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Raising Chickens 101: Bring Up Baby Chicks

February 27, 2012

Credit: Eigenproduktion
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Want to learn how to raise baby chicks? Here's a beginner's guide to bringing up baby!

(This is the fourth post in our Raising Chickens 101 series.)

You can purchase chickens at several stages of development—it all depends on how long you’re willing to wait for eggs.

  • Day-old chicks are available from hatcheries. Most farm suppliers do one or two chick orders a year, so you can get your chickens where you plan to get your feed. They’re usually under $3 each. You’ll have to wait about 6 months for eggs.
  • Ready-to-lay pullets are 20 weeks old and just about to start laying. They’re more expensive than day-olds, but of course you get your eggs sooner. They can go straight to the coop and are all females. These, too, can be ordered through your farm supplier from the hatchery.
  • Mature laying hens are harder to come by. Unless you have someone with a small flock nearby who wants to replace older hens and will sell their “old girls” to you, chances are that you’ll have to buy pullets or chicks. (Battery hens are not good candidates for a farm flock—they’re confined in tiny cages, debeaked, and made to produce so hard that they’re “laid out” at 2 to 3 years of age.)

Raising Chicks

Tending young chicks isn’t difficult, nor need it be elaborate. As well as chick starter and clean water, they need a draft-free brooder pen with a red brooder lamp on at all times. This keeps the temperature at 92oF at 2 inches above the floor. (It also reduces picking and cannibalism among chicks.) When the chicks have feathered out, reduce the temperature by 5 degrees per week until they are 6 weeks old, then switch their feed from chick starter to grower mash.

Hatching Chicks

Instead of buying chickens every year, you could hatch your own. Of course, you’ll need a rooster to get fertile eggs. Check your zoning regulations; some places allow hens, but not roosters. Hens will lay perfectly well without one. (The occasional blood-spotted egg isn’t caused by the rooster and is perfectly fine to eat.)

You’ll also need a broody hen. Broodiness—the instinct to sit on eggs until they hatch—has been bred out of a lot of chickens, but we always had one or two who would begin to sit tight on the nest and peck if we tried to remove their eggs. Bantams are famously broody, and a bantam hen will hatch other hens’ eggs.

You can hatch replacement chicks yourself with a home incubator. Eggs take 21 days to hatch. (Did you know that there are best times for setting eggs under a hen or in an incubator? You can find more about setting chicken eggs by the Moon's Sign here. An incubator must be watched; chicks left too long after hatching will die of dehydration or picking. One particularly determined one in our incubator picked its way through the screen guard around the ventilation fan and was decapitated. On the whole, we found it best to leave it to the hen.

More Tips for a Happy Coop

  • Many sources say that you can’t keep a flock of mixed ages. We never had a problem with older chickens picking on younger ones or vice versa. Our hens raised their chicks happily in the flock. Most picking is the result of overcrowding. Give your chickens lots of space.
  • Young chicks need to be close to water and food at all times. Spread a 4-inch layer of pine shavings on the floor, then lay several layers of newspaper over that. Scatter lots of chick feed on the paper and also have feeding troughs filled in the pen. Remove a layer of paper every day, and by the time the last layer is gone, the chicks will have found the feeding trough.
  • Always use red bulbs; injury doesn’t show under red light. Under white light, any bloody spot immediately attracts pecking. Chicks will cheerfully and efficiently peck each other to death.
  • Block corners of the pen with cardboard to make wider angles that are harder for chicks to pack up in. (You could also make a circular pen.) This prevents suffocation.
  • Ensure that waterers are shallow and cleaned daily to avoid having chicks drown. My hatchery recommends one gallon-size waterer for every hundred chicks. I always had two or three, even for fewer chicks, so that they wouldn’t crowd.
  • With pullets, I used one waterer for every six to eight chickens and a feed trough long enough to accommodate all of them at once.

Next up is eggs! Let's talk about collecting, cleaning, storing, and maybe even hatching chicken eggs.

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Elizabeth Creith has fifteen years of experience keeping chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys on her farm in Northern Ontario. She currently dreams of a new flock of fancy chickens. Elizabeth and her husband also have six and a half years experience running a pet store. On top of that, she's kept more animals than you can imagine from cats to cockatoos!

