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Raising Baby Chicks

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What did I get myself into?

A couple weeks ago I knew nothing about raising baby chicks. In fact, until recently, the closest I ever got to a chicken was when I watched those cute commercials during the Easter season.

But that's all changed now. Today I'm the mother of 7 adorable chicks that have been the center of my world since the second I saw them. They're my first thought when I wake up and my last before I go to sleep. They even sleep in a cage in my bedroom (for now). And yes, I've given each of them a name that fits who they are. These little gals are very important to me!

After losing 3 of them because of my inexperience, I studied and read and researched everything everything about chickens. And now, after two weeks or raising baby chicks, I've certified myself as a chick expert (not really). I know two weeks may not seem like a long time, but it feels like it's been years.

UPDATE: This article was originally written in 2011 and as my knowledge and experience grows, I've changed the information in this article to reflect that.

raising baby chicks

raising baby chicks

About 2 weeks before Easter, my husband asked me what I was planning for the holiday. I jokingly told him that I was going to get some baby chicks and raise them. I expected him to laugh and tell me it was never going to happen, but instead, he asked how many I wanted. Until that moment, I had never thought seriously about raising chicks. I mean, I'm a city girl. I had never even seen a baby chick up close. I knew absolutely nothing about them, except that they're adorable. Realizing he was serious, I jumped at the chance. So we spent the next month preparing for chickens. We built a chicken coop. We researched how to raise baby chicks online. We talked to others that had raised them. We dug out the old chick box - the same one my father-in-law kept his chicks in 40 years ago!

Finally we decided we were ready, so we bought 10 chicks at our local Farmers Market. At first we just gushed about how tiny and cute they were. Their adorable little chirps were like music to my ears. And we laughed every time one of them pooped.

But after 36 hours of non-stop chirping, 14 cage cleanings, 40 spilled water bowls, 3 deaths and 2 near-deaths, we realized we were in over our heads. Even with all the research and all the advice given to us, we had no clue what we were doing.

So we did more research and we got more advice. I guess we'll just have to learn the rest through trial and error.

Chickens are social creatures so the number one rule is Never Get Just One Chicken! In fact, the minimum I would suggest is 3. That way if one passes, the other two still have each other. You also want to be careful not to get too many. After a while, your chickens will establish their own "pecking order" with the dominant chickens ruling the roost. Flocks that are too big usually end up with too many dominant chickens and this can lead to pecking and cannibalism. If you want a bunch of chickens, the best thing to do would be to separate them into different coops.

If you already have a coop, figure out how many chickens it will hold and then get 2/3 of that amount. Why? Because 8 happy chickens will lay more eggs than 12 overcrowded stressed chickens.

A cage or box

Baby chicks need to be kept indoors because they can't regulate their body temperature. During this time, they can be kept in any box that's large enough to fit them all, plus give them a little room to run. Cardboard boxes, big plastic totes, wire cages and wooden boxes are all safe to use. You'll also want a screen or netting to put on the top because as your chicks grow, they'll figure out pretty quick that flapping their wings while jumping will let them exit their box and find an entire new world to cover in poop.

Some people keep their chicks in commercially built brooders. Although they cost a bit more than a cardboard box, they also offer a bit more convenience.

A heat lamp

Chicks need to be kept warm at all times and since they're unable to regulate their own body temperature, they depend on you for their heat. During their first week, the air around them needs to be 95 degrees. It can then be lowered to 90 degrees for their second week. Keep lowering it by 5 degrees each week until they're ready to go outside. Most people use a heat lamp because they're effective, yet cheap. A 250 watt bulb will give off the necessary amount of heat. If you want to go the extra mile, get a red bulb so they don't have a glaring bright light on them 24 hours a day.

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Paying attention to your chicks behavior is the easiest way to determine if they're hot or cold. If they huddle together directly under the lamp, they're too cold. If they are separated and trying to get away from the lamp, they're too hot. Chicks can easily die from being too hot or too cold. And as we found out the hard way, if they're huddling together from the cold, one or more can easily be smothered to death.

Cage lining

You'll need to line their cage with some sort of bedding to catch all the poop and to keep your chicks legs healthy. Because a smooth floor can cause Splayed Leg, I recommend laying a piece of wire mesh on the bottom of the cage or box. Then add 1" - 2" of absorbent material on top. Wood shavings, ground up corn cob, peanut shells, shredded paper towels, or straw are all good choices. If using wood shavings, make sure to use untreated, unscented wood. Most agree that pine shavings are the best, while cedar shavings are the worst. Because chicks poop a lot, their cage will have to be cleaned and have fresh bedding put down quite often. With 7 chicks, we have to clean their cage 2-3 times a day.

