Baby chicks from mom and pop feed store

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May 8, 2015
i have had my chicks for a little over a week now. I have read lots of info on chickens and I'm overwhelmed... What do I need to do to get started right. Do they need shots? Is play sand ok for them? What is the heat light schedule... I leave it on all the time when do I start shutting it off at night? They are in our living room which is air conditioned so it can be chilly for the baby's . I feed them natures best organic feed and probiotic and electrolyte water. Do you like DE in your pen to control mites? When can I put them outside? I got wazine when do they need to be wormed... I know lots of questions... I know some of this stuff is a personal preference but I'm curious what you do to keep healthy happy birds. Thank you so much for any input!
Slow and calm down you are suffering from tmi too fast.they need a heat light for about 6 weeks starting at 95 degrees and decreasing 5 degrees per week.your feed is fine,they do give vac for mareks disease,I use pine shavings and I wouldn't worry about de til later.I don't use probiotics I use braggs Apple cider vinegar I swear by it and I have been raising chicks for over 40 years(tsp per quart or tbsp per gallon of water.calm down and enjoy
Welcome to BYC, and the wonderful, wacky world of chickens!

I subscribe to the "keep it simple" theory of chicken raising. To start with I don't use heat lamps. I find them clumsy, hard to regulate, dangerous, and it makes no sense to have the chicks under lights 24/7. It's not their natural cycle. So I try to mimic a Mama Hen as closely as possible, and that includes exposure to cool temperatures and letting them decide if and when they need a warm-up or not. Otherwise they are out, exploring their surroundings and learning to be chickens. I also raise them outside in a pen within the chicken run, so they can see the other chickens and the others can see them. I use a heating pad, a wire frame, a towel and some straw. They do all the rest. I've raised chicks out in the run in temps in the teens and twenties. They thrive, I'm not always fussing with a heat lamp, they know that nighttime is for sleeping, and they are off supplemental heat by 3- 4 weeks old.

This thread will explain a little better.


If you got you chicks from a feed store, they may have been vaccinated against Mareks. Otherwise there isn't anything else you need to worry about there. Worming? I don't see any need to de-worm them unless they show symptoms of having worms. Some folks de-worm as a matter of course and on a schedule. That has to be your call. If you have probiotics and electrolytes in their water, they also need some plain water offered. I just use a little apple cider vinegar (ACV with the "mother" in their water) instead of all those other things. Once they are doing well, I even discontinue that and just give them plain water.

I'm not a fan of DE. Some folks are sticklers about it and will argue in favor of it until the cows come home. But I don't want anything in my chicken coop that requires me to tie a bandanna around my nose and mouth to avoid breathing in the dust. Not only does DE kill mites and such in the coop and run, it also kills the soft bodied bugs that help break down the litter into compost. Why would I want to do that? But again, personal choice.

Most sand contains silica. So if you want to use sand in your coop and/or run, be sure you get the right kind. River sand is ideal. I use pine shavings in the brooder with some straw over top of the heating pad. The coop and run is deep litter - pine shavings, dried leaves, complete with the small twigs that always end up in the leaves, some grass clippings, dirt, whatever weeds I've pulled from the garden, trimmings from the garden - whatever I have on hand.

Relax. They're chickens. Yes, they need care. But they aren't quite the little divas we sometimes make them out to be. They are tougher than they look and if their basic care needs are met - good nutrition, clean environment, plenty of sunshine and fresh air, and protection from predators - they do fine with almost anyone's care program. You'll be fine. You got this!
Thank you so much for the input... I do get a bit freaked out reading about sick chickens... I can't stand anyone or anything suffering especially if it's something I could have done to prevent it. What if they didn't have the merrick vaccine should I give them one? I have brags Apple cider I use it! Yay! I was providing sand for dust bath the little chicks seem itchy but it's play sand I had it on hand. Once again thank you for your help. It helps enormously!
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