Raising Chickens 101: Raising Baby Chicks

By The Old Farmer's Almanac
Nov 19, 2018
Baby Chicks


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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, 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 baby 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 92°F 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 out 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.

Tips for a Happy Chicken Coop

  • If you don’t yet have one, here’s how to build your own chicken 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.

More of Raising Chickens 101

See more of our beginner’s guide to raising chickens:

About This Blog

Interested in raising chickens? Here’s our Raising Chickens 101 series—a beginner’s guide in 6 chapters. We’ll talk about how to get started raising chickens, choosing a chicken breed, building a coop, raising chicks, chicken care, collecting and storing eggs, and more. The author, 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!

Reader Comments

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3 chicks?

I would like to have a very small flock.
Will 2 or 3 chickens work ?

How many chickens for a flock?

Yes. I’d say three hens. Chickens are social animals, and need to have at least one or two other chickens around.  Plus, it’s easy to put together a cheap and basic chicken coop for three hens.  Make sure you check your city permits. In many cities, you can have three hens without a permit.

This assumes you’re getting chicks for egg laying, not breeding or meat. As a basic rule of thumb, get three chickens per two members of your household.   Keep in mind the space. Indoors, each bird needs a minimum of 3 square feet of indoor space (including 1 foot of roosting space), and 10 square feet of outdoor space.

Hope this is helpful!

question about broody hen

I have hens and no rooster. One of the hens has become broody. She is sitting on eggs but they will never hatch. Should I buy a few chicks and slip under her or will this broodiness past if I keep gathering the eggs? The other hens are laying in her box. Thanks for any insight to this.

broody hen

Hi, in my experience, if you put live chicks under her there is no guarantee she will accept them. Better to get some fertile eggs to put under her. If she has been sitting a while, i.e. weeks you might want to wait til the next time she goes broody. If you do put fertile eggs under her, I would mark them with a marker pen in case the other hens also lay their egg in her nest - you want to remove those ones each day. Good luck.


We have a project at school to raise chicks however the light we use is color white not red. Is it fine?

red vs. white light

A white heat lamp will work fine, but a red one is more likely to reduce restlessness (a bright light at night hinders sleep) and pecking. Some people have had no trouble with white heat lamps, but others find that red ones make the chicks calmer. It might also depend on the breed of chicken that you are raising. Both lamp types require careful setup and monitoring, for the safety of the birds and to prevent overheating of bedding and other materials.

30 weeks but not laying eggs

Hi I've got chicken layers they are 30 weeks old but they are not laying eggs. Please advice me about when they are going to lay eggs .

Laying Eggs

Hens typically start laying at about six months old, but their laying may be curtailed by the winter season. They are influenced by the hours of light in a day, so the short winter days may discourage them from laying. Yours may start laying in the spring, when the days start to lengthen again. 

If you're not already, feed

If you're not already, feed them laying crumbles every morning. My hens will not lay if I don't feed them the crumbles. And if I stop feeding them crumbled, they always stop laying.


___123___Raising Chickens 101: Raising Baby Chicks | The Old Farmer's Almanac___123___

baby chicks

I have a hen that is sitting and she has hatched a chick, should I take the babies out and feed and water them or should I let her take care of them.

baby chick care

Either is an option, although in either case, you’ll need to provide appropriate food, water, etc. If you decide to care for the chick yourself, let the hen take care of it until it is dry and fluffy (don’t handle newly born chicks when wet). You’ll need to give the chick food specific for this stage, have water available at all times using a waterer designed for chicks so that they do not drown, and provide warmth at the appropriate temperature, such as with a heat lamp. Keep the chick sheltered and away from drafts. In addition to the advice in the above article on chick care, you might check various Cooperative Extension publications, such as the following, and/or ask your local poultry equipment/feed supplier.

Hope this helps!

Day old chicks, NO HEAT LAMP or DIRECT LIGHT in booder!

