Thinking about bringing some baby chicks home this year? They definitely are adorable, but they can require quite a bit of work and effort on your part. Because they are so little, they are prone to lots of accidents. Constant supervision is required, so making sure that you have time in your schedule to help them grow up is important. Here are some tips on getting started with your brand new baby chicks:
1. Check up on them frequently.
Baby chicks require full responsibility — consider yourself warned! They are just as adorable and lovable as puppies, but they also require just as much — or more — work. For at least four weeks, make sure you can provide time to cater to them and watch how they are growing. You or a family member should check up on them, at least, five times a day.
2. Have a living space for them.
They will get to move outside to an outdoor coop after they’re 4-5 weeks old, but until then, you’ll have to deal with their messes in a smaller space! They are temporary indoor pets, so get a dog-sized crate, a large box, or an extra large plastic bin. Line the bin with wood shavings — but not cedar, because the smell is too much for them!
3. Use a heat lamp.
Chances are your chicks are very, very young. Typically, they get sent out to be bought when they are only a day old. A heat lamp will help these babies stay warm and grow accustomed to warmer temperatures, which will prepare them for when they will be living outside. If the chicks stay close together, they are likely cold and could use more heat. On the other hand, if they’re spread out as far as possible, that’s a sign to lower the heat. If you’re leery of using a heat lamp, consider using a heating pad, similar to this one at Big R Stores.
4. Watch their backsides.
Besides keeping your chicks fed with food and water, cleaning their cages is another big responsibility. You will soon notice within your first few days of having your chicks that they have a tendency to relieve themselves a lot – and we mean a lot. Make sure you take note that their backsides aren’t caked with their feces. If the feces gets backed up, it can be fatal. Clean your chicks with a warm, wet cloth if this happens.
5. Give them outside time.
Once the chicks are a bit older, about 2-3 weeks, you can take them outside and watch them closely as they play around in the grass! Chicks are very curious and playful, and will love being outside at this age. Just remember to keep a close eye on them as they know how to fly and escape at this age, and are very easy prey for predators.
6. Bugs and worms are treats.
Chicks are more than happy to eat any little critters in your garden, like worms and other kinds of scraps. But these are treats and not the main course, so make sure they don’t eat too much! Their primary source of food should be their feed, but a little dessert never hurt anyone, right? View Big R’s selection of feeding and watering supplies.