Springtime is upon us again… it’s baby chick season! Lots of us will begin to entertain the idea of raising chicks at home – even those of us who do it for a living (yes, I’m writing this with a 1 week old baby Blue Cochin on my shoulder named Elle). or those who’ve not yet had the pleasure, here is a quick tutorial on getting set up. Please, remember they are indeed very fragile as babies, and do need special care. The joy of introducing children to baby chicks is wonderful but this is not a task for young children without supervision.
What you’ll need:
- Heat lamp
- Brooder box: This can be made out of anything you have laying around such as large cardboard boxes, large plastic storage containers, large metal water troughs, etc.)
- Bedding: We recommend pine shavings but there are also other alternatives. Just be sure to avoid cedar shavings.
- Chick feeder and chick waterer: There are all different sizes and styles of feeders and waterers. It is best to use ones designed for baby chicks which help prevent them from soiling or spilling their food and water source, and also prevent them from drowning in it.
- Chick starter crumbles
- A warm place inside
Find a place inside to set up your brooder box that is insulated and remains a fairly constant temperature. Garages can be drafty and often prove to be difficult places to maintain the right temperature. Depending on the box you’ve chosen, you may want to consider setting down an old sheet, tarp, newspapers, or rags underneath the box to prevent spilled feed, water, or shavings from soiling your carpets or floors. Put approximately 1-2 inches of bedding in the bottom of the brooder box. Attach your heat lamp to the corner of the box or to a surface nearby the brooder box. Place the chick feeders and waterers in the box away from the heat lamp. If you can, prop the feeders and waterers up on small bricks, blocks, pavers, or other items to raise them a bit above the bedding to help prevent soiled bedding from being scattered into their food and water source. When you settle in your new chicks into their brooder box, it is a good idea to dip their beaks in the water so they know where it is.
For more information about what to look for, cleanliness, and what temperature to keep them at, visit our website page on Raising Baby Chicks.
For information on our brooder packages that include baby chicks and everything you need to raise them, visit our website page on Brooder Packages.