How to Properly Care for Your Baby Chicks
Follow this simple care guide to ensure you're caring for your baby chicks properly.
Litter: There should be a 2-3 inch deep layer of litter for your chicks. Wood Chips, oat hulls, or coarsely ground cobs are the recommended types.
Heat: Beginning the first week, keep the temperature at 95 degrees. Decrease the temperature by 5 degrees each week. You'll be able to tell if the chicks are not comfortable. If they're cold, they'll crowd around under the lamp. They'll scatter away if they're too warm. A general rule of thumb is to use one 125 watt bulb for every 25 chicks. Remember that the face of the bulb should be approximately 28" from the litter.
Water: For the first hour after the chicks arrive, provide water only. Add ¼ cup of sugar and 1 level teaspoon of Duramycin per gallon. After 1 hour, set the feeders into the pen. Continue the Duramycin at 1 teaspoon per gallon for the second day (no sugar), and then clean fresh water after that. Figure 1 gallon waterer per 50 chicks and add more waterers as the chicks get older.
Feed: Place filled feeders in pen with chicks after they have consumed water for 1 hour. Start chicks on a 20-22% protein (24% protein for broilers) starter ration. At 8 weeks of age, switch to an 18-20% chick grower (for broilers, switch to a 20% grower at 5 weeks of age). It is recommended that your chicken feeds contain a coccidiostat to help prevent coccidiosis.
Draft & Space: Your chicks should be shielded from any draft. Do not corral the chicks under the heat lamps or brooder as this could lead to dehydration. Chicks must be able to get away from the heat source if they desire.
Picking Problems: If a picking problem develops, check to make sure you have good ventilation in the building. Birds 1-3 weeks old may commence picking around the tail stub, wing, or neck areas. If this occurs, dab pine tar or axle grease right on the picked area.