Raising chickens from day old chicks is involved with lots of work. And it requires you to check on them often during the first few weeks.
Although, it’s really fun and very pleasuring to take care of them and watch them turn from downy, fluffy little balls into feathered birds.
Raising Chickens From Day Old Chicks
You can easily raise some day old chicks to happy and healthy laying hens or roosters if you know the basics of raising chickens. Here we are trying to describe more about raising chickens from day old chicks.
Get Baby Chicks
First of all, determine the number of birds you want to raise and select a breed according to your needs. Then purchase chicks from any of your nearest poultry supplier/breeder.
You can purchase the chicks directly from a breeding farm or from a supplier in your area. Nowadays, some breeding farm or suppliers take and handle order through online.
So, you can take this advantages too. We recommend visiting the farm or supply store directly and then purchase chicks.
Setup the Brooder
Setting up brooder is a must for raising chickens from day old chicks. Brooder provides adequate temperature, shelter and protection to the chicks for their first few weeks of age.
Ensure that the brooder is dry, clean and safe. Use at least 4 inches litter in the brooder. You can make the litter with wood shavings, husk or newspaper.
In case of using newspaper, the litter doesn’t need to be 4 inches. It will be better if you use a few layer of papers. Temperature management is very important in the brooder. Chicks require about 95° Fahrenheit temperature for the first week.
Reduce the temperature each week at the rate of 5° Fahrenheit per week until the temperature reaches 70° Fahrenheit. You can use a heat lamp above the brooder for maintaining the temperature.
Gather Chick Supplies
Chicks require some specific supplies. Gather the supplies before starting. Smaller sized (chick-sized) supplies are good for this purpose. For example, using chick-sized feeders or waterers will make the first few weeks easier.
Using smaller waterer will help the chicks not to drown. And chick-sized feeders will help the chicks to take food easily. Bedding is also needed for the baby chicks. Ensure, you have all the required supplies before starting.
After Getting Your Chicks
After getting your chicks, check everything and make everything ready for them. Then settle them into the brooder so that they stay warm and happy. Probably your chicks are stressed due to the shipping process from hatchery or store.
So, gently bring them out from the box and dip their beaks into water. Then let them take rest and acclimate to their new home. Monitor the activities of chicks in the brooder. If they scatter to the edges, they may be too hot, so you’ll need to raise the lamp.
And if the chicks huddle under the lamp, they may be too cold, so lower the lamp. For the first few weeks, you need to check on them at least five times a day. And gradually less after that.
You have to keep them safe from other animals and overhandling by children. You also need to monitor their temperature. Always try to keep their feed and water fresh and clean.
Feeding & Watering
Start with a chick starter and continue feeding for a few weeks. Depending on the type of your chickens (broiler or layer), you need to go to grower or finisher afterwards. Also ensure availability of sufficient amount of clean and fresh water for all time.
Moving the Chicks to A Coop
After 4-5 weeks, your chicks are ready to move to their main coop for full time. Remove the heat lamp, if you use the brooder as their main coop.
Caring for Growing Chickens
When the baby chick stage passes and they are moved to a new coop, now you have young pullets and cockerels. In this stage, you have to feed them grower feed until they start laying eggs. In this stage, they will require less care compared to baby chicks.
You can also allow them outside in this stage. If you allow them outside and if they start eating from outside, then you have to add some grit (small stones) to their feed. Because grit help the chickens to grind up grass, bugs and other foods which they eat from outside. Your hens will start laying eggs at their 4-6 months of age.
Tips for Raising Chickens From Day Old Chicks
Raising day old chicks require careful attention and knowledge to ensure their health and well-being. Here we are listing some of the most important tips for raising chickens from day old chicks.
Provide a Warm and Safe Environment
One of the most important things you can do for your day old chicks is to provide them with a warm and safe environment. Chicks need to be kept at a temperature of around 35°C for the first week of their life, and the temperature should be gradually lowered by 2.5°C each week until they are fully feathered at around 6 weeks old.
You can keep your chicks warm by using a heat lamp or brooder. Make sure to place the heat source at one end of the brooder so that your chicks can move away from the heat if they get too hot. It’s also important to provide a draft-free space for your chicks to avoid respiratory issues.
Feed Them the Right Diet
Chicks have specific dietary requirements to help them grow into healthy adult birds. When your chicks are first born, they will need to eat a high-protein starter feed that is specially formulated for them. You can also provide them with small amounts of finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, greens, and fruits to supplement their diet.
As your chicks grow, you can gradually introduce them to chick grower feed, which has less protein than starter feed but still contains the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Make sure to provide your chicks with fresh water at all times, and keep their feeder clean to prevent the spread of disease.
Provide Adequate Space
Although your chicks are small, they will quickly grow and require more space. Overcrowding can lead to stress and disease, so it’s important to provide adequate space for your chicks to move around and exercise. As a general rule of thumb, you should provide around 1 square foot of space per chick.
If you’re keeping your chicks indoors, you can use a brooder or cage to give them enough space. If you’re raising them outdoors, you’ll need a secure coop or pen to protect them from predators.
Monitor their Health
Keeping a close eye on your chicks’ health is crucial for their well-being. Some common health issues in chicks include pasty butt (a buildup of feces around the vent), respiratory infections, and coccidiosis (a parasitic disease). Make sure to check your chicks’ vents daily and clean them if necessary.
You should also monitor your chicks’ behavior and look out for any signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or unusual behavior. If you suspect that your chicks are sick, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent the spread of disease.
Chicks are curious and active animals that require mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Providing enrichment can help prevent boredom and reduce the risk of aggressive behavior. You can provide your chicks with a variety of toys, such as hanging mirrors, swings, and perches.
You can also provide your chicks with natural materials to peck and scratch, such as hay or straw. This will help keep your chicks occupied and reduce the risk of feather picking.
Socialize Your Chicks
Chicks are social animals that enjoy the company of other birds. If possible, it’s a good idea to raise multiple chicks together to provide social interaction. This will help prevent boredom and reduce the risk of aggressive behavior.
You should also spend time with your chicks every day to socialize them to human interaction. This will help your chicks become more comfortable with you and less likely to be scared or stressed around humans.
Maintaining cleanliness is important for the health and well-being of your chicks. Make sure to clean their brooder or coop regularly and remove any wet or soiled bedding. This will help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and parasites.
You should also provide your chicks with clean water and food containers and clean them regularly. This will help prevent the spread of disease and ensure that your chicks have access to clean and fresh food and water.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you have a first aid kit on hand that includes items such as a thermometer, disinfectant, bandages, and electrolytes. You should also have a plan in place for what to do if one of your chicks becomes sick or injured.
It’s a good idea to have the phone number of a veterinarian who specializes in poultry on hand in case of emergencies. You can also join online forums or groups to connect with other chicken owners and ask for advice or support.
Be Patient and Enjoy the Process
Raising day old chicks can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It’s important to be patient and enjoy the process. Watching your chicks grow and develop into healthy and happy adult birds can be a source of joy and pride.
Remember to take the time to appreciate the small moments, such as watching your chicks explore their surroundings or hearing their adorable chirping. The more you enjoy the experience, the more likely you’ll be to provide the best care for your chicks.