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Nurture Your Baby Chicks

Baby chicks are at the store now.  Come and visit soon.

You are the best protection your birds have!
Pay attention to each criteria below for healthy chicks!

Ed Note: I have never raised baby chicks but my friend Lynn is for the first time, and she passed this information on to me.  If you have experience with raising chicks, let me know what other tips you would add to this list.

General Instructions

  • Keep the cages clean, change the food and water daily.
  • Carefully and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling anything in the chick’s environment.
  • Know the warning signs of infections and chick diseases.

Housing

Fresh food and water daily are vital to raising healthy chickens.Fresh food and water daily are vital to raising healthy chickens.
  • Clean and disinfect the brooder facility and feeders a week before the chicks arrive.
  • Cover the floor with clean bedding and allow it to become heated before introducing the chicks to the area.
  • Woods shavings that are not too fine work well for bedding.
  • The housing area needs to be dry, draft free, mold-free and  and safe from predators.
  • Separate new chickens from your current flock to prevent spread of disease.
  • Provide 1 square foot of floor space or each chick.

Water

  • ChicksClean fresh water must be provided to chicks at all times.
  • Provide two, one-gallon automatic watering jugs for every 100 chicks.
  • Check the watering devices frequently to ensure clean water is always available.
  • Clean, disinfect, and re-fill the watering jugs before the water is entirely depleted.

Temperature

  • For the first week of life the temperature should be kept at 90°F
  • A heat lamp should be placed 18” above the floor.  Place a thermometer 2”above the floor to test the temperature.
  • If chicks are crowding the heat source or peeping loudly, they are cold and need more heat!
  • If chicks crowd the outside of the heated area it is too hot!
  • Reduce the temperature by 5°F each week for the next 5 weeks.

Feed

  • Quality, complete feed, plus grit and clean water should be offered to chicks and adult poultry at all times.
  • Organic chick starter products and Ranchway Feeds are great choices.
  • Enjoy those baby chicks!
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2 comments to Nurture Your Baby Chicks

  • Hello! Great little post about chicks! We received our batch last week- although it wasn’t our first, about our 8th, I believe. :)
    One thing I would add, because we have lost chicks to it, is to check for “pasty bottom”. This is where the chicks poop gets stuck (I know, disgusting!) to their feathers to where they can’t go- thus killing them. We make sure that for that first week we keep an eye on them and have some warm water and a gentle cloth on hand. Of course, that baby then gets lots of lovin’ afterwards!!! This is something we didn’t know about at first, and was the cause of several deaths. :(
    We have also found that the chickens that made the best pets where the ones got LOTS of handling when they were younger. Pick each and every one up and snuggle them down into your hands for a while. Do lots of talking! Let them get used to your voice.
    Come up with a “word” for when you are throwing a few scraps to them (they love extras!) and another when you bring them water. When they are adults you won’t have to go looking for them, just use that same “word” and they will come running!!!!

    Good luck with your chickens, Lynn! They are such a blast! I can’t imagine life without them! A good site to visit is Back Yard Chickens. TONS of information on there!

    ~Rebecca

  • Pat

    Great tips! This is only my second time to have baby chicks… and I could use the refresher course.
    Thanks!

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