Baby chicks are so cute, no doubt in that! Mostly, children will love to take they home and take care of them. But, baby chicks can be vulnerable if you don’t know the trick for raising them. If you do these 5 easy steps to raise baby chicks properly for beginners, you can keep them happy and healthy. Just like you keep your dog happy and healthy
1. Prepare the Cage
I see you want to get chicks right away, since they’re irresistible. But, they need constant care, more than you think they are. That’s why, before you actually get some chicks for your own, prepare the place for them to live first. You can’t just put them directly in the cage in the backyard of your house, for instance. They need to be warm, unlike the mammals which can adapt to the temperature easily.
Brooder is simply a heated living place for your baby chicks. It can be made of anything, like a plastic container or even cardboard box. I suggest plastic container rather than cardboard box though, because cardboard box can be easily get damp and ruined. If you have time in your hands, you might build a special cage for the baby chicks inside your house. You can choose the remote place, like a laundry room or storage room, so you don’t get bothered by the smell or worried about the hygiene of your house. Which is, your storage room is clean and not dusty, because you will constantly take care of those chicks.
For the bedding, I suggest you to get pine pellets or wood shavings. Rather that any other things, these two are safer for your baby chicks. They’re not slippery and they don’t absorb dust or water easily.
- Heating Lamp
Without a heating lamp, you will find the baby chicks get sick in no time, then they will die later on. I experienced this myself, actually. The reason is because baby chicks cannot control their own body temperature. Don’t worry, when they get bigger enough, their body will do the job. Meanwhile, we will be the one to take care for it. Below is the ideal temperature for your baby chicks according their age:
Heat Lamp Temperature
1st week – 95 degrees
2nd week – 90 degrees
3rd week – 85 degrees
4th week – 80 degrees
5th week – 75 degrees
6th week – 70 degrees
7th week – 65 degrees
8th week – 60 degrees
- Food and Water
Food and water are very crucial in taking care of animals, especially the baby ones. It can be scary, too. Can you imagine if you must feed newborn baby hamster that’s really small and looks very vulnerable? Scary, right? But, you can a bit relieve about feeding baby chicks, they’re pretty independent in finding their foods and water in their cage.
The next thing you need to prepare carefully is the feeder and waterer, before you worry about the food itself. Chicken is not really in control about their droppings, they will poop anywhere and anytime. That’s why you need special feeder and waterer for your chicken, so they don’t poop among their food or water. You can get this in the poultry shop.
For the water, you don’t really need to worry, they can get any fresh water. But, if you want to be sure for their immune system, you can mix the water with few drops of apple cider vinegar. There’s some poultry shop offer you antibiotics to mix with the water, but I don’t suggest it because you’re not supposed to give antibiotics where there’s no bacterial infection in your baby chicks.
What you want to choose carefully is their food. The food for chicken raised for eggs or chicken raised for meat is different and you need a different kind of food for your baby chicks. So, make sure you ask the poultry shop the right kind of food for your baby chicks.
- Net or Grate for Container Lid
Only few days of spare time, your baby chicks will grow wings and learn to flap out of the cage. That’s why, you need to have the lid on top of the container to avoid they wander around in your house. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. Once they escape of their cage, you will find their poops everywhere. Also, we don’t want baby chicks get some trouble outside of their cage. I suggest you use net or grate because they have better ventilation, so your baby chicks can still get fresh air.
2. Introducing Baby Chicks to their Cage
After a bit journey, your baby chicks might be quite thirsty. To introduce them to the place where they will drink, you can dip their beaks into the waterer for a bit. Of course, don’t do this too long. Other than thirsty, they might be quite stressed out, too. So, better leave them to wander by themselves around in their new homes. And if you spot black string in their butt, leave it because it’s their remnant of the umbilical cord. If you pull it, it may rupture the blood vessel, but don’t worry, it will come off by itself once they’re dry up.
Some of animals are okay to be handling, if you know the trick, like when you handle a rabbit. But, what you need to know is you can’t really handle baby chicks for too long. For baby chicks which just arrive in your house, you may not handle them at all for the first time. Once they get adapting to their new homes, you can handle them, but only for 15 minutes or so. But, baby chicks are still pleasant to watch, even without handling, in my opinion. Watch this carefully, if you follow these 5 easy steps to raise baby chicks properly for beginners, you will be able to raise them successfully. Otherwise, they can easily die of improper treatment.
3. Watch Their Behavior Carefully
Now, you’re ready to take care of your baby chicks. One thing that you need to do when you decide to take care of animals is watching their behavior. This especially important for baby chicks so you will know whether they feel cold or hot. If baby chicks feel cold, usually they will huddle around in the corner with the cage mate. Sometimes they try to climb up to each other, which looks so cute, but it means they need more heat in their cage. In the other hand, if they feel too hot, they will pant with the beaks open. It means that you need to lower the temperature.
4. Maintain Their Health
The biggest problem with baby chicks is the disease. Once they get sick, it’s hard for them to recover, even though you already medicate them with antibiotics. That’s why, the best solution is to maintain their health.
First, you can choose the organic food for them, because it will be free from pesticides, herbicides, and fungisides. Sometimes, it also contains antibiotics that, aside of people’s belief, can reduce their immune system. Some people add apple cider vinegar to the food and water as a booster for their immune system. Fresh, minced garlics are also good for the same reason, as in oats.
5. Clean Baby Chicks
Never ever put baby chicks to a water bath, that’s for sure. As I mentioned earlier, baby chicks can’t control their own body temperature, so it’s highly dangerous for them to take water bath. In the other hand, you can let them to take dust bath. What, with dust? Yes, apparently, it’s more suitable for them and they can get rid of the parasites that can infect them. But, make sure that you change the dust periodically, so it keep clean from their pooping.
Another thing you should worry about is the pasty butt, it means that their pooping can be stick to their butts and seal off the vents. You can imagine what it feels like if you can’t poo anymore. Any living things will get sick. That’s why it’s important to always observe your pet’s poo, whether it’s your rabbit’s pee and poo or dogs or any other pets.
If you already prepare yourself for all of those things above, you will be golden! It’s kinda easy and you can do it yourself at home by following these 5 easy steps to raise baby chicks properly for beginners.