Raising Chicks

I thought I might put together some information on how I raise chicks when I succumb to getting some without using a broody hen. I have found a few things really help make it a success.

~First, you need a large enough box to give them room to move around as they grow quite quickly. It should be expandable to as they need more space you can give it, or have another place ready for them.

~Second, keeping the temperature right and having fresh water and feed out at all times keeps the chicks from pecking at each other.

~Bed the box with paper towels to start with, and change the papers daily.

~Provide a pan of fresh garden dirt and greens for the chicks by about 3 days old. This keeps them busy and teaches them to scratch. It also keeps their digestive systems in good order and helps keep you from having to clean their bums as often.

~I like getting fall chicks. The reason for this is they start laying well by spring as the days are getting  longer and there are not as many problems with coccidia, nor do I have issues with summer heat killing young birds. Snakes are also less active and do not tend to invade the chick coop and harm my babies.

Here is a video I did this morning of my fall birds. It’s rather long since my computer wouldn’t save it in an editable format from the camera I used, but it shows my brooder box and the chicks getting used to the added soil. I know many will tell you to use all sorts of medications and vaccinations for your chicks, but generally they will be far healthier without them in a small backyard flock, and raising them with natural soil and green food really improves the final condition of your chickens. Since beginning to raise my chicks with fresh soil and greens I have not lost a single chick except due to heat in summer.

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About nigerianmeadows

I am a homeschooling mother of 2 autistic children and cook gluten-free, I homestead on 2.5 acre and raise goats and chickens for dairy and eggs, I garden, cook, quilt, and take photographs. I build, paint, scrub, and dance on tables. I am the ultimate WOMAN!!! Oh, yeah, and I like my husband a whole lot (he is the one that makes all this possible, and he loves me like no other!)
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5 Responses to Raising Chicks

  1. LindaG says:

    Is it just dirt from the garden? Do you always use cilantro or is that just the green that you had growing now? 🙂
    I’ve heard fall chicks make better layers and you just confirmed that.
    The yellow ones may be more curious, but it seems the black and white ones tried the greens first. 🙂 It was cute watching them pull it around the box.
    Thanks so much for all the information! Loved watching the chicks. Thank you. 🙂

    • Yep, just plain old garden dirt 🙂 They love it. And I give them any plant matter I think they can handle. Today it was a pumpkin top. They don’t always eat much, but it is good for them. Grass, veggie pieces, fruit, it’s all good 🙂

  2. Laura Little says:

    Totally agree with not over-medicating your chicks. Most problems can be cleared up by natural means, if you have problems. I am coming to the conclusion, by having gotten two chicken shipments during the summer and suffering loss after loss, that fall chicks may be the best way to go. My first chicks were January birds, but they were the easiest of all. Always things to learn by comparing notes. :o)

  3. Myk.Am says:

    Howcome you like the paper towel bedding? I’m just curious because I have just switched to hay. Thanks for the tip about the cilantro.- Mike

    • I use the paper towels because it keeps them from slipping on the cardboard and because they can see to practice pecking at food. I only use them while the chicks are in the box. I prefer to move them to an outside brooder on the ground as soon as I can. They are much healthier on dirt and with fresh greens. I have never lost a chick raised on the ground, but I have in boxes.

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