I'm an old time farmer, I have 134 laying hens. Just had 19 hens sit on 12 eggs each, RIR, NH, BLK & RED SEX LINKS. every egg hatched. I used to use the red heat lamp that are popular and cause fires and bird loss to often, you can use a cardboard box, plastic tub or a metal trof for goats water, (My Favorite) it is narrow 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. we place heating pads under half our brooders (if they get to warm they can move to cooler ground, Lined with paper towel. we have only used them on low or medium heat. the radiant heat coming up from the floor will make your chicks VERY COMFORTABLE, especially when shipped in. as long as you have shown them the water, They are good to grow! the radiant heat coming up from the floor makes them so happy, heat will range between 79 to 83 degrees. YES, the temps are correct. with a soft light overhead no direct light on them. on at 6:am and off at 11:pm with total darkness for 7 hours. We started using the heating pad method years ago, In my new book "Back to Basics Raising the Perfect Poultry" coming out in July. instructions on the basics of raising the best organic laying hens, egg selling, chick hatching & raising. Natural remedies & cures along with intensive knowledge on treating injuries. I hope this has helped a few people make life easier when raising very happy chicks that really don't chirp much because they are so comfortable! They will also love you if you feed them live meal worms from Day one of life. We also raise organic meal worms for all our birds on the farm. Good Luck.


Monday night one had a pip now today, Wednesday cracked pinky size, Tuesday night another had pip it just hatched a few minutes ago. Do I help the one from Monday?

baby chicks

I just bought 18 baby chicks different kinds of egg layers, but my grandson wanted 2 bantam chicks. when I put the bantam chicks in with the other chicks they all started picking on the two bantam chicks leg. Their legs are black is the only reason I can come up with ,I now have put the bantam in another tote. Can you raise bantam chicks with the other one? and if not will they pick on them when they are older. If you can't raise them together I need to take them back to the store.

My Chick's leg is injured!

Today I got two chicks, one of them was short and a bit overweight. When we got to my house it had trouble walking for some reason, and it kept sliding around. We saw a piece of food on it's foot so we cleaned it off, but it still has trouble walking. We put the both of them in a bin and put them on the stove (it wasn't on) and turned the heat thing on (not the stove, the thing above it). It's gotten much quieter but we don't know if it was just because the Chick was cold or if it's really injured. I think it's sick or something because it's legs are kind of flimsy, and we can't go to a vet. Any ideas on how to fix it?

You could try isolating it

You could try isolating it for a while and see if it gets better. Some times they do.

feed the chicks

my chick is 3weeks old... can i feed him rice? a cooked rice and not cook?

You should really feed young

You should really feed young chicks with chick feed. It’s a balanced feed so it offers complete nutrition. Never feed birds uncooked rice. It could kill them.

5 week old deformed chick

My friend has 5 week old chicks, one of those chicks has a deformed beak. That chick is much smaller then the rest of the chicks and he is being picked on and isolated away from the rest of the group. My question is will that chick be okay if I take it away from the rest of the group to his own space?

Deformed beak

Last year we had a chick with a deformed scissor-beak, and she was thinner and smaller because she had trouble eating and drinking. She was also picked on. I read that some minor scissor-beaks can apparently be trimmed, but our chick's beak was too deformed. Our chicken vet recommended putting her down. I don't know whether that's the sort of deformity your friend's chick has, but that was our situation.

Deformed chicken beaks don’t

Deformed chicken beaks don’t usually change. The best thing to do is to put the bird down so that it doesn’t have to suffer.

Rice is ok

Not letting chickens eat uncooked rice because it will harm them is an urban myth. We have always fed our farm chickens uncooked rice in my 53 years of life and never lost one chicken because of it. Birds, including chickens, eat uncooked rice in the wild all the time. People assume rice swells up and kills birds, this is simply not so

do chicks really need a light?

i have a question, my mom wont let me buy a brooder or even lend me her light. what can i do with my chicks? is it possible that it may die?