Comments

i want to start business with

By Yugandhar

i want to start business with country hes. so now I buy country hen chicks. Please provide the address where can i get the chicks...

When putting 5month old hens

By Debbie del

When putting 5month old hens that are just starting to lay & 5 week old chicks what is the best food to feed because baby's should not be eating the layer food? Also I have a big laying nest box 10 spots & I can not get them to lay in it there on the floor in the shavings have blocked off under the nesting box but they find another place. I had put the laced eggs in the boxes but didn't help. Please HELP thank you.

Hi, I'm a new chicken owner

By Dion

Hi, I'm a new chicken owner raising 2 for the eggs. I bought a coop online that said it was for 1-2 chickens. I got them as week old chicks.. They would go in coop at night. when they got to be 8 mos old and much bigger, they stayed out all night roosting on a small table. I realized they were too big for the coop and only go in there to eat/drink water. I want them to be free range and have a large fenced in yard for them. Recently they started roosting on a low sturdy tree branch at night. It was still very warm. Now we are having a chilly snap & a few days of rain, they still roost in the tree branch. It's about 50deg at night & 60/day. I'm worried about them getting sick. They recently started laying & we love them.
they used to let us hold them & ride around on my shoulders, but now they won't let me near them & they are so fast when I have tried to catch them, I've used mealy worms as a bribe, but take off if I come near - although they follow me when I'm gardening. One can fly up to the roof & has gotten out so I need to trap her & clip her wings. Any ideas on how to get them to come to me?
Also we have lots of ivy over the fences and i only found their eggs when my dog was acting crazy on other side of fence - I found a pile of 18 eggs! After I removed them, they stopped laying in that spot & I can't find any others. Is that because of my smell in their 'nest'?
I'm need to build them a bigger coop & put in a heat lamp cuz I want them to keep laying - in the coop!
Can they get sick in this Sept. rain & lower temps?

one of my new hens layed eggs

By Bonnie currier

one of my new hens layed eggs she was sitting on them. I found her w 10 babys. 2 unhatched, 1half way but didn't get home intime to save, another shell broke but still had caseing around it so I left it,i brought the 10 babys in, I have red light, large box w shaveings ,starter food and water, one has pasty butt, I put him under warm water 4 times yesterday I did it again this morning poor thing has no feathers there now I placed bag balm on his back side anything else I should do?will he live? will other babys get sick from him?

Do hens practice on hatching

By Monse Jimenez

Do hens practice on hatching their first chicks? We let our hen lay 13 eggs and left them for her to hatch them. When it was about time. We found 3 little ones scattered dead. Then the hen did not sit on the rest. Even when we separated her from the rooster. (We thought the rooster had killed the chicks). What might have happened? We were so excited and then became discouraged. My husband is trying to incubate the rest of the eggs two days after the incident. I tell him it's worthless. What do you think?

when do the combs on r.

By sheri mcphee

when do the combs on r. island hens develop? some of mine have smsll, bright red combs and some seem very small and orangish looking. The chickens are 16 weeks old and seem very healthy

I am new to raising chickens.

By righlea

I am new to raising chickens. I have a hen that is just a 2 days shy of roosting for 21 days. She is being protective and won't let me get too close. I noticed a few egg shells under her but I saw no chicks. I was wondering will newborn chicks hide under mom or will they be active and make noise and move around a lot? This may seem like a silly question but there it is. Any advice or guidance is welcome. Thanx

We've had chicks for years

By bnr

We've had chicks for years today we went to water and feed and we heard chirping sounds. I'm pretty sure you should hear something n the first couple of days . Our hensare very pprotective also. Good luck

I have a about 2month old

By Rhonda talton

I have a about 2month old chick (not mine neighbor lets his rome and some born in my yard)3 weeks ago i rescured this young one from a hawk, she is ok except her right leg is affected she is finally walking but with a limp she does not scratch for food like the others what should i feed her? I have cracked corn that i feed my doves she eats that and i try to find her bugs under rocks and from the pool but not enough i need somethinoething easier i

My chicks are almost 5 months

By Sie Thompson

My chicks are almost 5 months old. At what age will I know if I have hens or roosters? I gave 6 various breeds.

