Housing Your Chicks:
You will need to plan for a contained area to house your baby chicks. Known as a brooder, it should provide good ventilation and be free from drafts. Keep the brooder in a shed, barn, garage, or even your basement to ensure that your flock is safe from predators. Baby chicks are messy, so line the floor of their brooder with an absorbent material such as pine shavings. As your chickens get larger, you will need to keep them in a chicken coop. (Read this informative article on Building A Chicken Coop.)
Keep Your Chicks Warm:
Baby chicks require a constant temperature between 90 - 95 degrees the first week of their lives. This is critical to their survival. The temperature should be lowered gradually five degrees each week until the chicks are acclimated to room temperature and are ready to be moved outside. You can control the temperature with a heat lamp suspended in the center of the brooder. Watch the actions of your flock to determine of they are warm enough – when chicks are crowded together directly under the heat source, it means they are cold. If this happens, add another heat lamp. If they avoid the heat lamp all together, they are hot. A happy flock will move around exploring every part of their home.
Keep Your Chicks Watered:
Clean water is essential for healthy chicks. Sufficient hydration helps to regulate their body temperature, metabolism and digestion. Baby chicks are disorderly and they will leave food and droppings in their water bowl. A special poultry waterer is necessary to prevent baby chicks from walking in the water dish, spilling it and making a mess. Be sure to change the water frequently.
Keep Your Chicks Fed:
Finding the right food for your chicks is not difficult. Southern States has special feed complete with everything baby chicks need. Often called starter feed, it offers balanced nutrition and helps prevent disease. When feeding your chicks, use a poultry feeder. The proper feeder is designed to make it easier for chicks to get to their food and prevent spillage.
At Oakway Farm & Garden Center Inc., we have the knowledge and the tools to help you with your farm or gardening questions, including raising baby chicks.