It is possible that your

It is possible that your chicken will die from getting too cold so keep them in a warm area. To make a brooder just clean out an old Rubbermaid container and put down pine shavings and find some light/warmth source. Best of luck

Lighting for Chick's

Yes they need lighting or they will freeze find a way to provide heat. Just like you need a heater when it's cold

It depends on your weather.

It depends on your weather. Chickens actually have a harder time with the heat than with the cold. They have feathers that they can fluff and they sleep on their feet. Baby chicks do need a heat lamp, though. I live in New Hampshire where it does get quite cold and I never give the chicks any extra heat.

Your mom

why don't you put your mom's bed outside when its cold or you can call me and i'll call animal control on your mother. knowing that the chicks will freeze sounds like animal abuse.


Our hen hatched out 9 babies we have them separate from the bigger hens but I need to know when to move them into the hen house due to they are out at night with the mother and the temps are dropping low like to 19 degrees tonight


It’s time for those little munchkins to go inside!

My hen hached a chick do I

My hen hached a chick do I need to keep it away from the older birds? She won't let me get near her brooding spot and I only heard it no sighting yet

Bringing new chicks in later.

Does anyone know if I was to bring in a new chick as an addition to my current chicks. Would they accept them, how would they act?

introducing a new chick to the flock

By the time you introduce the chick, she should be at least 6 weeks old in order to be able to defend herself. Preferably, the chicks are all about the same size. After quarantine: Start out by having the chick nearby but do not give the flock physical access to the new chick; perhaps use the same space but put a chicken wire between the newbie and the other chicks let them figure each other out.  Then, many folks advise setting the new chick into the same space when all the chicks are sleeping. Put out some food to distract the chicks if they’re getting peckish or mean. Perhaps add some obstacles like sticks and weeds and other distractions. Note that it will take a week or so for the chicks to adjust to a new chick and the “pecking order.” If one chick gets especially aggressive, you may have to separate her for a while.

heat lamps for chicks

I am wondering how many weeks we need to keep a heat lamp on our chicks? Mine are about 3 weeks old. Not really sure.

It is 90 degrees outside today, so I took them outside for a little "fieldtrip"

heat for chicks

You only need the temperature to be 90 to 95 degrees in the hottest area (not everywhere) in the first week, and then decrease the heat by 5 degrees each week until the chicks have their feathers. This is about 5 to 8 weeks. Then they’re ready to transition to outside.

Baby chicks

I have three i hatch they are one week three days doing great. My concern is we don't have ac in our home. It's been like 85 - 92 . Do they have to have the heat lamp still? It's hot so I turned it off. I know they need heat but it's like a heat sauna in my bathroom and I can't turn the fan on them because I don't want them to get chilled from fan. what should I do

Killing baby bannis roosters 7 days old

The question is should you kill a 7 day old bannis rooster just because he fought with another one his on age. Isn't that a little harsh.

Killing baby roster

Don't kill it, better yet give it away or seperate it.


We recently bought 11 chicks, they're going on 4 and 5 weeks old. This morning when I checked on them, I noticed that a couple of the chicks kept pecking at another one so much that her tail feathers were bleeding. I separated the chick that was being pecked at along with another chick that doesn't peck at her for the time being. But I was wondering if there's any tricks or recommendations you have to get them to stop pecking at her so that I can put them all back together?

Overweight chicks

I have 14 California White 5 week old chicks in the enclosed pen. 12 of them are doing just fine but two are so fat they have a hard time walking. They lay in front of the food trough and eat all day, and it shows.
Since they don't look very healthy and losing feathers was wondering if I can correct this or will they eventually eat themselves to death?

We’re just going to hazard

We’re just going to hazard guess here, but it sounds as if you have meat birds. Are you sure you got what you expected?  Lots of time stores mess up and you need to return.

A Cornish X grows super fast and they do not live long. They go the freezer at only 6 to 8 weeks of age. They lie down a lot. These chicks are naturally going to eat more and get “fat.”