Me and my fiancee was at a

By dorothy chaffee

Me and my fiancee was at a fair and my hubby to be got a good idea to buy these chicks the guy who sold them never told us what kind they are or what to feed them can you please help us I been just feeding them bread well toast then I crumble it up so fine for them and I do know there a little over 2weeks old the guy at least said

Toast isn't going to supply

By Peg Denton

Toast isn't going to supply much in nutritional terms. Go to your farm and garden store and get them medicated grower-starter. If you were told they were vaccinated, then they would get non-medicated. You can also purchase chick grit (the one for baby chicks), or put sand in their present home for them to eat. As long as they have sand or baby grit you can feed them greens from the yard or garden - just make sure they don't get any really long pieces that can get stuck in their craw. Good luck, and enjoy those babies!

Peg, You are a wonder! Thank

By Almanac Staff

Peg, You are a wonder! Thank you for being such a helpful and kind contributor to the Almanac community—especially to all those interested in raising chickens! Cheers, the OFA editors

I have 2.5 week old chicks

By Elizabeth Dauphinais

I have 2.5 week old chicks and found this week that one small chick was pecked to death on Saturday. All of her feathers from her back end were completely gone and her skin was exposed. This happened over a 4 hour period of time. We separated her out but she did not make it through the night. This morning (5 days later) We found a second one pecked to death as well. She was a bigger chick which is surprising. Her but was clearly pecked, but she did not have any feathers missing. Is there a reason why this is happening? what can I do to prevent losing any others in the same way? It is a bit devastating.

Chicks peck when over

By Peg Denton

Chicks peck when over crowded, and they'll peck at anything red.

Hi, I have four 11 week old

By Coraline

Hi, I have four 11 week old chicks. Only one of the four is a Rhode Island Red. She has started pulling feathers out of the others, and eating them! Please tell me what I should do!

Thank you,

Coraline

Get the Rhode Island Red away

By Peg Denton

Get the Rhode Island Red away from the rest of them. If she pecks a feather and one of them bleeds, they will peck the bleeding one to death.

I had a hen who was setting

By Amanda Miner

I had a hen who was setting on 7 eggs. 5 of them hatched just fine, but my husband noticed the other 2 only had small cracks in them. Rather than leaving them alone he decided to finish cracking the shells. One of them died a short time later, but the other one I have pretty much treated like a new born child the last 48 hours. I have became very fond of this Lil one and do notwant it to die. It will not eat on its own and only scoots around rather than walking. Can u please tell me what I can do to save my baby. This is very important to me. I will do anything I have to in order to keep it alive. U can call me 24/7 with any advice. I just don't want it to be to late. (573) 915-1179. Please help me ASAP.

She might be splay legged.

By Peg Denton

She might be splay legged. Look that up on the internet and treat accordingly.

I have six four week old

By Hey jack

I have six four week old chicks, and 35 2 week old chicks, would it be okay to put them together?

Yes, as long as there is room

By Peg Denton

Yes, as long as there is room for all of them together without crowding.

Hi, I have three week old

By Diana Love

Hi, I have three week old chicks, two americuanas and 1 polish. Just this week they started pecking at themselves. I noticed it started over the week with the the polish no longer having his cute tuft. Then as we observed them, we saw them almost obseeively pecking at their own under-wing, tails, etc. They don't seem to be pecking at each other, but instead at themselves. Are they naturally removing the downy fur? Am I not feeding them enough? Are they losing their baby feathers? This is scary!

I'm guessing feathers growing

By Peg Denton

I'm guessing feathers growing in is painful, so that could be what they're doing. But how could the polish peck his own tuft?

Did things work out? My chick

By Ianrl

Did things work out? My chick is two days old and has started pecking its abdomen/top of leg. Seems to be very irritated by it. I don't know what to do. It seems very lively in all other respects and is eating and drinking

If you put him in a clean

By Peg Denton

If you put him in a clean brooder area, it's doubtful he has lice or mites, but you should check if he doesn't stop pecking himself.

