If you are incubating them then you can remove them from the incubator as soon as they are fluffed up. It is MUCH better to get them eating early even though they can wait longer. Losses in shipping are usually due to lack of food/water. Because they don't have a mom to show them you will need to teach them to eat and drink. I'd probably wait until they are about 24 hours old as momma wouldn't normally come out of the nest with them until thenn and they will have a chance to rest. If they are really active, offer sooner.
Dip their bill in water and make sure that they tilt their head back and swallow. Check on them often to ensure they are drinking.
Make feed very easily available at first. Sprinkled on a paper towel usually works. I find dropping bits in front of them peaks their interest and they will pick up what they see.
If they are under a broody, just put food and water close by and she'll take care of it.
Edited by jdywntr - 4/13/13 at 6:04am