Embarking on the journey of raising baby chickens can be quite daunting. There are a few things to remember in the first few days of your little one’s lives. To make things a bit easier, we have made a list to help you so you can enjoy your little chickens without worrying too much about their care and health.
Before They Hatch
Before day 21 arrives, when your little ones will start to hatch, make sure you have the following ticked off on your preparation list. If you don’t prepare properly, your baby chickens may be in some trouble from early on.
You will have to get bedding and other accessories for the brooder to be ready for your newborn chicks. You will need to get some form of bedding that is easy to clean and as non-slip as possible for their safety. You don’t want them to get sick due to unhygienic living conditions and getting hurt when slipping and falling, they are very fragile in the beginning after all.
You will also have to make sure there is a water bowl which will have to be filled with fresh clean water once the chicks arrive as well as a food bowl.
It is important to prepare the brooder on day 19 already since some chicks might start to hatch on day 20 already. By doing this early on, your babies will have the perfect living conditions straight from the very beginning instead of shivering while the heat lamp tries to warm the space.
Hatching Day And After
So hatching day has arrived and you’re brimming with excitement but now what? You might want to help your chicks out of their shells, they might seem like they are struggling, but as much as you want to help… Don’t, they absolutely have to do this on their own! All you can do is wait and observe.
You can leave your chicks in the incubator while they dry and rest after hatching. It is best to give them about 24 hours before moving them. Their tiny peeps will also encourage unhatched eggs to start hatching. If you move your chicks while they are still wet, they can become sick and die.
Teach Them How To Drink And Eat
After you move your little ones to the brooder, it is time to teach them how to take care of their needs. You will have to gently encourage them to drink some water and eat some food. You can do this by gently forcing their beaks into the water or food just so the tip is touching until they get the message.
Keep An Eye On The Temperature
It is very important to keep the brooder temperature consistent and toasty during the first few weeks of a baby chicken’s life. Make sure the temperature in the brooder is as close to 37.5°C (99.5°F) as possible, at least for the first week. Every week you can decrease the temperature by 5 degrees until room temperature is reached.
If it is very cold, make sure to keep them at a summer room temperature. Decrease the temperature by 1-degree once room temperature has been reached until the temperature mimics the outside world naturally without the need for a heat lamp.
It is very important to keep the baby chickens living space as clean as possible. At this point, they are very susceptible to sickness and diseases. If you allow their living space to become unhygienic, then you might have some dead babies on your hand soon.
Make it easy for yourself by giving them easy to clean bedding so you only have to scoop out the soiled parts every day. Once a week replace all the bedding with fresh new bedding.
It is best to organise a coop as soon as they hatch if you’re planning on keeping your chickens, of course. Baby chickens grow quickly and the brooder will become too small for them in a matter of weeks.
Having a coop as a backup to place them in is very handy and they will be happier that way. Being too cramped in a brooder can cause too much stress which can lead to illness or even death.
Caring for baby chickens is really simple if you’re properly prepared. Make sure to learn as much as you can to be prepared for any situation in your chicken rearing career!