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Chick Care

If you are new to chicken care please take the time to read up on care for your baby.  Some chicks require more attention to others.  I have outlined some essential gear with some links to other care sites to help you out. 

Care General Chicken Chicks

Some important things to remember in dealing with newborn chicks is food, water, heat and safety.  Each is important as the other.  Baby chicks would normally be cared for by a hen. You have taken on the responsibility of raising these little fluffy butts so essentually you are the new "Chicken Momma (or Daddy)". 

Heat

Chicks require heat to maintain their body temperature until they are fully feathered. The first two weeks the chicks need to be kept at 99 to 100 F to maintain adequate body temperature.  Chicken babys run a little hotter than a human baby.  The temperature then can be lowered 5 degrees each week until one month old.  If you are in a colder environment it does not hurt them to keep them on supplemental heat longer if you are caring for chicks throughout the winter to be placed outside during the spring. 

Chicks should be afforded space to move around and distance themselves from the heat source to help maintain a healthy body temperature. They can sleep in weird positions and look dead at times due to how they lounge about.  A gentle noise or a tap on your brooder will wake them up.

If your chicks are mosh pitting under the heat source in a ball they need additional heat, check the temperature of the are they are in  and adjust your heat source as needed.  It is smart to keep a spare heat source to keep your birds alive and happy in case your heat source fails.

Many people use plastic tubs to contain their babies with an open top or mesh top depending on the species.  Having a metal mesh keeps birds from flying out and heat sources from falling in creating a potential fire hazard. We highly recommend a covering for your chicks. 

Water

Water is essential for chicks to survive. They should always be provided with fresh clean water.  During the first few months for development it is suggested to use an electrolyte and vitamin supplement for poultry.  A chick grows rapidly once hatched and uses a lot of energy.  Having a balanced diet with vitamin supplementation in the water is an additional safeguard for protecting against any vitamin and mineral deficiency related diseases.  Some chicks such as silkies require supplementation as they do often suffer from vitamin deficient issues.  As the chick ages into a chicken they can be given dilute vitamins or none at all, refer to your recommended vitamins label for proper dosing instructions. 

Food

Chick starter food is essential for proper chick development.   Make sure you are using a chick starter food not a layer or flock blend for older birds. We recommend grinding the food with a blender for the first few weeks of life until the chick is large enough to accept a crumble and can later be transitioned to pellet food.  The choice of food is up to you.  We prefer to use Kalmback lines of feed and also use Dumore organic food as well.  

Many people prefer to use a fermented feed where chicken food is hydrated with water into a paste and allowed to sit and ferment.  This provides beneficial bacteria for the chicks guy, many brands of food already have fermented bacteria added to the food and it is not necessary for the fermentation step.  Nevertheless it is your preference on how you want to feed your chicks.  

When you buy your feed please read the label for recommended rates and feed applications. 

Safety and Shelter

Chicks should be raised in a brooder until fully feathered. The brooder should protect from drafts, accidental things falling in to crush a chick or start a fire, large enough to offer free roaming and movement away and to a heat source.  There needs to be an area for continuous access to water and access to chick starter food. 

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