Raising young chicks

Starting your journey in the world of poultry farming? Raising young chicks is a rewarding experience. Day-old-chicks are typically chicks hatched from a incubator. Whilst the process is fairly similar for ducklings and other game birds. There are some slight differences in hatching time, tempreature and humidity and for best results you should research the specific animal you are concerned about. This article is about raising healthy, happy chicks into chickens.

Starting Kit

The needs of young chicks grow as they age, often referred to as "day old chicks" the following explores the needs of chicks less than 6 weeks of age, 

Day old chicks require heat and protection for the first 6 weeks in most areas, for around 6 weeks chicks, longer in cooler areas. Chicks of 5 weeks of age should be kept at 24c and chicks of 6 weeks around 21c. Here is the list of basic requirements.

  • Chicken Crumble: This is feed that is of a small enough size for them to eat without choking and meets their nutritional needs.
  • Shell Grit: Good for the bottom of the cage, but they may also eat some to help with digestion of food.
  • Water container: Chciks need good cean water all day.
  • Heat Lamp: A ceramic heat source is prefered over a light globe. Provide enough room for chicks to be abe to move away from the heat source and make sure chicks can not be burnt by the heat source, especially as they start to fly around.
  • Containment e.g. cage with protection from preditors, drafts and intense sunlight.

What is the first thing I should do when my day-old chicks arrive?

The first thing you should do is prepare a warm, clean, and safe brooding area for your chicks. If you don't have a brooder you can use a ceramic heat lamp, keeping it away from flamable material and allowing space for chicks to move away from it (if they get to hot). The brooding area should be kept at a temperature of approximately 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first week and then decreased by 5 degrees each week until the chicks have fully feathered out.

What is a brooder?

A brooder is a heated enclosure used to raise newly hatched poultry, like chicks. The purpose of a brooder is to provide a warm, safe environment that mimics the conditions under a mother hen. It generally includes a heat source, bedding, feeder, waterer, and sometimes a cover to prevent the chicks from escaping. It's essential in helping young chicks maintain their body temperature until they can regulate it on their own and grow feathers for insulation.

What should I feed my day-old chicks?

Day-old chicks should be fed a starter feed that is specifically formulated for chicks. This feed has the right balance of nutrients needed for their rapid growth and development. You can transition to grower feed after about six weeks. Check for feed on our marketplace or try your local pet shop or fodder store.

How can I tell if my chicks are healthy?

Healthy chicks are active and alert with bright eyes. They should be eating and drinking regularly and their droppings should be firm and well-formed. Signs of a sick chick might include lethargy, droopy wings, loss of appetite, or abnormal droppings.

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