We at the typesofchicken.com team have already covered the question of what to feed chickens to get the best eggs, and now it is time for us to do our part and tell you how to care for the baby chicks that come out of those eggs.
Just like any newborn animal the chickens are at their most sensitive and vulnerable state while they are still in the “chick” phase of their life. This is why your chicks will need more attention and care than the average adult chicken.
Baby chicks are soft, and they want to cuddle so if you have children it would be a great idea for them to spend time with the chicks. Mind that this article is about the first few weeks of your chick’s life.
Set up a brooder
When your eggs hatch, you will need to set up a small brooder for your chicks.
It is important for the chicks to be kept warm in the brooder so make sure during the day that your chicks get enough sunlight.
If you are not sure about your brooder you can get schematics from this chicken coop manual.
Don’t get scared if your chicks sleep too much, it is normal for them to fall asleep a few times in a day. Your chicks will need fresh water so try and replace the water in their water dish a few times a day.
Some people like to put 2 or 3 drops of Vitamin D3 in the water so they can be sure that their chicks stay healthy. This is not a big issue – it is totally up to you if you give your chicks Vitamin D3 or not.
If you like giving a vitamin boost to your chicks you can also use Vitamins B6 and B12. When introducing a chick into its new home you might want to gently dip their little beaks in the water so they can learn where their water supply is.
What to feed baby chicks?
It is very crucial that your chicks are properly fed so you need to pay attention to the food you give to them.
You need to understand that the chicks don’t have the eating habits that adult chickens have and they will dig through the food so make sure that you don’t put too much food in their dish because a lot of it can go to waste.
Don’t be scared if your chicks don’t start eating the moment you give them their dish, they are introduced into a new world and they are scared – you need to have a bit of patience with them.
In the first week, I like to give a little boost to my chicks so what I prepare for them is a dish with:
- 2 egg yolks from boiled eggs,
- 2 tablespoons of chick feed (which you get at your local pet store) and after mixing them up I put a little bit of fish oil.
I recommend this easy mixture to all newcomers in this field, it is easy to prepare and the little baby chicks enjoy it.
I serve this dish to my chicks 2 times a day. Before you get angry at me and start questioning giving egg yolk to baby chicks I would like to say that the egg yolk is not an embryo – it is an energy sack for the baby chick so giving them egg yolk is a good energy starter.
During the nights
During the first nights, you need to keep your baby chicks warm and protected, if you have a pet such as a cat or a dog make sure your chicks are not in their reach.
Even fire ants are a danger for your baby chicks so make sure you put the brooder on a higher spot and use a bit of ant killer in the places where ants can reach your brooder.
After you make sure that there are no or very few outside threats to your chicks, you need to set up a heat lamp.
As I mentioned above, it is of utmost importance that you keep your baby chicks warm at night when they don’t get sunlight. A heat lamp would do the trick.
Remember this article is for the first week of your baby chick’s life, so don’t take everything for granted, as the baby chicks age you will need to change a few things and we will cover that in one of our next articles.
Keeping chickens is a nice and productive hobby so make sure you have the perfect chicken coop for your chickens. We at the typesofchicken.com team built our chicken coop from this manual and we suggest you do the same for yours.