What do I need to raise baby chicks?

You need a brooder. That's like a house for the chicks until they are able to go to the coop.

- Feeder
- Waterer
- Heat source (heat lamp, heat plate, heating pad, there are plenty of options. I personally use a heat lamp.)
- chick starter (feed)
- grit
- electrolytes to put in water
- a tub or bin or something to put the chicks in. Like a rubbermaid tote or a wooden box. We have a 4x6 "box" without a bottom or top that we use as a brooder.
- Shavings for bedding.

Welcome to BYC!!!

As the chickens get older you'll need a coop, with nesting boxes, roosts, adult sized feeders and waterers, and bedding.

I would get started on the coop before you buy the chicks. They grow up fast!!!
If it’s secure, you can start your chicks out in the coop. Mine are in the coop from Day 1. I live in MN, and it can get into the 20s and 30s at night. I use the Mama Heating Pad method (linked below).

The chicks I have raised this way have been healthier, feathered out more quickly and have weaned off heat much sooner than when I have used a heat lamp. They come and go from the heat at will, just as they would under a hen.

If you choose to use a heat lamp, make sure your brooder is big enough so they can get away from the heat as needed. Rather than relying on a thermometer to get the “right” temperature, watch their behavior. If it’s too warm, they will be as far from the heat source as they can get. Too cold, they’ll huddle or pile under the lamp, cheeping loudly. When it’s “just right”, they will chirp contentedly, and be scattered about the brooder eating and drinking and sleeping.

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