If it’s indeed an egg layer, then perhaps you want to just allow them access to the food 12 hours a day. And be sure you are feeing them the right food.

Please can you tell me how to

Please can you tell me how to raise a chick I have no idea whatsoever?

I live in a neighborhood and

I live in a neighborhood and I don't have a coop or anything. I am planning on getting a baby chick. It will be a week or 2 old. If i get a cardboard box put newspaper, water and food in it for the chick will it be fine? Also can I just use a lamp to warm the chicks? And can i keep it in my bedroom?


That will be find but your going to have to get you a coup. You need to check your city's laws on Poultry most places require you to have a key and it has to be 100 feet away from your neighbors and that is fine you need to get a box put it in your room put a heat 250 W lamp on him that's red make sure they have access to food and water

Chick breeds?

Does anyone know what breed the chicks will take after if you have a mixed flock? My rooster is a polish bantam but most of my hens are all different breeds...

(Wild) chicks

Curious. I have a very old Neighbor...he has tons of roosters and hens, he just throws out their food and they eat, and live in the trees they have no real shelter. a hen came into our yard had 8 babies and after 3 weeks left them, we put them in our old coupe with food and water. Are they okay to leave without a heat source in 60 degree weather? We don't have an extension cord to reach that far in our back yard.

Heat for Chickens

These are truly free-range chickens! Chickens do indeed live on tree branches in the wild. You should indeed provide heat until chicks are well feathered. Chickens do not survive cold temperatures.If it’s less than less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit, egg production slows down or stops. Temperatures of about 10 degrees will probably lead to frozen combs or toes. 


Even if these chickens are free-range, they are not truly wild. Move the chicks into a cardboard box filled with pine shavings and they’ll need water and a heat lamp. Baby chicks require an air temperature of 95 degrees, the second week 90 degrees, and so on–going down by 5 degrees per week until they’re ready to transition to “outside”. To keep them warm, most folks use a heat lamp to keep them toasty and happy. The heat lamp ideally emits 250-watt infrared heat. More information is provided in the Raising Chickens series.

Chicks 3 weeks old

They're going to freeze find a way to provide heat. Connect multiple extension cords to get the length, or talk with neighbor.

bay chicks

Hi, wonder if you can give me an answer..my baby chicks seem to fly into one another and then kinda chest butt..is this playing..they seem to be having fun..I never saw this with my other chicks..it is actually funny to watch..

Chicks Bumping each other

If you get an answer lete know. My 3 week old chickens seem to do the same thing, they will fly at each other and bump chests. I can only think that those are the male's?
I am worried I only have male's out of 14 chicks I bought straight run!

We lost our hen and now need to raise her 9 chicks by hand-HELP.

We had a wonderful hen and she was killed by a neighbor dog when her chicks were 9 days old. We were able to safely relocate the babies to a cage last night and will now raise them by hand until they are able to join the flock. Right now they are understanbly very scared. Any recommendations or advice? I am retired so am able to work with them daily to help them along.

orphaned chicks

Keep the chicks warm in a brooder placed in a sheltered location away from drafts. This could be a brooder purchased from a local feed store or something as simple as a cardboard box with sides that are about 1-½ feet high. For up to 12 chicks, a box 2’ x 2’ would work. Place screen or wire mesh on top. if desired. For bedding, provide two inches of shredded paper towels (the first week); you can switch to pine shavings (do not use cedar) or similar approved bedding after. Replace with clean bedding as needed. The brooder box should be warmed by a poultry heat lamp (secure this lamp so that it is not accessible to the chicks nor touching the box or filler). Use a thermometer to check the temperature often, and make sure there are slightly cooler areas that the chicks can retreat to (test the temperature of this setup before placing the chicks in the brooder). The first 7 days after hatching, the temperature should be between 90 and 95F. Each week, raise the heat lamp a little higher, lowering the temperature about 5 degrees, until eventually it reaches room temperature (week 6 would be around 65F, for example). Monitor the chicks: if they bunch together and cheep, it may indicate that they are cold; if they are scattered and have beaks open and/or are panting, they are too warm. Provide a chick feeder (obtained from a feed store) filled with feed appropriate for chicks, and water in a water dish appropriate for chicks; keep clean and filled. In general, you can move chicks from a brooder to a coop after about 6 to 8 weeks, depending on their development, the temperature outside, whether you have other hens/chicks, etc.

