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The smell of spring is in the air, that means baby chicks will be arriving soon. This is my favorite time of year around the homestead with all the new life happening. While your waiting for the chicks to arrive now is the perfect time to get all the essential baby chick care things in place.
If you’re still trying to decide what breed of chick to get check out my post on selecting a breed of chicken.
All the kids love to watch the babies grow up around here. Who am I kidding I like it too, I could spend hours watching them but who has that much free time.
Baby chicks need a few things to thrive.
Housing-a warm draft-free spot. We use a tote in our laundry room for small bunches of chicks. A chick brooder is great for large bunches of chicks. You can find them at local farm stores, DIY it, or order one.
Heating– depending on your climate most chicks will need to stay under a heat lamp for the first few weeks. Baby chicks need to stay between 90º to 95º Fehinerhat for the first few days. Start lowering the temperature by 1º each day until you reach 75º by 3 weeks old. Heat lamps can be found at your farm store, Walmart, or you can order them. Paying attention to your baby chicks will let you know if they are too cold or hot. If they are bunched up they are probably cold and if they are all spread out and breathing with their mouths open they are probably too hot. I like to keep a thermometer in with my chicks just to keep an eye on the temps.
We recently stopped using a heat lamp and started using a chick heating plate. It was safer and cost less to run.
Light– if you’re already using a heat lamp the chicks will have all the light they need. Otherwise, they just need to be in a place where natural sunlight can come in or a regular light bulb turned on for 10 hours a day.
Ventilation– chicks need fresh air free from ammonia. Cleaning the pen regularly will help keep this down.
Bedding– I use pine shavings. You can get them at local pet stores or farm stores, or online. I don’t recommend using cedar shavings or anything that is real dusty it will cause respiratory issues. I also avoid using newspaper or cardboard its slick and can cause spraddles.
Food and Water– we use a feeder my husband made and these waterers designed for baby chicks. A chick starter ration is best for growing chicks for the first 2 weeks then you can change to a grower ration. Fresh clean water is just as important as a good feed ration. We put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with mother to a pint of water. It helps prevent pasty poop.
A few other tips for baby chick care.
Check on them a few times each day they can come up sick in the blink of an eye. Keep save-a-chick or a similar electrolyte for chickens on hand.
What baby chick care tips do you have? Leave them in the comments below.
I am not a vet nor do I pretend to be one. This is just my opinion and personal experiences always check with your vet and do your own research and seek medical advice.