We welcomed six baby chicks into our family earlier this week!
In our current coop, we already have Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, and a Plymouth Rock so we were looking to add in a little more variety in our layers. When we introduce our baby chicks to our current flock we will need to monitor the dynamics of the girls because of all the different personalities of each breed.
We have completely fallen head over heals, and I think they have fallen for us too.
The kids LOVE playing and holding these little girls. I’m excited for them to learn more about how to care for the chicks. It’ll be fun to incorporate this experience into homeschooling. I am thinking about doing an art journal documenting the stages of chick development and enlisting the kids help with cleaning up the brooder.
We purchased our chicks from our local farm store (Feldman’s Farm and Home in Liberty). They advertised on their Facebook page when they were going to start selling chicks, and we made sure to arrive early on that day.
- Brooder: This is the chicks first home. We used a large storage tub and placed it in our kitchen. Look for a location that has no drafts or dampness. If you have animals at home (or kids who don’t know how to handle them properly) think about adding a simple screen over top.
- Heat Bulb and Metal Lamp: Though some people use just a simple 100-watt bulb, I recommend spending the extra couple dollars to purchase a red 250-watt bulb. These bulbs will produce heat, which is needed to keep the chicks warm, and the red light will disguise blood, which will protect the injured bird from being pecked at by the other birds.
- Bedding: Pine Shavings are the best option for inside the brooder. (Cedar shavings will cause respiratory problems for chicks). Avoid using straw which is too difficult for chicks to walk on and newspaper which doesn’t provide enough traction for their developing feet.
- Feeders and Founts: Baby chick sized feeders and founts can be purchased at the store or I have seen some people make their own. Avoid just using bowls because they are easier for them to soil.
- Chick Starter Feed: At each stage chickens need correct nutrition. Starter Feed has a higher protein and lower calories compared to the feed layer hens need.
- Grit: When the chicks start kicking around their bedding, introduce grit into their diet. Grit helps aid in digestion. It is composed of little pieces of sand or stone that they store in their gizzards
Books to Check-Out at the Library:
- ‘Chick Days: Raising Chickens from Hatchling to Laying Hens’ by Jenna Woginrich
- ‘The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens: Everything you need to know… and didn’t know you needed to know about backyard and urban chickens’ by Andy G. Schneider and Dr. Brigid McCrea, Ph.D.
- ‘Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard’ by Jessi Bloom and Kate Baldwin
I don’t have any photos of Zoey or Ethan with the chicks because Zoey is still a little scared to hold them and Ethan prefers to just throw objects into their home. I’m sure with time they will get used to the little chicks. But we already have developed a daily routine of saying good morning and good night to them. However, we won’t admit how much time we spend sitting on the floor right next to their brooder, watching them scurry around in their box.