Bought four chicks on Easter

By KDuB

Bought four chicks on Easter (2014), one of the kids accidentally let a chick out and it was killed. I know you should not put chicks with older birds, but would it be okay to buy another young chick and keep it with the other four week old birds?

There is nothing wrong with

By Peg Denton

There is nothing wrong with trying. If you see the new one is distressed, you will have to move it out. So, you might want to get more than 1 if you feel it necessary.

I have a new born chick 9

By july

I have a new born chick 9 hours old. It is in a box with a light over it 100W. Trying to keep it at 90 degrees.
How long does it take for the chick to star opening its eyes and move around.
The head has dried yok on it will that take care of its self?

i just had a chix born

By mike clampit

i just had a chix born yesterday and he had problems comming out of his shell but i remember the chix' s eyes wer open and they were blinking while he was still in half of the shell

Please help!!! I am a 6th

By Pam Benedict

Please help!!! I am a 6th grade teacher with newly hatched baby chicks. One chick has a large bulge--perhaps an intestine protruding. How do I care for this chick?

Hi, I'm no expert but I have

By Lauren Simpkins

Hi, I'm no expert but I have 4 baby chicks who are showing that same bulge...my husband who has experience in raising chickens says they need grit or sand to help them digest their food because they don't have teeth. We have added some sand from our yard to their food and that seems to have helped...you can also buy grit from feed stores. Hope this helps!

Chicks only need baby grit or

By Peg Denton

Chicks only need baby grit or sand if they are eating something OTHER than chick feed. It can't hurt to give them a little, but they'll eat too much if you just leave it with them.

We are getting 4 one day old

By Judy Joyner

We are getting 4 one day old buff orpinginton chickens in 2 weeks. Love this board for all it's info. I've learned a lot form it. My question is, we also wanted to get 2 pullets so we don't have to wait till fall to start getting eggs. They will be the same breed but from what I've read here that might cause a problem when they are put together after feathering out. If we have to feed them separate, that won't be easy. What else should I think about before I decide to get the pullets?

We built a lightweight

By Peg Denton

We built a lightweight rectangular box about 2 feet high, covered the sides with hardware cloth, and made a removable top. The box went into the hen house, and when the babies feathered out, we moved them into the box. The hens had to jump on the box to get to their roost at night. The hens didn't really want anything to do with the babies. When the babies were too big for the box, we just took the top off. They were all familiar with each other by that time. We never had any trouble.

I read somewhere that by doing it this way, we had shown the hens that the babies were "lower in pecking order", so they had no need to fight each other.

Good luck!

I should make myself clearer

By Peg Denton

I should make myself clearer -- the chicks start in the brooder, then when they don't need supplemental heat (4-6 weeks, depending on the season) I move them into the hen house in their "growing pen", where they stay -- protected from the hens and other hazards of growing up by chicken wire and space-- until they are big enough and smart enough to fend for themselves.

Hi Judy, You can't put baby

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Judy,

You can't put baby chicks in with pullets until they are the same size. This usually takes five to six months. Until then, they need to have separate housing (and different food).

I have 10 straight run

By Nancy E.

I have 10 straight run Bantums. They are about 5 weeks old. How soon will I be able to tell which are roosters and which are hens?

When you first think you

By Peg Denton

When you first think you might have a rooster, you probably do. Did one of them start to grow a comb and none of the others did? It's probably a rooster. Did one grow wattles and the others didn't? Probably a rooster. Are 2 or 3 of them always belly bumping? Probably roosters. And then there is the crowing.

Hi Nancy, It takes several

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Nancy,

It takes several months. You can begin to tell when they start to crow. At first, it's quite comical, but becomes the old cocka-doodle-do eventually.

I have 6 baby chicken

By Mikester12

I have 6 baby chicken starting to have feathers. Every time I clean their bin there's a lot of their food, can I reuse the food that's in the bin or just throw it all in the refashion with the wood shave.

Hi Mikester, I would put it

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Mikester,

I would put it all in the compost.