When to put the chick's with the rest of the flock?

We have six Era browns that are 4-5 weeks old.. when should they be moved over to the chicken coop with the big chickens?
We were thinking of putting them in a smaller cage inside the big coop?
Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You.

Baby chicks

I have the same question, did you get an answer? If you do please contact me and let me know. Thankyou

Sick baby chicks


Not sure if you or anyone can help. A preschool was able to take in chick eggs and have them hatch. Chick number 10 was the first out but wasn't eating or drinking and seemed sick. We took him home and are trying to feed him and teach him to peck the food on his own. We were able to get one or two drops of sugar water in him but he still isn't eating much. We're new at this and want to help him grow and get stronger. Do you have any advice for me?

Please see backyardchickens

Please see backyardchickens.com/a/raising-your-baby-chicks to find tips about feeding and taking care of chicks.

Help you

All I know is your supposed to dip the beack in the water and let it up

Re: seperation

My hens are sitting on their eggs. When the chicks are born do they need to be separated from the rest of the clock? I have 9 hens and 3 roosters

Are you getting chicks from

Are you getting chicks from your own hen? Many folks separate the new chickens and their mama from the flock to avoid dead chicks. Until they are about 8 weeks or older. Otherwise, other adults may peck the chicks and hurt them, plus you want to avoid disease.

Appreciation and inquiry

Thanks for posting this
please how do we make the feeds?

food for baby chicks

For baby chickens, you buy a special food called “crumbles” that’s made for them. They are only feed this chicken starter or mash. If you run out, you can give them a hard-boiled egg that’s crumbled up.

Raísing chicks

How long do I have to wait to take chicks Away from hen

The mama hen will usually let

The mama hen will usually let you know when the chicks are ready to be moved. She will take goood care of them and protect them from the other hens during the first weeks. After 4 to 5 weeks you’ll see that the chicks are more independent and ready to be on their own.

Eggs from neighbor with no training

I have a neighbor with many chickens and many roosters. They are mixed with ducks and geese too. They wanted to give me eggs but they don't have any training or any vet visits. How safe are the eggs

Egg safety

It’s important you feel that any eggs come from a clean, hygenic environment with water and food replaced daily and freshly cleaned and disinfected feeders and houses. Though eggs are usually well-protected, there could be problems related to Salmonella or harmful bacteria. 

Golden Comets

My 1 year old golden comets are becoming increasingly aggressive when I go outside in the yard. They are free range during the day. I walk outside and they come running over to me then peck my legs or jump up at me. I don't know what to do? I have become afraid of them. Any suggestions?

Where can I buy chicks to raise but I want meat chicken not egg

Hello was wondering where can I buy chicks to raise ...I am in Toronto but I can get them here or up north in north bay erea any idea? I want meat chicken

Excited to get started

Excited to get started raising hens for eggs. Plan on having 5 different breeds and getting them 1-2 days after hatch. I plan to keep in my garage with temperature regulated. I read that I should put 4 inches of shavings. Should they just poop on that or should there be a screen for the feces to drop away from them. Their coop will have a screen bottom that keeps their floor clean and I can clean the pull out under the screen. I have a 3 x 3 foot counter area by an east facing window for sun a fresh air. Just wondering what should I use to house them for 5 weeks and will this size be adequate for the 5 weeks? Thanks

What size dimensions is good

What size dimensions is good for 12 chicks. I don't want to overcrowd or have it be too big either?

During the warmer months can

During the warmer months can newly hatched chicks stay under their mother to grow or will I need to set up a brooder.? Thanks in advance for any advice.

