Baby Chick Care
Baby chicks are very fragile and need proper Chick Care to ensure they grow up healthy and strong.
Chick care is important to ensure they grow up to be healthy adults. Feed stores and hatcheries ship chicks as soon as the same day after hatching. By time you receive your chicks they are only 2-3 days old and have already been through so much.
Stress in chicks is common and causes loose stool, leading to a condition called pasty butt. Pasty butt occurs when the chick poo sticks to their fluff and creates a hard crust over their vent, not allowing them to poo. They can die fairly quickly, so to prevent this keep an eye on your chick’s bottom and…. as gross as it sounds, clean the area with a warm cloth to remove the crusted over poo.
Feeding chicks- for the first week, mix a small amount of chicken grain mash or crumble with warm water in a shallow container. After a week you can feed straight mash or crumble in a regular covered chicken feeder. Chick feed comes in both medicated and non medicated forms. The choice is totally personal. We use to give medicated feed, but offer organic eggs for sale now so go all natural. We have not lost any chicks or had issues feeding non medicated grain.
Water- one of the most important tips for baby chick care is to provide water in a small covered chick waterer. Using any other dish may result in drowning. Chicks are curious and will get in , not being able to get out. I give room temperature water as to not shock their system. We also add a packet of Sav-A-Chick Electrolyte & Vitamin Supplement to their water.
Brooder- a brooder is the temporary chick home you will use until they can be moved to a grow our pen or their coop. A brooder should have a heat lamp that can be moved or hard wired with an electrical temperature control. Day old chicks should start out at about 90° with a 5° reduction each week until week 4 at which time they should be feathered enough to handle any temperature above 45°.
We live in a cold climate that has about 6 months of winter, so we actually condition our chicks from day 1 to withstand the colder temperatures better. Instead of following the general temperature guideline above, we start at 90 right out of the incubator and each day move the light away just enough to drop a degree or two. By week 2 they are tolerating 65°. We have never seen a negative impact that we could attribute to this process.
Use shavings on the floor of the brooder, they will soak up any water and are easier for the chicks to walk on. No roost is necessary, but you can provide one. We have a roost in our brooder and the chicks love it. It doesn’t take chicks long to go from fragile day olds to happy, hyper little fluffy butts. They like to have the roost to hop up and down off of.
Safe Handling- Remember to practice safe handling of chicks. Chicks are adorable and children will want to hold them. I am not going to say don’t let them like some other sites do. We let ours handle our chicks, this socializes them and they are much friendlier as adults. Make sure to wash hands with hot soapy water immediately after handling chicks and then sanitize. I will ask, please do not let your children kiss the chicks.
Follow these easy basic baby chick care tips and they are sure to grow up into happy healthy adult birds.