I have had 4 chicks for about

By Tamara Skenandore

I have had 4 chicks for about a week. three of them are doing good but yesterday one of them starting panting or wheezing. doesn't eat or drink. I keep thinking he is going to die but the little thing is hanging in there. what can I do

Hi Tamara, Take the

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Tamara,

Take the coughing chick away from the others. It could be sick and might infect the others. It's not likely to make it anyway.

Im getting new baby chickens

By Vicki Del Toro

Im getting new baby chickens and I have three cats but I want to let them live outside cause they should Rome free what should I do?

Hi Vicki, You can't let

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Vicki,

You can't let baby chicks live outside until they fully feather out (about four to five weeks old). They need to be kept warm and protected. You also need to protect them from not only your cats, but many other predators. If you're talking about making your cats live outdoors, that would be fine as long as they are not declawed.

Hello , I have six baby

By Carol Deveno

Hello , I have six baby chicks and they are growing very fast. My concern is their behavior. they jump around at each other, flighty, and loud peeping. their brooder is a rabbit cage on legs. They have plenty of food, and water, warmth. They peep loudly and for long intervals. They are not friendly as my last batch of four. The red heat lamp is on at night and the sunny window during the day. I don't know what more to do for them.

Hi Carol, It's a bit hard

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Carol,

It's a bit hard for me to say since I can't see them, but they could be too warm (are they staying away from the heated spot?). Different breeds also act differently. They also may just be working out their pecking order--chicks usually do this quite quickly.

We have a baby chicken that

By Maria F. Bonner

We have a baby chicken that had fallen out of the nest yesterday. It was almost dead by the time we got to it. We brought it in the house and placed it under heat lamps all night to get its body temp back up. Today it does seem to be doing better however it is pretty wobbly. It does not move around as well as the other chicks. Can it be returned to its mother today??? We really need to know ASAP, THX. Maria

I should also say this baby

By Maria F. Bonner

I should also say this baby chick is only about 24 hours old. thx.

Hi Maria, I think that I

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Maria,

I think that I would wait a few days until the chick is a little less wobbly.

Thx so much for your reply.

By Maria F. Bonner

Thx so much for your reply. Ya the mother has moved the rest of them. She was not our chicken. she was a neighbors that came here and had them under our front steps. Now she has moved on. So looks like we are the parents of a baby chick. (OH GOODIE) LOL. Thx so much.

I had 25 four week old

By Teresa Durbin

I had 25 four week old chicks. They were overcrowded in the brooder box so we placed them in the coop. No other chickens are in the coop just the baby chicks. I provided heat lamps, water, and a hanging feeder. They mush have discovered the hanging feeder last night. Nine of them were found inside the feeder dead this morning. I will now be placing a lid on the feeder. Did they all kill themselves trying to get out? I have never had this happen before.

Hi Teresa, I'm not sure

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Teresa,

I'm not sure what kind of feeder you have, but if you had this experience, I would'nt use it with baby chicks anymore. Baby chicks do sometimes kill each other without meaning to--they pile up on top of each other. So sorry for your loss. Good luck with the rest of them!

Celeste

I'm so sad right now. We are

By kcrosse

I'm so sad right now. We are 1st time chicken owners and last night, we had a casualty. We had 5 (7-week-old) and 1 (5-week-old) chicks in our backyard coop that were as happy, friendly, and trusting as can be. We let them out to free range and our neighbor's dog dug under the fence and killed 3 of my girls. This was in the middle of the afternoon! One of them is injured, one is okay (just traumatized) and one is still missing. We also have 2 (2-week-old) baby chicks that we keep indoors for the time being. I am keeping the injured (7-week-old) separate until she heals, but I put the other older chick with the babies (indoors). The little 2 week old chicks seem to be pecking at the bigger chick! Not, too badly, I'm keeping an eye on them all.
My question is this: What kind of arrangements should I be making? Do I put them all outside in the coop now? or do i keep them indoors for a while longer? I want to go get more chicks, but the ones at the store are 5 days old and would need to be separate, but for how long? should I even bother getting more chicks? I'm so confused and heartbroken.

