I've never had any health issues with chicks other than two that passes the first couple of days I had them. I think it's something they were born with, as I couldn't find anything online of what it could be. The seven remaining I have now are the healthiest and most friendly flock I've ever had, and I want to make your experience with chickens awesome as well! For more details, check out other forms here on BYC. Anyways, let's get started!
When your chicks are old enough to move outside
- I give my chicks medicated starter-grower to prevent coccidiosis, but if you don't want to give your flock medicated feed, give them plenty of vitamins, ( I recommend the Nutri Drench, it's for sale on Amazon and at Tractor Supply) oregano tea water (boil water and steep oregano in the water for 10 min, then let cool), and herbs. Watch for signs of coccidiosis if you aren't feeding medicated feed.
- I also give my chicks oats in their feed. They love them, and studies have shown that chicks who eat oats are healthier than those who don't. Not only that, but the oats help prevent pasty butt and are full of vitamins.
- Back to the topic of herbs, my chicks love basil, mint, peppermint, oregano, parsley, sage, and spearmint. I hang rosemary in their brooder and hang it in their coop, but they never try to eat it. These herbs are full of health benefits, I actually have a blog about it!
- For their bedding I use pine shavings (NEVER use cedar as it is toxic), but straw is another great option.
- As soon as I bring my chicks home, I dip their beaks into the water to make sure they know how t drink, acting as a hen would if she were to have raised these chicks. I put sugar in their water for day 1, then switch to Nutri-Drench, Probiotics/Electrolytes (Save-A-Chick), garlic cloves, or Apple Cider Vinegar. All are amazing to chicks, but I find that they like the Vinegar the best.
- I also mix Brewers Yeast/ Garlic Powder into their feed. There's a ton of pre-mixed brands out there on amazon, so check it out!
Of course, there's much more to raising chicks to this, but I hope this will give you the right start! Have fun raising chicks!
- I use straw as their primary bedding outside, as it's more comfortable, they like to scratch in it and eat the seeds, and it's cheaper.
- I have to pick them up and put them in their house for the first week or so, until they learn that it's their safe zone and the start sleeping in the coop themselves. I put a feed and water in the coop for them while they're still little as they need to eat and drink more as chicks. When they're hens, I put the food away at night.
- I have a larger run outside for them, but until they get bigger, I keep them inside the small run I have. It's very predator proof, and I feel like they are safer in there during the day. The larger run has poultry net on top to keep them in, as its not built the same as my enclosed run, so I can't put wire over it. The holes in the wire are bigger, so even when they are hens, I lock them in the coop and small run at night to keep them safe.
- I like to hang herbs around the run to keep it smelling nice and give the chicks a nice treat. I did have grass planted inside, but it only took them about two days to destroy all that hard work (sigh).