Help - I have had a happy accident and come to own two chicks.6 days old!


In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 29, 2012
South Coast, South Africa

I am very lucky to have been given to chance to raise 2 chicks. They are Broilers. I am in South Africa and know nothing about keeping chicks but my enthusiasm and passion for animals will see me through.

I am currently keeping them in a box until I make the coop tomorrow. I was wondering what I hould b doing considering they are so young?

Do I shine a heated light one them? I have been doing so when at home to keep them warm and it makes them happy. I am lucky enough to be able to take them to work until I have built there coop so they are safe with me and I keep them company.

They have plenty of water and chick feed. What else can i feed them at this stage? Is it too early for other treats like greens and weeds?

Any advice to a complete novice is appreciated.

Keep them warm but not to warm. If they are all huddled in a ball they may be to cold, sprawled out flat and breathing heavy to hot. I would just stick with the chick feed so they get all of their balanced nutrition. Thats so cute you can take them to work with you! Watch for pasty butt. Its when poo sticks to their butt and blocks it and they cannot poop. If it get blocked it will die.
Thanks, I think my maternal instinct kicked in last night as one of them looked like they have a lot of mess around their bum - I wiped it with a warm moist towel and now she seems happier.

Thanks for the tip RE what to look for when hot or cold - I have seen them do both so will react accordingly from here on.

I have just been informed that they have to stay inside for about 3 weeks - its cold right now. Does this sound right? I will build the coop and keep it inside if so.

I can see why people enjoy chickens - I'm starting to realise that they are cheeky and fun and even though they sit on me for warmth, I like to think its cos they love me a little!!!!

If it cold i would wait until they are fully feathered (6 wks?) slowly raise the heat lamp everyweek to wean them from the heat.
Broilers grow very fast. Depending on the type, they may be ready to butcher at 7-9 weeks so I wouldn't go too crazy building a coop. Or were you thinking that you will keep them as pets?

They can be outside in a structure with a heat lamp and you may wish you'd gone that route as they get a bit larger because they will eat and eat and eat and that means they will generate a good deal of waste and odor. Some folks keep chicks in a box inside for the first several weeks and you can use a smaller wattage heat lamp that way but unless you keep your house at 85 degrees, they still need a heat source indoors.

Oh, and chick feed contains all the nutrients they need. If you do want to offer greens or anything that might need to be "chewed", you also must offer grit.
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Also, for the bedding, avoid using paper shreds. Sometimes they can entangle themselves in them and possibly break a leg. Use wood shavings. Of course, always have clean water available. Their butts have to be checked/cleaned everyday

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