Chicken Care 101: How To Raise Chicks Into Healthy Hens? | Kidadl


Chicken Care 101: How To Raise Chicks Into Healthy Hens?

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Raising baby chickens gets easier as they grow because they gain feathers to keep them warm.

Before you bring the baby chickens from your local feed store, keep the brooder ready. As they grow, build your chicken coop.

Raising chicks can feel like a task, but it can be easier with proper management. Like any other domesticated animal, chicks will need proper nutrition, clean and spacious shelter, exercise, warm bedding, and help to facilitate the egg-laying process. Chickens were raised for cockfighting, but they are now bred as pets or for food. Chickens in the wild will scratch the soil to find insects or seeds and sometimes even creatures as big as small snakes, lizards, or young mice. A chicken will lay a clutch of about 12 fresh eggs. As soon as the first clutch is complete, the chicken will tend to incubate the eggs. The chick's development starts during incubation. This incubating hen seldom leaves the nest to drink, eat, or dust-bathe. Hens maintain the nest's humidity and temperature and turn the eggs frequently in the first incubation cycle. Only after an incubation of 21 days, the eggs hatch. Artificially developed hen breeds seldom go broody and might stop halfway during the incubation.

When they are still babies, the mortality rate for chickens is higher, and taking care of them can get a little difficult. They successfully grow into healthy adult birds only when there are adequate supplies for their growth like waterers, feeders, beddings, special chick feed, optimal temperature, and close monitoring of babies. You can keep these babies healthy by following a routine and coop temperature for long life.

If you enjoyed reading these facts about how to raise chicks, then make sure to read some more interesting facts about how to raise a duck and how to raise a kitten here at Kidadl.

Baby Chick Care - Week By Week

You can take care of a baby chick at home week by week by providing chicks with a brooder or housing, a bed, lamp, waterer, feeder, thermometer, chick starter feed, vitamins and electrolytes, and chick grit.

Baby chicks ingest their yolk sac for the first two days after birth. They get the energy and nourishment required to survive. Baby chicks will lose the egg sac within 72 hours or three days. After this, they will need nourishment through water and food. They will need a temperature of around 90 F (32.2 C). You can gently pick up the new chicks and dip their beaks into the waterer. Introducing them to their waterer can be done shortly after they occupy the brooder whereas you can introduce them to their feeder after a couple of hours. Only a few of your chicks' beaks need to be dipped into the waterer as these baby chicks let the flock know of the location of water and food. Once they get acquainted with the location of their food, it gets easier to raise chickens. If your baby chicks are growing without their mother hen then you can feed them chicken grit. These baby chicks sleep a lot when they are less than a week old so, it is necessary to use bedding like wood shavings or pine shavings added to the floor of their brooder to keep it clear of poop or moisture. It is vital to use shavings without odor as the strong odor impacts chickens' health.

Into the second week of your baby chick's life, it is necessary to decrease the temperature. The brooder temperature can be decreased by five degrees and that can be done by raising the heat lamp every week. Your baby chicks will need a continuous supply of water and feed. An accessible feeder for your baby birds is clean egg cartons with feed. You can later transform this into a trough or low-lying feeders. To keep the chickens' feed clean you can hang it from the top of their shelter. The chicken babies will start growing feathers and they will develop a desire to roost. You can later add a perch for roosting. When they are three weeks old, chicks must still have the clean brooding box, bedding, feed, and water but you can pull the heat lamp further up. When they are four weeks of age, keep a check on their litter box. Continue to clean the bedding with pine shavings and keep water containers in the brooder. At five weeks old chicks will not need a heat lamp, however, make sure the temperature does not fall below 60 F (15.5 C). You can move the brooder box to a different place and begin weaning as adult feathers start to appear. Once young chickens reach six weeks, they can be moved outside. Chickens can easily get used to a routine. You can also add young chickens to your already existing flock.

The little chickens in the smart farming.

Raising Chicks In A Coop

You can raise baby chicks indoors or in coops with a lot of light, which are well-ventilated, with protection from predators, and easily accessible nest boxes. It needs to be easy to maintain and clean space, which is well insulated and has enough perch space.

