How to Care For Baby Chicks

A few days ago we brought home 4 baby chicks from the feed store.  This is my 4th season raising these adorable creatures and I cannot imagine spring time without them.  In years past we have placed an order with mypetchicken.com for chicks, but this year we went ahead and bought the little fluffies at the feed store instead.

A baby chick can run anywhere from $2 to $10+ depending on the breed.  If you decide to order chicks online you will also pay a little extra for girls {hens} rather than boys {roosters}.

We have always paid the extra fee for girls. Believe me, the last thing I want is a rooster in my backyard waking me up every morning. 😉

Once you get your chicks home you are going to need a place to keep them until the weather outside warms up and the birds grow feathers.  This year I purchased a large 75 gallon stock tank {I have used cardboard boxes as well as dog carriers in the past and they worked just fine}.

You will also need a warming light, waterer, feeder, crumbles {food} and bedding.  In the past I have used wood shavings for bedding but the shavings created a lot of dust. So this year I purchased a 50 lb bag of pressed wood shaving pellets for $4 instead and I have been very happy with the results.

Baby chicks are a little on the high maintenance side and will need to be looked in on about 5-6 times a day. The main thing is to keep them warm and to make sure fresh food and water is available at all times.

We have always talked to and played with our chicks as if they were any other kind of pet.  My daughter is especially fond of them.  The chicks will spend most their time taking naps, eating and chillin’ with the other peeps.

We usually move our chicks outside to the hen house when they are between 8-12 weeks old.  Chickens will typically start to lay eggs around 20 weeks and keep on producing for 2 years.  Sometimes longer.

One last thing…

Don’t forget the chicken diapers! 😉

For more additional information I recommend this book:


The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit is a FAB book to get you started.

Will YOU be purchasing baby chicks this spring?

*If you live in the city be sure and check your city ordinances before purchasing chicks.  Some cities have a limit as to how many birds you can keep as well as not allowing roosters. 

Comments

  • Judie M.

    My chicks will be here in March! (I ordered from mypetchicken.) I can’t wait! I have 4 two-year-old hens now. Have you ever had any trouble integrating your new girls into the flock?

  • Heidi

    I Love, Love, Love chickens! We’ve had them in the past & I’m really wanting to get some this spring. Its a big commitment so I’m a bit hesitant even though its worth it. We go through a lot of eggs and the quality can’t be beat. In the past I converted a horse stall into a chicken house but this year I’d really like to build a coop & run. We will see…..time will tell…..its a tall order…..
    Thanks for sharing your chicks with us.

  • tami

    GOT ANY GOOD SITES W/ DEALS ON CHICKEN COOPS OR HEN HOUSES??? WE ARE WANTING CHICKENS BUT THE CHEAPEST COOP I’VE FOUND FOR 4 CHICKS IS AROUND $500. I’M ALL FOR GETTING A BARGAIN ON ONE IF I CAN IF NOT IM SURE WE WILL GET THE $500 ONE IT IS NICE! SO EXCITED FOR CHICKS THE KIDS LOVE NAMING THEIR GRANDMAS CHICKENS A GREAT CHORE FOR LITTLE KIDS FEED THE CHICKENS AND COLLECT THE EGGS!!! LOVE SPRING AND LOVE YOUR POSTS MAVIS!!! THANK YOU!!!

  • Carrie

    I don’t mean to be morbid, but do you eat the chicken at the end of the year? Or do you raise them mainly as pets? Just wondering…

  • Corey

    I know that Boise has a limit of 3 hens per house, but does anyone know the laws for Eagle or other towns?

    • Sara D

      I have been trying to figure this out for Meridian but so far can’t seem to find any information.

      • Tina B

        Idaho Falls changed the city laws in 2010 to allow chickens in town. We can keep up to 6 hens in the city. NO ROOSTERS, though. I can’t say as I would be happy with roosters crowing at all hours in the city if my neighbor had them, so I was glad to hear that. I haven’t yet figured out handling chickens. My neighbor says they are very particular and if given the wrong mixture of food they won’t lay and went on and on about how difficult they can be to keep laying.

  • Theresa

    Ours will be ready this week. So excited!

  • Linda

    We have 3 hens and love, love, love their eggs! They are so much better than store bought. The hens are easy to care for and provide lots of entertainment. My husband built a chicken coop for them as well as a large run. He got a lot of ideas from http://www.backyardchickens.com He spent quite a bit on materials as he wanted make the coop easy to clean and maintain and everything sturdy enough to keep predators out.

  • Desi

    I sure wouldn’t want to change those diapers. Too much poop.

  • bridget p

    I recomend a very humorous and honest book called “The Egg and I” I can’t remember the authoress’s name at the moment but it is her story of how she ended up marrying a chicken farmer in the Pacific Northwest. I love, love, love this book! I think I still have it packed away in a box somewhere…. Now if I could just remember where LoL

  • Missy

    I’d spend the extra $ for hens only. Roosters are not only noisy, but get very aggressive as they get older. Ours attacked the kids (or adults) when they went out to feed and water. Needless to say, the handsome guy didn’t survive long around here!
    We’ve had chickens for years now. It’s so fun to raise them from chicks and fun to have the eggs. We’ve lost a lot of hens from dogs, foxes, and raccoons though so if you don’t have a place to secure them (especially at night), you’ll want to get one.

    • Margaret

      Do hawks take full grown chickens? I’d imagine fox and coyotes would take them during the day too, correct? I’m wondering how long a few chickens would last in my country location!
      Thanks for any input anyone can give!

      • Corey

        Yep, they can. If you have a an enclosed coop or chicken tractor (top covered with chicken wire), then the predatory birds can’t get them.

        Moving the chickens around every couple days will prevent them from digging holes and getting out, and may help against determined foxes and such that may dig under.

        Growing up, we had chickens in a fixed location, and they’d dig out all the time. The presence of the farm dog, though, kept other predators away.

        • tami

          I was told if you dig down and put wire on the ground and then put the dirt over they wont dig out and the racoons skunks fox ect. cant get in!

  • Mary

    Chicken diapers???LOL

  • Taylor

    Uhh… no chickens for me, think I’ll pass!

  • Silly

    Do you know why a chicken coop has 2 doors?

    Because if it had 4 it would be called a chicken sedan!!

  • Gio

    I was wondering if there were any diapers for 2 week old chicks or if you know of a tutorial to make onends myself.

  • Joy Petty

    Can you tell me the breed of the little black chick on the left–the one with white wing tips? We have a chick that looks just like that, and I want to know what it is. (We got the fertilized eggs from a petting farm that had lots of different kinds of chickens, so I’m just wondering.)

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