Spring in Minnesota is busting! Flowers are beginning to bloom, trees are budding, and baby chicks are hatching! Just like many baby animals, baby chicks are adorable and lovable. However, they can be a handful. It is important to know the responsibilities that come along with raising chicks before you make the commitment!
In preparing to raise baby chicks, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Have a clear schedule:
Baby chicks require constant care and monitoring for the first 4 weeks. Be sure that you don’t have any big commitments that will take away from your time with the chicks. You or another caretaker should check on the chicks at least 5 times a day.
Decide where they will live:
Have a warm, spacious, protected area for your chicks to live. The space requirements of new chicks are quite small because of their size. Space requirements include half of a square foot per chick initially, three-quarters of a square foot per chick once they are 6 weeks, and 1 square foot per chick after 10 weeks.
Create a suitable living environment:
The most important part of raising a happy and healthy chicken is making sure the living conditions meet all of the basic necessities. It all starts with absorbent bedding, plenty of water, nutritious food sprinkled with grit, and most importantly, a good heating source. When you think heating for a baby chick, think sauna! The chicks need to start at a temp of 95° F. The temperature can continue to go down 5°F each week until the chicks go outside. During their time under the heat lamp, it is important to watch their behavior. If they stray too far aways from the light, they are too hot and if they are all huddled together, they may be too cold.
Important health notes:
Upon receiving your baby chicks it is important to check for “Pasting up” – a sign that they are not digesting their feed correctly. This can cause deadly conditions for your chick and must be dealt with immediately. It is also important once you receive your chicks to make sure that they are getting the right amount of water before they are fed. If they aren't finding the water, pick an especially spritely one and gently put its beak into the water, the others will then follow. This tactic will also work for their food!
To keep your chicks in good health as they become full grown chickens, it is important that you provide them with a consistent supply of energy, protein, essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and water.
If you are interested in raising chicks, you won't want to miss out on “Chick Days” going on now at our Watkins, MN location. Customers can order chicks through us from Hoover's Hatchery in Iowa, which are delivered Wednesday, March 16th & 30th, April 13th & 27th, and May 11th & 25th.
These steps are essential in raising healthy baby chickens. Visit our website to learn more about our poultry products and ongoing poultry health for your new flock.