How to Prepare for Baby Chicks

Raising baby chicks can be difficult, but given that they grow very quickly and will be able to provide you with fresh eggs as adults, putting in the time and effort to make sure they grow up healthy and comfortable is usually worth it. Make sure you have plenty of time and an appropriate space to raise your chicks to make the process and transfer to the coop as smooth as possible.

Things You'll Need: – Brooder – Netting – Heat lamp

Instructions Making the Necessary Preparations for Your Baby Chicks 1. Select an appropriate space to raise your chicks. The space needs to be sheltered from predators and weather conditions. Some appropriate spaces are a garage, heated tool shed or workshop, basement, or weatherproof porch. Try to ensure that the space where you raise your chicks is separated from your daily living quarters; although they're small, chicks make a large mess while they are growing. 2. Select or build an appropriate brooder, or baby chick house. Large cardboard boxes make excellent brooders. Make sure you select one that will be big enough to accommodate as many chicks as will hatch, but not so big that the chicks will get cold. Plastic storage bins and kids' paddling pools can also make good brooders. Cover the brooder with netting to ensure your chicks remain in the brooder. Younger chicks are much better at flying than adult chickens.

3. Line the brooder with absorbent material to ensure that the chicks' waste is drawn away from their bodies, which will prevent the spread of infection. The absorbent bedding will also need to be changed each day as it becomes soiled. The material most often recommended for baby chicks is pine shavings. Avoid newspaper, which is too slippery, and cedar shavings, which can cause respiratory illness. 4. Install a heat-generating light source for the baby chicks above the brooder. The chicks need an air temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit during their first week of life, 90 degrees the second week, and so on, each week decreasing by five degrees Fahrenheit. 5. Get a specially designed chick feeder and chick waterer for your baby chicks. Water bottles or dishes and food troughs designed for other pets can actually be dangerous for chicks, as they can get trapped underneath dishes and easily soil water bowls, making more work for you. Chick feeders and waterers have an upright design that allows chick feed or water to be dispensed as needed into the dish below.

6. Have chick starter feed and grit on hand for your baby chicks' feeding needs. For chicks that have not been vaccinated, consider medicated feed to keep them healthy in their formative weeks. Chicks also need grit to help their digestion. You can use sand or parakeet/canary gravel for chicks, which are usually available in pet stores. Keep the grit in a small dish, or sprinkle it in with the chick feed.

7. At four to five weeks they can be transferred to their coop. You need either a red or white light bulb of at least 250 watts, and depending on the size of your brooder, you may need more than one. Use a thermometer to check temperature inside the brooder. Look for signs that chicks are too hot or too cold. Chicks will avoid one another and appear sluggish if too hot. They will huddle together for warmth as close to the heat source as possible if too cold. Raise heat lamp as necessary.

How to Feed the Hungry Hatched Chicks
Raising birds from an egg provides a rewarding and educational experience. One of the first things you will need to do once the chicks emerge from their eggs is provide food and water for them. While you are likely eager to begin feeding the baby birds, take some time to do so in the right way. Choosing the right food and offering it in the right way will ensure that they get a healthy start to life. Things You'll Need: • • • • Water Water bowl Chick starter feed Food bowl

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Oatmeal, cereal or whole grains Blender