Hi kcrosse, I don't know

By Celeste Longacre

Hi kcrosse,

I don't know where you live, but here in the northeast we keep our chickens in a warm place with a heat lamp until they feather out (about four to six weeks). They are also very "flock" oriented with their established pecking order and all. If you need to add new chicks to the established ones, it's best to do it at night. If they all wake up together, it works out better. We also put hardware cloth (not a cloth at all) on the bottom of our fence (about four inches up) and out about eighteen inches under a few inches of dirt. That way, anything that tries to dig under the fence is stopped from doing so. Ask at your local hardwars store what hardware cloth is. Good luck!

I can't seem to find anywhere

By Dottie Atwater

I can't seem to find anywhere how MUCH to feed baby chicks. I was leaving food (and water) available for them all the time, but some would get so fat that their legs would splay out and they couldn't walk. Then someone told me that their food supply should be restricted to about an hour a couple of times a day. Does anyone have an answer to how much to feed baby chicks - and if feeding too much could cause the splaying of the feet/legs.

Baby chicks eat a "starter

By Almanac Staff

Baby chicks eat a "starter feed." At this age, they can eat as much as their body needs; do not regulate.
Some starters will used for 4 weeks before moving onto grower; some combine a starter and grower, so you need to look at the feed information for more details.

which chicks have tail

By /Roger Goble

which chicks have tail feathrs first, the pullets or roasters?

Never noticed a difference in

By Peg Denton

Never noticed a difference in speed of tail feather growth.

I have three 2-year old

By scott kren

I have three 2-year old chickens and three 3-day old chicks.
-all of my older chickens have tail feathers

I have 4 day old chicks and 3

By Herbert Dressler

I have 4 day old chicks and 3 week old chicks together so far no problem in 19 days I am due to receive a few more day old chicks. My brooder is fairly large. would there be a problem adding these day old chicks to the brooder after their travel day recovery.

I have 4 day old chicks and 3

By Herbert Dressler

I have 4 day old chicks and 3 week old chicks together so far no problem in 19 days I am due to receive a few more day old chicks. My brooder is fairly large. would there be a problem adding these day old chicks to the brooder after their travel day recovery.

Never again will I have

By Robin Roland

Never again will I have chicks shipped! I had 18 chicks delivered the latter part of May. Silkies and Orpingtons. I have since lost all but 5. This is not my first experience of raising chicks but is my first experience of receiving shipped chicks. Every silkie I had has died and I really have no idea why. I use the Brensea eco brooder so they stay warm. I supply clean water and feed. I am wondering if the chicks could have cocci? I do see some red tinge to their poop. But it is not runny. They have never seemed to be bright eyed and active like all other chicks I have raised. Any suggestions of anything I could give them to insure the remaining 5 orps survive?

I just hatched a batch of

By Larry Millr

I just hatched a batch of bantum chicks, dates ranged from 23 to 25 days. last one out seems to be having trouble withone of its wings, it hangs down lower than the other wing and has trouble balancing and getting off its back. it is 2 days old. Any suggestions on if I should try to keep it alive and if so, how to treat the wing.

when raising a flock of

By Vicki Muller

when raising a flock of Chickens mixed ages, What type of feed do you use for the Flock?????

I have a small flock of Rhode

By Penny Scruggs

I have a small flock of Rhode Island Reds and have 2 questions about them, 1 How can I remove the spurs from the rooster, he is a year old now, the second is how can I get the hens to set on eggs to hatch them, they lay well then ignore the clutch

Hi Penny. I am also raising

By smurfystephy

Hi Penny. I am also raising road island reds. I have read that they are one of the breeds of chicken that have had the urge to brood almost completely breed out of them. frankly I was just as happy because my other two hens almost killed themselves not eating last time they went broody. good luck though, nothing is cutter then baby chicks

I used a dremal and the round

By victoriawalker

I used a dremal and the round disk and as gyou are cutting it off it cartarises so that it doesn't bleed. Takes just a couple of seconds and no mess.

In order to remove the spurs

By jhon doe

In order to remove the spurs take pliers or two fingers and just simpally twist off the spurs. when spurs are removed put bag balm or some kind aof salve. b leeding should stop in a day or so. In regard to the hens you cant make them go broody its somthing they do on their own.
ps. rhode islands dont go broody often get a silkie to brood chicks or by an incubator

Hi Penny, I don't know the

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Penny,
I don't know the answer to your first question. However, I do know that certain breeds are better for roosting (getting the eggs to hatch) than others.

roosting is what chickens do

By Peg Denton

roosting is what chickens do at night.

brooding is getting chicks to

By chicka

brooding is getting chicks to hatch from eggs.

