Life can be overwhelming and scary for new baby chickens, that is why you and mother hen have to do all you can to make sure the babies are safe, warm and well-fed. The chicks have a lot of learning and exploring to do to grow into healthy, well-rounded chickens after all.
It is your job to make sure that the environment is as safe as possible for your chicks. You also need to make sure that fresh water and food is available at all times. On very hot days, mother hen and the chicks must have access to shade to cool down and through all of that, the chicks need entertainment to learn how life works.
Let’s look into how a day in the life of a baby chicken looks.
For baby chickens, morning means food. As soon as the sun peaks above the horizon, your chicks will be up and waiting for your arrival cheeping and peeping softly. If they are with a hen mother, their cheeps may wake her up and she will join them clucking along until food arrives.
Within the first few days of their lives, either you or their mother will have taught them how to eat and drink to stay alive and grow into healthy adult chickens. Your job will be to provide them with fresh water, in a special waterer that prevents them from falling in, and food every morning.
While your chicks are enjoying their morning meal, you will have to start tidying up. Just like normal babies, baby chickens poop… a lot! You will have to muck out their sleeping area and refresh the bedding.
Once your chicks have had their fill to eat, the mother hen will take them out to learn, play and explore. If you’re raising them on your own, you will have to make time for playing and exploring.
Baby chickens just love exploring. They are extremely inquisitive and open to new experiences. The hen will take her babies out of the coop and show them how to dig for worms and other creepy crawlies they can eat. It is essential for chicks to learn these skills so they can get the proper nutrition they require for these tasty squirming morsels in the soil.
If you’re raising the chicks alone, you need to make sure they have a safe, stimulating environment to explore with some dirt and grass to scratch around in. You can also provide sand for a dust bath, straw to climb on and peck at and sticks for them to lear the all-important roosting techniques.
Even though exploring is huge fun for your baby chickens, you need to be aware that danger can be around every corner. There are predators just waiting to make a meal out of one of your chicks. If mother hen is around, you need not worry as much. She is a vicious fighter that will do almost anything to keep her little ones safe.
When mother hen becomes aware of any danger, she will alert her chicks with a clucking sound. They will come running and hide underneath her while she defends them from the big bad world. Once the danger has passed, she will let them explore again with a reassuring cluck.
When the sun starts to set, the mother hen will round up her chicks and herd them back to the coop with a stern cluck or two. Your baby chickens will be exhausted from their eventful day out exploring the backyard and in need of some well-deserved rest.
During all their roasting practice and worm hunting, the chicks would have taken a little nap while out during the day but as the sun sets exhaustion wins and they lay their little fluffy heads to rest for the night, snuggling tightly under mother hen for warmth.
It is important to keep mother hen and the babies away from the rest of the flock for the first few weeks. Bullying can occur and unfortunately, the babies will be in the middle of the conflict. Your babies will be safe and sound away from the flock as long as they have their mother and access to fresh water and food.
Before your chicks huddle down for the night, it is time for a little bit of water and some more food. They are a growing bunch and need their energy for the next big day. Mother hen will make sure that her babies eat up and then get them comfortable and warm before nodding off.
Since they are still too small to roost and require their mothers’ warmth, they will be sleeping on the floor in a nest made by their mom. Once they get older, mom will encourage them to roost instead.
Keeping chickens can be incredibly fun but their sparkling personalities that start to shine through as they grow can be one of the best parts. Watching them develop little quirks and getting into mischief is incredibly funny. Oh and 22 weeks after birth, they will lay their first delicious eggs for your breakfast.
Time goes by incredibly fast turning your new hatchling into a hen so you need to make sure you have the knowledge to raise a happy healthy flock. Mistakes are easy and can happen to anyone so better be prepared.