1. Wait 24 hours before feeding the newly hatched chicks. The nutrients from the egg yolk continue to nourish the chicks for the first 24 hours. 2. Give them plenty of water. Use a heavy container that they can reach but cannot tip over, or a chick-watering device purchased from a farm store. 3. Change the water if it gets dirty. This will need to be done frequently throughout the day. 4. Place a bowl of chick starter feed in the warming box. To attract the chicks' attention, lay a sheet of paper on the bedding and drop a few pieces of the feed on it. The chicks will be attracted to the feed by the noise it makes, thus enticing them to eat. 5. Leave the feed in the warming box. The birds will eat when they are hungry without overeating. Tips & Warnings • Make a substitute food if chick starter feed is not available. Instant oatmeal or non-sugared whole grain cereals can substitute the starter feed for one day. Whole grains lightly blended in the blender also can be used until feed is purchased. Chicks must be kept in a warm box. They need a temperature of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything cooler will put the chicks in danger of illness or death. A cardboard egg carton works as a feeding tray if you do not have a bowl. Do not use a foam container, as foam could harm the chicks. If you notice a chick that does not want to drink, gently place its beak in the water. However, do not allow its nostrils to go in the water, as this can drown the bird. Just a slight dip in the water is usually all it takes to make the chick take a drink. If you are feeding baby chicks and mother birds in the same habitat, use a chick feeder with an opening that the mother birds cannot access. This will prevent the mature birds from eating the more expensive chick food. Avoid handling the newly hatched chicks too frequently. They are delicate and will be hurt if dropped. If you must handle them, slip a hand under one chick's tummy, then hold the chick in your hand with the other hand resting firmly on top.

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How to Feed Baby Chicks Greens

Feeding baby chicks is a no-brainer, since chick starter feed is formulated to meet all the nutritional needs of baby chickens. However, you may supplement their diet from the garden or from your leftovers from dinner. Chicks love greens, but greens should be considered desert, not as main course on the menu. Instructions 1. Feed baby chicks starter chick feed. Free-feed chicks starter feed until they're 4 weeks old. 2. Supplement feed with vegetable greens from the garden or left over from cooking. Use only as a supplement to regular chick starter feed. 3. Allow chicks to get their own greens by free-ranging the grass in your yard or garden. Only allow if your grass and plants are pesticide-free. 4. Mix chick starter feed with equal portions of chicken grower feed. Feed chicks this mixture of feed until they are 16 weeks old. 5. Switch chicks to chicken grower feed. At 16 weeks, chicks can come off chick starter feed and fed grower feed exclusively.

The Best Foods to Feed Chicks
Raising a few chickens is a good way to get fresh eggs every morning, but owners should keep in mind that chickens require care just like any other animal. Baby chicks especially need their owner to nurture them, and this includes choosing the right kind of food to provide for feed. Mashed/Crumbled Chick Feed Buy some powdery mash feed, which chicks can easily digest, or get some crumbles for chicks at your local feed store if you find the chicks are wasting the mash. Buy pellets, which are made of compressed mash, for older chicks. You won't need to buy grit for digestion if your birds are on this diet. Grains with Grit Feed the chicks plenty of grains mixed with grit to help them digest their food. It's best to use whole,

living grains rather than cracked. Try to give them a mixture of several varieties of grains rather than just a pure corn diet to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. Your local feed store can help you find the best grains for your chicks. Buy the chick-sized granite grit from your feed store and mix it in with the feed. Medicated Feed To prevent the chicks from contracting the parasitic disease coccidiosis, which can kill chicks that don't yet have a resistance, choose feed that is medicated with Amprolium. Amprolium controls coccidiosis and helps the chicks develop a resistance to the disease. Don't bother spending money on feed with antibiotics in it, as this is unnecessary. Foods Around the House You can use foods around the house for chick feed if need be. For example, while it may seem strange, you can serve the chicks mashed, hard-boiled eggs as a starter feed. Or, you can grind up some breakfast cereal and let them eat that. However, avoid sweetened cereals or those with chocolate; too much sugar can be fattening, and chocolate can be toxic.

About Baby Chicks
Chickens that are newly hatched are called baby chicks. They are a popular attraction with children and adults alike. Sometimes offered for sale in the spring at feed and hardware stores, the baby chicks require special care until they reach a certain age. The decision to welcome one of these little darlings into your home should not be taken lightly because there are many needs to be taken into consideration first.