A water dish

It's very important that you don't use large bowls to water your chicks because they're very susceptible to drowning. They can even die just from getting too wet. If you ever find your chick wet and not moving too much, it's very important to get them dry as fast as possible. During their second day here, 1 of my chicks drowned in the water bowl and 2 of them almost died from falling in the bowl and getting wet. When I found them, they weren't moving and their breathing was labored. I laid them each on a washcloth and put them directly below our spare heat lamp. After an hour, they started moving again. After 2 hours, they were standing, but too unsteady to walk. Within 5 hours they were back to normal. We were using a tupperware container made for holding sandwiches as their water bowl. We had incorrectly assumed that by not filling it full, our chicks would be safe. For a temporary fix, we used a very small glass ashtray. It was too small for them to drown in and the heavy glass prevented them from tipping it over. But there wasn't anything stopping them from pooping in it.

So we got one of these chicken fountains. This fountain prevents chicks from drowning because the opening is too small for them to climb into. Now we just have to change the water twice a day and even better, we don't have to worry about them pooping in it!

A chick feeder

If you use a dish, bowl or plastic tub to feed your chicks, be prepared for a mess. For some reason, they'll fight over who gets to stand in the middle of the food. They'll walk through it, poop in it and tip it over. Because we didn't know any better, we started out using a small dish to feed them. Because of the mess, this meant cleaning their cage after every meal. In the first two days, we cleaned their cage 14 times!

So we ended up getting a chick feeder. Like the water fountain, this is too small for them to stand in. So they can no longer stand there and kick their food everywhere. We also don't have to worry about them pooping in their food and then trying to eat it.

If you don't want to buy a chick feeder (because you'll just have to buy a larger one in a couple weeks), you could also use a small pet food bowl with an overturned glass in the middle. It uses the same concept as a chick feeder.

0-6 weeks

For the first 6 weeks, you'll need to feed your chick Starter Feed. During this time, a chick needs high levels of protein to survive. Starter feed is specially formulated to provide that extra protein along with the other nutrients necessary to keep your chicks healthy and strong. It comes in 3 types: mash, crumbles and pellets. Most already have grit in them, so that's one less thing for you to worry about. When choosing a starter feed, make sure to get un-medicated feed if your chicks have already been vaccinated against Coccidiosis.

6-20 weeks

At 6 weeks, your chicks can be switched to a Grower Feed (or developer feed). This feed is specially formulated to help your chicks grow strong while preparing their bodies for laying eggs. Use this feed until your chicks are 18-20 weeks old,

20+ weeks

At 20 weeks, your chickens are ready to be fed Layer Feed. This feed has the extra minerals a chicken needs in order to stay healthy while laying good quality eggs. Supplementing your chickens diet with some Crushed Oyster Shell will provide the extra calcium needed to produce eggs with thicker shells. Layer feed can be used until your chicken stops producing eggs.

Supplementing

To save money, you can supplement your chickens diet with treats like whole grains, cooked spaghetti noodles, veggie peels, fruit, fresh grass, weeds and worms. Because chickens don't have teeth to chew up their food, they require grit to help break down and digest it. Grit is stored in the gizzards and as the food passes, the grit grinds it into smaller pieces.

Water is the most important nutrient in a chicks diet.

Your chicks should always have fresh water available to them. Change it a couple times a day and make sure it doesn't get too warm or too cold.

Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop

When your chicks are between 6 to 8 weeks old, they can be moved to a chicken coop.

Essentials for any chicken coop

A chicken coop isn't something that should just be thrown together. This is the house where your chickens will live out the rest of their days. If it's not well built, you'll leave your chickens vulnerable to predators, disease and dangerous temperature fluctuations. Taking your time and making sure to include all the essentials is the easiest way to keep your chickens safe, healthy and happy.

