How do I look after my baby chickens?
Looking after your baby chickens is easier than you think!
Day old baby chicks through to 4 weeks of age need to be heated as they do not have their feathers to keep them warm yet. They must be kept between 32 and 35 degrees Celsius at all times. Yes, even in summer! Ensure they are safe from rain and wind (If inside, this includes fans and aircons). It is best to leave them in their heated environment as removing them for long periods of time can cause them to catch a chill and if severe enough, they will die. Making sure they are in a safe place where snakes, hawks, kookaburras, dog, cats, rats and many other predators cannot reach them is always ideal. Never put baby chickens in with other hens until they are significantly older (12+ weeks) as hens do have a tendency to attack the baby chickens, or even kill them.
Baby chickens from day old through to 12 weeks of age should be fed a quality Chick Starter Crumble. A quality Chick Starter Crumble will be medicated to stop the spread of Coccidiosis (which is the biggest killer of baby chickens from 0-8weeks) and containers (water and food) must be kept clean to prevent other diseases from spreading as well. Baby chickens under 8 weeks of age should not be fed scraps/treats as their body can’t cope with them just yet.
Chickens also need access to clean fresh drinking water at all times. Drinkers/waterers should be an appropriate size for chickens keeping in mind the small ones will drown in anything too deep. If the containers are too high they will not be able to reach it. Do not leave water containers to spill or leak as chicks may get wet causing them to get cold and catch a chill as mentioned earlier. It is recommended to use wood shavings for the bedding as it is softer, more absorbent, natural, chemical free and dust extracted. Bedding should be cleaned on a more regular basis as they are more inclined to eat from the ground.
Following these easy tips will ensure your baby chickens grow up to be happy and healthy laying hens!
Best of luck with your new baby chicks!