Caring for Baby Chickens

While ideally, the baby chickens would be looked after by a mother hen, most of us when we first get chickens will get them from a feed store --perhaps having to order in advance if we plan to buy more than a few and what to choose a particular breed. So how is it that baby chicks arrive? Many arrive by U.S. Postal Service! You read that correctly, baby chicks get mailed in a box. They have nice little air holes and are clearly marked so postal workers handle them appropriately --not that they wouldn't know what was in that box anyway...the babies do eventually begin to cheep and quite loudly. I've chuckled a few times in our local post office because in a small building, 5 boxes of chicks can certainly raise a ruckus. What's neat is that mother nature made it so that baby chickens do not eat anything the first few days after hatching. This allows for shipping the chickens without food or water. Once they arrive at their destination, food and water can be provided and "life" begins for the chick. But chickens need some pretty important things as young birds without a mother.

Warmth is vital for the first several weeks of a chick's life. That means around 95 degrees with no drafts if possible. Most people use a heat lamp to achieve this.

Water is another vital source, and you might have to be sure the chick knows where it is.

Food is of course an important ingredient for all wildlife to survive. Most places recommend chick starter because it helps the young birds thrive and get a good, nutritional start in life.

The helpful folks at Murray McMurray Hatchery lay this out nicely. And you can ask local chicken owners for ideas about how to accomplish making the ideal arrangements for your flock.