Function Most people who raise chickens as pets just have them around for play or entertainment. Some people make good use of hens that lay eggs for the table, called layers. Still other chickens will be destined for the butcher block, called broilers. If properly cared for, chickens can live up to 15 years if kept as a pet or used as an egg layer. Different types of chickens will require different nutrition, whether they will be layers or broilers, and it is important to start baby chicks out with the right kind of feed for their intended purpose. Types Baby chicks usually don't look anything like their parents. They aren't easily identifiable by breed until they get through the first few months of life and begin to get their real feathers. There are hundreds of breeds of chickens, but their chicks all look fairly similar at birth. Size Baby chicks are extremely fragile at birth. They almost feel weightless in the palm of your hand. That is why it is important that children be supervised around the chicks. They really shouldn't be held at all until they are a little bigger. If you must hold the baby chick or allow a child to pick one up, make sure that one hand is placed under the chick's belly and then bring the other hand down lightly on its back to pick it up. Considerations Baby chicks aren't as easy to care for as adult chickens. They require a certain temperature that must mimic the summer weather. Baby chicks must be kept at a temperature around 80 degrees, and this can be accomplished with an incubator or, if you don't have one, they can be placed in a box with an overheat heating light clamped to it. The baby chicks must have access to feed and water at all times. They can't eat the bigger pieces of grain that the chickens do so they must have a starter feed that is especially formulated for baby chicks. Warning Baby chicks are at the bottom of the pecking order and should never be placed in the coop or anywhere around adult chickens because they will get picked on. They can be placed with the other chickens when they are about the same size as the rest of the brood. This is especially true if you purchase baby chicks or hatch them from eggs and try to place with other adult chickens. If they are hatched by the hen sitting on the nest, then they are more likely to be protected by her than if they were placed in the coop as strangers.

How to Bathe Baby Chickens
Baby chickens and turkeys are cute, fluffy creatures who are fragile in nature and require careful attention. Sometimes, your baby poultry may become dirty, which can pose a health risk. But you can bathe and clean your baby turkeys and chickens to help keep them healthy and happy.

Things You'll Need • • • • Soft-bristled brush Damp rag Dry rag Brooder

Instructions 1. Hold the chick (baby chicken) or poult (baby turkey) in one hand. The baby bird's feet should be in your palm while your fingers curve up and around the bird. Chicks and poults will not struggle unless they feel insecure. Keep a firm but gentle grasp on the baby with your thumb and forefinger wrapped over its wings to keep them from flapping. 2. Brush the bird with a soft-bristled brush, such as a soft toothbrush. Remove loose particles of dirt, debris and feces from their down. Use smooth and gentle strokes, being careful not to crush the chick or poult. Brushing too hard will result in the chick or poult losing her down. You may wish to brush from head to tail if the entire chick is dirty, or spot clean if the bird is only partially dirty. 3. Wipe heavier, encrusted debris with a warm, moist rag or cloth. You may dab or pat the area first with the moistened cloth to loosen the debris, before wiping in any direction. Focus on just the soiled area and avoid wiping the entire chick or poult, as excessive moisture is bad for him. 4. Dip the portion of their body in warm water if it is heavily soiled and won't be removed with repeated brushing and wiping. Repeat Step 3 until the baby chicken or turkey's down is clean. This is safe handling even while the bird is still wet, though you should clean rapidly so the bird is not wet for longer than necessary.

5. Wipe the chick with a dry, clean rag and release the bird back into its brooder--a small, enclosed area shielded from cold drafts and heated with a heat lamp. You may obtain a brooder from most feed and farm-supply stores. The heat from the brooder's lamp will help ward against chills and will expedite the drying process. Tips & Warnings • You may find yourself cleaning your chicks often if they have a buildup of soft feces around their bottoms. Loose stools are commonly caused by stress. Make sure you're raising the baby birds away from loud noises, cold breeze and excessive human activity to reduce their stress levels. Never completely immerse or soak your baby poultry in water, as moisture can prove fatal or make the animal susceptible to illness

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