  1. The most important thing to do when building a chicken coop is to protect it from all sides. If your coop doesn't have a floor, shovel out 4-6 inches of dirt from the entire inside of the coop. Then put down a layer of mesh and a layer of chicken wire before shoveling the dirt back in. This will stop predators from burrowing underneath your coop. The walls should be made of wood and chicken wire and be buried 12" deep into the ground to prevent animals from digging their way through. Because the holes in chicken wire are too big for my comfort, we put two layers, making sure to criss cross the holes. Adding a roof will protect your chickens from any flying predators. We put a tin roof on our coop, although mesh netting will do the job just as well.
  2. Your chicken coop needs to be airy enough to prevent your chickens from getting a respiratory illness, but not so drafty as to prevent them from finding warmth during the winter. A combination of wood and chicken wire is the simplest way to achieve this. When building our coop, we made sure it was extra breezy. We figured if they got too cold in the winter, we could just seal up some of the wire with wood.
  3. Build your coop large enough to give each chicken her space. If you plan on letting your chickens out to roam free, then build your coop big enough to allow 4-5 square feet for each chicken. If you plan on leaving your chickens in the coop all the time, allow 8-10 square feet per chicken.
  4. Nesting boxes will encourage your chickens to lay eggs. Some say you only need 1 box for every 3 or 4 chickens, but I think every chicken should have their own. Hang these nesting boxes 1-2 feet off the ground and make sure to place them in the darkest spot in the coop because that's where the chickens feel the safest. To add comfort (and a soft landing for the eggs), add some pine shavings to every box.
  5. Chickens love to roost so roosting poles are essential (if you want happy chickens). A roosting pole is basically a perch for your chickens to sit on. They can be made out of any kind of wood, as long as the wood isn't too smooth to allow your chickens a good grip. Thick tree branches and 2x4's work best. Placing multiple roosting poles at different heights throughout your coop will encourage your chickens to roost in the air instead of roaming through the poop covered floor.
  6. Build your coop with easy clean up in mind. While it may provide the same amount of space, a narrow rectangular coop will be harder to clean than a wide square one. Depending on the number of chickens you have, a coop should be cleaned out and the bedding changed at least once a month. The best bedding to use is pine wood shavings laid 3" thick. When you replace the bedding, it's a good idea to add some diatomaceous earth (food grade) in with the pine shavings. This will help with the odor and prevent your chickens from getting mites or lice.
  1. A hen will start laying her first eggs when she's around 20 to 26 weeks old. Those first eggs will be small, thin-shelled and sometimes discolored. Once her body gets used to producing eggs, she will lay them with more regularity and they will become bigger and have thicker shells. It's important that you check for and collect her eggs every day. This will get her used to you collecting them and could even prevent her from getting broody.
  2. Chickens experience molting once a year. Molting is when all their feathers fall out and they grow new ones to replace them. During this time, most chickens either slow down production, or they completely stop producing eggs until it's over.
  3. If your chicken has stopped producing eggs, there could be several causes:

    Stress will cause a hen to stop laying. To get her laying again, you'll need to figure out where the stress is coming from and fix it.

    Brooding is when a hen decides she's going to sit on her eggs until they hatch (even if they aren't fertilized). You'll need to be careful when you try to collect her eggs because a broody hen can get very defensive. When a hen is brooding, she stops producing eggs.

    Insufficient nutrition will stop egg production. Each egg needs a large amount of protein and calcium in order to form correctly. If your hen isn't getting those nutrients, the eggs have nothing to form from.

    Age can also affect egg production. Like humans, a hen can only lay eggs for so many years

  4. To predict what color eggs a chicken will lay, look at her earlobes. White earlobes mean white eggs, while red earlobes mean brown eggs. This is true for just about every chicken breed except the Ameraucana, Easter Egger, and Araucana breeds (they lay eggs colored similar to easter eggs).
  5. You don't need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs. Anyone that tells you different should be ignored and mildly chuckled at later. The only time you need a rooster is if you want your hens to lay fertilized eggs so you can hatch the chicks.
  1. Chicks eat a lot!

    Because chicks don't overeat, they should always have food available in their cage. They'll only eat what they need, which may seem like a lot until you factor in how fast they grow. Just remember they only take 20 weeks to accomplish what it takes us 18 years to do: grow to adult-hood.

    Don't forget that water is just as important as food. A chicks body is 50% water, so they need a lot of it to thrive.

  2. Yes, there is a way to make them quiet down.

    If chicks are chirping loudly, it means they are uncomfortable or unhappy. If you can figure out what they want and give it to them, they will stop chirping as much. Make sure not to look past the obvious. My chicks chirped for 36 hours straight before we realized the bulb in the heat lamp wasn't strong enough to keep them warm. Once we changed the bulb, the silence was like heaven.

