Preparing to raise baby chicks!
Congratulations! You've made the decision to raise baby chicks! Watching baby chicks grow from little day old balls of fluff to full grown chickens can be such a fun and rewarding experience. At CityChick, we've raised over a thousand baby chicks and we want to share our best practices with you.
The first step in raising baby chicks is getting prepared for their arrival.
Set up their brooder box first.
A brooder box is simply the place that the chicks will call home for their first few weeks of life. You can use any number of items for a brooder box. Cardboard boxes work and are cheap, but be warned. Baby chicks like to poop (it seems like that's all they do) and cardboard doesn't handle moisture very well. Cardboard can be a fire hazard if you are using a heat lamp. Plastic tubs work better as a brooder box and can be easily cleaned.
Choose a brooder that will give your chicks plenty of room to run around in. Trust us on this one, chicks grow fast and need the space. Make sure that the chick brooder is placed in a draft free space that is also safe from any pets that may show interest in your chicks.
You'll need a feeder and poultry drinker for your baby chicks.
Choose a quality heat source.
I almost burned my house down with a heat lamp. I had the heat lamp securely fastened to a ladder. Somehow the bulb became loose and fell out of the lamp and landed on the wood of one of our pullet playpens. I came out and noticed a small amount of smoke in the garage and was able to quickly put it out. Luckily, no one was hurt. Choose a radiant heating system instead. Aside from being a safer source of heat, radiant heating systems allow for a more natural sleep cycle.
Clean water equals healthy chicks
Water can become very dirty very quickly in a chick brooder. Always keep your chicks water clean and fresh. Dirty water can carry disease from the chick's droppings.
Choose the chick starter feed that is right for you.
Chicks need a feed that is easy to digest and high in protein to help them grow. We've used New Country Organics organic starter feed with all of our baby chicks. However, you might want to consider using a medicated chick starter feed. Medicated starter feed contains amprolium (not an antibiotic). Amprolium prevents a common intestinal disease called Coccidiosis (aka Cocci). Medicated chick starter feed will help to prevent Cocci but can not be used to treat it. Cocci can be prevented in baby chicks by keeping your chick brooder and supplies clean.