Once your chickens come out of their brooder they will learn to scratch around in the soil. They will commonly come across parasites and bacteria. Most of these bacterias are good to build the immunity of the young flock however, coccidia is a deadly intestinal parasite that is transferred to the soil from an infected bird's poop. If infected, medicated chick feeds from a local store can help avoid this disease. Some might even start providing this feed to the young chickens when they go outside. It is better you can get your chicks accustomed to dry ground as wet soil will mostly have parasites. Do not leave the chicks out in the evenings.

After six weeks, your chicks will be ready to move into the chicken coop. Once your chicks develop most of their adult feathers they can be moved into the coop. While moving the chicks make sure that the temperature from the heat lamp in the brooder is almost the same as the outside temperature. You can introduce the young ones to other chickens by attaching two areas separated by a net. It is also necessary to feed chick starters to the whole flock until the young turn 16 weeks of age. You can introduce chicks to treats when letting them out. This way it is easy to lure them back in.

Tips For Raising Chicks

Tips to raise baby chicks include predator proofing your coop, preventing odors, building your own nesting with a cardboard box, clean bedding, providing a heat lamp, providing clean water and fresh food and being aware of predators and dust.

You can start by ordering day-old chicks to form a small flock. Small chicks are flown down to the nearest post office as soon as they hatch. You can also buy chicks from the local feed store. Make sure to check the chicks' age, sex, and breed to check for any diseases.

Plan to keep your chicks away from moisture on the floor or ground. You can even build your own brooder using chick size waterers, cardboard walls, chick feeders, wood shavings, newspaper, and heat lamps. The brooder must be free from any kind of danger

You can insulate the brooder using any type of protective blanket. If the brooder floor is cold or slippery it will cause deformed legs and crooked toes in the chicks. Make sure to cover the shavings with newspaper so that chicks learn to directly feed on the feeder instead of pecking at the shavings. Then cover the newspapers with textured rubber shelving to reduce slipperiness.

The temperature in the first week must get below 90 F (32.2 C). You can gradually reduce this by five degrees every week. Several heat sources are available in the market. Make sure to provide plenty of space, water, and food.

Include chick-sized feeders and waterers. These can be used year after year. These are also safe for the chicks as they cannot get into the water and this prevents drowning. You can switch to larger feeders as your chicks grow.

You can identify if your chick is comfortable or not by the way they sound. If they are chirping loudly, then it means that the chicks are stressed due to hunger, cold, or both. In this case, you can add a tablespoon of sugar to a quarter cup of milk so that it provides them energy. Once the chick grows into adult chickens, they will lay eggs every morning and they must be collected to avoid cracked shells or egg-eating.

Taking Care of Chicks

You can take care of chicks by providing the right habitat with lining, protecting their space, ensuring the right temperature, cleaning their space, providing food and water, playing with chicks, identifying illnesses, and helping them grow into healthy adults.

You can find an adequate habitat setting easily for your chicks. You can use an aquarium, simple cardboard box, cat carrier, or guinea pig cage. Chicks are vulnerable to predators since they are very small. A ventilated lid must always be placed on the box. This way chicks will not fall out of the box and no predator can enter it. Also, make sure to place the box on level ground.

As these small birds are sensitive to temperature so, the box must be lined with blankets or towels to keep them warm. You can also divide the box into the cooler and warmer sides so, chicks will have the freedom to choose. Do not make use of any non-lamp heating or radiating devices in the box.

You can gently place your chick into the habitat for it to get accustomed. You can also stay with them for at least an hour. Replace the bedding and lining each week. Make sure to wash the water and food bowls and then wipe down the walls of the box.

For the first two months, it is best to feed chick food to your pet. Your vet will also recommend the best foods for your chick. After the chick feeds, throw out any leftovers. There should also be a constant supply of water every day.

To clean their feathers, birds usually bathe in sand or dirt. You can place a cup of dirt or sand in the habitat once in a while. Just as dogs and cats need playtime, chicks too, enjoy playing with their owners. If you are letting the chick out of its habitat make sure to keep an eye on it. You will need to have someone look after the chick if you are going out for a few days.

Check the color of your chick's poop, listen to the sound, and keep an eye on their walk. If there are any changes, then take them to the vet immediately.

In the next stages where your chick transforms into an adult, you will need to make a few changes. The first sign you will notice is the feather fall out after which you can change the diet. You can then transfer the young adult into the coop and carefully introduce the chick to the already existing flock too.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for how to raise chicks, then why not take a look at how to raise a goat or hen facts?

<p>With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.</p>

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