Some breeds are more inclined to it than others. With the more egg productive birds, broodiness was a trait that was bred out.

You can still find many good brooding breeds. :)

help, I have 4 baby chicks

By Stampingranny

help, I have 4 baby chicks that were hatched in the wild. Have no idea how old they are. Mother was killed last night. She had been scratching for them. Will they eat chick food? I have caught them and penned them. Now what?

starter feed.

By Peg Denton

starter feed.

starter feed.

By Peg Denton

starter feed.

Hi Stamingranny, They should

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Stamingranny,
They should eat chick food.

my husband was wondering when

By yevette clark

my husband was wondering when to give young chickens "scratch"... (i think) they are about a mo old and are "red" breed... thank you!

Scratch is chicken candy. A

By Peg Denton

Scratch is chicken candy. A little goes a long way. I usually wait until about 16 weeks to let them get their first taste.

Hi Yvette, I would wait until

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Yvette,
I would wait until the chickens are about 5 months old before giving them "scratch". Be careful not to give them too much, too, as it will cause their shells to be quite thin if they get too much.

Hi...I have 8 healthy Barred

By BJW

Hi...I have 8 healthy Barred Rocks that are 12 days old & growing very fast & already attempting to fly. At this point, they are going to outgrow their brooder very soon. When can I move them to a coop? Can I make the move as long as I control the temp properly? I live in the Desert Southwest so it is already in the 90s outside. Thank you.

Hi BJW, The important thing

By Celeste Longacre

Hi BJW,
The important thing with very young chicks is to keep the temperature right. If you can keep them warm at night, I see no problem with moving them.

Have been raising golden

By A.Johnson

Have been raising golden comet & black austerlop chickens for a few years, & decided to try Rainbow pullets this year. After the first week following shipment & loosing 2, the rest are doing great! Eating & growing well. What I can't seem to recall, is how old chicks should be before you can touch them? Mine are about 3 weeks, & their combs & tail feathers are just comming in. Their not afraid to inspect my hand when I re-fill their food.

You can touch your chicks at

By Peg Denton

You can touch your chicks at any time! When they are growing in feathers it might hurt them a little bit, but just be gentle.

I have a mom chicken that

By ondraya

I have a mom chicken that keeps pecking me when I pick up the babies. What should I do?

You could bring some tasty

By Peg Denton

You could bring some tasty treat like peas or fresh corn out for her. While she is eating you get to touch the babies.

Hi A. Johnson, I don't think

By Celeste Longacre

Hi A. Johnson,
I don't think that there is a problem with touching baby chicks. If you want them to be friendly, it might be a good idea to handle them.

Hello i wanted to no if i can

By Vercheta

Hello i wanted to no if i can put my baby chicks that my wife recieved from a coworker outside with my other grown chickens. Will the big chicks hurt the babys

Hi Vercheta, You need to wait

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Vercheta,
You need to wait until the chicks are about the same size as the grown chickens. Then, the best way to integrate them is to put them in the big coop at night. If they all wake up together, they will be fine. Otherwise, the big chicks can hurt the babies.

We would advise that you keep

By Almanac Staff

We would advise that you keep them separate until the baby chicks are bigger and less vulnerable. At minimum, separate them for a couple of weeks so they can see each other, but not touch each other. This is also safe to ensure no sickness passes between them. Some people claim they don't have problems, but it all depends on the breed, age, and other factors, so play it safe.

I bought 8 bantum chicks at a

By Rjustice

I bought 8 bantum chicks at a local "supply" store about 1 1/2 weeks ago . they have all died (from something that I haven't been able to diagnose yet, because of the lack of symptoms) except for 1 tiny little guy, the 1 seemed weak for a few days ( when the others were sick)but when the others were all gone the 1 seemed to get better with the exception of one problem... now that it is getting feathers on its wings, they are all turning outward instead of laying smooth against it's body. what can be causing this? is it because it was sick or maybe the breed it is? ( im not sure of the breed, I bought them out of the "assorted" bin)Could it still be sick? im NOT new to raising chicks (im the proud owner of buff orphs. & sum old English bantums).and I don't want to risk my other birds if this chick could still be sick. I have NEVER seen this issue before, & would be greatful for any advice or help that you can offer.

