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5 Things To Do Before Bringing Chicks Home

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Have you decided that you want to start keeping chickens? That’s great! Raising chickens is so much fun but there are some very important things to do before bringing chicks home.

Raising animals is a big responsibility but well worth it, just remember that raising baby animals is more work than caring for adults.

So before you bring those cute, fluffy little chicks home that you found at the feed store make sure you have their home and feed ready.

5 Things To Do Before You Bring Home Chicks text overlaid on a collage image of baby chickens.

5 Things To Do Before Bringing Chicks Home For The First Time

Decide What Breed Of Chickens You Want

You’ve decided that you want to raise chickens and that’s great! But before you get started it’s so important to decide what breed of chicken that you want to raise.

Chickens fall into 3 basic groups, egg layers, meat breeds, and dual purpose.

If you want to keep chickens only for eggs and want the best feed to egg conversion then getting a breed like leghorns is the best for you.

These birds are easy to care for and eat less feed to give you more eggs than other breeds will. They easily lay 300+ eggs in a year once they have matured.

On the other hand, if you want to raise meat birds to have your own organic chicken and don’t care about egg production you’ll be best picking a breed that is meant for meat production.

The most commonly raised meat bird is the Cornish cross. This bread grows very fast and has an excellent feed to meat conversion.

Unfortunately, this breed has been developed to grow so fast that they are not very hearty anymore. They easily have heart attacks from just walking around normally or if surprised.

A heritage breed like Jersey Giants would be a better choice for raising easy meat birds but they do grow a bit slower.

You can also decide to raise a dual-purpose chicken breed. Here you will find the best value for birds that will lay eggs and also be good for meat birds.

Most hatcheries sell a heavy dual-purpose breed, the hens are red and the roosters white. These are very easy to raise and while they don’t lay as many eggs as a leghorn they do give you a lot and do well for meat too.

Some other good dual-purpose breeds to consider are Barred Plymouth Rock, Columbian Rock, and Wyandotte’s.

Get The Chick Brooder Ready

Cackle Hatchery Premium Brooder Home for Baby ChicksCackle Hatchery Premium Brooder Home for Baby ChicksCackle Hatchery Premium Brooder Home for Baby Chicks


Before you even consider bringing home baby chicks, make sure you have the chick brooder ready!

Young chicks have only down feathers and can’t keep themselves warm. Without a mother hen to tuck them under you’ll need to have a draft-free and warm area setup.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a chick brooder. A large plastic container or metal water tank will work just fine.

We’ve used an old rabbit cage with a solid bottom to brood hundreds of chicks over time. It’s a large cage meant for pet rabbits. The floor has solid walls at least 6 inches high that block drafts while the wire cage on the top is perfect to hang a heat lamp over.

If you don’t have anything on hand this easy popup one is cheap and quick to set up.

Whatever you are using, get the brooder set up and place warm and dry bedding in the bottom.

Don’t use newspapers for bedding these are bad for chicks and can cause leg problems because they are slippery to walk on.

Instead, use pine wood shavings (not cedar) a few inches deep on the bottom.

Then set up a heat lamp over the brooder to get it warming up before you place the baby chicks inside. For newborn chicks, you’ll want the temperature to be 92 F (33 C) at about 2 inches off the brooder floor.

Heat lamps come in clear and red bulbs, using a red bulb will keep your chicks calmer and reduce pecking.

Have Feeders And Waterers Ready

Your Happy Chicks 1 Qt. Hanging Harness (Adjustable-Glass & Plastic Jars)Your Happy Chicks 1 Qt. Hanging Harness (Adjustable-Glass & Plastic Jars)Your Happy Chicks 1 Qt. Hanging Harness (Adjustable-Glass & Plastic Jars)


Make sure you have good feeders and waters for chicks on hand too. A waterer like this one is the best because it’s easy to keep clean, holds lots of water. Used with this hanger it keeps the chicks from scratching bedding into the water.

Get a feeder that is meant for young chicks too. You might think just using an old pie pan would work but chicks like to scratch things around. They will scratch the food out of that pan, scratch bedding into it and yes even poop in their food.

So make sure to have a feeder like this one that keeps the food clean. Having clean food and water for your baby chicks at all times is so important!

Get The Right Chick Food

Before you bring home those cute little chicks you saw in the feed store remember to get the right food for them.

If you’re wondering what to feed baby chicks after they’ve hatched it’s pretty simple. The easiest way to feed them is to have a bag of high quality 20% protein chick starter crumbles on hand.

If possible buy the GMO-free organic chick feed. Chick feed has been created to meet the high protein needs of a fast-growing baby chick and they grow really well on it.

You could make your own but I’ve found using an organic chick starter saves a lot of time and just keeps things simple.

Make Sure The Chicken Coop Is Ready

Do you have your chicken coop ready? Oh, I know these little chicks seem so tiny now but you will be amazed at how fast they grow!

If your brooder area isn’t very large they will outgrow it in just a few weeks and need a larger area to live.

It’s always best to have the home for your animal’s set up before you actually bring them home.

Sometimes a last-minute change will through this plan off but at the very least make sure to have a safe chicken coop ready within a few weeks of bringing your birds home.

You will need to make sure it’s draft-free, preferably has a solid bottom to keep predators from digging in. You’ll need electricity so you can still hang up the brooder lamp.

Young chicks can’t defend themselves against predators like rats or raccoons. So make sure that the coop is well secured.

Chicks will need to be kept warm for at least 6 weeks until their feathers have all come in. Even after that, they will still appreciate some extra warmth on cold days.

Adult birds won’t need supplemental heating. Once they are grown make sure not to let adult birds overheat in the summer.

Don’t worry raising chicks is actually really easy as long as you have things ready ahead of time, keep them warm and always have clean feed and water available.

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Are You Ready For Chicks

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