I have decided to create a thread about raising baby chicks up to when they hit 8 weeks of age for if your hatching your own eggs or buying your chicks from a hatchery. When getting baby chicks it is better not to handle or touch them the first day if you are buying them from a hatchery. It can scares them and causes a lot of stress because they have already dealt with it from traveling in the mail. Chickens that you hatch yourself can be handled more since they haven't really been through stress. Remember, as soon as you bring your chicks home Get the heat lamp ready. Start it at 90 degrees on their first day, then reduce the heat 5 degrees lower each week so that way they get more used to any kind of weather as they get older. When first getting chicks they can also go a few days without eating and drinking.
Teaching chicks how to drink.
A hen will teach or own babies how to eat and drink because they copy what the mother does. Since you are raising your chicks in a brooder you are the mother. The chick will learn to eat buy itself but you need to teach it to drink water. Make sure the water is warm when providing it for baby chicks. Pickup the baby chick and dip its beak in water a few times and will start to get use to it. If you see it do it on its own then you've did it!
What do chicks eat?
Feeding baby chicks and what to feed them is very important. Chicks must have chick starter when up to 8 weeks then you move them on grower feed. Grit is also important to chicks. It digest the food in their body that they swallow down. Without grit, the chicks will die.
Chickens with pasty bottoms.
Every time you get a batch of chicks, a few will have a pasty bottom since stress is caused when traveling in the mail. 4 out of 6 of my chicks got it. What you do is wet a cloth in warm water, then the wipe the chick's rear with it. They may not like it but it is life threatening so you must do it. Do this at least twice to three times a day to be safe. A picture is not required for this action.
First time exploring the outdoors.
As long as it isn't cold when you have your chicks it is good to take them outside on field trips since they get used to it and start to enjoy it. If you take them on their first trip at 5-6 weeks you might frighten the bird at first since it is not use to being in such a big world. Otherwise chicks love being outside and is a very exciting moment to them. Here is a pic of one of my girls outdoors.
Once your chicks hit about 4,5,6 weeks it is time to tell if they are pullet or cockerel because if you have a limit of roosters in your neighborhood it is time to find them a home, if you don't have a limit on roosters where you live then this is not required but is still fun to do. Other breeds are a lot harder to sex then others. Red Sex links and Black Sex links are sexable at day hatch. With Red sex links the males are white while the females are red, with Black sex links the females are all black but the males have a white spot on their head. If you are getting different chicken breeds though here is how you tell them apart.
Barred Rock Pullet.
Barred rock bantam cockerel at same age.
I hope this helps everyone who wants to raise chicks!
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