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Written by Carole

I have gotten several questions about the requirements of raising baby chickens so I thought I would post what I use to successfully raise my new biddies.

  1. The Brooder–the brooder does not have to be something fancy. It can be as simple as a rubbermaid container to a cardboard box, or the wooden store bought kind. Just make sure you have enough room to raise them until they are ready to move out or you will have to get a larger container in the meantime.
  2. Bedding–I use pine straw for bedding as it is very abundant where I live but I have heard other recommendations of old newspapers, straw, hay, etc. One type of bedding to stay away from is cedar shavings. These are toxic to small animals.
  3. Heat–new biddies or chicks require heat to stay warm. Starting out they require temps of 95 degrees for the first week. Each week you can lower it by 5 degrees until it reaches the temperature outside.
  4. Food–Chick starter crumbles have the protein necessary for new baby chicks. I usually start mine out in a tray so they are able to get in it and reach it. There are other types of feeders as they grow that are available.
  5. Water–I utilize a water dispenser and have it next to the feed. I introduce the water to the chicks by dipping their beaks in it. Before long they find their way back. Because chicks are messy you will need to clean out and refill frequently. I have read that people put marbles in the water to ensure the chicks do not drown. I personally have not done this and never had a problem but if your waterer is large it may be necessary

Chicks are so adorable. They are entertaining but grow so fast. It won’t be any time until they are running with your flock.

Baby Chick cages

This is my first year to have two hens brooding at once so we have two sets of baby chicks. In this picture you will see my RIR with her three baby chicks (on the left side) and also my black sex link hen and her one baby chick in the pet carrier. I do not like the pet carrier due to limited accessibility to the hen and her chick, so it is temporary accommodations until I can get a more open cage for her.

These babies are being raised with their mother so it is different than raising them in a brooder. They still need food and water but the mother takes care of the temperature fluctuations by keeping them under her wing when necessary. If you live in an area where it gets cold at night, you may want to give an additional heat source to help her maintain the temperatures. Being from Florida this is not necessary for me.

If you are new or just starting raising your own flock of chickens, these are some of the essentials for raising baby chickens.

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11 Responses to “The Basics Needed for Raising Baby Chicks”

  1. Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life by contributing this post! The Carnival is at ice cream is not for breakfast this week and will be live on Monday, May 19, 2008, so drop by and check out some of the other excellent articles included in this edition!


  2. Thank you for participating in the Homesteading Carnival 50th Edition – Getting the Garden In. This week it is being hosted at The Quiverfullfamily.com Blog. Please let your readers know, and come on by to take a look at the other wonderful homesteading posts!


  3. Hey Carole, I am looking forward to brooding hens! maybe next spring. My hens are about 6 weeks old now, so it’ll be a while.


  4. Thanks for the information! I’ve been thinking about raising chickens. How old before they start laying eggs? Looking forward to checking out the rest of your site.


    Food Is Love


  5. Debs, Chickens are addicting so beware that thinking you may want one or two becomes 10 or 20! The hens (pullets when they are less than a year) usually start laying at about six months old. It all depends on the breed though but that is a general estimate.

    Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Stop back often and comment anytime!


  6. I brought a baby in and am raising it with light and all it needs I have a question. Beings it is the only one, can i put a stuff animal or something in there so it doesnt feel lonely. I know stupid question, but i had to take it out of the pen because there is snow on the ground so it is very very cold. the heat lamp i have in the coop wont be enough. I have always raised my babie with other babies


    Carole Reply:

    Sam, I have done this before when I kept a baby chick in the house by itself. It did help to keep the chick from chirping so much.


  7. I got baby chicks today and wanted to know if they need a little bowl or something for a bath in their coop? I have food and water in there but was unsue about a bath bowl? Thank you


    Carole Reply:

    Amber, I don’t supply my chicks with a place to dust bathe. It’s not necessary but you can certainly do it if you want to. Once mine move into a coop they get the opportunity and take advantage of dust bathing on a frequent basis.



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