Getting Started With Chicks

The day your chicks arrive is exciting! You’ve probably been waiting for them for a while, and hopefully have prepared a space for them. Mama hens keep their chicks warm and teach them what they need to know to survive, and you will have to play the part of Mama Hen for your chicks.

You will need a brooding area for the chicks. Your brooder may be something as simple as a cardboard box with a clamp light above it, or you may have a fancier wooden box, or you may decide to purchase a brooder.

Chicks must be kept warm. For the first week, they need to be kept at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Each week after that, the temperature can be decreased by 5 degrees.  You should use a thermometer to make sure the appropriate temperature is maintained.

Chicks must also be kept clean. Use pine shavings to line the brooder, and change it a minimum of once a day. The bedding and the brooder itself should be kept dry, so if you are using a cardboard box as a brooder, you may have to change it daily. Chicks will spill water and food and they will soil the bedding.

When your chicks arrive and you put them in your brooder, you should dip their beaks into their water right away so they can get their first drink. It is imperative for them to have clean water at all times, so check several times to make sure they haven’t spilled it or gotten bedding in it.

When chicks are happy and content, they walk around, peck at their food, drink water, and make happy contented sounds. If they are too hot or too cold, or if their bedding is wet and uncomfortable, or if they are otherwise distressed, they will make loud, insistent noises.

Caring for baby chicks is like caring for a baby of any species. It can be both demanding and extremely rewarding. Have fun watching your baby chicks grow and thrive!