5 Things You Will Need When You Bring Chicks Home
I was born and raised in the city, so moving out to the country and bringing home little chicks was a very big deal. I am the type of person who jumps into new adventures with both feet before thinking. So, when I saw these super cute fuzz balls at the country store, you can bet I came home with several. All I really thought about was how cute they were and how much fun this was going to be. Yes, I married a very patient, wonderful man! (Love you, Honey!!) Don’t get me wrong, chicks are super cute, very fun and worth all the extra work, so there is a quick guide to get you through the first 4 weeks of enjoying your new adventure in chicken land.
Proper container for your new friends to live in.
The main goals of their first home are safety and a draft free environment. It may be very tempting to bring these little cuties into your home, but let me discourage you from this for a few reasons. First, you will never get anything done for the next few days. I spent so much time just sitting next to their box and staring at them. Then I would freak out when they did anything, because I wasn’t sure what was normal behavior for chicks. The second reason is that they are super messy. As the chicks get older, all their scratching, pecking and learning to fly is a very dusty, stinky mess. Find a draft-free spot in your garage where they are safe from other animals and random crazy kids (that’s another story). If you have a large plastic storage container or a large box, these will do just fine. I finally purchased a galvanized bin because I knew that I would be getting a new group of chicks almost every Spring. This bin is easy to spray out with a hose when you have finally transferred them to the chicken coup. Another item you will need to is some chicken wire to place on top of their new home. This is because as they get older they like to start to try out their wings and do practice flights. This is for their own safety, so they don’t fly out and get stuck in something in your garage and die. 😢
What to feed your fluff balls.
When you pick out you new friends to take home, don’t forget to bring home some food. Chicks are still too little to eat everything that a larger chicken can eat, so get a large bag of Chick Starter. Chick Starter is the complete and proper mix of nutrients and protein. This food will be good for your chicks tell they are about 8 weeks old. If you choose the Chick Starter-Grower mix this will be good for the chicks tell they are about 16 weeks old. When they are about 2 weeks old you can even give them some small worms if you would like.
Don’t forget to grab a bag of pine shavings, not sawdust. Pine shavings are a great bedding for your chicks when they are small and can also be put into their nesting boxes when they are ready to lay eggs. So you should probably just get a large bag or two, because this is something you will have to use their whole lives. Pine shavings are important because they absorb the droppings and odor. Plus, they make clean up easy!. Please buy Pine shaving rather than any other shavings. Other wood shavings can be toxic and sawdust can get eaten by the chicks and kill them. 😢😢
What do they drink?
Yes, they drink water! Seems rather obvious, but there are few things to consider. Do not use a open, shallow dish. When you look at all the supplies and are starting to get sticker shock, please don’t think you can save here and just grab a tupperware container or plastic lid that you have at home for their water. This is because they will always walk through their water, pooping in it and tipping it over. Buy the smaller plastic chicken water container. This way you can see when it is time to refill their water and it limits the mess. I keep one small plastic water container for chicks and a larger galvanized water container for the chickens when they are in their coop. The galvanized container can withstand the heat and the cold and it will last a lifetime.
Keeping Your Chicks Warm
These little babies are not big enough to keep themselves warm. If they were hatched by their mother she would have them neatly tucked under her wings. This means you will need to buy a lamp that can clamp onto the container they are housed in and a red light bulb that will keep them at about 75 degrees. If you notice that the chicks are staying away from the lamp, then you may have the lamp too close and they are too hot. If the chicks are spending all their time huddled under the lamp and never wander off, then they are too cold and the lamp needs to come in closer. The chicks will probably need to have this heat for about 4 weeks. This is about when you can start to transfer them to their coop outside.
Don’t stress out! It is not really that hard. In fact, I can’t imagine our life without chickens. From babies to adults they are fun to watch and their eggs are even better. Now it is time to enjoy these little cuties, take tons of pictures, and post them all over social media. 😁