Taking care of your Chickens:
Basics of Caring for Baby Chickens[edit | edit source]
Hatcheries usually supply baby chickens in two varieties, the 'just hatched' sort and the 'grown-up' sort.
Just Hatched Chicks[edit | edit source]
1. If they are cold, baby chickens might freeze to death. We don't want that, so we need to keep them warm. Start with 95 degrees in the first week, and then decrease the temperature by 5 degrees every week after until 6 weeks. A good way to provide said warmth is to buy a special 'Hen' lamp. It's a very big light bulb that produces much heat, as well as light. Make sure they don't have a cold floor where they will sleep. Some cardboard will do fine for insulation, but make sure the surface isn't slippery if it should; it can lead to spraddled feet where the bones are bent to the side making the chick unable to walk.
2. It's pretty much obvious, but baby chickens need to drink. Under no circumstances give them un-boiled water. Their immune systems might not handle the germs just yet. Grain coffee (coffee made from oats or summat, as opposed to coffee made from beans) is quite suitable for them. Make sure it's not hot. A good way to serve drink is to pour it into a jug, put a dish on top of the jug upside down, then flip the whole thing, so that the jug is upside down, standing on the dish. It should leak just enough coffee onto the dish so that the baby chickens can have a drink, and leak more when they have drunk some.
3. Baby chickens won't eat just any old thing. Milled oats are a good thing to feed them, at least initially. Hard-boiled eggs (cut up into appropriate bite-sized pieces, of course) go with the milled oats quite well. You may want to ask around in agriculture stores about special feed for baby chickens. They can eat some bread, but if they eat too much, it will kill them. It's good to add cut-up lettuce to the baby chickens' diet. If you're not squeamish, they love small, flightless invertebrates, and go crazy for worms.
4. Chickens are flock birds, sure, but even they don't like to be cramped. Cannibalism and trampling may ensue if they don't have enough space. Baby chickens grow quickly, so make sure you have room for them. Scatter some hay under the big light bulb so they have something to scratch in. Remember to replace the cardboard once it becomes saturated with poop, no one likes to sleep in feces.
Grown But Still Baby Chicks[edit | edit source]
They're bigger and usually have feathers already.
1. Now that they're grown up a bit, they can drink just about any water. But I'd recommend boiling it, nevertheless. Forget the trick with the jug, the chickens will tip them over frequently; use a pot or something of that kind. Also, they can’t be covered up they will be scared. And when they cheat, they need company and calm them down.
2. Remember those special foods for baby chickens? It's a kind of meal, only with vitamins, minerals and what not. It's good for them. Mashed potatoes mixed with that meal, are better. And the chickens like it VERY much. Cut-up lettuce, cabbage, the grass is fine at this point. Insects are always welcome and they can eat big bugs.
3. With feathers, warmth is less of a concern than before but tries to keep the temperature steady at about 20 degrees Celsius.
4. Basically the same tips as before. Make sure they have room to romp, a place to sleep, and that they have a reasonably clean environment. Oh, and you need to provide them a sandbox of sorts in which they can dust bathe.