You come home with a box of cute baby chickens. Everyone loves them, oh my gosh they’re so adorable, everyone wants to see them and hold them, it’s a big deal. Then one dies and your kids are crying, what went wrong? And you feel so sad and helpless and you’re like, “what did I do wrong?”. Well Today I’m going to tell you what to do right to keep you baby chickens alive.
First and foremost I want to say sometimes you do everything right and a baby chicken will still die, that’s not your fault, some are just born with a defect. Today we’re going to focus on doing everything right.
The most important thing with little baby chickies is the temperature, if they where with their mother she would keep them a very specific temperature. 95° for the first week, then down 5° each week until you hit the temp of your house, whatever that is.
The cage has to be big enough so they can go to one side and be 95° and go to the other side and cool down, you don’t want to cook them. That’s very important, if you see them panting you’re cooking them. I have link on my website to this temperature controller that works really good. You can get it here.
A 100 watt bulb carefully placed on one side of the box could work in a pinch.
What you have to realize is there are different breed chickens, which are different sizes, don’t mix mini bantam chicky babies with regular size chicky babies, because when they all cuddle into a pile to stay warm they’ll squish the mini bantam baby by accident. There’s a big difference in size, even though they’re the same age.
Next is their food and water. You can buy un-medicated chick starter at the store, which makes everything easy. Or you can grind up some adult chicken food in a nutri-bullet.
I get a lid from a mason jar or some kind of big lid and I like to feed them 3 times a day, they’re very messy. And I do the same with the water, I get a big lid and refill the lid bowl 3 times a day. Don’t get a big bowl because they’ll drown in it, it has to be a shallow bowl.
For their bedding I like to use a shovel or two full of sand in the bottom of the tub, then a few wood shavings on top. The sand is because they will actually get a little dust bath, they’ll be in there practicing how to take a dust bath and it’s so cute. Plus they’ll eat little pieces of sand for their grit, the sand teaches them to pick and scratch.
Don’t put them outside until they’re fully feathered and DON’T put them in with full size chickens because they’ll kill them. And keep your other pets away just in case.