  3. Every chick has their own personality.

    Seriously! Each of my chicks acts differently. Some are shy. Some are outgoing. Some are brave. Some are scared of their own shadow. Some are loud and annoying. Others are so quiet, you forget they're even there. Each chick is different and special in her own way.

    I think only having 7 chicks has allowed me to get to know them better. It's allowed me to see each chick as an individual instead of just one of the thousand egg-layers.

    Or I could just be going nutso.....

  4. Chicks aren't "easy pets"!

    Baby chicks require almost constant attention. First thing in the morning, I refill their food and water. Then I transfer them from the smaller cage we keep them in at night to a larger cage we keep outside. Then I have to clean the small cage. This all takes about 45 minutes and 6 trips up the stairs. During the day, I have to constantly refill their water (they drink a lot) and watch to make sure no neighborhood cats try for a chicken dinner. I also have to monitor the temperature in their cage so I know whether to give them more sun or more shade. If it rains, I have to run outside and put their cage on the covered porch. The last time that happened, I strained a muscle and ended up snuggling with ice packs for 3 days. At night I warm up their small cage and then transfer them to it. Most of the time they just stretch out and go to sleep. But of course, they always wake up and start squawking halfway through the night.

  5. Chicks are entertaining!

    I could watch these chickies for hours without getting bored. They chase flies. They play Queen of the Perch (their version of King of the Mountain). They try to bath in their food. They knock their water dish over and then squawk at me like it's my fault!

    From the father hen (Earbud) to the shy guy (Chippy), from the self harmer (Thumper) to the amazingly calm chicky (Ashe), from the sneaky rascal (Korma) to my two little miracles (Mira & Cali); all their individual personalities come together to create an amazing little family that I feel honored to be a part of.

  6. Sometimes chicks don't mesh with each other.

    When my chicks were all grown up, I noticed Korma never hung out with the rest of the group. He was always by himself. He even slept outside the coop. Then I noticed that when he tried to socialize with the other chickens, the other roosters would attack him. He started wandering around the neighborhood and finally he wound up at my neighbors house. My neighbor has a bigger chicken coop and about 3 times as many chickens. Seeing that Korma fit right in, I talked to my neighbor and he decided to take him into his own coop. Korma still comes to visit every once in a while, but today he's happy being the lead roo of his own coop.

I wrote this article in June 2011. Today all my chicks are grown and one even has her own baby chicks. It's a little different experience this time around because Thumper is taking great care of them. So I get to just sit back and enjoy these 5 new little chicks :)

© 2011 Othercatt

Do you have any advice for raising baby chicks?

Anna from chichester on July 09, 2014:

I started off with six chicks which I ended up with after a school incubating project (none were expected to hatch). I now have thirty and love the perks of keeping chickens. Great lens! I hope you have more joy than stress with your feathery friends!

IMKZRNU2 from Pacific Northwest on June 30, 2013:

I have raised chicks for years and like to have a small flock around for the eggs. My chickens are primary free range. Very nice informative lens!

Meganhere on June 29, 2013:

I've raised chickens on and off since I was a kid. My first batch were bantams and one was so devoted to the family that she would sit on my father's knee and try to steal his ice cream.Finally he gave up and would make one for himself and one for her. Great lens!

ColettaTeske on June 29, 2013:

I raised chickens for 10 years. I loved reading your stories. Brought back many fun and entertaining memories. I had 30 chickens at one time. All with names. All with personalities. All liked to be handled a bit differently. And, yes, they are not easy to raise, but they are way too much fun. Thank you for the wonderful lens!

Othercatt (author) on June 01, 2013:

@norma-holt: The same thing happened with my sister-in-law. When she was a toddler, she was given a chick and in her excitement, she stepped on it.

We had to leave our chicks with my in-laws when we moved. I miss them but I'm told they're thriving.

norma-holt on June 01, 2013:

Very enjoyable to read about your chicks. When we were little we had a chicken each and my sister trod on hers and killed it and I think mins just passed on, They are too delicate for kids to have as pets but you seem to be doing a great job.

Aunt-Mollie on April 05, 2013:

I've raised baby chicks before and they really are easy if you are properly set up for them when they arrive. You've got great advice here and I hope people will follow it for the health of the birds.

