Baby chick batteries first became popular with hatcherymen for holding day old chicks that were surplus to orders. From this came a demand for started chicks of a week or two weeks old. Today, baby chick batteries are to be seen on many poultry farms that do not hatch their own chicks but have found out that the battery gets the youngsters off to a better start than putting them straight on the floor on arrival from the hatchery.
The advantage of starting them in batteries is most marked among flock owners who use electric brooders. There is quite a trick to educating chicks to run in and out of electric brooders from the first day, and considerable time must be devoted to teaching them. With the battery, all that is required is to raise the temperature to the correct level, put in feed and water, and that is all. The chicks immediately find the heat, and the feed and the water.
At the end of a week they can be transferred to electric brooders, the curtain of which should be fastened up, the attraction to light turned on and a corral made about two feet from the edge of the brooder. With this arrangement the chicks run back and forth and quickly find the source of heat. There will be no piling up, no chilling, no overheating.
With other types of brooders, coal or oil, the battery serves a useful purpose, but with the latter, where there may be some noise from the oil burning, the chick will be scared at first and may need some careful handling to prevent piling.
For pedigree chicks the battery is convenient for checking development at the end of the first or second week when a transfer to the floor is made. Feather growth can be noted as well as ensuring the wingbands are in place and have not slipped over the wing joints.
For the average poultry farm a battery is a might useful piece of equipment, saving space in the brooder pens, and ensuring a better start for each brood of chicks.