Day old chicks need special care
Looking after day-old chicks is a rewarding experience for everyone, no matter their age. However, there are some things that needs to be in place before you contemplate looking after dayold chicks in your home.
The list below is considerations that need to be addressed BEFORE embarking on this exciting adventure.
- Day old chicks are delicate and can easily die
- Young chicks need a heat source in their first weeks
- Day-old chicks can drown in a water source
- Chicks need to be kept indoors for at least 3 weeks in summer
- They must be indoors for longer when the weather is cold
- Chicks need cleaning out regularly otherwise they will smell
- Raising young chicks indoors creates massive amounts of heavy dust from their feathers. This can cause breathing issues in sensitive individuals
- Most non-hybrid dayold chicks cannot be sexed accurately until they are 6-8 weeks old
- Unsexed means there is a risk that you will get cockerels which can cause neighbour issues
- Most important if we have sold them unsexed we cannot take the boys back due to a biosecurity risk for our stock.
All our day-old chicks get sent to their new homes with a full care sheet. The minimum needs are listed below.
- Brooder to contain the dayolds. Rabbit or hamster cage. They must NOT go outside in a coop till they are at least 3 weeks old in warm weather. This will be longer in cold weather.
- Water dish or drinker, which should be shallow initially
- Food dish or specific feeder with chick crumb constantly available
- Warmth minimum 28C for the first week which can be reduced as they feather up. Suitable heat sources are electric hens, reptile heat mats or heat lamps. Bear in mind a possible fire risk from unsuitable equipment
- Safety from other animals including and especially other chickens
- Companion of other day old chicks because a solitary chick is very noisy indeed
Finally please don’t ask us for young chicks if you have no equipment ready we will not sell them to you.
Don’t expect that a broody hen will take on the day-old chicks you present her with. Always have a backup plan. Broodies can be remarkably fickle, moody and dangerous. Unless a hen is showing clear signs of being very broody then she will NOT look after chicks. She will more than likely try to kill them. If she has not looked after young chicks before then please supervise any introductions and be prepared to intervene quickly if she decides to attack the chicks. A swift angry peck to the head of the chick can render them unconscious or severely bruised. A normal broody/chick communication is a gentle tap to the head. This is the broody telling the chick to pay attention to what she is telling it. If she sounds angry then she is so watch very carefully. More info on broody hens here