First Time Chook Owner


5 Years
Apr 24, 2014
Hi All,
I'm Lisa and I live in NSW,Australia.
My 6 yr old has finally brought his 2 much yearned for baby chicks home from school.
They are 1 week old.
What now?
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan

Try the Learning Center, there is information there on
raising chicks and caring for chickens.
Hey, I'm from Australia too, I'm in SE QLD! Well could you tell me what they are currently being housed in and what you are doing to keep them warm? Also, what are the things you really need to know about or you're struggling with? I don't really know how much knowledge you have of chickens but here's the basics.

The most important things in chick care are shelter, warmth, food and water.

Until about 6 weeks old, they will NEED warmth at all times. When I had my 6 baby chicks I had a heat lamp positioned over their brooder which would be left on all day and night. Warmth is very important, you'll also have to watch and observe to make sure they're not too hot or cold.

As for the brooder, look up into google images "brooder ideas for chicks". The most important thing when making or buying a brooder is that it is well-ventilated yet keeps out draughts and keeps warmth. You can line the bottom with newspaper and shavings over top. Just make sure there are no slippery surfaces, as chicks can be prone to spraddle-leg, and that they're not eating their bedding. Keep the brooder inside your house or garage.

For food, until they'e 6 weeks old you can buy a pack of chick starter crumble. They're like pellets for older chickens but mashed into small pieces and most of the time medicated. This will be all they need until 6 weeks where you can introduce greens like lettuce, grass etc.

For water, you will need to buy a small shallow hopper as a container or bowl can be dangerous, and believe it or not chicks can drown.

Also make sure they're held daily but not squeezed or ever under stress. You want to get your chickens used to being handled at a young age as they will be pets. When they're chicks it's the easiest time to tame them. I held my chickens all the time when they were babies and they grew up to be soooo friendly. They'll follow you around too and you'll be able to hand-feed them treats when they're older.

Don't let them free range unattended outside yet until they're older. You don't want them being preyed on by a cat, bird, fox etc. or becoming too cold. At 6 weeks they will have grown in small feathers and will have lost most of their down and this is the best time to let them out for the first time.

Chicks are so rewarding, feel free to ask me any questions, I really hope your chicks go well, I know how much joy they brought to my life and now I'm obsessed with chickens (not sure if this is a good thing but...)
I'm also so sorry if this sounded like a lecture

Welcome to BYC!

Congrats on the new chicks! Yes, first thing you will need to do is get these babies under heat. A lamp with an infra red or red bulb will do. You can use a 100watt or a 250 watt, depending on what you can find. You can use a cardboard box or even a plastic tote. Give them about 1 square foot total for now. Keep the heat off to one side, food and water off on the other side so they have to leave the heat to get to the goods. You don't want the brooder to all be the same temp as under the lamp. You want coop spots. You can use grass hay or wood shavings for bedding. Dip the beaks in the water so they know where the water is, and lay paper towels down for couple days and sprinkle chick starter feed all around the floor by the feeder so they can find the feed. Start the heat out somewhere between 90 and 95 degrees F. Lower the temp by 5 degrees each week for 6 weeks. Keep the brooder clean, and don't cover the lid with anything but a screen or wire for good heat and oxygen exchange. And yes, they will start jumping and flying out soon.

Here is an article in our learning center on how to raise your new babies for the first couple months...

Enjoy your new babies and welcome to our flock!
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Good luck with your new chicks! You've gotten some good advice above on taking care of them.
Welcome to BackYard Chickens. Glad to hear you decided to look after some chicks. They're pretty messy but I love my little girls so much, no matter how much trouble they've put me through.
You've gotten some great information - I'm sure you will manage just fine. There is an aussie thread you may be interested in - as the products available in USA may not be found in Australia

"Australia, six states and one funny little island."

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