Grass is greening up, snow is melting, and according to the calendar, spring is right around the corner! Soon, the chirping sound of baby chicks will be a welcome sign at local farm stores, which means it is time to start planning to bring new chicks home to your flock.
Just like any new addition, your new chicks need some essential supplies. Regardless of if this is your first time buying baby chicks or you are a collector of chickens, we’ve prepared a list of the essentials to help you make sure your new poultry projects flourish this spring!
Shelter and Warmth
Baby chicks initially need a small area to live in that offers protection and shelter called a brooder. A brooder is basically a contained area that can range from a galvanized metal tank, wooden box, plastic tote or kiddie swimming pool. At first, your chicks will need about a half-square foot of space, however as they grow and mature, that will increase to about one square foot of space. Once they have out grown their brooder and the weather is consistently warmer, you will want to move them to a coop with an outside pen for exercise.
Keeping your baby chicks warm is of upmost importance when they are little since their bodies have not learned how to regulate their body temperatures. Provide a heat lamp or heat bar that is close enough to provide them warmth, yet far enough away they won’t try to jump up at it, causing themselves harm or to get burned. Only heat one area of the brooder so they have both a place to go for warmth and an area to go to cool off.
Bedding is another important aspect to keeping your chicks warm and healthy. Especially if using a plastic brooder, you will want to provide some bedding, so the chicks don’t slip and slide, causing harm to their legs. Bedding varieties include pine shavings, clean sand, paper towels, shredded newspaper and burlap. You should avoid cedar chips or other aromatic wood chips that can be toxic to chicks.
Feed and Water
Feeding your baby chicks is simple as you will need a chick starter feed and a chick feeder. Most chick feeders come with a divided trough to keep chicks from walking or playing in the food or kicking it out into the bedding. Raising the feeder just slightly will help reduce contamination of the feed by the chickens messing in it and leaving behind feathers, dirt or feces. Once your birds are starting to grow and transition to a bigger size food, offer them Backyard Boost® Daily Essentials, a pelleted, natural protein supplement for all classes of poultry fully fortified with a prebiotic, vitamins, minerals and organic trace minerals to maximize growth and egg production and support overall flock health.
Water is the most essential nutrient for animals, and your new chicks are no exception. Make sure you are providing your chicks with clean fresh water each day. And keep the water free of dirt and waste. The water dish should not be very deep, or your chicks could accidentally drown. If the water dish is deeper, add a layer of pebbles to the bottom to keep it shallow enough to be safe and will also weight the dish down so it does not easily move or tip. Chicks in a new environment are often stressed, so adding some Backyard Boost® Defense to their water daily promotes feed and water intake during times of stress and recovery to help support digestive health and a healthy inflammatory response.
Those little chirping sounds are a welcome sign of spring and bringing home your own chicks is an exciting adventure with many benefits. Make sure you are prepared with the essentials of warm, dry shelter, food and water and keep your new flock flourishing with the nutrition it needs from BackyardBoost.
To learn more about caring for chickens or how to purchase Backyard Boost, visit www.backyardboost.co