How to Raise Baby Chicks

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

At King Feed, having baby chickens for sale is always an exciting time. Without fail, these tiny creatures bring lots of joy to kiddos and the young at heart alike. After all, it can be hard to find something cuter than a baby chick. Also of importance, they spark conversation among members of our community and in our store. Stories from seasoned chicken keepers often influence our visitors to scoop up a handful of little chickens to take home and call their own for the very first time. Most importantly, we have all the supplies mentioned below at the store.

Above all, we want you to know that raising baby chicks is an incredibly rewarding experience. Are you new to raising chickens? No need to worry, there are many aspects that you will enjoy about your future with them. However, we want to set you up for success. While chicken keeping is easy and inexpensive to take on, we want to help you avoid throwing in the towel before you get to experience its full glory. Watching the transformation from fluffy little chirpers to full-feathered, egg-producing beauties is something you don’t want to miss.

Initially, your chicks won’t take up much space. Keeping them warm, hydrated, and nourished will be straightforward. Cleaning up after them is quick and easy, and you can actually cuddle with them. It is also a time when you can distinguish them by their unique personalities and maybe even give them fitting names.

In the long run of raising chickens, you will need to provide a larger safe haven for your hens, which will take a little more time and money to maintain. It is ideal to invest some forethought into how you will manage setting up their adult home. Not only will you want to protect them from nocturnal critters while they roost but also keep them safe from the elements. Additionally, they will need a fenced run unless you have property large enough for them to roam free.

In the meantime, there are five basic requirements to create a healthy brooding area for your hens-to-be:

  • · Containment

  • · Warmth

  • · Hydration

  • · Nourishment

  • · Cleanliness

Protecting Your Baby Chicks

As mentioned, your chicks will not need much space, even if you choose to have ten or more your first go-round. Most importantly, their small home should be no less than 18 inches high. You will find they grow fast and will soon attempt to fly the coop. In terms of the chicken home material, you want something flame retardant. Cardboard boxes and plastic bins are not good choices because heat lamps can catch them on fire or melt them, respectively. Instead, a rubber or galvanized water tank is a safer choice.

Keeping Your Chicks Warm

Although it will not take much effort to keep your chicks toasty, their body temperatures can plummet to dangerous levels without a good heat source. Be that as it may, you do not want the heat source to be so close that they become overheated and dehydrated. Ensuring that their container is sufficiently high will provide the necessary room for a heat lamp. If you notice any of your chicks acting lethargic or lying on their backs, then it is likely they are too cold or too warm. When awake, a healthy chick is lively and chirpy. When asleep, a healthy chick will be crouched or in a sideways position. In the case that you suspect one of your chicks is cold, help it stay upright under the heat lamp until it can stand on its own. Then, hold its beak near the water source to ensure it rehydrates.

Hydrating Your Chicks

There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to watering your chicks: the size of the waterer and its elevation. It is counterproductive to choose a large water vessel right off the bat. Instead, it is best to go for a smaller chick waterer. That is because you will need to change out their water 2 or 3 times a day to keep it clean. Next, use an overturned pottery tray or something similar to elevate the waterer a couple of inches. Doing this will prevent your chicks from immersing themselves in the water, which can cause their body temperatures to drop dramatically.

Feeding Your Chicks

While baby chicks consume a relatively small amount of food, they waste a good portion of it as they peck it out of their feeder. Subsequently, much of the feed will end up on the floor of their brooding area. Further down the road, you can add chicken treats to their diet, such as mealworms. You may even choose to add supplements to their water for extra nourishment. For now, a small bag of chick starter will do the trick for the first couple of weeks.

Cleaning House for Your Chicks

Undoubtedly, you will discover that those tiny little chicken bodies produce a lot of poop. Accordingly, you will need a good absorbent material to cover the bottom of your chicks’ container about an inch deep. Pine shavings are a popular choice among chicken keepers because they have the added bonus of odor control. Alternatively, you can use straw or even newspaper if you are in a pinch. Regardless of the material you choose, you will need to remove and replace it once a day for healthy hygiene. Raising chickens and being a gardener has their perks. For instance, you will love using the poop-soaked material in your compost pile.

So, there you have it – raising baby chicks in a nutshell. Keep it simple, be diligent, and this exciting endeavor is sure to please. Have you raised little chickens before? Any tips or funny stories? Let us know what you are up to with your ranch, farm, garden, or pet. King Feed loves our Canyon Lake community and always values your input.

To see all of our chick and chicken supply please check out our chicken feed and chicken supplies page by clicking here.

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