Are you interested in raising baby chicks? Check out this guide for everything you need to know when learning how to raise chicks.
Raising Chicks: Bringing Chicks Home
- A common concern when learning how to raise chicks is how to transport them home.
- As long as you live within an hour of the store where the chicks are coming from, there is no need to worry about giving them a heat source during travel.
- If you are going to be traveling for long periods of time, I recommend bringing a heating pad with you or setting them on the floor under the heater vent.
- Keeping them warm is important over long periods of time.
Raising Chicks: Brooder Setup
- When you arrive home with your chicks, you’ll need to have a place ready for them to live. This is often called a brooder. That simply means it’s a small, heated area for the chickens to live until they grow out their feathers.
- Once chicks grow out their feathers, they are able to regulate their own body temperature and won’t need a heat source anymore.
- Check out the recommended products section for suggestions on heat sources. If you don’t have too many chicks, you can make an easy and inexpensive DIY Chick Brooder out of a large plastic tote (tutorial here!)
Raising Chicks: Feed
- When raising chicks, it’s important to feed them the correct kind of food. Chicks need a specifically formulated feed based on their growth requirements.
- This kind of feed is called Chick Starter (it usually comes in a crumble) and is readily available at your local feed store.
- This kind of feed can be medicated or unmedicated. The medicated feed helps protect the chicks against coccidiosis, which is a naturally occurring soil bacteria but can be harmful to chicks in large exposures.
- I always opt to feed a medicated chick starter. That way I know that I’ve done everything in my power to set my chicks up for a healthy start in life.
Raising Chicks: Moving to the Coop
- Once your chicks are all feathered and ready to move into the big coop, the transition can be tricky if you already have chickens.
- If you don’t already have chickens, simply move them to the coop and make sure they sleep on the roosts – not in the nesting boxes.
- You may have to move them onto the roosts each night for about a week until they get the hang of roosting at night.
Raising Chicks: Bonus Tips
If you already have chickens, I recommend moving them into the coop with a space they can escape to if necessary once they are about 8 weeks old. Often the establishment of the pecking order is a violent ordeal and chicks will benefit from being fed and watered in a separate area.
I also like to keep the chicks enclosed in their own area for a few days before letting them actually mix with the rest of the flock. This keeps everyone safe while still allowing the chickens to get to know each other.
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