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New Chicks on the Block: What to Do When Baby Chicks Hatch

Updated: May 9, 2023

By: Paige Wimberly

Are you a new chicken keeper eagerly awaiting the arrival of baby chicks? Congratulations! It's an exciting time, but it's important to be prepared for their arrival and know what to do as soon as they hatch. As a fellow backyard chicken enthusiast, I've been through this journey myself and I'm here to share some helpful tips with you. In this blog post, we'll go over the essential steps you need to take as soon as those adorable fluff balls make their grand entrance into the world.

Providing Warmth for Baby Chicks

Baby chicks are delicate creatures that require a warm environment to thrive. As soon as they hatch, it's crucial to provide them with a brooder, which is a cozy, draft-free space where they can stay warm. You'll need a heat source such as a heat lamp or a heat plate to maintain the right temperature for their age (around 95°F for the first week, and gradually decreasing by 5°F each week). Make sure the brooder is set up and warmed up before the chicks arrive, so they can immediately snuggle up and feel at home.

Offering Water to Baby Chicks

Just like any living creature, baby chicks need access to water as soon as they hatch. It's important to have clean, fresh water available to them at all times. You can use a shallow waterer or a chick waterer with small, shallow cups to prevent drowning hazards. To encourage them to drink, you can dip their beaks into the water or add electrolytes and vitamins to the water to give them a boost of nutrients.

Providing Nutritious Food for Baby Chicks

Nutrition is key to the healthy development of baby chicks. They require a nutrient-rich starter feed that is specifically formulated for their needs. You can find chick starter feed that is finely ground or crumbled, and make sure it is available to them at all times. Baby chicks have small appetites, so provide a shallow feeder to prevent waste and keep their food clean. You can also offer treats such as chopped greens or boiled eggs in moderation to provide additional nutrients and keep them entertained.

Monitoring the Health of Baby Chicks

As with any living creatures, it's important to keep an eye on the health of your baby chicks. Watch for signs of weakness, lethargy, abnormal behavior, or any physical abnormalities. If you notice any issues, consult a veterinarian or an experienced poultry keeper for guidance. Early intervention can be crucial in addressing health issues and ensuring the well-being of your chicks.

Maintaining Cleanliness for Baby Chicks

Cleanliness is essential for the health of baby chicks. Regularly clean the brooder and replace bedding to keep it dry and fresh. Pine shavings or straw make good bedding choices for baby chicks. Remove any wet or soiled bedding promptly to prevent dampness, which can lead to health issues. Keeping the brooder clean will help create a healthy and hygienic environment for your chicks to thrive in.

Providing Adequate Space for Baby Chicks

As your baby chicks grow, they will need more space to move around and exercise. Make sure the brooder is spacious enough to accommodate their growing needs. You can add perches or roosting bars to encourage natural behaviors and provide additional space for them to explore. Providing ample space will help your chicks develop strong muscles and bones, and keep them happy and active.

Observing and Addressing Behavior of Baby Chicks

Observing the behavior of your baby chicks is important to ensure their well-being. Watch for signs of normal behavior such as eating, drinking, and preening. If you notice any changes in behavior or any signs of distress, take appropriate action to address the issue promptly. Being attentive to their behavior will help you identify and address any potential issues early on.

As you embark on your journey of raising backyard chickens and eagerly await the arrival of baby chicks, it's crucial to be prepared and know what to do when they hatch. Providing warmth, water, and food, monitoring for health issues, maintaining cleanliness, providing space, and observing behavior are essential steps to ensure the well-being and healthy development of your baby chicks. Remember, as a beginner-friendly chicken keeper, it's important to seek guidance from experienced poultry keepers or veterinarians if you have any concerns or questions. By following these essential steps, you'll be well on your way to successfully raising happy and healthy backyard chickens. Best of luck on your new adventure with your new feathered friends!

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