Spring is on its way; we’re beginning to see its cheery head trying to pop up everywhere! When I think of Spring the first thoughts that come to mind are bright images of flowers, bunnies, budding trees, greening grass, and, yes, chicks! The trees might not be budding just yet, flowers aren’t blooming yet, but the chicks are on their way!!! This year we ordered 2200 layer chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery. But before all those little babies arrive we have quite a bit of work to do… We’ve got to get their new home ready for them – so here we go. Our brooder is now empty and ready to be refilled with sawdust. Remember last time when I said that we leave 18” of the old sawdust in the brooder when we cleaned it out? Now is when you’re going to re-use that. The old sawdust gets spread out on the concrete floor of the brooder. This old sawdust serves two purposes. First, it inoculates the new sawdust and starts the composting process. Second, when you re-fill the brooder you don’t want to “skimp” on this first layer of bedding. Saving and using the old bedding gives you more depth to your new bed and you don’t have to use your new fresh sawdust. We went to get sawdust in our dump trailer and on a day that wasn’t too windy we backed up to the brooder and shoveled it into the brooder and spread that around. The next steps are a lot more fun… After we got the new bedding in place we needed to lower the heaters and lower the drinker nipples (remember, these are going to be day old chicks). We also turned the gas line on and fired up all 6 heaters to make sure the gas lines were open and the heaters were heating properly. This is also the time to repair anything that needs it. Next is getting feed ready for the new babies to eat right when they get here… We have chick feeders that we filled with feed. It’s the same feed that our broilers will eat when they arrive later in the year. The chicks also need grit so that they can digest their food. To teach them to eat the grit we put it in a pan and sprinkle feed over it so that they’re encouraged to eat both. Now we’re ready!!!!! The chicks will be here soon!!!