How to Raise Baby Chicks into Chickens
Check with your city to make sure you are legally allowed to have pet chickens. Many cities allow a small flock of hens, but roosters are not allowed due to noisy crowing. Hens are quiet, calm, and live happily in a small flock. A rooster is not necessary for them to produce eggs you can eat!
Purchase your pet chickens from a reputable hatchery. Chicks sold at farm stores in the spring are not sexed and about half will be roosters. Many on-line hatcheries have a minimum of 25 – 50 chickens. A site called My Pet Chicken specializes in sexed pet chickens and will ship as few as three. Make sure to select a breed that will be compatible in your climate.
Study care of baby chicks before you place your order. They will need a bin or large box, a heat lamp, chick starter feed, grit and water. The bedding material can be newspapers, paper towels, or wood shavings. They must be kept warm and dry. Plan on keeping your chicks inside for several weeks before moving outside to their coop and run.
Do not feed young chicks anything other than chick starter for at least a month. Their digestive track is very delicate. Not all chicks will survive. Even with the best of care, some chicks will succumb to pasting up disease during the first week. Many people add one extra chick to their order “just in case”, especially if the desired flock is 4 or less.
Order pet chickens that are vaccinated for common chicken diseases. Your hatchery can advise you to current standard practice.
Consider the pros and cons of a medicated feed for the chick starter. This prevents fatal diarrhea illnesses, but prevents your eggs from being labeled organic in the future.
Always wash hands before and after handling the chicks.
Check around for best price of chick feed. A farm co-op will have much better prices than urban specialty stores and may be worth the drive.
Check out tips for Winterizing your coop, caring for backyard chickens, training and socializing your pet chickens, preventing bumblefoot and read our egg diary to learn how many eggs chickens lay.
All content and images original works of kittycooks. Copyright 2009