You can leave the chicks with

You can leave the chicks with the mother but it will only last 4 to 8 weeks. Usually, it's the mother hen who wants to "wean" them and get back to her flock. In warm weather, you don't really need a heat lamp, but get a secure pen and chick starter until they're 20 weeks old.

I am planning on buying some

I am planning on buying some baby chicks (4 or 5 weeks old?)from Farm and Home. We have a glass aquarium and light not in use and I was wondering if this would be okay for them in the beginning. If not, what would I ask for at the store?


Depends on how big the

Depends on how big the aquarium is. We just bought 6 baby chicks a week old on Sunday. They were yellow and fluffy some had a few feathers coming in. Now, three days later, they are no longer bright yellow but turning tan and brown and some have half of their feathers in. They eat like pigs. I keep my in a clear plastic tub with a screen over the top. I just bought another bigger tub this afternoon because they are starting to spread their wings and try to fly and I don't like them being crowded. I like to have them have lots of room. They grow extremely fast. So the aquarium will not last long at all if it's small. The clear tubs are nice cause they don't cost alot and I reuse them for decorations and other things.

Chick Habitat

After only two days our four chicks were almost too crowded in the plastic tub we had them in. I went to a thrift store and picked up a used play pen for $8. I disinfected it, rinsed and dried it out in the sun. We put in a thin masonite floor and covered with pine shavings. They were so much happier and we can sleep at night not worrying about them fighting or flying out.

i want to start business with

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

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

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?

Hi there, I have had chickens

Hi there, I have had chickens now for many years for eggs, as well as meat. I must say that just 2 chickens for eggs is not much! Unless you do not eat a whole lot of eggs! Most people that I know do not feed their chicken well enough to get even one egg per chicken a day.
You must feed your chicks a varied diet, as well as the layer hen feed. Also, I feed mine a combination of layer hen feed, or layer crumbles, cracked corn, with oyster shell, and grit mixed in. And, I feed them other left overs from the kitchen, just no potato peels, as they are not good for them. When I clean out my refrigerator, I feed it to my chickens, as slightly old deli meat, moldy cheese, and old left over food is just fine. My chickens eggs are so tasty that the folks I sell them to say they are the best they have EVER tasted! Of course you can also buy some vitamins, with probiotics as I do to put in the water to keep them healthy. Never had a sick chick yet! Mealy worms and other treats can upset their tummys, keep them to a minimum. In the winter where I live in Southern Oregon, I must keep some heat lamps on them at night and when the temp drops. We have them in a nice big 10 foot by 10 foot home made house, that is 8 ft high. They like to roost, and this makes them happy. I fear for your chickens getting eaten by a neighborhood cat, or predator bird, as this happens here, if my chickens are not in an enclosed pen.
You can make a nice yard that has chicken wire all around it so they are safe, and can peck in the ground.
Good luck, there are tons of info out there, do so research!
Debbie :)

one of my new hens layed eggs

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?

The good thing is if they do

The good thing is if they do not make it they make good soup even one or two day old chicks!

Good Luck

Do hens practice on hatching

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

A couple ways would be,

A couple ways would be, roosters start crowing anywhere from 2.5 months to 4 months of age. Hens start laying at around 5 months.

Me and my fiancee was at a

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

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

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

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

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

Hi, I have four 11 week old

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,


Get the Rhode Island Red away

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

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.

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

I have six four week old

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

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

Hi, I have three week old

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!

Did things work out? My chick

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

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.

I'm guessing feathers growing

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?

Bought four chicks on Easter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Hi Judy, You can't put baby

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).

We built a lightweight

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

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.

I have 10 straight run

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?

Hi Nancy, It takes several

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.

When you first think you

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.

I have 6 baby chicken

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

Hi Mikester,

I would put it all in the compost.

I have had 4 chicks for about

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi Maria, I think that I

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.

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

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

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!


I'm so sad right now. We are

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

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

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

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.

There are a couple reasons

There are a couple reasons that you could be having problems.