It is hard to diagnose

By Almanac Staff

It is hard to diagnose without knowing more about their appearance and conditions. Here are a few thoughts: Is it possible that they were not getting enough water and food at the supply store? Is your brooder too hot? The chicks like it less than 90 degrees or you'll see them flatten themselves out. For the weak chick left, try electrolyte water or Pedialyte for a few days. In terms of the wing feathers turning outward, it might be a 'frizzle' breed and this is normal.

We have begun to raise some

By Smartymarty

We have begun to raise some chick and a few of them seem to be sitting down and not moving. It seems like their legs are out to one side and they are not getting to the food or water! I noticed it with one and now another has started doing it! I have been using the medicated chick food and cleaning their water trough daily! Getting concerned I will lose them.

It's hard for us to diagnose.

By Almanac Staff

It's hard for us to diagnose. Some chicks are a bit slow in figure out how to eat and drink. You could try to separate those chicks--take them out of the brooder with everything they need, of course -- a heat lamp, food on the paper towel (no shavings), and water. Make sure they get vitamin drops and a shot of electrolytes. And then put back in the brooder for 15 minutes a few times a day for a few days until they adjust.

how hot do baby chicks like

By j c b

how hot do baby chicks like it

See the temperature

By Almanac Staff

See the temperature information on this page.

@tim munson, we just got some

By e.smith

@tim munson, we just got some chicks and I was reading up on how to raise them.what I think is happening to urs is called "pasting up". Its fatal.Hope this helps.

http://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-care/chapter-4-caring-for-baby-chicks.aspx

I am trying to rase chicks

By tim munson

I am trying to rase chicks but thay are dying on me. I keep clean water in there waterer, I keep there heat lamp on 24 7 I feed them the recameded feed but I still lose one about every other day, the only thing I have noticed that is differant from the ones I have rased in the past is that this batch always have poop on stuck to there buts. am I doing something worng that can cause this, is this a sign of something that could be killing them. or is this just normal for chicks.

HI!!! The chicks having dried

By chicka

HI!!!
The chicks having dried feces on their butts does happen often, but is not a good thing. 'pasty butt' Can be fatal if not dealt with. Every year I get a few with pasty butt, I always do daily butt checks for the first few weeks.

soaking the dirty butt with warm wet towel often looses up the poop. Try not too pull it as it is often stuck to feathers and can bleed if not careful.
make sure to dry and warm so not to get a chill. (also fatal)

This is from the type of

By DaisyJane

This is from the type of shavings you are using.

I have never heard of

By Peg Denton

I have never heard of shavings causing pasty butt. Keep their butts clean and as dry as possible. Give them a little baby chick grit. And do NOT pull anything off their butts -- just gently wash it off.

Hi Tim, This is called

By Celeste Longacre

Hi Tim,
This is called "pasty-butt" and it does kill the birds. Keep a watch out for it and wash it off with warm water (sometimes you have to soak them for a bit) & the birds will be fine.

How old does the chicks have

By awhile

How old does the chicks have to be before u can take the light off of them

The baby chicks need to have

By Celeste Longacre

The baby chicks need to have their full feathers and the weather needs to be warm. So, this can happen at various ages.

I have some 6 week old baby

By Linda C

I have some 6 week old baby chicks and they love to peck each others feathers and eat them. What is wrong, do they need something special that they may not be getting in the complete grower feed. Thanks

They should be getting all

By Peg Denton

They should be getting all they need from their feed. It's normal for them to find something and run around with it. It's even normal for them to eat whatever they pick up.

They should be getting all

By Peg Denton

They should be getting all they need from their feed. It's normal for them to find something and run around with it. It's even normal for them to eat whatever they pick up.

They need more protein

By mstricer

They need more protein

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