in their feed and water.

Whether you pick your chicks up or have them delivered, the transportation process can be quite stressful. This stress can cause a condition called pasting up—when feces builds up on a chick's vents, preventing them from releasing additional waste. Check your chicks daily and remove any feces with a warm wet cloth to prevent them from getting backed up.

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after cleaning feeders, waterers or brooders and after handling the chicks.

For more help raising your chicks visit www.purinamills.com/newchick and register your chick to receive a free monthly e-newsletter that offers tips corresponding each month of your chicks' lives.

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GET TO KNOW | Purina® Start & Grow® SunFresh® Recipe

Purina's Start & Grow® SunFresh® Recipe is made with high quality, fresh sun-grown grains, plant proteins, vitamins and minerals that provide superior nutrition to help your birds look and act their best. Its contains 18 percent protein and has high concentrations of essential amino acids including lysine and methionine, making Start & Grow® SunFresh® Recipe perfect for raising laying chicks from hatch to laying age (18-20 weeks).

  • Superior nutrition for a strong start, uniform growth and overall great appearance
  • Amino acids Lysine and methionine for top muscle development, growth and vigor
  • Vitamin E for a healthy immune system
  • Marigold Extract (xanthophyll) for brightly-colored beaks, shanks and overall appearance
  • Vitamin A for growing birds into healthy breeders
  • Certified natural*
Start & Grow® SunFresh® Recipe, made from natural plant-based ingredients, is free of all animal proteins and fats and provides a complete, balanced nutrition requiring no supplements.

*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients

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