DraperyMary on March 13, 2013:

I can relate to your attention being fully taken by the baby chicks! I need to update my lens on Raising Mutt Chickens to include pictures of my new "fuzz butts" that I hatched myself (in an incubator of course) but I seemed to get side tracked every time one peeps. I saw the picture you use on your introduction and it looks like the chick I have except mine is a little more "blue" in color. What kind of chicken breed did that one turn out to be?

anonymous on December 29, 2012:

I need help. My chick is really cute and really playful but she always cries if I ignore her. I'm a high school girl and I have other things to do. And my chick also won't sleep unless I hold her. Help!

anonymous on November 04, 2012:

I just started this fun hobby for my kids. I have eight about five types. Now they six weeks old and about to change their feed. Made feeder and waterer ans was lot of fun. I hope they will do fine in winter. I m keeping them inside in a coop.

Should I start feeding them veggies and fruits? I gave them lettuce and they loved it .

Thanks for all the info

Othercatt (author) on October 22, 2012:

@anonymous: I'm not sure. Baby chicks are super sensitive. Are they warm enough?

anonymous on October 22, 2012:

I had 4 baby chicks hatch last Friday I have had one a day for 3 days die. It is so hurtful we knew knew was bad off, but tried to support him now, my third one died this , morning.. She felt fine yesterday.....today she couldn't hold her head up, nor could she stand. Other babies were walking on her. My husband had to put her out of her misery . What is happening?

JoshK47 on October 16, 2012:

What a wonderful (and adorable) lens! Thanks so much for sharing! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

Valerie Proctor Davis from Birmingham, Alabama on October 07, 2012:

I really prefer letting the mamas raise them! cHChicks are cure, but as you say, a lot of work.

CristianStan on October 05, 2012:

When I was 5 or so I had a baby chick. It followed me around the house all the time. It was such a fluffy little thing. Thank you for bringing back the memories.

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on October 04, 2012:

Congrats on your Purple Star! My kids looked after their elementary school's baby chickens over a long weekend (when they were in school). I was surprised that the baby chickens could flap their way out a large crate when the lid was off.

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on September 19, 2012:

My Mom raised chickens when I was young. They were all so cute, but she kept close watch on my petting them. She said they could be hurt so easily, so she never let me pick one up, although I could pet them while they were standing in the box. This sure brought back some memories for me. Thanks for sharing at a time in our history when more people are raising chickens. You've given them excellent advice. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

Phoenix2361 on September 18, 2012:

I had chickens in my younger days. This lens brought back lots of fun memories.

anonymous on September 06, 2012:

hey so my baby chick just flopped ove n wont move his legs??? wat do i do??

anonymous on September 05, 2012:

I think this lens is great! Reading from someone letting you know about the ups and downs is also refreshing - not everything is sunny and wonderful, even if the chicks are cute as buttons.

CindyIndyBones on September 05, 2012:

Thank you for this interesting lens! I never had chickens, but you never know ;)

Neeznoodle on September 05, 2012:

Baby chicks are so darn cute!

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on September 04, 2012:

Hi I have chickens too. As with you we also lost two baby chick. Keeping chickens is such fun. I have a lens about keeping chickens. Great lens about raising baby chicks. Blessed and added to my lens..Squid Angel flinnie.

MommyArt LM on September 04, 2012:

Very entertaining lens, and probably very informative. The reason it doesn't really inform me is because I grew up on a farm, and we always had chickens. Chicks are absolutely adorable, and if you are the one to raise them, they imprint on you. Once we purchased a fresh lot of them, and I raised them. Even when they grew up, they'd run to me from anywhere, and follow me.

Thanks for the trip back to my chick-raising days!

Draconius LM on August 29, 2012:

Great lens, I started much as you have and now several years later I have chickens running all over the hill side!!

anonymous on August 19, 2012:

I have recently started breeding chickens and purchased 10 french brown day-old chicks 5 weeks ago. we lost one after two days and today another. I think the cage was too drafty initially and although living in Asia they still need a light bulb for warmth. We think the 5 week old chick might have worms so have put a treatment in the water for the rest. Today we have purchased 20 more as the older ones now have the run of our large fine wire chicken house

Motionmaker on August 15, 2012:

Great lens! Thanks for sharing your experience. I've bookmarked it as I plan on raising some chicks for the first time, hopefully within the year!

