These are some of our frequently asked questions about raising chicks and the answers.*
Visit Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply, Inc., call (813) 932-9775, or email us if you have additional questions.
How do I raise baby chickens?
With a little bit of planning, you can easily and successfully raise baby chicks and quickly reap the benefits of having full-grown, egg-laying chickens. You’ll need some supplies to get you started, such as a brooder, bedding, food, waterer, and a heat lamp. We are happy to help you put together all the supplies you’ll need to get started. Please stop by and ask us, we would love to talk to you about chickens!
How many chickens do I need?
In our experience, you need at least three hens for a happy, healthy small flock. Chickens are very social animals, and so we recommend at least 3 because they keep each other company when you are not there to interact with them. A single hen will be very lonely, and they tend to also be very loud when they are alone (because they want to be social).
How large should the baby chick brooder be?
It should be 2 sq. ft. per chicken and at least 12” high. Structures like a “kiddie pool” work well as long as it is large enough and has tall 12″ sides. If possible, avoid boxes with square sides as chicks can get trapped.
What should the brooder look like?
The bottom should be lined it with wood shavings, paper towels, or newspapers. We recommend wood shavings because any wet bedding needs to be removed and replaced daily. Cover it with mesh paper or chicken wire. It needs to contain a feeder and a waterer. It will also need a red heat lamp hanging over it which needs to have the temperature adjusted each week (they will need it to get progressively cooler as they get their feathers in), and a “cool off” area for the chicks to get out from under the lamp if they get too hot. We recommend the red heat lamp because the red light will not keep them awake when they are supposed to be sleeping. You can use a thermometer placed at the chick’s level to tell if you have the right amount of heat.
Why raise chickens?
Raising chickens has many benefits, including:
1- Chickens eat bugs in your yard – less pests!
2- Chickens fertilize your yard with their guano.
3- Children can learn where their food comes from and have hours of entertainment, not to mention get fresh air and exercise playing with them.
4- You can collect and eat fresh eggs every day!
5- You can raise some breeds of chicken to both lay eggs and then provide meat when they reach the appropriate age.
When do baby chickens get their feathers?
At about 6 weeks they will have most of their feathers. They begin growing feathers when they hatch, and over time they lose their down as the feathers grow in. Once they have their feathers, they can go outside during the day.
What kind of food to baby chicks need?
Baby chickens need specific nutrients, and sometimes medicine in their food as well. Shell’s Feed & Garden Supply, Inc. has great options for chickens to help them reach their fullest and healthiest potential! Stop in and see us today!
*much of the information in this FAQ comes from the Purina guide entitled “My first year with chickens; A week-by-week guide to a happy, healthy flock.” The remainder of the information comes from our knowledge of chickens and how to care for them. Please Contact Us if your question is not answered by this FAQ.