First keep in mind that the average chick will consume a total of about 3 pounds of feed from day 1 to the age of 3 weeks. Less at the beginning and more towards the 3rd week. The starter feed for all chicks should have a protein content of 19-24%. If they are meat birds you will continue a high protein diet until butchering them. As a rule of thumb, if you are raising meet birds, we figure a total of about 25-28 pounds of feed per bird to get them to butchering weight from day old chicks.

Secondly, some breeds like the ever popular cornish cross types, are bred to have extremely fast growth rates. The birds often have leg issues, heart problems, etc due to their extremely fast growth. If you choose to raise these types of meat birds, you will need to add a vitamin supplement to the water to help with the freakish growth these bird have.

If raising egg birds, you can cut the feed back to a lower protein feed of 15-19% until they start laying at around 5 months of age. Then you can switch to a layer blend with a protein level of 14-17%. A layer chicken will consume about 2 pounds of feed a week depending on if they are being free ranged/pastured or in a pen.

We feed our chicks twice daily and always have fresh water available. After the first few days, we add a little chick grit to the food which helps with the digestion of the feed.

Unfortunately, the fast growing broiler breeds are known to have leg issues, which you may be experiencing if this is the type of bird you have. I recommend slower growing broilers of the various "ranger" varieties. They are usually ready for butchering by 11-12 weeks versus the 6-8 weeks that the faster growing breeds are ready. The will not have as large of a breast, but will be healthier and better tasting in my opinion.

Hope this helps!

We just bought 5 Barred Rock

We just bought 5 Barred Rock chicks. We have a feeder for them with the chick starter and one for water. W have just left he feeder in the box with them and they seem to eat off and on all the time. After reading this, I am wondering if I should remove the food and only put it in their box twice a day? They are being raised as layers and are not meant birds.

which chicks have tail

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

I have three 2-year old

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

Never noticed a difference in

Never noticed a difference in speed of tail feather growth.

I have 4 day old chicks and 3

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

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

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

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

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

Assuming that they are adult

Assuming that they are adult birds and that they are laying hens, I recommend a non-gmo or organic feed with a protein content of 14-17%, commonly called layer feed. Figure about 2 pounds of feed per bird per week.

I have a small flock of Rhode

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 don't know the

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.

brooding is getting chicks to

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. :)

roosting is what chickens do

roosting is what chickens do at night.

In order to remove the spurs

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

I used a dremal and the round

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.

Hi Penny. I am also raising

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

help, I have 4 baby chicks

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?

Hi Stamingranny, They should

Hi Stamingranny,
They should eat chick food.

starter feed.

starter feed.

starter feed.

starter feed.

my husband was wondering when

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

Hi Yvette, I would wait until

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.

Scratch is chicken candy. A

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...I have 8 healthy Barred

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

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

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.

Hi A. Johnson, I don't think

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.

I have a mom chicken that

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

You could bring some tasty

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

You can touch your chicks at

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.

Hello i wanted to no if i can

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

We would advise that you keep

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.

Hi Vercheta, You need to wait

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.

I bought 8 bantum chicks at a

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

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

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.

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

how hot do baby chicks like it

See the temperature

See the temperature information on this page.

@tim munson, we just got some

@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.


I am trying to rase chicks

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 Tim, This is called

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.

We have 16, three-day-old

We have 16, three-day-old chicks. All seem to be doing great. One has signs of "pasty-butt" should I separate this one from the rest of the group?

No, you do not need to

No, you do not need to separate the chicks if one has pasty-butt. It's mainly dehydrated. Just dip the bottom in water and it will soften and gently clean. Put a little vaseline on. Then, make sure you give it real water. Hold the chick and let water droplets fall off your finger into its beak; try again in an hour.

This is from the type of

This is from the type of shavings you are using.

I have never heard of

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!!! The chicks having dried

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)

How old does the chicks have

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

The baby chicks need to have

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

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 need more protein

They need more protein

They should be getting all

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

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.


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