LisaDH on August 06, 2012:

Wow, I learned a lot here. Not sure I'll ever have a chance to use the info, but who knows?

anonymous on August 02, 2012:

i have 4 litte chicks and i love everyone of them. As you mentioned they have all develpoed their own nique personalties and i can spend the whole day watching them. I was wondering if you experienced a chick just sitting there with its eyes closing whilst the others are still active and running around. It does eat just not much, compared to its brothers and sisters. I think i should probably keep it warmer. I hope it's ok.

RuralFloridaLiving on July 23, 2012:

Keep them warm and not overcrowded. Chickens are wonderful to have around.

Genesis Davies from Guatemala on July 12, 2012:

I'll be getting chicks soon, hopefully! I grew up with chickens, but never really learned much about chicks, so this was helpful.

Othercatt (author) on July 11, 2012:

@anonymous: It sounds like you have a good set-up. If you're going to keep Mama with the chicks, you don't need to worry about the heat light. She'll keep them warm enough. I'd also recommend that you switch to medicated feed. If the Mama starts eating it, just make sure to get rid of any eggs she lays.

anonymous on July 11, 2012:

I am hatching chickens from eggs right now (there are 4 maran eggs and 2 ameraucana eggs) and they should be hatching any day now. But I'm worried about who will survive the first week because ima firsty at this but I really don't want loose any. I'm expecting anywhere from 2-5 chicks to hatch and my brooding pen is a large cardboard box with pine needles at the bottom and a chicken feeder and waterer. I have unmediated feed, but I don't know how to vaccinate my chicks. I have a 100-watt light bulb and clamp on reflector light. How do I make sure they all live happily and disease-free? They hatch real soon so I need advise as fast as I can get it- thanks!

-Rosco

Lori Green from Las Vegas on June 25, 2012:

That's why God made Grandparents. It's their reward for being parents. I have never raised chicks but have raised quail. If you think chicks are cute, take a peek at Bumble Bee quail. The problem is they are so cute and so easy to hatch that once you start you have to be careful not to do it too often.

anonymous on June 20, 2012:

our chickens are kept in the bathroom but one jumped in the toilet and looks like its about to die

sunny saib on June 11, 2012:

what a cute lens, i must say..! we have never had our hands on a little one but in the shaft of our house pigeons lay eggs ever since, so we have grown up watching them grow.. you're lucky :)

sheezie77 on June 09, 2012:

Great lens, really enjoy it!

Othercatt (author) on June 05, 2012:

@hartworks lm: That's excellent advice! Chicks are very sociable, so adding a mirror in this sort of situation is great.

hartworks lm on June 05, 2012:

Last week we had to start raising a 3-day-old baby chick on her own, as sadly her buddies had not survived some rough handling between the shipper and us. (I am convinced enough that it's not the company's fault that I reordered and my baby chick's new flock-mates should be here in the next day or 2.)

Anyway, here is my advice:

IF YOU HAVE TO RAISE A SOLO BABY CHICK, PUT A MIRROR IN THE BOX!

Our chick and her mirror image are best buddies! But of course, be sure the mirror could not start a fire by reflection,like from the sun.

anonymous on June 03, 2012:

You should buy them chick starter just in case you hens lay and hatch motre eggs. When you have chicks, don't hold them every one minute or else they will die. If they eat the paper bedding, don't worry it wil;l come out in their waste. So far i have eleven chicks. I made a run with three cardbord boxes and they love it. THey will have a race

microfarmproject on May 17, 2012:

When brooding poultry, I line the brooder with a beach towel. The chicks do not slip on it, preventing splayed legs. It is also very easy to change and clean. Additionally, I find that young chicks will sometimes ingest wood chips, which can make them sick, so I don't use them for very young chicks. Thanks for the article!

earthybirthymum from Ontario, Canada on April 20, 2012:

High Five! What a great Lense, we currently have a coup with 13 hens and 1 rooster. My 10 year old would like to raise some chicks in our smaller coup, something I am considering. Your Lense has lots of useful information.

Cheers

Grace

jholland on April 14, 2012:

Be very, very careful about letting kids handle them. Even with my very close supervision we lost a chick from our first batch. The kids got in a fight over who got to hold the most easy-going chick. I was right there and stopped it immediately, but the next morning that chick was dead. It could have been something else, but sadly, I suspect it was a quick movement from one of the kids that caused an injury. Now, we only let them hold chicks ONE kid at a time.