Springtime comes with the blossoming of trees, flowers, and the starting of your new flock of chickens. Buying new chicks and raising them is an exciting and fun adventure which the whole family can enjoy.
Let’s discuss some tips and tricks I have learned from my experience of raising chickens. So, let’s get started with our feathered friends.
All of these can be found at your local Farm Supply Store
- 28-gallon Wash Bin
- Premium Pine Shaving
- Non-toxic Diatomaceous Earth (optional but advised)
- 20%-24% Chick Starter Feed
- Dried Mealworms (optional)
- Container for Water
- Container for Feed
- Heat Lamp
- Heat Lamp Bulbs
We are using a 28-gallon galvanized washtub, others have used galvanized feeding troughs, cardboard boxes or wood containers. The container size needed will depend on how many chicks you have.
We are raising 14 chicks, and the washtub gives them plenty of room to run, sleep, eat, and poop. If you have 20 or more, you may want to think about getting a trough.
Keeping your chicks warm is a must! You will need a heat lamp! Chicks need a temperature of 75 F and higher.
We keep ours running 24/7 and the other day it was in the 80s.
Bulbs typically come in 2 packs, it is smart to have an extra bulb just in case the current one you are using burns out.
TIP: Knowing if your chicks are too hot or too cold is important. If your chicks are huddled under the lamp, you need to move your lamp closer to the chicks. If they are avoiding the lamp light, then the lamp needs to be backed up. If you have under 20 chicks having a heat lamp is a MUST!
The bedding is the other essential component of keeping chicks warm. Pine shavings is the bedding we choose to use. Cedar shaving is said to cause disease in chickens, but there is no science behind that statement
TIP: Non-Toxic Diatomaceous Earth is a type of dust that aids with repelling insects and pests like chicken lice. This has been a must for raising and keeping chickens. Just sprinkle it in with the clean chips and mix with your hand until no dust is on top of the bedding.
Water and Feed
Water and food are obviously and must for keeping chicks alive. Refresh water daily, and check food levels daily as well.
Water from the sink is perfectly fine, just put in a pitcher and let it sit for 4 hours before using it. This will take out the chlorine that is in the water, it should not negatively affect them, but we do it just to be safe.
TIP: If you are working with a deeper waterer it would be crucial to put rocks in the bottom of the pan, or dish, so they do not drown. This is a very prominent problem within raising chicks.
For feed, chicks eat ALL THE TIME, so get a bigger bag of feed, we have a 20-pound bag of 20% protein chicken feed. A good range for protein in feeds is 20%-24% for young chicks, this range is perfect for keeping your chicks healthy and strong.
TIP: Chickens love treats just like dogs. If you are wanting to spoil your chicks or even chickens a little get a bag of dried mealworms. They will go crazy for these insects! For chicks, crush in your hand and sprinkle around.
Brooding lasts about 3 weeks to 1 month, depending on how old the chicks were when you first bought them.
After this period is up and they are too big for the container, then they can be moved to your chicken coop.
If you would like some more knowledge about raising chicks, here are some insightful and helpful links as well as a shopping list.