the BEST advice about baby chicks you were never told...

aly uovo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 3, 2013
24
2
39
Hello!
I am picking up some new chicks this weekend and am getting my brooder all ready - I have never owned NEW chicks before, I have only ever bought pullets.
I have been reading up on keeping baby chicks and preparing, however I thought I would ask the experts -
What is the BEST piece of advice you can offer about baby chicks that you have learned through experience? Something you never read or were told/ warned? Something you wish you did differently? Something that worked really well?

Thanks so much!!!
Aly
 

N F C

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Dec 12, 2013
93,018
387,906
2,102
Wyoming
Hi, congrats on your new little ones!

I suppose the best thing we figured out for ourselves is that chicks can get bored in the brooder and it helps keep them busy to have 'toys' to mess with instead of each other. With our last batch of chicks (wow, a year ago now) we added a piece of large plastic tubing to their brooder and they loved running through it...one chick even claimed it as her own private napping place. We also hung an old CD from cord to the brooder cover; it was just low enough they could peck at it but not so low as to get in their way. Something about the shininess and the movement always got their attention.

Take lots of photos! Chicks grow so fast and change quickly, it's wonderful to look back at their baby pictures.

Have fun!
 

LovedMyAlydar

Songster
12 Years
Oct 15, 2007
178
10
121
Kentucky
Stay away from swap meets. It was the worst thing we ever did. We picked up a few chicks there and they looked fine and healthy. Then the bloody stools started, cleared that up with meds. Then at about 2 months the beautiful orpington came down with Mareks. And from there it only became worse. Lost all that batch of chickens over the year with the exception of one English Game hen.

Talked to a friend of mine who has had chickens all her life and sells at the farmer's markets, etc. She said avoid swap meets like the plague. She said you never know what you will bring home, even if they appear healthy. She said order from a reputable hatchery and have them vaccinated. So this year we took her advice. Hopefully no deaths from Mareks this time around.

The swap meets are sound like a great idea but we only ended up with a great deal of heartache. So I stay away.
 

Sonya9

Crowing
7 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,930
1,177
291
Georgia
Gently hold them (cupped against your chest) when they are young, some folks say "wait until they come to you" but many won't and before you know it they are older, faster, and it is darn near impossible to tame them. Take advantage of their tiny size and get them used to you (bribery helps too, hand feed bits of scrambled egg, meal worms, etc...)
 

chickenk8

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2015
70
4
41
I would put little amounts of their food in my hand and put my hand into their brooder a few times a day so they could peck their food and get used to my hand. Now they think their own food suddenly becomes a treat when it's in my hand.
1f602.png

But a bunch of mine have gotten really tame from me doing this and love to sit on my shoulders. There are still a few jumpy ones, especially my light brown leg horn but that's because of her breed, and she will still run up and eat out of my hand, just doesn't like to be held.
 

Cack-a-doodle

In the Brooder
Apr 28, 2015
61
6
41
Never have a leghorn rooster they get super territorial and I have a golden buff she super cuddly but my rooster is like a over protective dad and she is the spoiled daughter though she's a year older
 

JacinLarkwell

Free Ranging
Mar 19, 2020
11,516
20,538
681
South-Eastern Montana
Old thread, but still useful.

Don't blame yourself if something goes wrong during shipping and you lose some. Cry it out, call the hatchery (or leave a message and email if it's the weekend) and offer to send photos of the ones that didn't make it in the covered timeframe (usually no more than 48 hours). Most good hatcheries will make it right whether by sending replacement chicks or refunding the ones you lose.

Also a coffee mug with water can heat up nice for pasty butt if you leave it under the heat lamp for a couple minutes. Makes it a bit easier to clean them off
 

MANNA-PRO

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