Raising Baby Chicks
Whether you’ve been wanting chicks for a long time, or just hatched some in your incubator, this article will give you the basics on raising baby chicks.
Before you get your chicks, you will want to set up your brooder. You can get a brooder from a feed store, or you can build one yourself, made from wood. You can also use a plastic tote, as long as it’s safe enough that your chicks can’t hop out, and nothing can hop in with your chicks. The things you will need to go in or with your brooder are:
1. Waterer and feeder. Be sure to put marbles in the waterer tray because chicks will sometimes fall asleep with their beak in the waterer tray. The marbles help prevent your chicks from getting water up their nostrils and drowning.
2. You will need a heat source. Some examples are. a heat lamp, or a heating plate. If you choose to use a heat lamp, be sure that the chicks have a place to go to cool off from the heat lamp. Don’t put it covering the whole brooder. Keep an eye on the chicks, if they’re not under the heat lamp, then it could mean its too warm. if they are all huddled under it, it could mean its not warm enough. You don’t want your chicks getting chills. If the temp is just right, they will be spread out all over. Be sure to keep an eye on this until they no longer live in the brooder.
3. You will also need some bedding for the bottom of your brooder. Make sure if the bedding gets wet to clean it up. Don’t let it stay wet for long. also make sure you clean the brooder often, don’t let the chicken poop sit too long.
There are lots of different feeds out there; you need to pick the right one for your chicks. You will want to do some research between medicated feed, and none medicated chick starter.
After you get your brooder ready, and your chicks settled in. you will want to keep a close eye on them; chicks are very fragile. Make sure they always have fresh clean water and feed. You will want to spend lots of time with them, so they can get to know you and your voice. Speak to them softly, and gently handle them often, but be careful, they might try and hop out of your hands. They will be scared of you at first but as you spend time with them, and continue to spend time with them through their life, they will love and trust you throughout their life.
photo credit: chickenmama109
After a few weeks they may be ready for small healthy treats. When you start giving them treats you will also have to give them chick grit. They will eat the grit; it will mash up the treats they eat inside their crop so they can digest their food. Some treat examples are:
1. Scrambled or hard-boiled eggs. Make sure they are mashed small enough for the chicks to eat.
2. Live meal worms are a great treat. They will love to chase after them and love the taste too.
Be sure to wait until they are fully feathered to put them outside. when the time comes to put them outside, make sure the weather is not too cold. When your chickens are ready to go outside, they will need a coop, with enough roost space for all your chickens. It needs to be safe from predators and the weather. They will need a place to get away from the wind, rain, and snow.
Have fun with your baby chicks.